Friday, December 16, 2011

Spheres

For my friend Kugel 149.

Kugel is the German word for sphere or ball, and it is also a label associated to some nibs of, to my knowledge, German manufacturers: Montblanc, Pelikan, Lamy. The idea behind a Kugel nib was to enlarge the “sweet” spot of the nib and to make it easier and more pleasant to write with those fountain pens.

Kugel nib of a Montblanc 149 from the early 1950s. It is a KOB.

These nibs can easily be spotted—the nib point is a small sphere that clearly sticks out over the nib’s upper side. Kugel nibs are usually labeled with a K before the actual nib point—KM, KB, KOB… However, there are a number of nibs sporting this same feature that are not labeled as “Kugel”. Does that mean these were not Kugel nibs?

I see a big ball here. Parker Falcon 50, from ca. 1980.

This question would be irrelevant might not be that German Kugel nibs, labeled as such, reach much higher prices in the second hand market that those not labeled as such. So, what do stylophiles value? The rarity of the label or the actual nib, labeled or not?

Another sphere. A Pilot Capless nib currently on production.

Modern nibs tend to have larger tips, as can be seen on the pictures. I can think of two reasons to explain this: The first one is the current lower price of the raw materials –mostly Ruthenium alloys in modern nibs— with respect to the labor costs of producing smooth and material-efficient points. The second is the lack of use of fountain pens—for people raised in the era of ball-points and keyboards, fountain pens with larger sweet spots and smoother nibs might be arguments to attract new users.

Anyway, that is just a hypothesis. The main conclusion is that there are more Kugel nibs in the market that just those labeled with a K.

(Parker Falcon 50 – Sailor Miruai)

Bruno Taut
December 15th, 2011
[etiquetas: Alemania, plumín, estilofilia]

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