This section is from the "Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes" encyclopedia, by Norman W. Henley and others.
This alloy is especially well adapted to the manufacture of pens, on account of its great hardness, elasticity, and power of resistance to atmospheric influences, and would certainly have superseded steel if it were possible to produce it more cheaply than is the case. The compositions most frequently used for pen metal are copper 1 part, platinum 4, and silver 3; or, copper 21, platinum 50, and silver 36.
Pens have been manufactured, consisting of several sections, each of a different alloy, suited to the special purpose of the part. Thus, for instance, the sides of the pen are made of the elastic composition just described; the upper part is of an alloy of silver and platinum; and the point is made either of minute cut rubies or of an extremely hard alloy of osmium and iridium, joined to the body of the pen by melting in the flame of the oxyhydrogen blowpipe. The price of such pens, made of expensive materials and at the cost of great labor, is of course exceedingly high, but their excellent qualities repay the extra expense. They are not in the least affected by any kind of ink, are most durable, and can be used constantly for years without showing any signs of wear.
The great hardness and resistance to the atmosphere of Cooper's alloys make them very suitable for manufacturing mathematical instruments where great precision is required. It can scarcely be calculated how long a chronometer, for instance, whose wheels are constructed of this alloy, will run before showing any irregularities due to wear. In the construction of such instruments, the price of the material is not to be taken into account, since the cost of the labor in their manufacture so far exceeds this.