I emailed Brian Gray of Edison Pens to have him custom-make a pen with my specs: flush cap/barrel nexus (a la Pearl), flat top and bottom, red/black ebonite, same material for the section, no windows, 5.75 inches length, rhodium clips and nib. My timing couldn't have been more perfect because Brian had such a pen in prototype stage (he showed me one in orange acrylic) and it wasn't difficult for me to say, "Go!" at that point. Payment done, Brian checked his calendar and right after the LA Pen Show, he started to work on my pen that I witnessed via his webcam magic. An Edison has long been on my list of must-have pens though I hesitate to call it a 'grail pen', owing to my more stringent definition of the word. After endless looking at his website, taking note of nib choices and custom grinds, I finally committed that 2010 will be the year of my Edison pen.
When the pen was done, Brian informed me that he is naming it the 'Morgan', and this pen, my pen, would be the first commercial sale of the Morgan. Being a fan of Jack Sparrow, Barbossa and Blackbeard's Seafood Island eat-all-you-can restaurant () , I was well pleased with Brian's choice.
Appearance / Finish – 4.5 out of 5
The red & black ebonite of the Morgan lends a rich canvas for the innate beauty of the pen. Whereas wood ebonite or red and black BCHR may appear garish to some, this particular hue is very subdued, classic and elegant. The striations of the cap and barrel appear continuous as they should be, having been turned from the same ebonite stock. The exterior of the pen is brilliantly polished and devoid of lathe marks. One would think the barrel and cap were poured from a mold until you look at the inner bores and you verify that indeed, this is an artfully hand-made pen.
Above is Brian's photo. Mine is below:
I chose a rhodium-plated clip to complement its look and the combination is just perfect. The cap unscrews with 1.75 turns; the barrel parts with the section in 6.5 turns. Some of my pens' barrels detach in 5 turns. This extra 1.5 turn with the Morgan is probably meant to accommodate a rubber o-ring should one decide to make this pen into an eyedropper filler.
For those who have received their Edison pens in plastic tubes before, I am happy to inform you that this Edison pen came in a proper fountain box - decently sized, faux leather covering, felt-like material inside with the obligatory elastic string to secure the pen. Lest you think it's a generic box, it is inscribed with the Edison Pen Co. logo on the inside cover. The box is sheathed in a white cardboard sleeve. Yay, Brian has boxes!!!
The barrel is inscribed, 'Edison Pen Co.' and "Morgan' on the second line.
Design/Size/Weight – 4.5 out of 5
The capped length is 5.75" and the width at its widest is 55mm, the juncture of the cap and the barrel. The pen is not meant to post like most pens whose cap and barrel are flush. You can though, thanks to the tapered end of the barrel but the 'foothold' is a scant half-inch and ungainly. The recessed part, barrel thread and section) is 74mm long, long enough for a comfortable grip without the threads carving lines into your fingers. The concave waist of the section is both sexy and functional. The ebonite section provides a comforting warmth to your digits, especially good when on a writing marathon.
The 5.75" length makes the Morgan longer than many of the 'benchmark' fountain pens in terms of size.
A size comparison with some 'benchmark' pens – the Morgan is farthest right - from left, Duofold International, Souveran M1000, Delta 365, CS Churchill, MB 149, Visconti Casanova, Classic LM1, Visconti Arte Mudejar.
Nib Design and Performance – 4.5 out of 5
I ordered the 18k gold nib finished in single-tone rhodium. I asked Brian to fashion a cursive italic from a bold Edison nib and he came through with a smooth-writing 1.1mm italic nib. Below the Edison logo, the words '18kK-750' and 'Germany' appear. Part of nib performance is owed to the feed it is paired with. The Morgan's feed is multi-combed to ensure a healthy flow of ink while writing.
The nib has a bit of tooth as Brian himself acknowledged in his note to me and having been used to stubs, the cursive italic gave me a bit of a surprise. The thin/thick variation is very pronounced which probably accounts for this. I know I'll get used to this eventually so I'm giving it a chance for now, otherwise, I can readily smoothen it with my micromesh pads. By the way, despite the italic modification, the nib still has a healthy amount of iridium tip to last it a couple of decades (I'm guessing).
The ink is J. Herbin Terre de feu.
The Filling System – 4.5 out of 5
Nothing fancy – a homely cartridge converter that does the job without fuss and effectively too. I should mention that Brian turned the inner bore of the barrel to very close tolerances because the c/c feels very snug as you insert the filler into the barrel. Nice!
Cost – 5 out of 5
A relative topic. You pay what you can afford or what you feel is the proper amount for an object's value. You may or may not begrudge an electrician his fee for an hour's work in your home – it all depends on your perception. Same thing with Brian. Knowing his stellar reputation in the FP community, I was content to PayPal him the amount he quoted. When the pen arrived, he came through in all departments; he met all my requirements and my expectations.
Conclusion – 4.6 out of 5 (23 out of 25)
Overall, it was a great experience with Brian – conceptualizing the design via emails, a few rational adjustments here and there that he suggested, setting a schedule for fabrication, watching the process via webcam although Brian seems to wear the same thing on his workshop (LOL!), receiving the pen, and finally, inking it and putting it to the 'test'.
Edited by soloworx, 18 February 2010 - 03:03.