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Neat handwriting – it's not child's play

technology report online, September 2013

Even today, people like to sign their names and write personal letters by hand – and with pen and ink. But good penmanship requires more than a steady hand.

Pen tip
Pen tip made from a ruthenium-osmium alloy

When a fountain pen glides lightly over a sheet of paper and forms words in filigree, clean lines a mere millimeter thick, this is the result of using the right fountain-pen nib. The spherical tips must be very hard, abrasion-proof, tough, durable, and ink-resistant. And it must be possible to weld them to both gold and steel nibs.

Only high-quality precious metal alloys are suited for this task. The majority of the small (0.6–1.6 mm) precious-metal balls at the tips of fountain pens are made of ruthenium-osmium alloys.

Heraeus possesses in-depth technological expertise in manufacturing these products no other company can match, and has been producing the sought-after alloys since the 1920s. Today, the majority of pen points throughout the world come from Hanau

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