Author Topic: Counterfeit?  (Read 4881 times)

Offline AnasaziWrites

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Counterfeit?
« on: January 29, 2016, 10:52:59 AM »
It sometimes amazes me the uses to which calligraphy is put. Signatures have long been used to qualify something, usually written, as genuine. The other day, my wife was looking at my watch and said she noticed there were a couple of smudges on the dial. On close examination, they were not smudges, but rather small engravings of the Maker's name in copperplate (it appears), put there to foil counterfeiters of the watch. What a great idea. The signatures were done by hand, as they differ slightly. The x-height is about 0.2 mm., and one needed to get the watch in just the right orientation (highly reflective) to see them.

I decided to see how small I could write (perhaps a career as a watch engraver?--Not!). Couldn't get to 0.2 mm, but came close. Starting with a Gillott 604ef (top signature) with x-height 1/10th inch (about 2.5 mm), which I might use to sign a letter, next down is 1/18th inch (0.7 mm) which I generally use to write return addresses on envelopes, next is 1/24th inch (about 1 mm) which I use for return addresses on some postcards. After that, I switched to an Esterbrook 355 Art and Drafting nib, which, I think, is my sharpest nib, x-height 1/50th inch (about 0.5 mm)--not bad form if you don't magnify it and quite legible. The last line of two signatures is at about 0.33 mm and 0.25 mm--recognizable as my signature, but very sketchy as penmanship. Guess  won't be hired by Brequet.
I think I could go smaller, but would need a finer nib. Any suggestions?
Anyway, a fun exercise, and always fun to see where copperplate crops up.

« Last Edit: January 29, 2016, 10:57:52 AM by AnasaziWrites »

Offline Lynda

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Re: Counterfeit?
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2016, 11:00:28 AM »
I think your smallest writing is excellent!  I don't have experience in this, but I've heard that the Brause 66EF is needle sharp, maybe one to try?

Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: Counterfeit?
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2016, 12:03:57 PM »
I think your smallest writing is excellent!  I don't have experience in this, but I've heard that the Brause 66EF is needle sharp, maybe one to try?
Thanks. I'm no A. R. Dunton, though (I wish).

Regards the B66ef, it's a fairly sharp nib (left) but not quite as sharp as the Gillott 604ef (bottom), nor nearly as sharp as the Esterbrook 355. (the top two are used, hence so black, and the 604ef is new).
Thanks very much for the suggestion, though.

Anyone else have a candidate for a sharper nib?

Offline Scarlet Blue

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Re: Counterfeit?
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2016, 12:19:51 PM »
Did you write it under a magnifying glass? I've always wanted to try that.

Offline LindaR

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Re: Counterfeit?
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2016, 01:40:13 PM »
Wonderful tiny writing, Mike! 

My current obsession is finding nibs which will write well at a very small scale.  Many nibs look promising, but they turn out to be disappointing. Like you, I find the Esterbrook 355 to be great for small writing.  Have you tried the vintage Gillott 290 Lithographic and 291 Mapping?  To my eye, they both seem to be able to write even more finely than the 355.  I find the 291 to be slightly easier to control at such small sizes (it's a bit less flexible), but both are lovely nibs.  The vintage Hunt 100 also has a very fine point, but seems to catch more on the upstrokes.  The Blanzy 319 Plume Pygmee is also very nice for small writing, but may not be able to handle exceptionally tiny Copperplate. 

Looking forward to hearing about others' favorite nibs for tiny writing.
Linda R.



Offline AAAndrew

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Re: Counterfeit?
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2016, 04:42:00 PM »
Probably my sharpest nib, other than the Esterbrook 355 and 354, would be a Turner & Harrison's 103 Extra Fine. These particular nibs date pre-1883 (after 1883 they dropped the "'s" at the end) and are amazingly fine.
Check out my steel pen history blog
https://thesteelpen.com/

Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: Counterfeit?
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2016, 05:30:14 PM »
Did you write it under a magnifying glass? I've always wanted to try that.
Down to x-height of 1/50 inch (about 0.5 mm), I don't need magnification. For the last line, I wore a headband with magnifying lenses (5X) to see what I was dong. My near vision is pretty good, although not as good as it was 10+ years ago. Age is catching up.

Offline Elizabeth O.

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Re: Counterfeit?
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2016, 06:00:14 PM »
I would like to nominate the Brause 511!
All my best -- Elizabeth O.

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Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: Counterfeit?
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2016, 06:22:39 PM »
Wonderful tiny writing, Mike! 

