The Keiryu Nib: What You Need to Know

Posted by Wancher Pen on

In the realm of fine writing instruments, the fountain pen stands as a symbol of elegance, craftsmanship, and artistic expression. Among enthusiasts, the pursuit of the perfect nib is akin to a quest for the Holy Grail—a journey marked by meticulous attention to detail and a reverence for tradition. At Wancher, we have been on an endless pursuit to find the perfect nib, even though we must acknowledge that there is no single nib that will be the favorite of everyone. Before we go into detail about the Keiryu Nib, it’s important to know about the history of nibs, and how that history has shaped the nibs of the 21st Century. 


The exact date of the quill’s invention is uncertain, but it gained prominence in Europe during the Middle Ages (476 - 1450), and mankind has not looked back since. The quill was special for its metal pointed nib - typically bronze or copper - and its ability to write by dipping the nib into ink. The quill would be the de facto writing instrument for centuries until the invention of the fountain pen. 

Although our historical records had improved since the invention of the quill almost a thousand years ago, it remains unclear as to whom we can credit the invention of the fountain pen. Several men - Petrache Poenaru, Frederick Folsch, among others - were awarded patents for the first fountain pen, yet there is strong evidence that the genius Leonardo da Vinci had invented a fountain pen as early as the 15th Century. Regardless of who invented the fountain pen, its impact was felt around the world as it quickly replaced the quill as the ultimate writing instrument until the invention of the ballpoint pen.

For hundreds of years, the quill and the fountain pen were absolutely essential to the daily lives of millions of people, and all of this centered around the nib. The ease of writing with fountain pens largely came from innovations in nib manufacturing, primarily the advent of steel nibs, as well as iridium metal used for the tips. Although ballpoint pens and keyboards would become more commonly used than fountain pens, the fountain pen - more specifically, the nib at its point - remains a popular writing instrument over a thousand years since the creation of the first nib. 


As the name suggests, the creation of the Keiryu Nib was inspired by the “gentle flow of a mountain stream.” Similar to the pursuit of the perfect nib, creating a nib that mimics the smooth flow of a gentle mountain stream is impossible, yet that should not stop anyone from attempting to do just that. 

After commissioning the first prototypes of the Keiryu Nib, we decided to take it a step further by collaborating with Yukio Nagahara, the CEO and founder of The Nib Shaper, to sharpen and refine the Keiryu nibs, thereby elevating them to a different level beyond the regular nib. This decision is made all the more special by the fact that Yukio Nagahara’s father, Nobuyoshi Nagahara, who was renowned for creating the Naginata-shape fountain pen. The Keiryu Nib and Keiryu Kodachi Nib are yet another notch in the honorable legacy of the Nagahara family in regards to the creation and refinement of nibs. 


For such an integral piece, the nib can be quite straightforward in its utilitarian design and function. In this regard, the Keiryu Nib retains this minimalist and unassuming ethos, because the focus is purely on the extremely smooth writing experience. For the aficionados who prefer a nib with plenty of feedback, then the Keiryu Nib is most likely not the perfect nib for them. However, this nib was designed to satisfy the need for the smoothest possible writing experience without sacrificing on a rich legacy or premium materials. 

Unlike many mass produced nibs, the Keiryu Nib has to be manually refined into an arrowhead shape before it can be considered complete, which means every single Keiryu Nib has been molded by fine Japanese craftsmanship. 

Additionally, for the people who wish to harken to the days in which nibs were made-to-order, the Keiryu Nib can be customized and sharpened further into the Keiryu Kodachi shape. While it may take several weeks to accomplish this, it will result in a truly one-of-a-kind nib that is made to match one's personal preferences in terms of line variation, nib smoothness, feedback, or even just the general appearance of the nib itself. 

Whether you're a seasoned collector or a newcomer to the world of fine writing instruments, the Keiryu Nib is sure to inspire and delight, inviting you to embark on your own journey of discovery and self-expression—one stroke at a time.


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