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Edison Huron


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#1 krandallkraus

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Posted 28 July 2009 - 23:15

See full review posted below, here. It is also enclosed as a Word document attachment.

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Edited by MYU, 29 July 2009 - 02:21.

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#2 brianw06

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Posted 28 July 2009 - 23:28

What a heartfelt, unique well written and thoughtful review.

I will definitely have to Pick up one of your novels.

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#3 Brian

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Posted 28 July 2009 - 23:41

That was a great review. Perhaps a little more literary than pencentric, but a great review and a great read. I am now awaiting the delivery of a couple of pens from Brian as well and am really looking forward to it. I like that these pens are American, have been custom manufactured according to the buyer's wishes, and represent great value for what you get. I like too that the process of customization is honest, open, and straightforward.

Tell us how you like your pen without the clip and if it makes much difference to you in everyday use.

Congratulations on a great pen.

#4 krandallkraus

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Posted 29 July 2009 - 00:54

The Edison Huron Clipless, in Red and Black Ebonite

July 2009

Edison_Prototype_1_Review.jpg

The Back-Story

2 July is my birthday, and on 2 July 2009 I was turning 65, a milestone for anyone in the United States: it makes you officially OLD.

I was wondering what to buy myself—a pen obviously—without breaking the bank when a former student of mine, whom I taught in Washington D.C., contacted me to ask what new pen I wanted for the big 65th. Reverting to the Conscientious Catholic Schoolboy I was taught to be as a child, I asked only for a Pelikan 215 Black Lozenge, and if he could manage it, with a cursive italic nib. I then directed him to Richard Binder.

The next week he called my partner and asked him what I really wanted, i.e., what was "The Pen Of My Dreams". No question about that, and if he wanted to buy "the professor who changed my whole life" a more expensive pen, well, the Rebellious Catholic Schoolboy that I actually turned out to be didn't even flinch. I told Paul to tell him I wanted an Edison Pearl.

He told me to go ahead and contact Brian Gray and he would pay for it no matter the cost. And then it happened: Brian showed me the prototype he was working on. Now we were talking BIRTHDAY.



First Impressions via the Internet

I had always been drawn to the Red and Black ebonite that Brian uses on his pens, but Brian offered to show me other potential materials he had in his studio. After looking at several gorgeous options in acrylic I still couldn't get the Red and Black ebonite out of my mind. To me it looks like fossilized wood or a polished semi-precious stone. So I chose the ebonite.

The first obstacle appeared when Brian showed me the clip he intended to use and asked for my honest opinion, since he hadn't made a firm commitment to use it on the final product. I told him quite honestly I thought it detracted from the beautiful simplicity of the pen, at least my pen. I told him I thought it looked like someone stuck a piece of jewelry on it that didn't belong there.

Huron_Clip_Review.jpg

He showed me a couple other clips and I chose the understated plain one without any curves, grooves or striations. This was the clip from the Pearl and I liked it a lot. He said he would send it to the platers with his regular order.

Pearl_Clip.jpg

I then experienced the unique, unforgettable coolness of logging onto his web site at the appointed hour to watch him make my pen. Now there's an ad for Mastercard, because that was priceless.

Then Fate intervened. Two endless weeks later, and just three days before my birthday, the clips came back from the platers. But it turned out they had forgotten to plate mine. That would make it another 2-3 weeks of waiting for my clip and I was already champing at the bit and disappointed I wouldn't have it by my birthday. But, since I celebrate my birthday for a full week, I figured it would just go on a little longer this year.

I took another look at the pen, which now had a hole in it awaiting a clip, and it struck me how I could solve the dilemma, have something unique, and at the same time, hopefully, hasten the delivery of my birthday pen. I asked Brian if he could make this one clipless. He said he definitely could and would, but was sorry to say it would still delay the process a week or so, because he had to grind a new cap, since mine was drilled for a clip. I said that was better than waiting three weeks.

That weekend Brian and his family went to his parents' home for a cookout. On his father's desk he noticed a copy of my latest novel. He sent me an email the next morning telling me that he had been having the feeling that he knew my name from somewhere but couldn't place it. When he noticed the book on his dad's desk he remembered seeing his father reading it. He told me that his father promised to lend it to him when he was finished. (Writers love when this happens, as some of you know. But what a coincidence.)

