A nib is a piece of metal (steel, gold plated steel, solid gold (of various karats) are typically used) shaped to a point, with a tiny ball of superhard material affixed to the tip (usually iridium or ruthenium). It is then sliced from the tip to the mid-section of the nib to allow ink to flow into the crevice. The nib is then put on the feed.

Nib size determines the the thickness of the line that the nib draws. The most popular sizes, and therefore the most prolific are Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, and Bold. With Fine and Medium being the easiest to find, and Extra Fine and Bold the rarer of the&group. You can get almost any pen in one of these sizes, though you may have to special order it if the store doesn't carry the size you'd like. An odd note are oblique nibs.

Next, there is the issue of smoothness of writing. This has to do with how well the super hard tipping material has been polished. You will find that solid gold nibs are smoother typically than are steel or plated nibs. SGs are typically smoother than steel because, the maker is willing to polish a higher priced nib longer. This is by no means a rule. I have some steels that compete with SGs for smoothness.

Nib files contain archived or "freeze-dried" objects and are used to store interface components on Mac OS X. These are serialised into a proprietary binary format. As with much of Mac OS X, this is a system partly inherited from NeXTStep and OpenStep, which have similar systems, as does GNUStep. They are normally created using Apple's Interface Builder tool. It is an interesting way of doing things, as the interface components are not stored or created in code, but reather serialized as objects, complete with attributes, connection information and class references.

The name 'nib' is a reference to the Cocoa API used on OS X - a nib is the name of part of a cocoa pod, but also an acronym of NeXT Interface Builder. Hmm.. chicken or egg.

An application's interface elements, from menus to windows to dialog boxes, are stored in nib files within the .app bundle.

Nib (?), n. [A variabt of neb.]


A small and pointed thing or part; a point; a prong.

"The little nib or fructifying principle."

Sir T. Browne.

2. Zool.

The bill or beak of a bird; the neb.


The points of a pen; also, the pointed part of a pen; a short pen adapted for insertion in a holder.


One of the handles which project from a scythe snath; also, [Prov. Eng.], the shaft of a wagon.


© Webster 1913.

Nib, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Nebbed (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Nibbing.]

To furnish with a nib; to point; to mend the point of; as, to nib a pen.


© Webster 1913.

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