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Thread: Reverse writing

  1. #1
    Senior Member Empty_of_Clouds's Avatar
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    Default Reverse writing

    Is it really a thing?

    In all the time I've used fountain pens, both recent years and distant years, I have never felt the need nor desire to write with the (often untipped) up-side of the nib.

    So, do people really reverse write with their pens? Or is it some weird thing that has been born on YouTube?

    Colour me curious.


    ps, asked around and nobody I personally know has ever heard of it.

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    Default Re: Reverse writing

    Sometimes you need a drier, finer line. I use it for annotations, corrections, marginalia, drawing. Have done since school.

    More curious to me is why the question of whether reverse writing is a thing seems to be a thing.
    Last edited by catbert; July 11th, 2021 at 06:27 AM. Reason: forgot drawing

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    Default Re: Reverse writing

    Same as catbert said, sometimes you need a finer line.

    There are a few pens that were made with reverse writing in mind, most notably the Parker 180. Sailor’s naginata togi nib is finished on top, too. When i have mine inked, i use the top side for crosswords.

  6. #4
    Senior Member fountainpenkid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reverse writing

    At least as far back as the Parker Vacumatic, manufacturers have designed their nibs to do this as a selling point. OMAS of course made the 361 which is centered around the idea. In this way I think some people have seen utility in the idea and it is certainly not a recent internet hack.
    Last edited by fountainpenkid; July 11th, 2021 at 12:21 PM.
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    Senior Member silverlifter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reverse writing

    It just feels wrong to me. Even if my pen is capable of it, the idea of writing feed up is abhorrent.
    Vintage. Cursive italic. Iron gall.

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    Default Re: Reverse writing

    I think the Duofold made a feature of writing with the reverse of the nib

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    Default Re: Reverse writing

    Quote Originally Posted by silverlifter View Post
    It just feels wrong to me. Even if my pen is capable of it, the idea of writing feed up is abhorrent.
    Not really a problem with the Parker 180.

  13. #8
    Senior Member Empty_of_Clouds's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reverse writing

    If, as a lot replies indicate, reverse writing is a thing and apparently supported by the manufacturers (the 180 notwithstanding), where are the original adverts that point out this 'useful' feature? I've never seen a vintage advert proclaiming this (limited exposure here admittedly), and certainly no modern adverts do.* So, in the absence of non-anecdotal evidence I wonder if this utility is something that users discovered after the fact.


    And thanks for those who say they do use reverse writing. It is interesting to hear about it. If writing marginalia or corrections to manuscripts I choose an appropriately fine nib to start with, but that's just me.



    *obviously I am excepting the vanishingly few pens that were specifically designed this way - the Parker 180, OMAS 361.

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    Default Re: Reverse writing

    The double-sided usability of a nib is a feature that I particularly appreciate. Not all nibs works on both sides, that's why I kept the ones I found during the years.
    Just a few examples:

    This Platinum Pocket Pen has a double-side grinded nib tip:

    Graphosoma Italicum - Platinum Pocket Pen von -C.M.Z-

    this Parker 180 too:

    Parker 180 von -C.M.Z-


    and I specially appreciate the writing qualities of this Pelikan 400:

    Pelikan 400 EF UEF von -c_m_z-
    Last edited by christof; July 12th, 2021 at 12:56 AM.

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    Default Re: Reverse writing

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/283968173215
    Here’s a listing for a Vacumatic ad touting the feature…I believe they stopped advertising it after the first couple of years of production.
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    Default Re: Reverse writing

    I often do reverse writing with broad nibs. I prefer wider nibs but when I sketch, or edit , I often need fine lines, so it's quite practical.

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    Default Re: Reverse writing

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    If, as a lot replies indicate, reverse writing is a thing and apparently supported by the manufacturers (the 180 notwithstanding), where are the original adverts that point out this 'useful' feature? I've never seen a vintage advert proclaiming this (limited exposure here admittedly), and certainly no modern adverts do.* So, in the absence of non-anecdotal evidence I wonder if this utility is something that users discovered after the fact.


    And thanks for those who say they do use reverse writing. It is interesting to hear about it. If writing marginalia or corrections to manuscripts I choose an appropriately fine nib to start with, but that's just me.



