I’m jumping ahead in my Esterbrook nib reviews to some of the 9xxx series nibs. First up is the Esterbrook #9048 Flexible Fine nib. Unlike the 1xxx and 2xxx series nibs the 9xxx series nibs have iridium tipping rather than just the rolled over steel.
There is some flex to the steel nib but its abilities are lost on me. Still, there’s not a lot of flex possible in a steel nib. This does make it feel less like a nail than other nibs such as the firm fines.
My nib has the full rounded feed so was manufactured some time between 1950 and Esterbrook’s demise. My nib was new old stock (NOS).
The nib was scratchier than many of my other Esterbrooks and wasn’t a pleasant writing experience. The nib seemed to always want to grab onto the paper although never quit digging in. This was even on smooth Rhodia paper. I’ve seen different levels of smoothness among Esterbrook nibs of the same number so other samples may perform better.
The 9xxx series nibs, including the Esterbrook #9048, were called “Master DuraCrome” by Esterbrook and cost more due to their tipping material.
I used Rohrer & Klingner Scabiosa for the writing samples. I did get some shading with the ink but not as much as I expected. I also experienced frequent railroading and the ink flow didn’t keep up with the flexing. While my writing abilities don’t favor flexible nibs I do see more shading with this ink when using other nibs. The flex did allow me to vary the amount of the ink put down (it just didn’t shade) it was a very tiring experience doing this due to the tooth of the nib digging into the paper.
The nib is $40 at Anderson Pens and I see it listed on eBay with BIN prices of $50 and up. This does make it one of the more expensive Esterbrook nibs.
My lack of flex writing abilities make me unqualified to speak as an authority, but I have to say I’m disappointed in this nib. It’s scratchy which also limits its use as a flex nib. This could be entirely due to my specific nib sample.
The Esterbrook #9048 Flexible Fine is often a grail nib due to its flex. My specific nib doesn’t live up to its reputation and was disappointing. I suspect the roughness is unique to the specific nib, but this one won’t see much use.