17 September 2016

On #3776 Nibs

This is a Chronicle with a lot of pics…

The Platinum #3776 series of fountain pens is an old one. Its first model was launched by 1978. It was a very characteristic ribbed design made by Haruo Umeda. The last models are called #3776 Century, and have little resemblance to those initial models, although Platinum keeps a ribbed design in its catalog.

Along this thirty-something years of history, the basic components of the pen –nib and feed—have seen some changes in their design.

The early models, (between 1978 and some time in the early 1980s) had very cylindrical nibs and ebonite feeds. The first year model had a feed with no fins at all. There were also music nibs associated to these pens, but they are not covered on this text.

Nib and feed of a Platinum #3776 from 1978. Note the ebonite feed.

The feeds of these early models changed quickly. By the second year, they had implemented some fins.

Later on, the nib became flatter on the top area, but there were few, if any, changes on the ebonite feed. This detail changed at some point (when?) and from then on all Platinum feeds have been made of plastic.

Nib and feed from 1984. The nib is obviously flatter on top while the feed is still made of ebonite.

Nib and feed from 2002. The nib is apparently identical to the previous one (1984), but the feed is now made of plastic.

Nib and feed from a #3776 Century. Labeled as manufactured on November of 2011. Note the shorter nib and the very specific feed. Needless to say, it is made of plastic.

The latest version of the #3776 is named Century and was launched in 2011. On this newer edition, two-tine nibs (i. e., non music nibs) changed with respect to previous models. Now they are shorter than before, and the feed had been modified to anchor the nib on the right position.

On the left, a music nib of a #3776 Century, dated on 2012. On the right, a music nib of a #3776 of 2009. The feeds are identical. The nibs, almost identical...

Music nib and feed of the Wagner 2015 pen. Note the absence of holes in the tail of the nib.

These changes, as I said, did not affect the three-tine music nibs. In some occasions, some gold was removed from the tail of the nib –that area hidden under the section--, but is also seems not to be always the case. The feeds of these music nibs are more cylindrical in shape and have no fixed position for the nib.

Two and three tine nibs dated in 2009 and 2010. They were interchangeable in their sections. I am well aware that the two tine nib is a Nakaya, but Nakaya implements #3776 nibs.

A side effect of these differences between the feeds is their incompatibility—now, the sections of music nibs are specific for them and cannot implement regular two tined nibs. And conversely—a regular nib section cannot be equipped with a music nib (and feed). This exchange was possible in pre-Century #3776 Platinum pens.

Now the reader can extract his own conclusions about Nakaya nibs.

Ban-ei, black urushi – Pilot Blue

Bruno Taut
Nakano, September 16th, 2016
labels: plumín, plumín musical, Platinum


Unknown said...

Your comments are prescient as I've wanted a second #3776 to complement the Sai model I bought about a year ago. I have enjoyed it very much: its elegant demonstrator looks and the nib -- just the factory Broad -- contribute a lot to the fun! It's a truly wonderful writer that doesn't cause hand cramp, and with the Slip & Seal system my nib has never dried out and this pen is nearly always inked.
So, okay, that's my good news about #3776 nib particularly. But I've not quite known what to make of what seems to be a liquidation sale by Platinum, watching prices nearly free fall during 2016 on the basic black and gold model. Was something new coming that required old inventory to go? I'd most wanted the #3776 Celluloid model but was not aware that the impetus to move inventory was happening at the higher price point so missed out on my chance for the Tortoise or Stone models. I even passed up the last model in the #3776 Lake series -- Yamamachi, I believe. My usual seller couldn't get a soft fine or music nib and I didn't really need a blue copy of the Sai, and pretty, with another factory nib. But I've finally been enticed by some special pricing on the basic black model and I don't know exactly what I should do.
So given the details in your blog, if you had to choose between a soft fine (& I would like to know a bit more about what I've read is the nib's "padding") or the Music nib which I'd likely have reground to a 0.85 cursive-y stub? Or should I wait and see? Or is it time to consider a Pilot? Or save my pennies for my grail Urushi pen?

Thanks very much in advance. I'll check back to see if you've responded. Or you can DM me on Instagram @jjfphd.

Bruno Taut said...

Thanks, Judith, for passing by and commenting.

Now, re your questions it is almost impossible to give a clear answer. Our preferences are always personal and can hardly be transferred to anyone else.

On my side, I think I can summarize my take on pens in the following way:

1. I love music nibs, and I chase them. Now, I think it would be a severe crime to regrind such a nib. Instead, think of a coarse nib, either by Platinum or Pilot, to perform such operation.

2. I follow the nib over the pen. So, having already a #3776, I would go for either that pen with a different nib or for a totally different pen. Pilot, urushi... up to each of us!

3. Small variations in color and material do not make a new pen. Black, green or transparent, a #3776 Century is a #3776 Century. End of the story.



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