This week’s Esterbrook nib is the Esterbrook #9461 Rigid Fine nib. The nib is also called a Manifold Fine and is the fine version of the #9460 medium nib.
Like every 9xxx series Master DuroChrome nib the 9461 is tipped with an allow Esterbrook called Osmiridium. The nib, at least the one I have, has “Esterbrook” and “9461” engraved the length of the nib. I like this engraving style. It’s nice and simple, yet distinctive.
My particular nib is smooth, especially on paper that is also smooth. There is a little feedback which would be expected from a fine nib. The nib was intended to be used to make carbon copies so I would expect this nib to last a long, long time with regular usage, The nib also does a great impression of a nail for the same reason.
I wasn’t surprised to find I liked this nib. There isn’t a Esterbrook fine or extra fine nib that I don’t like, although specific nibs may not have aged well. In this case, my particular nib has aged well.
Next up on my Esterbrook nib list is the Esterbrook #9460 Rigid Medium Nib. The box also refers to the nib as a “Medium Manifold.” A 1959 nib chart specifically says the nib is for carbon copies. A more specific term for this nib would be “tank.”
The Osmiridium tipping (probably mostly iridium) gives it added durability, if not smoothness. Add to this the extra strength of a manifold nib intended for use with carbon copies and this nib could be used as a weapon and then be used to write a letter.
My particular nib is very smooth, one of the smoothest Esterbrooks I have. It’s almost too smooth, especially on smooth paper. I prefer a nib with at least a hint of feedback. But between the dull medium point (compared to a extra fine) and the tipping this nib glides over the paper.
I do experience some occasional skipping, especially on slick paper. It isn’t enough to be annoying, especially since I don’t use medium nibs very often. The nib tines are just slightly misaligned. It doesn’t really seem to be enough to matter but it might cause the skipping if I angle the pen just right. I hate to tinker with these vintage nibs and since I rarely use a medium nib I can live with the skipping.
The Esterbrook #9460 Rigid Medium is a nice nib, if you like medium nibs. I prefer extra fines and fines so it’s not a nib for me. It does put down a nice line. While these Esterbrook nibs can vary, even among the same nib number, this nib was too smooth, especially on paper that is also smooth. If you like a little feedback this may not be the nib for you.
Next up on the Esterbrook nib list is the Esterbrook #9450 Firm Extra FIne nib. At least that’s what it’s usually called by everone except Exterbrook (so it seems). I would consider it an accurate description of the nib. The box refers to it as a “Extra Firm Posting” nib, once with a hyphen, and once without. Both a 1955 and 1959 nib chart list the nib in the Extra Fine section and defines its use as “Posting 1–2–3”.
While I seen several definitions for a nib called “Posting”, the one that makes the most sense to me is that it’s for posting journal entries, as in accounting. The thin, consistent line would be perfect for that. I have no idea what the “1–2–3” refers to unless it also indicates accounting (as in counting). Anyone know?
I was beginning to despair that many of my 9xxx series nibs wouldn’t be any better than the 1xxx or 2xxx series equivalent. These nibs were called Master DuraCrome by Esterbrook and were tipped with an alloy Esterbrook called Osmiridium. The 1xxx and 2xxx series nibs were just rolled over steel. I guess I hit a bad patch where some of my 9xxx nibs were a little rough and the earlier nibs were smoother. This #9450 is very smooth. There’s hardly any friction on smooth paper and the feedback on more fiberous paper comes from the thin nib and not the roughness in the nib.
When I took the pictures for this post I noticed the feed wasn’t aligned. It looks worse in the close-up photo, but it’s definitely misaligned. I had written with it for several problem-free days so I left it alone. The flow is consistent, without any skipping. As the nib’s name implies, it’s stiff as a nail. The nib quickly jumped into the favorite category.
The nib does well with a light touch, although it performs better with a little more pressure than I’m used to. Although it’s not so much pressure that it’s uncomfortable to use. My normal light touch resulted in a thinner, lighter line. In some cases this might be OK, but it made a weak line in my opinion.
The Esterbrook #9450 has “Esterbrook” and “9450” are engraved lengthwise along the nib. Each gets its own line.
The nib is on eBay with buy it now prices from $18 to $33.
The Esterbrook #9450 is a nice nib for those of us who like their nibs to be nails. My particular nib has held up well over the years (looked liked New Old Stock) when I got it although the box was very worn.
It looks misaligned but writes great.
Continuing through my 9xxx series Esterbrook nibs I’m up to my Esterbrook #9314 Relief Medium Stub. Like other Esterbrook Relief Stubs this is a left oblique stub.
Like all 9xxx series nibs this one is tipped with an alloy Esterbrook called Osmiridium. “Esterbrook” is engraved lengthwise on the nib and “9314-M” is engraved lengthwise next to it. I prefer the lengthwise engraving over the typical engraving since it’s different. On some days I prefer the clean look of these nibs over the sunburst nibs.
My particular nib is fairly smooth but has some noticeable tooth to it, but it is smoother than the Esterbrook #2314-M nib that I have. The #2314-M is the same Relief Medium Stub but without any tipping material. Both nibs were rougher than I expected so this may not be a fair comparison. The #9314-M isn’t unpleasant to write with although I do prefer thinner nibs.
I picked up my Esterbrook #9314-M nib at last years Washington D.C. show. A search of the usual places don’t have any of these currently available for sale. Recent eBay sales completed for $28 to $36 and Anderson Pens has it listed for $30 but it’s out of stock.
The Esterbrook #9284 stub nib is unique among my accumulation in that it’s a straight stub and not a relief (oblique) stub nib. The nib is BIG! It’s much wider than my favored fine and extra fine nibs. Yet, I got a lot of enjoyment out of using the nib. It was fun watching it put the ink down on paper.
The 9xxx series nibs were Osmiridium tipped, unlike the 1xxx and 2xxx series nibs. This made it more durable and, at least in theory, smoother. Esterbrook called these “Master Renew Points.”
I don’t have a box, but Esterbrook literature refers to this nib as a “Signature Stub” which certainly seems appropriate. While the line does vary the widest stroke was about 1.2 mm wide when I wrote with it. The nib is quit forgiving of the writing angle. It quickly goes through a fill of ink, especially since I’m used to the ink frugal fine and extra fine nibs.
The nib is smooth and because it is wide it tends to glide right over the paper fibers. There is a little tooth to the nib but it pleasant to write with.
The Esterbrook #9284 stub isn’t going to be a daily writer for me, but it will be inked every so often because it’s fun to use.