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Edison Pearl (custom Ends & Satin Blue Finish)
Posted 19 December 2010 - 02:00
For too long, I overlooked reviews of Edison pens here at FPN. The pens werenít restored vintage marvels of engineering. Thereís no fantastic snorkel filler or bulletproof Parker 51 aerometric feed, or beautiful Pelikan piston filler. It took me some reading to finally realize what made Edison so different.. I really could pick the style, material, shape, and details of the pen myself, and Brian Gray would make the pen to my specification.
This review isnít objective, itís quite subjective. Because this is my pen. Itís exactly what I wanted, and itís exactly what I got. There's no point in numeric scoring for reviews this subjective.
A slight digression that I promise will work its way back around to the topic at hand: Iíve always been fascinated with blue-black ink. Nobody can actually describe exactly what color makes ink blue-black, but just like Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said about obscenity, ďI know it when I see it.Ē It always struck me as one of those colors that just didnít fit as well into the modern world as well as it used to, and Iíve always loved how it looked on paper.
Thereís something about a matte-finished ebonite pen that just seems like the practical essence of a writing instrument to me. But Iím the wrong person for an ebonite pen. Experience restoring vulcanite pipe stems taught me that while hard rubber feels fantastic, oxidizing hard rubber drives me insane. So I decided to look at acrylics. I miss the tactile feel of ebonite just a bit, but with the satin finished acrylic, itís about 95% of the way there.
After a brief discussion with Brian Gray at Edison, he agreed that a matte/satin finished pen from his navy acrylic stock should be suitably dark to meet my ďknow it when I see itĒ definition of blue-black, and I ordered a Pearl from him.
I specified custom rounded ends instead of the usual more-conical piccolo Pearl ends. I donít dislike the standard Piccalo shape, I just like this shape a little more.
The pen is exactly what I wanted. And thatís the beauty of Edison pens. It may look bland or uninteresting to the next person reading this review, but to me, itís the exact pen I wanted, but could never find. Itís truly impressive that Brian can provide this service at such a reasonable price.
1. Appearance & Design Ė My definition of perfection.
This Pearl has a perfect satin finish to the navy blue acrylic stock, and it seems to just absorb all light around it. Itís almost black, but looking at it in decent light, you notice that itís actually a deep blue. Uncapped, the pen has a beautiful taper below the threads that fits my hand perfectly.
2. Construction & Quality Ė Thick and sturdy with beautifully fine threads
This pen is made of thick stock, and both the cap and barrel are much thicker than youíd expect. I suspect the result is a much sturdier pen. I havenít tried dropping it, setting it on fire, or even running with scissors around it, but I suspect this pen will still be in use a few generations from now, assuming none of my descendants pawn it to buy Scooby snacks.
3. Weight & Dimensions Ė Surprisingly light, surprisingly large, ďsmallĒ pen
Around 5.25" Tall, .610" Diamater. With no piston-filling mechanism (aside from the converter), power windows, door lock, curb feelers, or iPod interface, this pen is surprising light, but doesnít feel fragile at all. I canít explain how beautiful the tapered shape of the Pearl feels in my hand. When I first unscrewed the cap, I noticed how short the actual pen is.. then I got a little worried, as I have fairly big hands and usually post my pens. And this pen isnít really postable (sort of a wobbly, ďSee, I posted! But Iím going to fall off unless you smash me on there enough to leave a big mark!Ē sort of experience). But the pen perfectly fills my hand, doesnít feel too short at all, and is thick enough to be pleasant for me. Good balance for such a short pen unposted. My Parker 51 feels too thin, my PFM feels almost there, and the Pearl is just right. With the cap on, itís a deceptively large pen. Itís roughly the height of my PFM, but itís much thicker. Definitely doesnít look like a svelte Pelikan 100 in your shirt pocket. More of a big blue-black cigar. For me, this shape and finish is all about the feel. It looks good, but itís the feel thatís fantastic.
4. Nib & Performance Ė Smooth, with just enough feedback, and plenty of flow
The unmarked IPG steel nib is quite smooth, but it has just enough feedback to feel the paper. The flow is just barely on the wet side of average, to my inexpert measurement, and itís immediately obvious that Brian Gray didnít just grab an IPG nib out of a rusty bucket and slap it on. Itís as nice of a nib as Iíve used, and you can tell did some work on it. The pen just writes perfectly for me. With Everflo blue-black, it gets some shading, and itís an absolute delight. I wouldnít call it flexible, but itís got just a hint of spring in it. Hands-down the best everyday writing nib I own. I wish it had the Edison logo on it, but the unmarked IPG nib is growing on me. Itís like the nib version of a blank sheet of paper, and it fits the simple lines of the pen well.
5. Filling System & Maintenance Ė Converter/Eyedropper
A converter gets a pen a 5/10 in my book, but the maintenance of this pen really should be a 10/10. Brian offers a bulb filler, and Iíd have ordered this Pearl with one, except that: (1) I didnít want a window because I didnít think it fit my mental picture of this pen, and (2) it cost another $100, and I really was at my limit for what my wife wouldnít notice me spending. Havenít tried it as an eyedropper yet..
6. Cost & Value Ė For a handmade pen to my specifications? Under $500?
This is a no-brainer, from my perspective. For a handmade pen, built to your specifications, at around $250? And it writes better than any other pen I've ever tried.
7. Conclusion Ė Itís hard to objectively grade someone delivering you exactly what you asked for, except to say that Brian really delivered what I wanted. So itís a 10/10 in my book.
After first using this pen, my honest, gut reaction was: I better go buy another exact copy and stick it in a safe.. what if something happened to this pen? I canít imagine better praise than that. I own prettier, more intricately engineered pens, but I donít own any that feel this good in my hand.
(Photos are from Brian Gray..heís a much better photographer than Iíll ever be, and this is a hard pen to photograph properly)
Posted 19 December 2010 - 02:21
Posted 19 December 2010 - 02:31
Posted 19 December 2010 - 03:07
Posted 19 December 2010 - 03:13
Posted 19 December 2010 - 05:54
Posted 19 December 2010 - 06:14
How long is this pen, uncapped, unposted?
I havenít tried dropping it, setting it on fire, or even running with scissors around it, but I suspect this pen will still be in use a few generations from now, assuming none of my descendants pawn it to buy Scooby snacks.
and (2) it cost another $100, and I really was at my limit for what my wife wouldnít notice me spending.
Posted 19 December 2010 - 06:27
Posted 19 December 2010 - 07:33
Posted 19 December 2010 - 12:27
- Dorothy Bernard
Posted 19 December 2010 - 12:29
Congratulations and use in good health!
My Pearl from Brian is a mainstay in my
Posted 23 December 2010 - 14:38