What is the Purpose of a Hooded Nib?

Some of your favorite fountain pens have hooded nibs, like the Lamy 2000, but does it serve a purpose? While it can be aesthetically pleasing and allows for incognito fountain pen writing, it’s not necessarily the main intention when integrated into a pen design. So what other reasons might there be? Brian tackles this in a previous Q&A:

One reason to go with a hooded nib is the nib doesn’t tend to dry out so often. That’s because less of the nib is exposed to the outside air. So if you leave your pen sitting out uncapped, it doesn’t dry out as quickly. This is a major perk for those using it in a classroom setting that requires quick notes, as you don’t have to cap and uncap each and every time. The nib will remain wet and ready to write when the need arises.

Another consideration is it allows the ability to hold your pen closer to the nib. With a standard fountain pen, this would lead to really inky fingers, but with a hooded nib, not so much! While not necessary for everyone’s grip, some do push up very close to the nib for comfort and control when writing. The hooded nib allows for this without the worry of ink-covered fingers.

The last purpose of the hooded nib is that the filler hole is much closer to the nib than a traditional fountain pen. So what? Well, that allows for easier filling with low ink levels. You don’t have to twist and angle the bottle a specific way like you would do to accommodate a higher filler hole fountain with most other pens. This helps you use nearly every last drop a bottle or sample has to offer!

Where do you stand with hooded nibs? Do you prefer the traditional look? Let us know in the comments below!

Write on,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

2017-10-12T15:09:46+00:00 October 11th, 2017|Tips & Tricks|22 Comments
  • What a cool feature I didn’t know much about! It would be great to be able to see all the hooded nib pens Goulet sells in one page, or is it just the Lamy?

    • Clairity

      The Aurora Duo Cart also has a hooded nib, although I think those are the only modern hooded nib pens out there right now. There are vintage pens with hooded nibs though, like the Parker 51.

  • Runnin_Ute

    All my hooded/semi hooded nibbed pens are vintage/out of production pens. A Parker 51 Special and 5 or 6 Parker 45’s. A 45 is a great introduction to the world of hooded nibbed pens without breaking the bank as it can be had for a fraction of what a Lamy 2000 is.

  • starnavig8r

    I learned something new that I have wondered for nearly 50 years! After my old hooded pens with exploded bladders disappeared, probably by Mom, I learned better ways of writing & penmanship! 🙂 Now I can try it again, several decades later and with better tech! Thanks Brian & Team! 🙂

  • Ru

    I love hooded nibs! Along with integrated nibs, they just feel so streamlined and elegant.

    What pen is that in the second picture (with the gold and red one next to it)? It’s gorgeous!

  • Kimberly Russaw

    Welp. Now I have a new reason to consider purchasing a new fountain pen! Thanks (???) for the teaching!

  • Yagan Kiely

    More specifically, the Parker 51 was invented with a hooded nib because Parker’s “51” ink, a quick dry ink, dried in the feed of regular pens during normal usage. The hood as invented to allow an extra reservoir to be placed up close to the end of the nib to have a contact supply of ink *right there* (and to also to stop the air drying it). This of course still benefited ‘normal’ inks ass well but as the modern feeds advanced with more fins they themselves became better at preventing drying out. For some modern pens the difference between regular nib’d and feed’d pens and hooded nibs might be less apparent from a perspective of preventing the ink from drying out. Also not all hooded nibs have the extra reservoir (most don’t?). That said it does still help and it does still provide the other benefits mentioned.

  • David L.

    I love hooded nibs! The Lamy 2000 is one of my favorite pens. It and a Parker 51 (in need of repair) belong to a good friend of mine. I have one hooded nib pen, but nothing can keep that nib wet. I’ve mentioned it twice before: the Zenzoi. I do like that Duo Cart! I can definitely see the red and gold entering my collection in a few years.

  • Matt Lane

    While on the one hand I certainly appreciate the funationality of having a hooded nib I find them to be be quite unappealing. Even in my college days, I never would have a problem as I was someone who took prolific notes. So the drying issue wouldn’t be there for me. I also prefer Japanese nibs as it suits my handwriting better but even like the Pilot VP….while an engineering marvel…..I simply prefer the aesthetic of a beautiful nib, especially the design of something like the Falcon nib. But like I said, I acknowledge the utility aspect of it.

