Big, Bad Nibs – One Year On


Sometimes it is useful to compare what works now to what worked in the past. An image of my wide nibs from a year ago turned up quite by accident and I realized how few of these pens were currently inked. Does that mean the others have fallen out of favor or they just aren’t good enough to remain in use?

The truth is that I’m fickle. Plus I’ve come to appreciate the reduced maintenance that attends a smaller rotation.

Consequently, only the TWSBI 580 1.1 stub, the Platinum #3776 Music Nib, and the Platinum Nice Pur Broad remain active. It’s an interesting group because both the nibs and pen sizes are varied. All to the good for writing and comfort.

But do these pens have the same tastes in ink? The TWSBI has been filled with Diamine Violet all year. The Platinum music nib is more likely to switch partners, but is especially suited to Diamine Sepia. The Nice Pur takes all inks well, though Platinum Pigment Rose Red might top its list with Noodler’s Black Swan in English Roses coming in a close second. Glad to see the pens getting along so well with some of my favorite inks.

Now that I look at it, my rotation has only two recently acquired pens, a Pilot Kakuno M with Diamine Mediterranean and a Pilot Metropolitan M with Pilot BBk. The lone older model is a 1970’s Pilot Elite Pocket Pen loaded with Noodler’s Black, the little black dress in my ink wardrobe.

A six pen rotation is all I need for personal use and it provides enough variety to make writing colorful and entertaining.

If something in my rotation appeals to you, check out the links below. The Platinum music nib at the link is the newer Century model since my smaller #3776 has become difficult to find.

The Pilot Elite ‘Isaac Newton’ can be found from time to time on eBay for roughly $100 to $150. One word of warning. Some of the Elites can have brittle plastic sections and crack easily just by inserting a converter. Otherwise, it’s a good model if you like the pocket pen form.


  1. You always seem to have something I am thinking about adding to my rotation. Anymore thoughts on the Pilot Kakuno?


    • Great minds as they say.🙂 Check out my review of the Kakuno posted in April. Let me know if you have any questions. https://inkophile.wordpress.com/2016/04/23/pilot-kakuno-review/

      Liked by 1 person

    • *My* Kaküno gets lots of love. It has an M nib and whenever it leaves my rotation my 8yo daughter asks for it (and receives, of course) which enables me to state that the nib is also suitable for lefthanders (she is one). I guess in the not so far future this pen will slip into her possession.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are a lovely mom for sharing with your daughter. If she picked one for herself, which color would she choose?


        • We have the white/soft blue one you have, but I would guess that this would have been her choice, too, whereas my little son (6yo and avid fountain pen user) probably would go for the white/soft pink version. My favourite would be the gray/gray.

          What is great about these, as you mentioned in your review, is that you can easily swap nibs, also between Plumixes, Penmanships, Preras and other Pilot lower-end fountain pens. I have yet to meet a Pilot nib that does not perform well, having about 20 in my collection of the cheaper Pilot fountain pens.

          And the clear grip section is awesome! (If only they had a transparent feed, too.)


          • Such great color variety would make it easy to know which pen belongs to whom. It’s great that your kids have started young with fountain pens. Well done, Mom!


            • Well thank you. Alas, I can only take half of the compliment for myself as I *did* prepare them and gave them cheapo 1€ fountain pens with funny coloured ink (which still write and are used regularly) when they were about 4yo and I saw how they could handle brushes so well, but here in Germany it is mandatory to use fountain pens in school for any writing from 1rst or 2nd grade on, that is ca. age 6 or 7.😉


              • Writing is an underappreciated skill in the U.S. Few young people have ever seen a fountain pen and haven’t a clue how to wield one.😦


  2. The problem I think is not the writing in itself but the discipline and concentration, the calmness and precision that is lacking.

    I am volunteering at my children’s school twice a week, and without being a “Kulturpessimist” (cultural pessimist: everything was better way back when, blabla) and without wanting the methods that were used in the past (think of body punishments in school, hour-long drills, copying stuff without having to switch you brain on etc. even in the 60s and 70s) I do notice that the attention span is very short esp. among children from households where the TV does all the entertainment, kids stay indoors etc. Motor skills are often poor, too, whether it be fine motorical or general movement.

    And without enforcing some more refined skills such as using a fountain pen — which is difficult at first — these children are deprived of a whole set of skills. To successfully use a fountain pen you must be seated, be somewhat calm, be able to control the pressure, hold the pen straight without turning, you must concentrate. And only then you can start with the actual writing and the looks of it.

    Although if prepared it is not all that difficult for children from a very young age onwards, as is proven everywhere in the past and nowadays luckily still in countries like Germany, in Mid-/Western Europe in general.

    All parents need to do, I think, is provide some calm minutes here and there, fun watercolours, start with a brush, and when you reach a point where the brush does not get pushed but pulled for making a mark and does not get smashed every time it touches the paper the child might be ready for a fountain pen even if they are only 4 yo. Doodling with fountain pens was forbidden when I was a child — “These are only for working and writing seriously!” Pffft! — but a child that can even draw with a fountain pen has really good control. Awesome! And then continue at school with cursive writing.

    That such a wealthy and modern country like the USA is missing out on that and “educate” children, people, without ever giving them a fountain pen and the ability to write and articulate their thoughts in a fluent and fast manner … ah, there is so much to it I do not understand.

    Thank you for the nice conversation from one side of the big pond to the other! Greetings from Berlin!

    Liked by 1 person

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