04 June 2013

Wingflow by Platinum

I finished the previous Chronicle with the picture of a recently purchased music nib by Platinum. That pen truly calls for a detailed presentation, but its nib is interesting on its own merits—long lasting merits. For this nib design is still in the market, forty years (at least) after it was initially released.

The Platinum music nib I mentioned on the previous Chronicle.

In fact, that music nib might very well be one of the first examples of this design together, of course, with more standard points. That was around 1973. Since then, that nib has been implemented in a number of pens, including some early Nakaya (2001), and has been cast in many different materials: steel, 14 K and 18 K (yellow) gold, and 14 K and 18 K white gold.

Three examples of this nib design made in three different materials. From top to bottom: 14 K yellow gold, 14 K white gold, and steel.

The same nib, now in 18 K gold, was implemented in this "exotic skin" series of Platinum pens from the late 1970s. This particular unit was produced in August of 1978.

As of today, in 2013, this design, made in steel, can be found in some (relatively) inexpensive Platinum models: Balance/Cool, Affection, and steel-nib Standard. On more upscale models –Sheep, gold-nib Standard, and some low end maki-e pens— we can see it made of 14 K and 18 K gold. However, on all these models only two nib points are available: F (細) and M (中).

The Platinum Cool uses a steel version on this nib. On the picture, with a fine (細) point.

Forty years in the market make a good argument. But how do these nibs perform? They are very rigid with just a hint of bending under pressure, but they are unbelievable reliable. They do write on contact, and are never shy to speak out.

On this design the nib edges wrap around the feed and fix their relative positions. This geometry was not new or unique. It could be seen as early as in 1935 in the Chilton Wingflow pens. The claims of this manufacturer were that this shape of the nib ensured “perpetual factory precision adjustment of point and ink feed”, while “it creates a reserve pocket for ink”. However, many argue that the main point of this design was to reduce the amount of gold in the nib. But Chilton closed down in 1941, and Platinum and is still here producing wing-flow nibs for over forty years. In fact, for longer than that, albeit with different designs now no longer available.

Two units of this wing-flow design by Platinum.

Page of the 1937 catalog of Chilton with the description of the Wingflow nib and its advantages. This image was taken from the website http://www.chiltonpens.com/.

Now, the question is, once again, whether we needed gold nibs or, given the stiffness of these nibs, much cheaper steel nibs would suffice.

My thanks to Mr. Furuya.

External links:
On the Platinum Balance-Cool:
On Chilton:

Platinum Belage (1979) – Platinum Pigmented Blue

Bruno Taut
Yokohama, June 3rd 2013
etiquetas: Platinum, plumín musical, plumín, Chilton


Anonymous said...

Beautiful nib indeed!
It looks similar to the Aurora Hastil nib of 1970.
The Aurora 88, back in 1947, also used folded flaps to keep the nib in place.

Bruno Taut said...

Thanks for passing by and commenting, Anonymous.

Wingflow nibs have been used by many companies--Aurora (as you mentioned), Montblanc, Lamy, Pilot, Sailor,...

The interesting detail of the Platinum case was that the same nib design has been in the market for over 40 years, and was passed from model to model. Maybe Lamy could say something like this--the Safari nib is also an old design and is shared by most pen models of the company.



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