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Thread: Difference between #2 and #4 nibs

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    Default Difference between #2 and #4 nibs

    What is the difference between a Waterman #2 and a Waterman #4 nib?

    I'm only finding scattered information on Waterman nibs on the net. For such a significant historical brand I had expected to find a chart somewhere with model numbers and sizes, and other characteristics. In any case, I'd appreciate any information on their early nibs, and particularly these two. Thanks.

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    Default Re: Difference between #2 and #4 nibs

    Size, I think.

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    Default Re: Difference between #2 and #4 nibs

    Indeed, that's all I've found so far. Is there any other difference? For example, a Waterman model 12 is just as functional as a model 14 which is the same pen with the #4 nib. So why the different nib?

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    Default Re: Difference between #2 and #4 nibs

    Size matters to a lot of fountain pen users.

    “Ooh, such a big... nib...”

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    Default Re: Difference between #2 and #4 nibs

    I don't think there's any real difference other than size as guyy says. I haven't dealt with vintage Waterman nibs for a while, but as far as I remember they were the same as Swans. In other words, the same characteristics of flex, nib width, tip shape and so on were available whether the nib was 1 or an 8.

    Some people like bigger nibs and the larger pens that go with them. That's all it is.
    Last edited by eachan; November 22nd, 2020 at 11:29 AM.

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    Default Re: Difference between #2 and #4 nibs

    I agree with that, it’s only about size.

    This tiny Waterman 12 1/2 has one of my best full flex nibs I own.



    (Waterman 12 1/2 ..... J. Herbin Emerald of Chivor)

    I also have bigger vintage Waterman pens with different degrees of flexibility and character.
    The size alone does not tell you anything about the nib attributes beside the fact that bigger numbers mean bigger nibs.

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    Default Re: Difference between #2 and #4 nibs

    The numbers only represented the size of the nib; it said absolutely nothing about the width of the tip or whether it flexed or what the shape of the grind might be.

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    Default Re: Difference between #2 and #4 nibs

    Some pens may need one size or another to fit the feed and section. I believe I found a number 2 nib was a fit into a Laureat when the original gold plated nib rusted, but this was years ago. Whatever nib size I used in a couple of Laureats was a perfect fit. One nib was a Waterman and one was a Sheaffer, and I believe both were number 2s. The two nibs came from pens I was trying to restore, but I burned the barrels with a heat gun. Just to own the screwups.

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    Default Re: Difference between #2 and #4 nibs

    Thank you everyone for your contribution.

    Interesting that the Waterman would make model 12 with a #2 nib, and also offer a variety with a #4 nib in the form of the model 14. I'm aware of the number scheme they used, but I still find it interesting that it would be worth their while. I guess, like @eachan said, some people like bigger nibs.

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    Default Re: Difference between #2 and #4 nibs

    Quote Originally Posted by Ole Juul View Post
    Thank you everyone for your contribution.

    Interesting that the Waterman would make model 12 with a #2 nib, and also offer a variety with a #4 nib in the form of the model 14. I'm aware of the number scheme they used, but I still find it interesting that it would be worth their while. I guess, like @eachan said, some people like bigger nibs.
    Sure, big nibs look impressive:



    But be careful to judge based on their size

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    Default Re: Difference between #2 and #4 nibs

    That's a great pen, Ptero. And you're right, size doesn't matter where flex is concerned. I've had many Swans with No 1 nibs that were very flexible.

    I have a Swan 2060 at the moment, and it appears to be identical to your 4660.

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    Default Re: Difference between #2 and #4 nibs

    Quote Originally Posted by Ole Juul View Post
    Indeed, that's all I've found so far. Is there any other difference? For example, a Waterman model 12 is just as functional as a model 14 which is the same pen with the #4 nib. So why the different nib?
    At this time, Watermans made several eyedroppers. 12 1/2 is a very slender pen with a #2 nib. #s 12, 13, and 14 use the same barrel with different sections/feeds for the different nibs. Both nib and barrel increase for #s 15, 16, 17, 18 and 20. The 20 has a gigantic number 10 nib. Over time, the number of nib sizes offered reduced down, so that by the '40s, there were maybe 3 or 4. It may have had something to do with trying to have a pen for everybody...as long as it was a hard rubber eyedropper.

