Nib Notes: Esterbrook #1550 Firm Extra Fine

Esterbrook 1550 nib

Next up is the series (of my Esterbrook nibs) is the Esterbrook #1550 nib. It’s called both a “firm extra fine” and a “bookkeeping” nib on the box. It’s also a common nib, especially for me, as I’ve accumulated six of them. I inked up two of the nibs, each with a different ink, for this review. Both nibs were received in a box that was in good condition and both nibs appeared to be the new-old-stock (NOS) that they claimed to be.

Like the other nibs in the 1xxx series there’s no tipping on the nib and the steel is folded into a ball to make the nib. Esterbrook referred to these as DuroChrome nibs.

The first sample was inked up with Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun. It put down a thin line that was on the dry side. It was a little too dry even for me, causing the grey Fuyu-syogun ink to be hard to read at times. Especially when writing fast. This nib also had a bit of hesitation when starting after sitting overnight. It took a bit of coaxing to get going. I found this nib/ink combo to be too finicky and did most of my writing with the second sample.

The second sample was inked up with Cult Pens Deep Dark Green ink which is new to me. This ink was smooth flowing, wet and never felt like it was having a hard time keeping up with my writing. In addition to the writing samples I used this nib extensively for work notes in a Doane Paper Jotter and for marking up documents on standard copy paper without any issues.

Granted, my samples don’t prove whether it was the Fuyo-syogun ink or that particular Esterbrook #1550 nib that was the problem. But if I was to bet, I’d say it’s the nib that needs adjustment since I’ve used Iroshizuku Fuyo-syogun with other #1550 nibs and never noticed a problem. In this case it really was too dry.

Esterbrook Box side 4

Both nibs felt about the same on the paper. They were smooth enough but needed a light touch. If I applied even a little pressure they both wanted to stab the paper. For comparison I used my new Platinum UEF (ultra extra-fine) nib. It was a tad smoother, but it is a 14K gold nib, and also needs a light touch.

The writing sample in the photo is on Maruman Septcouleur notebook paper. The numbers E007 and E008 in the sample just indicate my own nib inventory number so I can keep track of them, they mean nothing else.

As I mentioned, the nib is quit common and therefore inexpensive. Anderson Pens has them in stock for $6 and a quick eBay search has them from $10 and up. In my case all my nibs came with a pen or as part of a bundle of nibs where I wanted one of the other nibs in the bundle. If your accumulating (or collecting) Esterbrooks you may want to avoid spending money specifically for this nib since one will probably fall into your lap eventually.

Writing Sample

Writing sample with Esterbrook 1550 nib


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