is the part of a quill
, dip pen
or fountain pen
which comes into contact with the writing surface in order to deposit ink. Different types of nibs vary in their purpose, shape and size, as well as the material they are made from.
replaced the reed pen across Europe by the Early Middle Ages
and remained the main writing tool of humankind for nearly a thousand years until the 17th century. Quills are fashioned by cutting a nib into the end of a feather obtained from a fairly large bird, such as a goose
, traditionally from its left wing. A quill has the advantage of being more durable and more flexible than a reed pen, and it can also retain ink in the hollow shaft of the feather
, known as the calamus, allowing more writing time between ink dippings. The quill was in common use until the early 19th century and the advent of the metal nib. For business purposes, the quill was fairly quickly overtaken; however, it remains popular for personal use and for artistic work.
Metal nibs have their origins as far back as ancient Egypt
and were made of metals like copper
. However, the quality of writing that could be achieved with these pens was inferior to that of reed pens. It was not until 1822, when John Mitchell set up a factory in Birmingham
to manufacture steel
nibs, that their popularity took off. The metal nib... Read More