I’m back into the 1xxx series nibs with the Esterbrook #1555 which is one of the more common Esterbrook nibs available. Despite this I’ve yet to come across one in the pens or nib bundles that I’ve purchased. So I added the #1555 to a recent ink order from Anderson Pens.
As a 1xxx series nib it doesn’t have any tipping material and the nib is just the rolled over steel. After having a couple rough nibs I’m happy to say this one proved to be very smooth. The nib looked to be NOS or at least mint condition.
According to the Paul Hoban Esterbrook book the nib was listed as a Fine nib for Shorthand use in a 1955 pamphlet. But a catalog from around 1939 lists the #1555 as “Firm, medium. Officially approved for Gregg Shorthand.” But the nib is clearly a fine, not a medium. At least mine is. I don’t have a box for the nib, but in photos I’ve seen the box is labeled “Firm Fine Gregg” or just “Gregg”.
The name comes from the style of shorthand called Gregg. A little research showed that Gregg Publishing licensed the name for pens (and nibs) that met their standards. Thin and firm nibs were preferred for shorthand because they allowed for quicker writing. But it looks like there were additional requirement beyond just a firm fine nib.
This nib certainly meets those requirements – thin, firm and I can write quickly (if barely legibly) with the nib. My nib also seems a bit wetter than other Esterbrook Fine nibs, but that could just be my one sample. Also, as might be expected from a nib intended for shorthand the nib writes well at all but an extreme angle. So it appears the “Gregg” seal was more than just a branding “name for money” deal and there was some thought put into the nib design. I can see this nib as being suitable for a writing style that moves the pen quickly with rapid and frequent direction changes. I’ve just used the nib for regular writing and it’s comfortable with that too. But the nib is new to me and I’ll update these notes if that changes.
The Esterbrook #1555 is $6 at Anderson Pens. eBay prices vary widely with the lowest BIN price at $10 but the nib is in several nib bundles and and on several pens. Just none that ever came my way.
I don’t have a box, so no box pictures this time.