FP Feed question

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keithbyrd

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I sold two FP with upgraded gold nibs - my customer came back with a question regarding the feed for those nibs - they are Bock 18k Gold Fine - the nib has a number underside you can see by turning the pen over - He says that these numbers reflect nib style and width F, EF etc. I have heard that the number is simply a mold number from the factory when made for QC etc. Can anyone tell me what this number means?
 
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monophoto

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I really don't know the answer to this question, and a search of the Fountain Pen Network site did not reveal any useful information.

A check of a selection of fountain pens (the random daily carry pens on my desk) shows no discernible pattern to these numbers. I did note that some fountain pen feeds don't have numbers, while others do. Also, it seemed to me that in those that had numbers, the numbers appeared to be very similar in appearance - leading to the suspicion that the feeds could have come from a common source that used the numbers to categorize the feeds in some way. Also, I noted that the feeds produced by vertically-integrated and branded manufacturers (Lamy, Cross, Waterman, etc) don't have numbers, while an off-brand pen that I know was made by Cross does have a number.

So I'm also curious. I will post this question on the FPN forum to see if someone there knows.
 

RobS

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I may have an explanation.

For injected molded pieces, the mold maker or vendor may mark the mold with a cavity number. So that if a given cavity begins to not perform, they would know which one and "shutoff" the flow of plastic to that cavity.

You may be looking at the mold cavity number.
 

1shootist

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This was a subject on here some time back, i did a search but couldnt find what thread it was in, in short from what I remember it has nothing to do with nib width..ie..ef, f, m, b, etc..as RobS says above it has to do molds for the manufacture to identify batches.
 

jalbert

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I’ve never heard of mass produced feeds being specific to the tipping size. That sounds like one of those fountain pen myths that seems to be propagate from certain pen show crowds
 

monophoto

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I posted this question on the FPN site where it attracted three responses:
  • Respondent 1 reported an experience with a Parker Duofold pen. The pen was returned to the factory to have a new feed and nib installed, and the new feed had a different number. The respondent suspected, but could not confirm, that the difference related to the fact that the new nib was different from the original nib.
  • Respondent 2 reported purchasing two pens apparently identical pens that had different numbers on their feeds These pens were made by a well-known manufacturer (which he did not identify) but were branded by the book store chain that sold them.
  • Respondent 3 said that she had understood that there was a relationship between the number and the width of the nib in mm, but that she also was aware that not all pens had a number on the feed

We know that there is very little standardization between pen manufacturers - even the so-called 'standard international cartridge' system isn't used by all manufacturers, and where it is used, there are still differences (ie, short versus long).

My conclusion is that if this number has any significance at all, it is only in the context of the manufacturer who made the feed, and we have no way of knowing for sure what that significance is.

So it shall remain one of life's great mysteries.
 

keithbyrd

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Thanks for the follow up - I also could find no standard answer - I received this answer from Beaufort Ink:
They are all Bock size 5 (type 180) nibs and therefore were all supplied to you in size 5 kit compatible housings. The feeds within those housings all have a little number on them, usually between 1 and 8, although we have seem them up to 12. However, the number is completely meaningless - the best theory we've come up with is that it possibly denotes a position on the moulding rack within the factory. All the feeds and housings are absolutely identical in every single way apart from that number, and the number has nothing whatsoever to do with the size or the point width of the nib that's supposed to be within
 
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