  • Anna Koritansky

    Hello all of you experts. I’m a brand-new person in the world of fountain pens. My brother had one in school and then i was gifted a hand-made one from a Kao wood a few years back. I loved the heaviness of it, but it wasn’t balanced well. I discovered that in a month of not using it, the ink from the cartridge had disappeared. Winter humidity in Alaska is only 20%.
    My beginner question is- can you remove the cartridge and stash it in a zip lock bag so it doesn’t dry out (or tape it), or once the cartridge is inserted, it has to stay as such? thank you!

    • David L.

      Welcome to the community! You can remove the cartridge, but it is best to seal up the opening. I’ve tried tape and it didn’t work too well. I’ll bet clay or something similar will work.

      • Tom Johnson

        I have heard of people using hot glue to seal the opening, then pluck the glue off when you are ready to use it.

    • Linda O’Flynn

      I have used a medical syringe with needle to aspirate enough ink to fill a converter and then applied E6000 glue and then inserted a dressmaker’s straight pin through the glue and the puncture. The combination seems to make a secure seal. You do need a pin with a large plastic or glass head. The glue spreads across the pin head and insures a tight seal. Then when you are ready to use the remaining ink simply remove the straight pin (the glue should come off with the pin) and aspirate the remaining ink. I’ve never saved a cartridge that has been punctured by the nipple of the pen but if you can find a straight pin with a large enough head it should work.

    • Tom Johnson

      Anna, there are pens that have caps that seal airtight so the ink does not evaporate from the pen when it sits unused. TWSBI pens seal airtight, so do Platinum Century pens. Platinum Preppy pens seal very well, as well as the Cool, Balance, and Plaisir. My Pilot E95S and Lamy 2000 pens can sit for weeks without drying out, ready to write at once.

      I’ve heard of people pulling out the disk from Pilot cartridges, refilling the cartridge with ink, and carefully re-seating the disk back to seal the cartridge, just like it was when it was new. You need tiny tweezers to pull the disk out of the cartridge, as the pen pushes it inside when the seal is broken.

      Finally, Brian addressed this issue several years ago. Some people put their pens in ziplock bags to keep them from drying out when not used.

      Also, since only water has evaporated from the cartridge, you can estimate how much ink was in the cartridge and add distilled water to the remaining ink to bring it back. Having the exact amount is not that critical, especially for dark colors. You may need to rinse the nib under tap water to get the ink flowing again. I think the bag is the simplest way to go.

      • T.B. Downs

        A strategically-bent paper clip will also work, I have found….

  • MP

    I used to think the Lamy 2000 was an unattractive pen, but I find it very appealing these days. Would love to try one some day. I’ve never owned or tried a hooded nib, but I think they sound like a great idea.

    • Tom Johnson

      I love both of my 2000 pens, great writers. Just beware, my Lamy 2000 EF is more like a Pilot medium, maybe wider.

      • Toni Hinton

        Indeed. I generally prefer medium nibs because I’m terribly sensitive to scratchiness, so my husband bought me a Lamy 2000 M as a gift. A lovely gift, but that thing is like a nail with a hose attached! It writes so nicely, but it’s just way too broad and wet for me to use very often. This may be one of the few pens I’d prefer in an EF.

        • Lydia At Goulet Pens

          Oh no! Sorry to hear that, Toni.

          • Toni Hinton

            Thanks, Lydia! I consider it a challenge to find just the right ink and paper to make it work for me. Right now, it’s got Monteverde California Teal in it and that is keeping the juiciness down a bit. I know I could send it to Lamy and get them to change out the nib, but I’m keeping that as a last resort solution.

  • Virginia Reader

    I like hooded nibs. A large exposed nib, while attractive to many, looks old fashioned while a hood looks modern and contemporary. Also, a gold hooded nib can be a great deal smaller than a conventional flaring design. That means it can cost a good bit less.

    All of Brian’s practical reasons are also important.

    To MP: I think the Lamy 2000 is one of the most beautiful pens ever made. That’s why it a been produced with only one significant change in appearance over 50 years.

    Did you notice the change, Brian? A Lamy specialist had to show me.

  • Tom Johnson

    I love hooded nibs, have two Lamy 2000s, two Platinum Carbon Desk Pens. I’ve always loved the look of the Parker hooded nib pens. I think inlaid nibs belong in this category: Waterman Carene (has a huge feed inside the grip, holds a lot of ink in reserve), older Sheaffer Imperials, Pilot E95S (one of my favorites).

    Great information in this video Brian.