By Tuesday my pen was finished and in the mail 2nd Day Air; and likewise, an inscribed copy of The Assassination of George W. Bush: A Love Story was on its way to Milan, Ohio.

I realize this was a long intro, but remember, I'm a writer. I can't resist a good story.


Second Impressions

Obviously my first impression of my new pen was via Brian's web site, and his stand photography would probably make a Bic ballpoint look desirable. So I certainly didn't expect the pen itself to outshine the professional photograph. But it did. And how!

Brian wraps his pens in a style derivative of the Japanese Furoshiki. The pen is rolled in a beautiful swath of blue fabric that is then placed inside a sturdy fat plastic tube for protection in transport.

My_Birthday_Pen_From_Metz_1.JPG

My_Birthday_Pen_Rolled_3.jpg

This civilized tradition allows one an unforgettable tactile and visual experience as the recipient unrolls the Furoshiki and the prize inside is slowly, tantalizingly revealed.

My_Birthday_Edison_Unrolled_Review.jpg

Sense Pleasures

After staring at the pen for a good 2 to 3 minutes, taking in its lustre and form, I took it in my hands for the first time. I expected to feel light-headed, but that was just the writers imagination I inherited from my mother. This pen is the very definition of the word "smooth". It seemed to draw heat from my hand, adapting itself to my body temperature so that it was difficult to tell where my hand left off and the pen began: just what a writer dreams of in a fountain pen. That is so much more receptive thant the jolting of one's senses that can occur with the coolness that acrylics often possess.

At Brian's recommendation I had upgraded my nib to the duotone Jowo iridium nib rather than taking either the free Chinese nib that came with the pen or opting for a gold nib, something I have previously preferred in all my pens. Brian said to trust him in this recommendation and assured me that if I wasn't happy with it he would switch it out for the gold nib for the price difference any time. (Note: Brian has since changed his policy and the Jowo duotones are now standard equipment on all his pens.)

Huron_Nib.jpg

With part of the $75 I saved by passing up a gold nib, I had Brian add a second Jowo nib modified to a stub. The stub nib came attached to the pen when it arrived. I immediately dipped it and began to write.

This is my first stub and it seemed toothy to me, so my partner did some light smoothing with micromesh and Voila! Now it felt like I was writing on glass.

N.B. When I later told Brian, he said if he had known I liked my nibs super smooth, he would have done that for me and offered to make any further adjustments on either nib free of charge at any time. Anyone ordering a pen from him should make a note of that and be sure to tell Brian exactly how you prefer your nibs.

One of the things Brian pointed out to me early on was that this new model was designed with a longer nib section, so that the writer isn't gripping the barrel threads, something that played into my decision to purchase this model. I noticed the comfort of the pen in my hand, and particularly the smoothness of the nib section beneath my fingers, which lends to the overall tactile experience of this smoothest of finishes.

Nib_Section.jpg

Brian had also warned me of the sulphuric odour that a new ebonite pen gives off when being opened, but the only scent I noticed was when I uncapped it and sniffed inside the cap, and that was very mild. I was so smitten with this instrument it could have smelled like cow pies and I wouldn't have noticed.

I have compared the weight and size of this pen to that of all my others and I believe it is the lightest pen I own in spite of its heft. It is also the largest pen in my modest collection notwithstanding- its weight. It is larger than my Mont Blanc 148 in both length and girth, but an infinitesimal bit heavier perhaps than my Parker 45. I didn't weigh them. Why weigh when you can write?

Huron_Comparison_5.JPG
L-R: Pelikan M400, Parker Sonnet, Waterman Charleston, Mont Blanc 148, Edison Huron, Parker 45

The dimensions—copied from Brian's site—are as follows:
Weight w/ Cap 21g
Weight w/o Cap 13g
Cap Diameter .610"
Body Diameter .550"
Length Capped 5 3/4"

Length Uncapped 5 1/8"

Conclusion
I know it is customary to "rate" a pen in its review, but if we FPN members have learned anything in these topics, posts, and reviews it certainly must be that taste and judgment are highly subjective. So I am going to eschew that tradition and say simply that this is "the archetypal fountain pen."

