Author Topic: Nib recognition  (Read 763 times)

Offline Mark T

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Nib recognition
« on: December 07, 2023, 05:31:15 PM »
I've purchased some more nibs. Lucky me ;D
In amongst the nibs I had quite a few with the word 'Hart' but nothing else written. The name/word is printed out and some of the spacing/word is all over the place, so I'm guessing the nibs were made quickly and for an individual?
On the nibs which I had the most of in the purchase, I'll call them, #1 - the nib had the wording - Made in England. Nothing else.
However - there was a single nib, I'll call it, #2 - identical in every way to the #1 bar for the writing.
On this nib, it read - Belman and Son Ltd,.... Convex pointed pen,.... Birmingham,..... 56 EF. When I thumb tested both #1 and #2 they both flexed under the same pressure (if that helps any)
Is there a possibility these nibs could be the same nibs (made by the same company). The reasoning for not having the same writing on the nibs, obviously from a new collectors perspective is a mystery (other than they are made by different company's), hence why I am asking if anybody would have an idea.
Laughter is definitely the best medicine, but Wolves destroying WBA runs laughter close, and the Yankees winning the World Series is ................ laughter is the best medicine, remember?

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Nib recognition
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2023, 11:47:40 AM »
OOOOO - fascinating! I hope someone knows the answer.  :D
Warm Regards,
Erica
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Offline Mark T

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Re: Nib recognition
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2023, 04:33:16 PM »
A case of wait and wait, eh. :)
Laughter is definitely the best medicine, but Wolves destroying WBA runs laughter close, and the Yankees winning the World Series is ................ laughter is the best medicine, remember?

Offline AAAndrew

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Re: Nib recognition
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2024, 10:58:25 AM »
Custom imprinting pens for stationers, department stores and businesses goes back almost to the very beginning of the industrialized steel dip pen. Some of these customers were as small as a stationer who wanted their own name on the pens, but some customers actually had pens made with their name on it, and created whole companies and brands around it. Spencerian Pens in the US is one of the best known. That was a brand of the New York Stationer Ivison Phinney and Company (there were several variations on Ivison's name as partners came and went over the years). They sold millions of Spencerian Pens over their 100+ years, but they never actually made a single one. The pens, for most of the company's history, were made in England by first Josiah Mason, and later, when he split from Perry, by Perry. (technically, in the 1870s, a few of the Spencerian pens were made by Gillott, with most made by Mason, but that was short-lived)

What you may have are some pens all made by the same pen factory, but just stamped with a different, custom imprint. I looked up Belman in People, Pens and Production, the definitive book on the Birmingham pen industry, and they're only listed with no other information.

P. Belman & Co.  (& Son Ltd 1923)
73 Pershore Street  1903-1910
73 & 75 Pershore Street  1911-1919
22 Bromsgrove Steet  1920-1940

So, your pens marked Belman & Son can be dated between 1923-1940. Most surviving dip pens today survived because they were shoved into the backs of drawers when their owners got their first fountain pen and kept around the old pens "just in case."  So, most surviving vintage pens are from about 1920s onward.  I suspect the "Hart" was a stationers or department store or even a hotel or other business where the public might be supplied a pen to write a note or sign a document. They may have purchased the pens from Belman, liked them, and had Belman make some with their custom imprint.

Interesting! Any pictures?
Check out my steel pen history blog
https://thesteelpen.com/

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: Nib recognition
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2024, 07:59:19 PM »
Absolutely fascinating! Thank you so much for sharing with us @AAAndrew;)
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Erica
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Offline Mark T

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Re: Nib recognition
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2024, 05:03:24 PM »
An exceptional read @AAAndrew.
Thank you for the book link. I have got one on order and should be with me no later than next Monday.
I have a lot of these nibs (Hart), yet for one reason or another I haven't tried them out, but as soon as I've typed this up I intend to try one.
If, by any chance you have a few minutes to spare, would you be so good as to give some websites/books whereby I can learn about nibs,... as well as a good place to look to purchase old nibs. (I am on EBAY and Etsy looking each day, as well as the steel pen museum (I bury myself into that site most days).
Thank you

Mark
Laughter is definitely the best medicine, but Wolves destroying WBA runs laughter close, and the Yankees winning the World Series is ................ laughter is the best medicine, remember?

Offline AAAndrew

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Re: Nib recognition
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2024, 12:25:27 PM »
Unfortunately, there really aren't many sources to learn about dip pens. Most mentions of them in books are in general books about old writing implement collecting, and are all British, and pretty much just a mention, no real in-depth info. The Writing Equipment Society in the UK did publish a collection of their articles on dip pens over the years, and that would be the best source out there for UK dip pens.

For the American dip pens, there's really just me. I've taken over The Esterbrook Project (https://theesterbrookproject.com/INDEX.html) from the original owner who has since passed which has the best info on the web about the largest pen maker in the US, Esterbrook. Then there is my website, thesteelpen.com. I started my research journey when I too went looking for more information and found little to nothing, so I started gathering it myself. The website contains my rough research notes as well as general dip pen information. I've since begun published a series of articles in The Pennant (the magazine for the Pen Collectors of America).

I have attached three pdfs of a three-part article on how the old steel pens were made, which you may find interesting. The methods of production were pretty consistent between the UK and the US up until about 1890 when the higher labor costs in the US began to make investment in automation more desirable.

And then, I'm available through the contact me page on TheSteelPen.com, and try to pop in here periodically if you have more questions. Always happy to talk dip pens!

Andrew

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Offline Cyril Jayant

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Re: Nib recognition
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2024, 08:03:11 PM »
Thank you Andrew for this very informative PDF. They are quite enjoyable to go through  in to the golden years of dip pen history. Thank you for the share.

Offline Mark T

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Re: Nib recognition
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2024, 02:41:52 PM »
Awesome read with so much obvious knowledge. Thank you so much for your reply.
I'm a happy bunny today. My order for the book arrived today, so I have some reading material for later tonight. I had a quick shifty through the book when it arrived, and I like the back pages whereby it details the pen makers along with their addresses.
As for your invitation to ask you questions regarding dip pen nibs - I'll only ask 10 questions at a time. Don't want to take too much of your time up. ;) ;D
Thanks for the pdf's.
I will, after writing this reply, set-up my own 'dip pen holder and nib' files on the pc. Something I started a few months ago to keep track of the nibs I have purchased. Now I have 80/90'ish best to know what exactly I have got, but it will also help me find the one's that I want,...... and as my wife says, 'you always want something'. ;D

Thanks again,

Mark.
Laughter is definitely the best medicine, but Wolves destroying WBA runs laughter close, and the Yankees winning the World Series is ................ laughter is the best medicine, remember?