(2566) Manufacture of steel pens.

Manufacturer and builder 1, 1880

— It is necessary to use the very best kind of steel - that made from Swedish iron is usually employed in the manufacture of steel pens. The metal is first rolled, while red hot, into plates about 3 feet long and 4 Inch. wide. The plates are annealed, and all oxid is removed from their surfaces by immersing them in dilute sulphuric acid. The plates are then rolled into sheets the thinness of a steel pen; these sheets are cut into pieces, and arc afterward punched cut into flat pieces the size and shape of the future pen, care being taken in doing this that the length of the pen should correspond with the fibers of the metal. The hole at the end of the nib, and the side slits that give flexibility to the pen, are now made, and are cut with a small press. Although in is present state the steel is so soft that it may be bent between the fingers like lead, yet it is not sufficiently soft for the process it has to undergo before it assumes a perfect state, and therefore is again softened by annealing. This is performed by exposing it to heat, and allowing it to cool slowly. When this is done, the name or trademark of the manufacturer is stamped on the metal. The pen de still flat; but is now curved. For this purpose it is placed in a groove, beneath a press, and a convex die descending powerfully upon it, bends the, metal into the required shape. The pens are hardened by exposing them to a white heat and then, suddenly throwing them into a vessel of oil, any oil that may adhere to them being afterwards a removed by slaking them in a cylinder. It is now necessary to temper the metal to the degree of elasticity required for writing. For this purpose the pens are placed in a cylinder, closed at one end, which revolves over a charcoal fire; this process being not unlike the manner in which coffee bevies aro roasted. By being exposed to this heat the surface of the steel changes its color; it becomes a gray, a straw-color, a brown, and, as the process is continued, a deep blue. The pens are then placed in a metal cylinder containing the powder from broken crucibles, sand, etc., and caused to revolve rapidly, by which means the surface of the metal becomes perfectly clear and bright. After this the backs of the nibs of the pens are ground. This is done by applying them for an instant, one by one, to the surface of a revolving wheel. Then the slit between the nibs is cut by means of a small die press. The steel pen is now finished, and only requires to be colored brown or blue, by exposure to heat, until it assumes the tint desired. The pens are then varnished by being dipped into shellac dissolved in spirits of wine or naphtha, and exposed to a moderate heat to dry them.

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