In my estimation, The Edison Huron sets a new standard for the amalgam of style, elegance with simplicity, and beauty. Above all, it provides me with the ultimate experience of writing with a fountain pen.

Simply put, I want no other pen. And whenever I sit to write a letter, which I do every day, the Edison Huron is the only pen I reach for.

Huron_Small.jpg

Review_Letter_Pic_Small_Cropped.jpg

Attached Images

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Edited by krandallkraus, 29 July 2009 - 05:59.

Phone calls last just minutes, emails get deleted, but letters live forever.

#5 Silvermink

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Posted 29 July 2009 - 02:34

Nice review. This pen is very much on my list.
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#6 RayMan

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Posted 29 July 2009 - 02:49

Beautiful pen, and excellent review. I'm planning to buy an Edison in a couple of weeks, if Brian is at the D.C. Super Show.
Regards,

Ray

#7 f22pilot72

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Posted 29 July 2009 - 03:05

Great review; far superior to those that just give category scores and a bit of emotionless explanation. Yours was a pleasure to read...And that pen! Beautiful!

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#8 kiavonne

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Posted 29 July 2009 - 04:08

Thank you a smooth and very informative review. I enjoyed the read.

This pen is one which I am also considering in the near future. I'm tossing about thoughts of the #76, as well. I, too, find the red and black ebonite to be very inviting, and my r&b Menlo and Pearl receive a fair share of my writing time. The ebonite does seem to mold to my hand and I enjoy my writing experiences with these pens.

Congratulations on your fine gift to yourself. It was worth it. All 65 past years, and the 65 yet to come.
Scribere est agere.
To write is to act.
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#9 jde

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Posted 29 July 2009 - 15:45

I appreciate that you wrote, "taste and judgment must be highly subjective." My favorite pens are the ones that I have a visceral response to that I cannot really explain in any logical manner. My Yellowstone Huron Prototype is one of them. I absolutely love this pen. I love the color and that it has no clip. And I want yours, too. And I want Brian to make celluloids of it. I want to give them to friends in different colors and materials.

I don't even think it's fair to compare Edison pens with others (you haven't done that, btw, I'm just sayin'...) because part of the experience is Brian. He is kind, and thoughtful, and thorough, and very meticulous in providing updates and information. You can watch him make your pen. I did and that was cool. The pen becomes very personal as a result of all "that."

Congratulations on your pen. And thanks for the lovely story.

Cheers,
Julie

 
...writing only requires focus, and something to write on. —John August
...and a pen that's comfortable in the hand.—moi

#10 krandallkraus

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Posted 29 July 2009 - 18:39

QUOTE (Brian @ Jul 28 2009, 04:41 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
That was a great review. Perhaps a little more literary than pencentric, but a great review and a great read. I am now awaiting the delivery of a couple of pens from Brian as well and am really looking forward to it. I like that these pens are American, have been custom manufactured according to the buyer's wishes, and represent great value for what you get. I like too that the process of customization is honest, open, and straightforward.

Tell us how you like your pen without the clip and if it makes much difference to you in everyday use.

Congratulations on a great pen.


I was worried about having my first clipless pen because I take a fountain pen with me at all times. Since carrying a pen in my pocket wherever I go I have had only 2 colds in the past 5 years. Think about how many times you pick up a pen at a store (especially the drug store) to sign something, usually for a charge.

But for my birthday one of the things my partner gave me was a leather 2-pen case, so it hasn't been a problem. Mostly because my Huron isn't allowed to leave the yard.
Phone calls last just minutes, emails get deleted, but letters live forever.

#11 krandallkraus

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Posted 29 July 2009 - 18:45

QUOTE (jde @ Jul 29 2009, 08:45 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I appreciate that you wrote, "taste and judgment must be highly subjective." My favorite pens are the ones that I have a visceral response to that I cannot really explain in any logical manner. My Yellowstone Huron Prototype is one of them. I absolutely love this pen. I love the color and that it has no clip. And I want yours, too. And I want Brian to make celluloids of it. I want to give them to friends in different colors and materials.

I don't even think it's fair to compare Edison pens with others (you haven't done that, btw, I'm just sayin'...) because part of the experience is Brian. He is kind, and thoughtful, and thorough, and very meticulous in providing updates and information. You can watch him make your pen. I did and that was cool. The pen becomes very personal as a result of all "that."