My current obsession is finding nibs which will write well at a very small scale.  Many nibs look promising, but they turn out to be disappointing. Like you, I find the Esterbrook 355 to be great for small writing.  Have you tried the vintage Gillott 290 Lithographic and 291 Mapping?  To my eye, they both seem to be able to write even more finely than the 355.  I find the 291 to be slightly easier to control at such small sizes (it's a bit less flexible), but both are lovely nibs.  The vintage Hunt 100 also has a very fine point, but seems to catch more on the upstrokes.  The Blanzy 319 Plume Pygmee is also very nice for small writing, but may not be able to handle exceptionally tiny Copperplate. 

Looking forward to hearing about others' favorite nibs for tiny writing.
Linda R.
Good suggestions. I have all these nibs except the Blanzy and will investigate soon.
An initial scan of the Gillott 291 (top) shows it very sharp, but not quite as sharp as the E355 (bottom). I'll dig out the rest of the nibs and give them a go.
Do you have the ability to high-res scan or photo the Blanzy next to a Esterbrook 355 (or other well known nib if you don't have one)?

Offline LindaR

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Re: Counterfeit?
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2016, 08:44:50 AM »
Mike, here's a (not very good) photo of four tiny nibs:
12:00 position:  Gillott 290
3:00 position:  Gillott 291
6:00 position:  Blanzy 319
9:00 position:  Esterbrook 355

Now I'm curious about how each nib's tiny writing would look side by side.  If I have time later today, I'll try to write a tiny sample with each of them to see how they compare.
Linda R.

Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: Counterfeit?
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2016, 10:27:01 AM »
Mike, here's a (not very good) photo of four tiny nibs:
12:00 position:  Gillott 290
3:00 position:  Gillott 291
6:00 position:  Blanzy 319
9:00 position:  Esterbrook 355

Now I'm curious about how each nib's tiny writing would look side by side.  If I have time later today, I'll try to write a tiny sample with each of them to see how they compare.
Linda R.
Excellent. I'll be very interested in seeing your "tiny" samples.
Please put a ruler next to them if you will.
(your photo is quite good, btw--very usable)

Offline Jean Santos

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Re: Counterfeit?
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2016, 03:12:44 PM »
Hello AnasaziWrites, I have tried micro lettering and engraving less than 0,5 mm is a nightmare.

 For micro writing you can try this nib : Atome 423 by Blanzy . It's very sharp and has low flexibility .

If you are looking for a very fine point, try to sharpen the nib yourself. It is quite easy. ;)

 I often do sharpening , mainly to increase the life of my nibs when they become scratchy. I use stones like Arkansas or Belgium stones( Coticule) the same I use for sharpening my knives, and my burins for engraving. These stones are quite expensive but you can try a bit of sand paper above a piece of glass , I mainly use 600 and 1200 grit and then I polish the point over a piece of leather with diamond compound 1 grit.
 After that the nib becomes as smooth as the first day ;)

Offline LindaR

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Re: Counterfeit?
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2016, 05:50:54 PM »
After writing several samples of teeny tiny Copperplate, my verdict is that it's incredibly difficult.  I am swallowing my pride and embarrassment by sharing samples of my writing at three tiny sizes (while my larger writing is not stellar, it's definitely better than the examples below).  The largest sample has an x-height of 1/12".  The second x-height is 1/16".  The last x-height is 1/20".  As for which nibs performed best, I found the Esterbrook 355 to be most pleasant to use and with the best results, followed closely by the Gillott 291.  The Blanzy 319 was incredibly scratchy, with difficult upstrokes (and it was the only nib that splattered), and was overall the worst performer.  The Gillott 290 was okay, but not great in terms of controllability.  I added the Blanzy 423 Atome to my sampling (thanks, Jean, for the suggestion), and found it to be surprisingly uncooperative, even though it was the firmest of the these five nibs.

I think I will stick with small writing, and leave tiny writing to others.  Mike, your incredibly tiny signatures are just amazing!  You truly have a knack for it.
Linda R.

Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: Counterfeit?
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2016, 03:36:17 PM »
Probably my sharpest nib, other than the Esterbrook 355 and 354, would be a Turner & Harrison's 103 Extra Fine. These particular nibs date pre-1883 (after 1883 they dropped the "'s" at the end) and are amazingly fine.
Don't have one of those. Could you photo or scan it next to a E355, point to point, or show some writing with each?

Offline AnasaziWrites

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Re: Counterfeit?
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2016, 03:38:06 PM »
I would like to nominate the Brause 511!
Could you show a photo or scan of it next to a E355 and/or some writing with it?