This subject arises from a discussion in the ever-entertaining Fountain Pen Geeks. I dislike a buttery-smooth nib. It feels slippery and imprecise to me. The problem is easily resolved with a moment on fine micromesh. The aim is a nib that grips the paper ever so slightly rather than skating over it. No roughness or scratchiness, just that absence of slipperiness is what is required. Most Pilot pens I’ve had are like that straight out of the box.
Others, of course, will go the other way, polishing their nibs to make them even smoother. The question – really an unanswerable question – that arises from this is, “were people so particular about their pens in the heyday of the fountain pen – say the 1940s?”
Unless some centenarian with a wide knowledge of how people used their pens back then appears, we will never know. We can speculate though. Most people would only have one pen, used for social and work purposes. Would they tolerate it being uncomfortable or unpleasant to write with? Would they have made an adjustment themselves as many of us do? There was a large fountain pen repair industry, everything from the local guy (or guyess) to the fountain pen manufacturing companies. I’m sure most of those technicians carried out all the repair work we do now. Would they have been surprised to be asked to unsmooth a pen? Is it just us modern snowflakes who are so sensitive about our pens?
What do you think?