Duofold Nib Swap

I like Parker Duofolds of all dates, but especially Newhaven Aerometric Duofolds – to write with, that is – not to service. From a repair point of view the Aerometric is a bad design. There was some discussion in one of the pen boards today about how best to go about working on one. If, for instance, a simple nib swap was all that was required, I would pull the nib. This is not something I would normally do. Pulling at thin, flexible nibs can lead to disaster but Duofold nibs tend to be robust.

The process involves soaking (one of the very few occasions I soak anything), warming thoroughly with a heat gun and working the nib from side to side with a gentle pull. It takes time and patience but it invariably works. Parallel pliers can do the job too but I proceed with great caution if I use them. The feeds are fragile. The alternative is to remove the sac protector and the sac, then drift the nib and feed out as you would with any other pen. That seems like an excessive amount of work to carry out a very simple procedure, to me. Sac protectors were not designed to come off and Parker assumed (mostly correctly) that the Pli-Glass sac would last forever and would never need to be reattached. Thus, neither of those procedures is easy. Yes, they can be done but it’s a lot easier not to do them unless you must.

The chap who was looking for assistance bought a perfectly good Danish Aerometric Duofold and found when it arrived that it had a firm EEF nib – something he had not established before purchase and decided he hated. A Duofold nib in that conformation must be quite rare. I’ve never seen one. He wrenched at it and destroyed it because it was as he said, a “nail”, what I would call a normal nib. All of that grieves me. You would think that it would occur to people that it might be an idea to find out at least a little about fountain pen repair before they get stuck in. It would also help to have tools other than a pair of brutal, metal-jawed pliers.

11 thoughts on “Duofold Nib Swap

  1. “He wrenched at it and destroyed it…” That is indeed very sad, “He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom.” — dear old Gandalf.

    I’ve always liked the look of the Duofold. Whenever I go pen-shopping, I usually spend a few minutes, either electronically or in person, gazing at the Big Red (https://www.wonderpens.ca/Parker_Duofold_Centennial_Fountain_Pen_Big_Red_p/1907189.htm); but whenever I have had sufficient funds, something else has always called louder. or even several somethings elses at that price 🙂

    1. I’m very fond of US Duofolds, the 20s/30s ones and I’ve had several over the years. The Newhaven Duofolds are classics too. I haven’t had the more modern ones.

  2. I find the aerometric Duofolds very robust. To get a nib out, I boil the kettle, dip and fill the pen with boiling water and pull the nib out with my fingers (using a cloth to stop burning my fingers) and it comes out easily and with no damage.

  3. Just read the thread on FPN and it simply hurts to read how casually he talks about destroying a perfectly fine nib. And as you say, EEF nibs aren’t that common on these pens. The Duofolds from the 40s/50s are just fantastic pens, but seem to be much underrated.

    You mention that the pen concerned is a Danish Duofold Aerometric filler. However, as I read the thread, the poster never clearly states it is an Aerometric. The Danish Duofolds from the 1940s and 1950s came in three versions: button filler, AF-filler and Aerometric filler. I’m not familiar enough with the English made Duofolds to know whether they came in these versions too. It’s only to say that if it wasn’t an Aerometric filler, it’s even more terrible that he tried to pull the nib, seemingly without knowing how to, as it probably could easily be knocked out. Otherwise I fully agree on your procedure to pulling a nib from an Aerometric filler.

    Just like Paul, I was also a bit surprised at Simon’s approach, but I’m willing to give it a try on some spare Aerometric Duofolds where the normal procedure doesn’t work.

    1. You make excellent points, Jan. I’m not certain that it was an Aerometric but Eachan stated that that was how he read it and Ron Zorn appeared to agree. At least he spoke about the servicing of Aerometrics. The original poster did not correct Eachan. The OP’s behaviour was dreadful and I’m surprised no-one told him so. Yes, the English Duofolds followed the same series of models. I’m not sure how much of the Danish Duofolds were made in Newhaven. The nibs certainly were.

      I would think an EEF Duofold nib would be worth £30 at least, so the OP threw that away. He will probably have to pay somewhere in that region to get the nib he wants. When he gets one he will probably fit it with a claw hammer.

  4. Thank you for your reply and the information on the English Duofolds.

    I always assumed the Danish Duofolds were made completely i Denmark, but I’m a bit unsure about this. The button and AF fillers have the Christian Olsen logo on the barrel (an anchor with C O marking). But then, older Parker pens imported to Denmark also have this logo. On the button and AF Duofolds, the nibs have the stamp ‘NGI’ on them, which stands for Nordisk Guldpenne Industri (Nordic Goldpen Industry). This was a nib making factory started by Penol (Christian Olsens own pen brand) during WWII. The same stamp can be found on Penol nibs. So the nibs on the Danish button and AF filler seem to be Danish production.

    The nib on the Aerometric Duofold is different. Instead of the NGI stamp, they have a D stamp for Denmark. This looks a lot like the Newhaven nibs that have an N stamp on the nib. This could point to Newhaven production of the nibs. Interestingly, the Danish Duofold Aerometrics don’t have the Christian Olsen logo in the barrel, but M.I.D. printed on them, which stands for Made in Denmark. This suggests that the pens, possibly apart form the nibs, were produced in Denmark. But possibly, parts were imported and just assembled in Denmark.

    1. I assume that someone out there will know. I have a couple of books that may cover this subject – it’s so long since I read them that I don’t remember. I’ve seen several Danish Aerometrics with nibs bearing the Newhaven “N” but nibs can be changed. Perhaps they are replacements.

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