    *obviously I am excepting the vanishingly few pens that were specifically designed this way - the Parker 180, OMAS 361.
    I guess writers didn't always have the luxury of an extra pen or a range of nibs. I certainly didn't till I fell back down this rabbit hole.

    Not only was the 361 designed to write both ways but offered flex as well.

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  21. #13
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    Default Re: Reverse writing

    Quote Originally Posted by fountainpenkid View Post
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/283968173215
    Here’s a listing for a Vacumatic ad touting the feature…I believe they stopped advertising it after the first couple of years of production.
    Brilliant! As noted, I had often wondered if it was a modern idea.

  22. #14
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    Default Re: Reverse writing

    Like some of the others, I don't use the feature all the time but take note of the nibs that function well this way. If I restore a pen that has a generous tipping top and bottom, I'll often check (and correct, if necessary) the smoothness on the top of the nib if I think it might come in handy). I use them if I'm writing a letter or postcard and need to put in (cram in, really) a little thought to the side.

    I've tried to not let too much pen ephemera into my collection but some things are just too much fun. I purchased three vintage Parker ads, similar to the one posted in an eBay link, a few years ago. Two of them had the same small pop-out about the reverse writing, but the main thing was the ad copy on these was hilarious. I'll post this in hi-res and you can open in another tab if you need to zoom in. The ads all appear to be pages from National Geographic (I think) and the Plymouth ad on the reverse side is for a 1935 model car.

    Last edited by Jon Szanto; July 11th, 2021 at 11:58 PM.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Default Re: Reverse writing

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Like some of the others, I don't use the feature all the time but take note of the nibs that function well this way. If I restore a pen that has generous tipping top and bottom, I'll often check (and correct, if necessary) the smoothness on the top of the nib if I think it might come in handy). I find them handy if I'm writing a letter or post card and need to put in (cram in, really) a little thought to the side.

    I"ve tried to not let too much pen ephemera into my collection but some things are just too much fun. I purchased three vintage Parker ads, similar to the one posted in an eBay link, a few years ago. Two of them had the same small pop-out about the reverse writing, but the main thing was the ad copy on these was hilarious. I'll post this in hi-res and you can open in another tab if you need to zoom in. The ads all appear to be pages from National Geographic (I think) and the Plymouth ad on the reverse side is for a 1935 model car.
    That copy is both hilariously melodramatic and thought-provoking...love it!
    Will
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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reverse writing

    Quote Originally Posted by fountainpenkid View Post
    That copy is both hilariously melodramatic and thought-provoking...love it!
    I look at the upper image and hear a woman's voice intoning "Carl, honey, you're talking to your pen again."
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Default Re: Reverse writing

    Quote Originally Posted by eachan View Post
    I think the Duofold made a feature of writing with the reverse of the nib
    Dear Eachan,

    ... and there are Swan nibs like this one:

    https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/f...t-tu-swan-nib/

    Best wishes
    Jens
    Schaumburg_Swan aka SchaumburgSwan
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/136145166@N02/albums

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    Senior Member eachan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reverse writing

    Thank you, Jens. It writes beautifully either way.

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    Default Re: Reverse writing

    I have to admit that I hadn't tried reverse writing until this thread came up. I tried it with a broad nib Onoto and it produced a nice thin -- I'd call it an extra fine -- line.

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    Default Re: Reverse writing

    Reverse writing is some thing very important finds to me. It is related to two of my two important pens.
    I love needlepoint writing. So most of my pens are F or EF pens.
    I have Mont Blanc 146 with a M nib. I hate it and barely use it. Then I bought another 146 with a F nib . I am the happiest.

    Next part is I bought a sailor pen with a music nib.
    And it is a chubby out of the ordinary MUSIC NIB. INSTED IT IS A TRIPLE BROAB NIB WHICH WRITES like a fire horse.
    So I decided to grind it and started to massacre on sand paper. I stopped it half way. put aside.
    I was planing the same thing on Mont Blanc just did a little tweaking put aside.

    later on one day I was testing ink and wrote the pens upside down. Since then it is my EF Mont Blanc.
    I did the same things with the sailor music. Same thing I found and both pens are doing well.
    It is some thing new and I always try some of my pens upside down, Some writes very finely and some pens cut into paper.
    So I know which one is duel -purpose. !!!!

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