"The dip pen is rarely used today except by artists or calligraphers and yet our generation grew up with dip pens. For almost 100 years it was the first and possibly only pen that our Victorian predecessors used, and while there are many books on fountain pens and a few on pencils and inkwells, only one book ‘La Memoire des Set
Sergent Major has much detail on dip pens and nibs.
Dip pens are a very important category of writing equipment; they have been made by goldsmiths from the desirable Faberge to the most humble apprentice learning his trade; shaft materials have been sculpted, turned, twisted and pierced into works of art; nib holders have been designed by renowned inventors and nibs to suit such pens have been made in their billions.
We have made a number of starts on a beginners guide to dip pens. One joint attempt with Sue Courtier got as far as the scans, but sadly the quality was not wonderful, and by the time we got round to the descriptions we had both sold most of the pens. However, that attempt formed the basis for this short guide and I am indebted to Sue for those early efforts. My intention is to summarize the range of dip pens available and at the same time offer some comment on collecting. I have opted for a small format book in order to keep the cost down but the downside is the size of the illustration. Another practical problem of illustrating dip pens is that they are mostly long and thin and as single items, present a rather boring image. Groups of pens hold the attention and allow comparisons, so most images in this booklet are of a number of pens. The illustrations are all Pen & Pencil Gallery items we have in stock or have sold.
Our focus is on simple dip pen/pencil combinations. We have only referred to nibs as a component of the dip pen and our maim emphasis is on the holder, the shaft and the mechanisms. With display in mind we have included pen racks and trays. For practical purposes we have adopted broad categories such as shaft materials, common characteristics or countries of origin. It is a general guide and we have included few references however we have listed some sources of information for those interested. We have also included some very general price indications.
There was never a better time to buy dip pens and we do hope that this short guide will be of help to potential collectors. Some will be satisfied with a single dip pen to complement a piece of desk furniture, but for writing enthusiasts, a small display of inexpensive dip pens can be the center piece of a collection."