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Osmiroid 75

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I wrote about the Osmiroid 75 back in February 2011.  You’ll find it here: http://wp.me/s17T6K-osmiroid.  To reiterate some of what I said then, the 75 is the best Osmiroid.  It has an excellent piston filling system and the plastic is rather better than that of the 65.  Generally there is less shrinkage with the result that these pens still cap well and the cap rings are usually in place.  They are not collectable but they are much appreciated for calligraphy.
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This one is plain black, but that’s okay.  Nobody buys Osmiroids for their decorative quality!  It’s in very good condition and works well – what more can you say about an Osmiroid.  Well, in this case you can say that it has a couple of extra nibs in addition to the medium soft that it is photographed with.  There’s also a B2 italic, and that’s a very broad nib.  There’s also a gorgeous B3 music nib.  This one looks, at a glance, like a very broad italic but on closer examination you see the twin slits.  That’s not the only type of music nib that Osmiroid made.  I’ve seen a pointed one, with the general shape of the medium soft in the photograph.
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Despite the fact that they were inexpensive pens aimed at the school market I’ve always liked Osmiroids.  Part of it is for that very reason.  I have no doubt that James Perry expected to make a good profit from sales of Osmiroids, but he evidently had a genuine wish to provide school pupils with the tools to develop good handwriting – and at an affordable price.  Platignum, to its credit, did the same thing.  Yes, I have no doubt that they competed for market share, but Platignum pens were the result of good intentions too.  Platignums have not lasted as well as Osmiroids, so the used calligraphy market concentrates on the latter.
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Collectors and high-end sellers ignore pens like this but I think that they are something that we should at least take note of even if we do not use them ourselves.  If you had looked in a kid’s pencil case back in the 50s or 60s this, or a low end Burnham or Platignum, was what you would have found rather than the more collectable Conway Stewarts, Swans or Onotos.  They are part of our writing heritage and are admirable in their own right.

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24 thoughts on “Osmiroid 75

  1. Simon says:

    There is one nice and colourful Osmiroid in a mainly pinkish, but multi-coloured swirl pattern.

    Why are these nibs with two slits called music nibs?

    • Yes, I’ve had one of those. Very colourful, but still not bought for its appearance, I should think. These nibs are intended for musical notation, hence the exceptionally broad nib that requires two slits to supply it with ink. If you think of a semi-quaver, it has a very slender vertical which the music nib would draw using the nib in a vertical alignment. The solid oval base would be drawn with the nib in a horizontal alignment.

      • Hi Roger,

        As the Osmiroid 75 is a piston filler I assume you’re looking for bottled ink. The only specifically Osmiroid ink I can see in a bottle is India ink which you can find on eBay but it’s very expensive because of its rarity, £7.99 for 18 mL. Frankly, I am unaware of Osmiroid as a producer of ink except in cartridges for its later models.

  2. Peter says:

    That was my ‘right of passage ‘ pen! Osmiroid must have had a promotional agreement with junior schools (mine, at least). We provided an example of our writing and they picked the ‘correct’ nib for us. It cost just over £1 when school pens could be bought for 3/6 circa 1965. A lot of money when my pocket money was just a shilling a week.

    Anyway, it was RAF blue and had a medium or fine nib and I didn’t get on with it. After a while it dissapeared and was replaced by a succession of Platignums (also RAF blueish) with italic nibs, most of which (attrition was high in those days, especially for caps) I still have.

    • That does sound like Osmiroid had the sort of relationship with teachers that pharmaceutical companies have with GPs…

      My husband (who is a bit older than me) says he lost a lot of fountain pens, and the ones he didn’t lose he broke.

  3. Stephen Sanders says:

    Just recently picked up a couple of 75s. They do feel like a cheap(er) pen, but are leagues better than the other Osmiroid I have, one of their final c/c pens from a Caligraphy set.

    Nibs are amazing, and I love the Fine Straight/Italic. Tempted to pick up an Esterbrook J to put the Osmiroid nibs into

  4. I became interested in calligraphy as a teenager and in 1991 my Dad bought me an Osmiroid calligraphy set. I loved it but once I left home I found other interests. Recently I decided to take it up again and decided to buy myself a new calligraphy set. When it arrived I was all excited but couldn’t get the ink to flow, and once it flowed it didn’t flow steady. Very frustrating. I decided to retrieve my now 25 year old Osmiroid set, rinsed the nibs and put a new cartridge in and within 30 seconds it wrote smoothly and beautifully… I am sending the new set back and continuing with the faithful Osmiroid set. What a shame it is not produced any longer.

