Ask The Desk: Pen Show List and Nib Holders

Shane challenges:

According to my dad, in the olden days they had inkwells in their desks and practiced handwriting with dip pens in school.

Every dip pen I can find has a really sharp pointed nib, or a calligraphy nib. Does someone make a dip pen that has a nib more like a fountain pen nib, for extensive writing? I’d like a dip pen so I could use any color of ink I want for things like correspondence. I can dip one of my fountain pens, but cleaning them up afterwards is a chore.

Thanks for any help or ideas you might have!

There’s a whole history of trying to make a dip-less dip pen but once ballpoint pens debuted, they were abandoned. However, you can still find them on Ebay and at pen shows.

(From Penucopia)

You can get a custom-made nib holder as well. I actually have a “dip pen” for vintage Esterbook nibs. Shawn Newton made one for me but I know that similar holders have been made for other vintage screw-in nibs. Essentially its a nib holder with no ink reserve but since screw-in nib units have a feed and nib, they hold a good deal of ink — usually enough to write several lines or even a page. Thomas Hall had Shawn create a holder for his Morissett nib but he started out with the the classic dip-less set and started many of us on this path.

Or you could have a pen craftsman create a special holder that holds a modern nib unit just for the nib and feed without a cartridge or converter to allow you to just dip fill. This would work with several modern brands like TWSBI and Kaweco off the top of my head. If you are attending any pen shows this year, it might be something to ask a pen maker if they might make for you.

Finally, you could just dip your favorite fountain pen into ink and let the feed take up some ink rather than actually filling the converter or cartridge. It will slowly “run dry” and need to be re-dipped. Then clean the nib and feed when you are finished writing. I’d recommend removing the converter or cartridge to avoid having to clean that as well.

Sandi asks:

Do you know if there is a website with pen shows? I wish I lived near you…it would fun to attend but I’m in Ohio.

Anderson Pens has a very nice list of the 2017 Pen Shows with links to the show pages. It looks to be all the shows I know about including the Columbus show in Ohio. Maybe you can visit that one? Hope that helps!

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3 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Yay! Thanks for the advice — I’ll do some poking around. I’ve been dipping my fountain pens, as you suggest, but my favorite daily pen is already inked all the time, so I was thinking about having a dedicated dip pen. This will help me a lot!

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