    Is there a functional difference? There can be. While a Waterman number 2 can be a wonderful nib, there is something about the relaxed flex that a nib of larger dimensions can offer. Many of us certainly appreciate the feel of some of the larger sizes for this reason. And, yes, a big flash of gold looks pretty good too. Those unfamiliar may be surprised by how small these eyedroppers are. You have to get a 15 or 16, just to have some heft. I just took a look, and my mottled 16 is both shorter and more slender than a Parker 51. It weighs in at less than half of an empty Lamy 2k.The 12/14 is dwarfed by a Sheaffer's Snorkel. While I really like the old eyedroppers, I have found that pen folks that I know tend to like the 5x series, as the pen body for a given nib size is a bit larger. Something like a lever fill 55 is a pretty decent size pen. Same basic size as the much desired Ripple #7.

    Bob

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    Default Re: Difference between #2 and #4 nibs

    Quote Originally Posted by Seattleite View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ole Juul View Post
    Indeed, that's all I've found so far. Is there any other difference? For example, a Waterman model 12 is just as functional as a model 14 which is the same pen with the #4 nib. So why the different nib?
    At this time, Watermans made several eyedroppers. 12 1/2 is a very slender pen with a #2 nib. #s 12, 13, and 14 use the same barrel with different sections/feeds for the different nibs. Both nib and barrel increase for #s 15, 16, 17, 18 and 20. The 20 has a gigantic number 10 nib. Over time, the number of nib sizes offered reduced down, so that by the '40s, there were maybe 3 or 4. It may have had something to do with trying to have a pen for everybody...as long as it was a hard rubber eyedropper.

    Is there a functional difference? There can be. While a Waterman number 2 can be a wonderful nib, there is something about the relaxed flex that a nib of larger dimensions can offer. Many of us certainly appreciate the feel of some of the larger sizes for this reason. And, yes, a big flash of gold looks pretty good too. Those unfamiliar may be surprised by how small these eyedroppers are. You have to get a 15 or 16, just to have some heft. I just took a look, and my mottled 16 is both shorter and more slender than a Parker 51. It weighs in at less than half of an empty Lamy 2k.The 12/14 is dwarfed by a Sheaffer's Snorkel. While I really like the old eyedroppers, I have found that pen folks that I know tend to like the 5x series, as the pen body for a given nib size is a bit larger. Something like a lever fill 55 is a pretty decent size pen. Same basic size as the much desired Ripple #7.

    Bob
    Crud...then the swan eyedropper I bought (still haven't received) is probably going to be the size of my darn pinky finger...ugh.

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    Default Re: Difference between #2 and #4 nibs

    Thanks for the info @Seattleite.

    My #14 should be here any day. I have a dislike for thicker or heavier pens, so I'm expecting it to be comfortable for me. We'll see.

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    Default Re: Difference between #2 and #4 nibs

    Quote Originally Posted by Detman101 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Seattleite View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ole Juul View Post
    Indeed, that's all I've found so far. Is there any other difference? For example, a Waterman model 12 is just as functional as a model 14 which is the same pen with the #4 nib. So why the different nib?
    At this time, Watermans made several eyedroppers. 12 1/2 is a very slender pen with a #2 nib. #s 12, 13, and 14 use the same barrel with different sections/feeds for the different nibs. Both nib and barrel increase for #s 15, 16, 17, 18 and 20. The 20 has a gigantic number 10 nib. Over time, the number of nib sizes offered reduced down, so that by the '40s, there were maybe 3 or 4. It may have had something to do with trying to have a pen for everybody...as long as it was a hard rubber eyedropper.

    Is there a functional difference? There can be. While a Waterman number 2 can be a wonderful nib, there is something about the relaxed flex that a nib of larger dimensions can offer. Many of us certainly appreciate the feel of some of the larger sizes for this reason. And, yes, a big flash of gold looks pretty good too. Those unfamiliar may be surprised by how small these eyedroppers are. You have to get a 15 or 16, just to have some heft. I just took a look, and my mottled 16 is both shorter and more slender than a Parker 51. It weighs in at less than half of an empty Lamy 2k.The 12/14 is dwarfed by a Sheaffer's Snorkel. While I really like the old eyedroppers, I have found that pen folks that I know tend to like the 5x series, as the pen body for a given nib size is a bit larger. Something like a lever fill 55 is a pretty decent size pen. Same basic size as the much desired Ripple #7.

    Bob
    Crud...then the swan eyedropper I bought (still haven't received) is probably going to be the size of my darn pinky finger...ugh.
    Probably smaller than your pinky finger, as you don't really come off as the petite delicate type

    It may not be as bad as all that. Millions of folks before us seemed to prefer the slender pens. I actually like a fairly light pen. A light pen with a light touch to the paper works for me. Life is not all about writing as if there are 3 sheets of carbon paper which must be incised.

