Pelikan Fountain Pen Nibs - Italic & Oblique - Pelikan from Pure Pens
Historically, Pelikan's nibs had a square tip which means they gave a good line variation when writing - a little bit italic. If you are left handed, there is a good chance that you hold the pen in the ‘wrap around’ grip to prevent the side of your palm from smudging the words you have just written before the ink dries. When the different hold is used, the nib would not sit flat on its smooth edge and often would dig into the page on one of its sharp edges - not good! It would make the nib feel scratchy, write inconsistently and sometimes flick ink as it jumped when the edge lost its grip. To fix this, Pelkan produces the OBLIQUE range which has a slanted tip of around 15 degrees. This meant that the nib still sat flat when this grip was used. 

Now many people who did not use the same grip could still use an Oblique nib comfortably by adjusting the angle the pen met the paper and often this would give a more pronounced italic script as the flat tip of the nib was longer and therefore left a wider line than the standard version, but the cross strokes were still as thin. 

In modern times however, with less people learning to write with a fountain pen and using fountain pens every day, the square tip could cause a problem with smoothness if it was not held in the right way. The relatively sharp edges could dig into the page and make the nib feel scratchy and not write well. Pelikan, along with many other manufacturers, moved to a more rounded tip so that almost 100% of the time the nib was smooth, but it lost the line variation element which many believe gave it character and this italic type writing.

The Oblique nibs stayed in production, again with the rounded tip, but now had lost a lot of their reason for existence as the standard nib no longer had the sharp edges which caught the page if held at the wrong angle. Because of this uncertainty, many thought that the oblique nib was an italic nib, especialy if they tried one alongside a standard new nib (the standard nibs sold quicker than the Obliques and therefore often they were new stock of Ms and old stock of OMs in shops) As the new nibs started to come through the supply system sales of the Obliques dried up as they were a fix to a problem which no longer existed on the standard nibs and once they has lost their exaggerated italic effect, people bought that standard nibs instead.

So for 2013, Pelikan have stopped production of the Oblique nibs. This simplifies the range and we no longer have to explain their unusual existence. Alas, at the same time, Pelikan have also removed all nibs which are wider than Broad. This is a sign that they are not selling as well as their thinner counterparts and it is a shame as many loved their silky smooth and wet ink delivery. We have been told that they MAY be produced in the future as one time productions if the deman is seen, but this is not likely to be something we see any time soon.

Italic Nibs

We have noticed resurgence in request for Italic nibs and Pelikan did respond by producing a 1.5mm italic nib for the M800. It was labelled the Italic Broad (IB) which is a little confusing as it was more like a BB or even 3B in width! Now this nib is no longer produced, there is no factory italic nib from Pelikan and because of this, we offer a NIB GRINDING SERVICE to those looking for an italic nib. This is a good thing as we can tailor the nib to your requirements as it is likely that you don’t want a 1.5mm italic if you plan on using the pen everyday.
We can therefore begin with a Medium (approx. 0.9mm) or a Broad (approx.. 1.1mm) and flatten the tip to give a great line variation when writing. The down strokes of your T will be thick and the cross stroke will much thinner.

For this service, we charge a £30 fee for our time as it is a pain staking task and require some considerable effort after the nib is initially thinned to make it smooth to write with again. We are delighted to say that we have dozens of happy customer who have had a nib grind from us and use their pen everyday. Some people have even come back time after time for more, one customer is on their 8th one!

I hope that this has cleared up the somewhat confusing nib options available and helped you decide which one is best suited to your writing.

We hold lots of Pelikan nibs in stock and can do a direct nib exchange.

Pelikan offer a 28 nib exchange, but this requires your whole pen being sent back to Pelikan in Germany or at least the Pelikan distributor for your country, a process which can take upto 6 weeks and cost you money in postage and sometimes administration! Not ideal if you have just bought a lovely new pen and fancy a slightly thinner nib and then have to be without it for so long!

We can also inspect, test and adjust (if needed) a nib for you if you have some specific requirements before we post it to you.
Ross Adams