It was a really long day at work today, or at least it seemed like it. I had to travel to one of our remote stores to replace a computer and it was COLD. The mercury hovered around zero most of the day, so naturally a road trip seemed to be in order. For you tech geeks out there, I was replacing an old computer, and after checking the date on the back of the machine realized exactly how old this thing was, and I’m sure the company bought it new. How does fifteen years grab you? Yes, seriously, I was able to make this piece of computer equipment not only usable, but viable for that long. In fact the user, who didn’t know I was bringing him a replacement, said, “I don’t really have a problem with it”. Well, probably part of that was the fact it was running Linux, proof that old computers can be used for long past their useful life with just a bit of different thinking.
And isn’t that kind of how we feel about our fountain pens? They are old enough to certainly have been replaced a long time ago by something newer, flashier, more efficient, perhaps, yet we still keep looking for them, repairing them, and buying parts for them. They go with us day in and day out, and quirky as they can sometimes be, we “don’t really have a problem with it”.
My collecting interests have changed over the years, and for whatever reason I find myself more and more interested in dip pens. Now, this is OLD technology. Despite being replaced by the more modern fountain pen, dip pens and dip pen nibs continued to be produced well into the 1950’s, and perhaps beyond. Where the new fangled self contained “ink reservoir” pens hinted at “improving”your writing experience, there really was nothing wrong in the first place.
This got me to thinking of some of the dip pen nibs I have. I have this box in the bottom drawer of my pen chest, and whenever I get a dip pen nib (lot off of ebay, bag of parts, etc.), I throw them in there. So tonight I decided to take the time to actually take a look at some of this technology, and took a couple pictures of the real beauty in some of them, the vent holes.
Of course there is some technical advantage in the vent hole. It allows air to go back in while ink comes out, but this is typically advantageous in a nib-feed combination. At some point, manufacturers must have decided a vented dip pen nib was not only necessary, but an area to express themselves. Take a look at some of these close ups.
Unfortunately, I could not find some really spectacular Esterbrook dip pens I know I have. They had incredibly ornate vent holes much like the ones shown here. Oh well, perhaps that’s a post for another day. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.
Brian & Lisa