I recently purchased a Beaumont fountain pen from Brian Gray at Edison Pen Company (formerly Pencraft). Brian's a regular in the pen-turning forum here on FPN, and I saw a post from one of his other customers which directed me to his website. I was really struck by his ebonite models, in particular the Beaumont, and at $140 with a 30-day return policy, it seemed a low-cost, low-risk way to try an ebonite fountain pen.
I opted to get mine in sterling silver trim, and for $20 additional, I upgraded to the Taccia one-tone rhodium-plated steel F nib.
In terms of looks, it really is a beautiful pen. For me, the ideal pen is black with silver/rhodium trim and nib...it's classic in the same way that a tuxedo (for the guys) or a little black dress (for the gals) never goes out of style. Brian was more than happy to accommodate my wishes, and as the attached pictures show, the result was simply amazing. These pictures are the ones Brian took just before he wrapped up the pen and shipped it to me.
In terms of how the pen feels in the hand, when it's capped, I can best describe it as feeling as natural as a cigar in your hand. Think corona grande...the Beaumont is 5 7/8" capped and 5 1/8" uncapped. It doesn't post, and for me (who always posts his pens and has never owned an non-poster before), this was the greatest source of concern. However, it balances beautifully when writing, and the cap nestles comfortably in my left palm as I'm writing. It feels as natural as if that's how I'd been writing for years.
The Beaumont is a cartridge/converter filler, and I filled it with Quink Washable Blue (my first fill of choice for all my new pens). The section is actually black plastic (virtually indistinguishable from the ebonite body) and the cap screws onto the body with about a single turn. As other Pencraft reviewers have noted, the screws on the cap are actually contained in a black plastic fitting that slips into the end of the ebonite cap. The cap is held securely, and I doesn't feel like it's going anywhere once you've tightened that one full twist.
And how does it write? Well, one of the things that I've learned on FPN is that a well-made, well-adjusted steel nib can be a pleasure to write with, and the Taccia nibs that Brian supplies are no exception. The Taccia lays down an exceptionally smooth, consistent line with no effort. Brian enclosed a letter with the pen which explained he ships his pens to write smooth and just a hair on the dry side, as it's easier to adjust a drier nib to lay down a wetter line, than vice versa. For me, this setup is perfect. I used it in a full evening of classes and it performed perfectly. When I was scribbling like mad, it never skipped once, and when lectures slowed to a crawl, it started up again without a hiccup. Brian also took the time to smooth the nib (I scoped it out under the loupe) and it writes with a very generous sweet spot, which is a nice feature in pen that's going to see a lot of classroom use. However, this is no flexy nib...it's a nail. Brian does offer Bock and Bexley 14K nibs if you want a little more expressiveness.
Now here's the shocker. I've been sitting next to the same guy in class since the end of August. So far this semester, I've used three different Parker 51s, a Lamy 2000, a Pelikan M800, a Wality 52 and a Lamy Studio. But tonight, when I'm using the Beaumont, is the first time he even notices that I'm using a fountain pen. He even asked to try it out (I cringed a little bit, but I figured the steel nib would hold up)...he wrote a little bit, smiled and handed it back to me, saying, "Very cool...old school!" That might be the ultimate testimonial right there.
FYI, I've got no connection to Brian Gray or Edison Pen Company, other than being a very satisfied customer.
Edited by MYU, 13 October 2008 - 14:04.