    Bob

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    Default Re: Difference between #2 and #4 nibs

    Quote Originally Posted by Seattleite View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Detman101 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Seattleite View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ole Juul View Post
    Indeed, that's all I've found so far. Is there any other difference? For example, a Waterman model 12 is just as functional as a model 14 which is the same pen with the #4 nib. So why the different nib?
    At this time, Watermans made several eyedroppers. 12 1/2 is a very slender pen with a #2 nib. #s 12, 13, and 14 use the same barrel with different sections/feeds for the different nibs. Both nib and barrel increase for #s 15, 16, 17, 18 and 20. The 20 has a gigantic number 10 nib. Over time, the number of nib sizes offered reduced down, so that by the '40s, there were maybe 3 or 4. It may have had something to do with trying to have a pen for everybody...as long as it was a hard rubber eyedropper.

    Is there a functional difference? There can be. While a Waterman number 2 can be a wonderful nib, there is something about the relaxed flex that a nib of larger dimensions can offer. Many of us certainly appreciate the feel of some of the larger sizes for this reason. And, yes, a big flash of gold looks pretty good too. Those unfamiliar may be surprised by how small these eyedroppers are. You have to get a 15 or 16, just to have some heft. I just took a look, and my mottled 16 is both shorter and more slender than a Parker 51. It weighs in at less than half of an empty Lamy 2k.The 12/14 is dwarfed by a Sheaffer's Snorkel. While I really like the old eyedroppers, I have found that pen folks that I know tend to like the 5x series, as the pen body for a given nib size is a bit larger. Something like a lever fill 55 is a pretty decent size pen. Same basic size as the much desired Ripple #7.

    Bob
    Crud...then the swan eyedropper I bought (still haven't received) is probably going to be the size of my darn pinky finger...ugh.
    Probably smaller than your pinky finger, as you don't really come off as the petite delicate type

    It may not be as bad as all that. Millions of folks before us seemed to prefer the slender pens. I actually like a fairly light pen. A light pen with a light touch to the paper works for me. Life is not all about writing as if there are 3 sheets of carbon paper which must be incised.

    Bob
    Well...you were right...it's smaller than my middle finger...same size as my pinky.
    Unbelievably small....but amazingly impressive!!




    It meets all of your criteria tho...light, small, fast, smooth as butter.
    For it's size, it flexes very well! Better than my brass flex pen with an FPR #5 ultraflex nib.
    Strangely enough, the modded #6 ultra-flex FPR nib in my Penbbs-355 is a easier to flex...but I think that's because it's a "Full size" pen and flex nib.
    Last edited by Detman101; December 4th, 2020 at 11:51 PM. Reason: Clarity...

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    Default Re: Difference between #2 and #4 nibs

    I'll trust you on he middle finger comparison, no image required!

    Well, you have a screw cap eyedropper. These are not as common as the friction fit-capped versions. Much more practical and secure. Better seal so that the nib doesn't dry out. Nice looking set-up. Congrats. Not that you want to, but that #2 nib will fit in a standard length Swan, even a hard rubber lever fill, should you come across one at a later date.

    Bob

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    Default Re: Difference between #2 and #4 nibs

    Quote Originally Posted by Seattleite View Post
    I'll trust you on he middle finger comparison, no image required!

    Well, you have a screw cap eyedropper. These are not as common as the friction fit-capped versions. Much more practical and secure. Better seal so that the nib doesn't dry out. Nice looking set-up. Congrats. Not that you want to, but that #2 nib will fit in a standard length Swan, even a hard rubber lever fill, should you come across one at a later date.

    Bob
    Awesome info, Thank you!!
    I am going to search for a period correct clip for the swan pen, if it exists. Can't have this thing rolling off the table and cracking it's 115 year old booty...lol.
    Last edited by Detman101; December 4th, 2020 at 11:50 PM.

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    Default Re: Difference between #2 and #4 nibs

    Just for the record. I'm 6 feet and a "grown man" and I prefer small pens. I don't know what you're trying to prove.

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    Default Re: Difference between #2 and #4 nibs

    Quote Originally Posted by Ole Juul View Post
    Just for the record. I'm 6 feet and a "grown man" and I prefer small pens. I don't know what you're trying to prove.
    Nothing to "prove"...lol. I like large pens that fit my hands properly...
    Unless you take that as a metaphor for something else...lolol.
    Last edited by Detman101; December 5th, 2020 at 12:06 AM.

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