Looking at a nib is not something we spend much time doing, don’t we? Have you ever looked at your nibs in detail? I mean, a very close look, to really see it. It is intriguing how much is going on in such a small piece of metal, there is so much beauty in them.
I always find the huge variety of pointed nibs surprising. Just having a look at Scribblers or Penman Direct, there is always one I haven’t seen before. For me, its value is not only based on its practicality, I am fascinated with its beauty too.
Beautiful shapes in nibs
The most visible characteristic is the shape of the nib. Some are straight and others are oblique. This particular characteristic is not frivolous; the oblique shaped nibs are more convenient for writing with a slant, as in Copperplate. That shape makes the scribe’s work easier than moving their hand in an awkward position.
However, the mentioned variety of shapes goes further than mere functionality. For me, its shape is a way of recognising one nib from another, as we do with friends, each one with their own personality and individuality.
My favourite nib, so far, is the one in the shape of a hand with its index finger extended. It reminds me of writing with my finger on a steamy window.
The two nibs in this shape I currently own simulate the right hand, it makes me wonder if there is any in the shape of the left hand. Maybe not, as it was not long ago that being left-handed began to be acceptable for a scribe, as previously it was compulsory to use the right hand to write.
Another variant to admire among nibs
The holes used as reservoirs within the nibs also show different shapes, as they not only retain more or less ink. The number of holes or cuts determines how much the tines will separate when pressure is applied.
I hope this post motivates you to embrace curiosity and to enjoy finding wonders in this tiny treasure that is the humble nib. Until next time!