This is a review on a Newton Pens custom fountain pen.
When the Omas Marconi came out I purchased one because it reminded me of one of my all time favorite pens, a Sheaffer Lifetime Pen pre-white dot flat top. That pen had a huge thick manifold BB nib, gold clip and no trim whatsoever. I would still consider it one of the best everyday pens, exhibiting simplicity and elegance, were it not for its extreme rarity. Except for the frilly trim, the Omas is very similar. Its size, shape, and balance suit my hand very well. It was just too rare and expensive to risk using at work every day. I contacted Omas to inquire about pulling one off the line and omitting the trim and the fancy engraved nib, but they regretted to inform me that limited production runs were basically one off’s and they would not be offering the pen as a no frills standard model.
So, many years later, with many custom pen makers to choose from, I contacted Shawn Newton of Newton Pens about making a no frills copy but with a twist. I had read glowing reviews of his work and his experimentation using Esterbrook nib units, and having saved many Estie nibs from my collecting days, I asked if he would incorporate his latest design into the pen along with a section o-ring to keep the ink where it belonged. He was up for it so what follows is the result.
Here is a comparison with some other pens readers may be familiar with.
(left to right: Pelikan 100N, Parker 51, Aurora 88K, Aurora 88, Aurora Aquila 88K, Waterman JIF, OmaNewtonEster)
From the start I wanted to use Esterbrook 9 series manifold nib units but I did not consider the feed design up to the task of handling ink flow properly in a large volume eyedropper. Anticipating blotting problems, I added a few nib/feed combinations for testing.
As expected, the Esterbrook unit blotted like a Waterman eyedropper from the 1800’s. In all fairness, it was not screwed in tightly and I may try it again after I machine an air channel in the feed. The Pelikan/Schmidt combination has worked flawlessly regardless of the amount of ink in the pen. I have not yet tried the Pelikan/Pelikan combination.
(pelikan manifold nib)
(schmidt FH452 feed)
Fit and finish.
I sent Shawn some blue ebonite rod stock for this project. It does not color match the Omas, but it’s a nice color. My first choice was a solid dark blue cellulose acetate with the same formulation as the Esterbrook J’s but that was wishful thinking.
The machined surfaces and threading are excellent, as one would expect from Newton Pens. Nothing rattles, it’s a solid pen.
The pen is a slightly heavier weight than the other above pens (with the exception of the Aquila) and the balance point is centered or slightly forward, which is what I requested.
It does not skip on the up or down stroke, or on long high speed lines, which again, is what I need all my pens to do.
(quick writing sample)
At around $200 it’s a bargain considering its custom made.