Congratulations on your pen. And thanks for the lovely story.

Cheers,
Julie


You point out the essential element: Brian. You can buy a pen any place. You get Brian to work with only at Edison.
Phone calls last just minutes, emails get deleted, but letters live forever.

#12 brianw06

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Posted 29 July 2009 - 20:38

"You point out the essential element: Brian. You can buy a pen any place. You get Brian to work with only at Edison."

Well said Krandall, I guess that's why I have 5 of his pens
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#13 Elisablue

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Posted 29 July 2009 - 21:55

Beautiful review Krandall, merci beaucoup ... smile.gif

you captured so well the very special joy there is when a very special fountain pen arrives ...




#14 darkgreen

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 09:40

Thanks for a wonderful review. Edison pens certainly seem to be an excellent "all round" service. Congratulations on an excellent choice and a very interesting story.
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#15 Glenn-SC

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 21:01

Beautiful pen!

I really wish I could find some Ebonite like the vintage Waterman Blue/Green Ripple and have Brian make a pen out of it for me.

Congratulations


#16 Philip1209

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Posted 31 July 2009 - 02:02

Excellent review, Krandall. I enjoyed reading it. I also received my first Edison pen, a Pearl in red-black ebonite, about a month and a half ago. I feel the same attachment to my pen that you feel to yours. The material is exactly as you describe it- like an extension of one's hand. What ink did you use to write the pictured letter? When my pen came I wanted a dark red ink to put in it and I ended up mixing a custom tint quite similar to the ink you used.

#17 krandallkraus

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Posted 31 July 2009 - 05:48

QUOTE (Glenn-SC @ Jul 30 2009, 02:01 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Beautiful pen!

I really wish I could find some Ebonite like the vintage Waterman Blue/Green Ripple and have Brian make a pen out of it for me.

Congratulations


If you haven't already, check out Bear Tooth Woods and get on their mailing list for new materials, or simply ask Brian to keep an eye out for it. I'm sure he has more sources that we amateurs do. Good luck.
Phone calls last just minutes, emails get deleted, but letters live forever.

#18 krandallkraus

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Posted 31 July 2009 - 05:54

QUOTE (Philip1209 @ Jul 30 2009, 07:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Excellent review, Krandall. I enjoyed reading it. I also received my first Edison pen, a Pearl in red-black ebonite, about a month and a half ago. I feel the same attachment to my pen that you feel to yours. The material is exactly as you describe it- like an extension of one's hand. What ink did you use to write the pictured letter? When my pen came I wanted a dark red ink to put in it and I ended up mixing a custom tint quite similar to the ink you used.


Philip,

Nice to know I'm in such good company. (Now if I could only play the cello--my favorite instrument.

I filled it with PR Black Cherry and haven't changed it yet. I compared the BC to Noodlers Red Black and decided that at least to my eye they were the same or close enough that I wanted to keep the ink as "light" in weight as possible so as to keep the nib free of schmutz. So far so good. I hope you try it. What pen would you get next from Brian if you could? I'm thinking I want to save enough money so I can Christmas myself with either a Pearl or a Herald in an acrylic or the green black ebonite.
Phone calls last just minutes, emails get deleted, but letters live forever.

#19 Glenn-SC

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Posted 31 July 2009 - 12:09

I am a frequent visitor to Bear Tooth and have a box full of their acrylic materials sitting here just begging to be turned into pens.

It is a pesky dollar thing! As in spending too fast.

I got my Glenmont material from them.



I am hoping Brian can get some "interesting" celluloid from American Art Plastics at the DC Pen Show.

We'll see.

#20 krandallkraus

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Posted 31 July 2009 - 20:31

QUOTE (Elisablue @ Jul 29 2009, 02:55 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Beautiful review Krandall, merci beaucoup ... smile.gif

you captured so well the very special joy there is when a very special fountain pen arrives ...


Why is it that Europeans speak English so beautifully and the average American, like me, can barely manage second year French? It is embarrassing. Thanks for your remark on my review. I thought I was going to get a lot of flack for not following the standard formula, but it has been the opposite. People seem to respond positively to the more "right brain", poetic approach, mediocre as it was.


Phone calls last just minutes, emails get deleted, but letters live forever.






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