I first came across the Herald when I was checking out Brian Gray's website (Edison Pen) . Shortly thereafter, I noticed that John Cullen had posted his impressions of the pen; this confirmed my decision to buy one. I should add that John made a number of valuable comments on the design of the pen that I have reiterated here because of their potential importance to prospective purchasers.
When the pen arrived in its neatly labeled, bright white box, I began to feel the care and thoughtfulness that went into the making of this pen. The box contained a letter and was filled with bubble wrap to make sure no harm came to its contents. The typewritten letter was personally addressed to me from Brian and provided written assurance of his commitment to stand behind his work not just for defects but well after the sale nib adjustments, buffing out scratches, etc for no charge. Small nit to Brian don't forget to sign the letter! And then, at last, there it was, buried in bubble wrap, my new red-black ebonite Herald fountain pen, held securely in a clear plastic tube with red caps on each end.
Appearance and Finish
My Herald is truly a beautiful pen to behold highly polished red-black ebonite, sleek and clean lines, set off by a long straight clip of plated 24 k gold. Note that the pen is also available in black and green-black ebonite as well that Brian is now offering a clip with a slight curve to it I think I might stick with the straight one. The pen is clearly designed after the Sailor King of Pens; most people would be hard pressed to distinguish the two from a few feet away. It looks even more beautiful than the great pictures that Brian has of it on Pencraftonline (picture below from Pencraftonline). You can sense the craftsmanship that went into this pen.
As I wrote above, the pen is virtually identical to the Sailor KOP with a long cigar-like shape but tapered at the ends. The detailed specifications are as follows:
Weight w/ Cap 29g, w/o Cap 14g
Diameter Cap .595", Body .575"
Length - Capped 6", Uncapped 5 1/8"
By feel, the pen seems about the same as an MB149 and a Waterman Edson but less than a Pelikan 1000. In terms of length, it is about a ½" longer than the MB149, CS Churchill and Pelikan 1000.
As I noted above, John Cullen identified several aspects of the design that I believe are worth repeating for the benefit of prospective purchasers, as they might be an issue for them (they weren't for me):
1. The cap does not post on the back,
2. The barrel and cap are not threaded - there is a black plastic insert into the barrel that has a gold colored ring with protruding black threads. When the section is screwed into the barrel, the threads appear as part of the section, and
3. The cap is not threaded - there is a black plastic insert that fits inside the cap. Looking at the cap, you can see the black cap band and if you look inside the cap you can see that the threading is part of the black plastic that inserts into the cap. When the pen is closed, you see the thin black cap between the barrel and the cap. I understand that Brian may be changing this black insert to ebonite for current and past purchasers. I can see no reason for me to change, at least right now.
Some remarks concerning these points. The pen is sufficiently large that not posting the cap should not be a problem for anyone. I often write without a cap in any event so this had no effect on my writing experience. The fact that the barrel and cap are not threaded, while unusual, actually avoids the problem of over tightening, causing either the barrel or cap to crack. In this case, the worst that happens is the black plastic insert cracks - it is easily replaced. The cap does screw securely onto the barrel trust me I have no concern about it ever opening up. Finally, the fact that you see the thin black insert between the barrel and cap rather than a "continuous" line of ebonite to me is a matter of taste. I think it is an interesting look, however, Brian can now accommodate those who would prefer that ebonite look.
The pen is also offered in a variety of nibs. I chose to upgrade from a steel nib to a Bexley 18k medium nib for an additional cost of $100. I wanted the pen to have a nib worthy of its beauty. Anyone who has ever written with a Bexley pen is familiar with the term "buttery smooth" and this pen/nib combination fits that bill nicely. The pen writes "right out of the box". Brian adjusted the wetness of the nib to his taste; I like mine more on the wet side so it appears that I might need a small adjustment. Not a fault, just a difference in taste.
The pen accepts cartridges or a large converter (which is included) with the pen. I loaded the converter up with some Delta Blue ink and it works just fine.
The total cost of the pen was $260, including the $100 nib upgrade. By comparison, the cost of this pen is a little more than a Bexley Poseidon or a Pelikan Grand Place and slightly less than a Waterman Exception or Parker Duofold Centennial Pearl (all pens that I own). I have no doubt that the pen is fairly priced. In fact, I would go further and call it a great bargain because I know that Brian will look after this pen for me. That peace of mind is worth a lot!
The Herald by Edison Pen is now a treasured part of my pen collection one that will be always be filled and used. I am so pleased with this pen; I can't wait to show it off to my pen club. Thanks Brian, for a job well done! By the way Brian, can we talk about that Menlo in Blue Trustone?
PS. I am not sure what category this belongs in so I will leave it as a PS. Brian kept me abreast of my pen order and has responded quickly and politely to any and all of my emails. We end up dealing with a lot of people in the pen world, there are a few bad apples, most are pretty reasonable, and then there is that smaller group you just love to deal with because they are honest, fair and they back up their words with action. For me, Brian Gray belongs in that smaller group and I will "reward" him with more orders in the future.
Edited by MYU, 13 October 2008 - 14:25.