Spencerian Script With The Pilot Custom 912 FA Nib
Returning from a recent vacation to a number of pens awaiting our nib customizations led me to think about the history of Spencerian script and its continuing popularity in the modern day. Spencerian script has a history now going back well over a hundred years, and it's delightful to see how fountain pens produced using the newest engineering can - with the help of our Spencerian modification - serve as an excellent tool for creating this graceful and elegant writing style.
As detailed in an article on the IAMPETH web site by noted pen and calligraphy enthusiast Dr. Joseph M. Vitolo, Spencerian script evolved in mid-19th century America as a variant on older British copperplate styles. But Spencerian script was different from the start, influenced by shapes found in nature and well-adaptable to the metal nibs that were then replacing feather quills in dip pens. Copperplate, on the other hand, has its roots in the printing press and gets its name literally from the copper plates that were and are used as engraving plates, accepting ink in the engraving marks and used make multiple prints. It is a much less free and hand expressive.
Skip forward more than a hundred years, and Spencerian script is still alive and well in the internet age thanks to pens like the Pilot Custom 912 and its FA nib, which serves as the best modern candidate for creating Spencerian script that I have found. The FA nib comes from the factory with a certain amount of flexibility as it is, though with a tipping point that is too broad for Spencerian purposes.
The process of modifying an FA nib for Spencerian script involves careful regrinding of the tip size down to needlepoint while augmenting the flexibility through careful work on the tines. It is a painstaking and time-consuming process, but the results in the hand of a skilled calligrapher can be stunning - the video seen here, created by one of our customers and using the Falcon Resin Fine nib with our customization, has now received over seven million views on YouTube!
So while Spencerian script has its roots in an era where goose quills and ink wells still predominated, it's a pleasure to see it still so popular among fountain pen enthusiasts today. As with so many aspects of the contemporary pen world, the traditional and the contemporary can be combined to create new tools for classic writing styles.