  5. Paul Stirling says:

    hello Deb. Not so sure I should be commenting re technical issues just now in view of your need to concentrate on more pressing matters – so if you think my words unimportant, just ignore me – most people do.
    One of my more serious directions re pens is collecting those related to, or intended for, shorthand use, and I’ve wedged these notes here as one of the lesser known Osmiroid purpose- made nibs was for shorthand.
    I have a 75 with a steel nib marked OSMIROID/SHORTHAND/ENGLAND, with quite small blob of an ‘iridium type’ on the point, and probably just about enough flex to make it suitable for Pitman’s ‘thick and thin’ strokes….. part of the imprint shows the letters CK. Mine is a piston filler with the visi-ink window up near the section similar to your example above – it’s possible that all 75s with the shorthand nib were identical in their filling system – but not sure.
    Having been semi-skilled in writing Pitman’s many years back, I seem to remember we wrote with pencils – for some reason we didn’t cotton on to pens, don’t know why – maybe cheapness.

    But back to the shorthand Osmiriod – and all the problems that these budget pens had, and in particular the piston system, which does sometimes have a habit of drying and becoming stiff to the point of causing complete seizure. O.K. so the pen is cheap and I can unscrew the nib/feed, bin the rest, and simply find another donor pen………………. but being inquisitive I’m wondering if any contributors here have ever had success in dismantling a piston-filling 75 with renovation in mind.

    The answer is probably no – since the pen is cheap most folk will bin a duff example and simply find another, but things that are put together can often be taken apart – although I suspect that plastic cement may have been used on the 75, re the section and barrel, making it impossible to disassemble the parts…………. or maybe there were factory tools that we now don’t have – which would have made removal possible from the rear end.
    I did unscrew the nib and feed, and stuffed some silicone grease and baby oil into the barrel, but obviously didn’t work, because when I used brute force to turn the rear button, the piston stayed put and the rear end button came unscrewed, but with a split sleeve.

    I’m not into calligraphy so wouldn’t ordinarily collect Osmiroids – perhaps I should, but those toffee- swirl type of colours aren’t really me.
    Anyway, just some random thoughts and not to be taken too seriously. Best wishes to everyone – especially Deb.

  6. Hisham says:

    Found an Osmiroid 75 some months ago at a local fleamart. Came with italic fine straight nib which is so good, it is the best calligraphy pen among few that I have. I fill it with Manuscript Black calligraphy ink that has been in my hoard for some years. On high quality coated paper it produce fine sharp lines that are just so beautiful. In the spirit of sharing I make it my loaner pen which I lend to friends and friends’ kids to play with after a filling. I also make it a point of giving some high quality coated papers for them to play with. In the process I think I have converted a few kids adopt use of fountain pen users. I do wish there are more of these around where I am but sadly that is a wishful thinking. I do keep a few set of basic osmiroid calligraphy set which are cartridge filler but their nibs are not as good as the one on the single Osmiroid 75 that I have. Manuscript ones are better.

    • The Osmiroid 75 and the 65 when you can get a good one are great pens. If you look in eBay you’ll find the full range of nibs for them still available.

      Those Manuscript pens are rather good for the money.

      Continue spreading the word!

  7. Hisham Mohd Mukhtar says:

    Osmiroid used to sell ink under their brand. They were sold in similar bottle as one used by Manuscript. They behaved similar too if memory serves me right. I remember liking their brown ink to write with their copperplate nib. The combo was brilliant on ‘Bacco’ paper which was available then.

  8. Hisham says:

    I am using Manuscript Black in my Osmiroid 75. It yields black crisp lines with a little bit of shine think. I have read somewhere that Manuscript inks are still being sold at hobby lobby in the US or something. Am not sure that it is the same as the old Manuscript ink. Worth a try.

  9. I have collected a number of model 75s and really like them. One of my Ebay winnings was so distorted that it was completely unrecoverable so I sectioned it in the milling machine to get a better understanding of the design and I had hoped to discover how to disassemble these pens and I now understand why it is impossible to disassemble them.
    I am preparing a talk on Osmiroid fountain pens for a handwriting group in Orkney and would like to know the timeline for the various designs.
    so:
    When was the original model 65 sold?
    When did the mark 2 model 65 go on the market?
    When did the model 75 go on sale?
    I have one model 125 (black body, push on gold plated cap, none exchangable nib) and I would like any information on the model.

      • Hi
        No I am actually in Cambridge but I have a very good artist/musician friend who has moved to Orkney and is very involved in stuff there. I am visiting for a week at the end of August and she has suggested that I give a talk on the Osmiroid and Esterbrook pens as I have been collecting and restoring them for several years and have learnt a lot. She is running a bi-weekly handwriting course on Orkney and I have provided a number of pens for her class including some left handed italic nibs for one of her class who was struggling with the normal right handed nibs. I am currently in the planning and gatheringt information phase of the talk.
        Regards
        Mike

      • As I’m sure you’re aware all fountain pen history is quite hard to trace. Osmiroid history is especially so because it was regarded as a school pen and it hasn’t gained the interest and research of collectors. The Gosport factory was opened in 1953 and the 65 went into production soon after. I can find no date for the 75 or the later iteration of the 65. Perhaps the sequence is the best that you can make of it. Good luck with your lecture. Enjoy Orkney, it’s glorious at this time of year!

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