A fountain pen, a dip pen and even a quill all have a nib, its the part of whatever you are using that comes into contact with the paper that you are writing on.
Apparently the modern fountain pen nib dates back to the times when gold nibs had a tiny piece of ruby attached to them in an effort to improve wear and tear. But as more and more metals were found stainless steel or gold alloys were to become popular. It has to be said that the metal of choice today has to be gold as it is very resistant to corrosion and of course it is quite flexible. But like everything these gold nibs come at a price.
The majority of modern nibs are broken down into four different sections these being, extra fine, fine, medium and broad. It has to be said that each one of these nibs may have a special function, it is the individual writer that has the final say. While a extra fine nib will be perfect for one individual the next person will much prefer a medium nib. When asked to explain why each has chosen their particular type of nib it does ultimately come down to pure preference.
Nib flexibility is also important in a nib, and the thickness of the metal used will change the flexibility of the nib, secondly the amount of curve on a nib will ultimately determine how stiff the nib will become.
Fountain pens that dated back to the first half of the 20th. Century will normally have quite flexible nibs, and this was primarily dictated by the particular handwriting styles that were fashionable at the time. Just after the second world war writing styles began to change and the move shifted towards fountain pen nibs that were quite stiff. Perhaps another factor was that fountain pen makers were now offering ‘lifetime’ guarantees with their fountain pens and nibs and the more softer nib could not be sustained.
There is nothing wrong with softer nibs, but as a society we do use ballpoints and rollerball pens more frequently, its the way we grip these pen that causes the problem when we change to write with a fountain pen. The idea of the fountain pen nib is that the nib just glides over the paper and it is the ink that acts as some type of lubricant between the paper and the pen nib.
The fountain pen , the ballpoint pen, the dip pen all have a place in society and as long we respect that each of these pens does have its limitation the there is room for all of them in our homes.