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Edison Pen - The Herald with Grooves

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#1 jmkeuning


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Posted 29 December 2007 - 02:37

I have been steadily putting this review together of the past weeks that I have been using the pen. Tonight I finished a project that I was working on (modifying an Esterbrook base to take this Edison Pen) and before I post pics of the base, I want to get the review going. So here it is.

7. Overall Opinion/Conclusion- I am starting with number 7 because this became a long review, and I want to sum it up. When I saw a photo this pen for the first time, I commented in the forum that I wanted one. It was a very short trip between that comment and my ownership. I love it. It feels great, looks great, and was handmade by a great craftsman. And it writes amazingly.

1. First Impressions – I first saw Edison pens here on FPN when Brian put up some pics of a new pen he was working on. As I recall, he stated that he was emulating the size and shape of the Sailor KOP. I recall that I commented in his post that I prefer that the pen be original; that someone who wants a KOP can buy a KOP, and that his design should be unique. A few months later, rroossinck told me that I should look at one of these Pencraft pens if I was interested in getting a custom pen. I poked around Pencraft and saw some interesting things, it appeared that Brian had settled on the shape of his new design, but I moved on without much thought of getting out my wallet. Then, out of nowhere, Brian posted pics of the Herald with grooves cut into the pen's shiny ebonite flesh… I was sold. I half-heartedly said, "I want it," quite like I might say when I smell hot pizza or see a banana split. Well, a few emails later and my pen was being made.

Since the Herald with grooves was a fairly new creation, and because Brian makes each one individually, I had some options regarding spacing and number of grooves. While I wanted to be creative and come up with something interesting, I soon realized that you cannot get more interesting than the design that Brian had already prototyped. We settled on the grooved Herald as it was.

Next I had to decide on a nib. I was interested in getting a customized nib for the pen so I suggested that Brian send a nib to Richard so that I can get a jump start on the customization. Brian pointed out to me that John Mottishaw will work on the nib immediately if you purchase from him, so I placed my order for a gold Bock with a .3mm stub. A few days later I was informed by nibs.com that my nib had shipped. Note that this was before Brian made his arrangement with John. Because of this, John gave me a 10% discount, which I appreciated because it helped offset the $20 per-item charge that nibs.com charges.

Brian and I had a few phone conversations about the pen, he kept me updated on its progress, and then came the day – the pen shipped! Unfortunately, a funeral called me out of town on the day that the pen arrived and I was unable to retrieve it until three days later.

When I did finally retrieve it, it exceeded all expectations.

2. Appearance & Finish – I am happy! You see the pics of this pen. You know that it is unlike anything else available anywhere. So, let me tell you that the pen in my hand matches the pictures. The polished shine is consistent from top to bottom. The rawness of the brown ebonite in the grooves contrasts perfectly with the glassy smoothness of the barrel surface. The cap threads on smoothly and tightly. This pen is a case study in attention to detail.

3. Design/ Size/Weight – The pen is made out of ebonite, or black hard rubber (BHR), with graduated grooves running the length of the barrel and cap. The grooves are cut into the shiny surface of the pen, revealing the brown raw ebonite below. This design is unlike anything I have seen. It's like the repetitious lines of the Waterman 100 Year, or the gnarls of the Namiki Bamboo, but less refined and more raw. To me, this is the wonder of the pen. At first glance it looks like a shiny black fountain pen, but when you inspect it you see that something different is at work.

The pen is approximately 6 1/2" long capped. Uncapped it is just under 5 1/2". The weight is surprisingly light. Not that the pen is light, it is just lighter than you might guess by looking at it. The pen feels great in the hand while writing. Unposted, it is certainly long enough to write comfortably. The balance is perfect… I do not know how to describe this with words; it's the best that I have experienced. I ordered mine without a clip because a] I usually carry my pens in a slip case and B] this pen is too big to clip on my shirt.

Brian has all the measurements on on his site, but suffice it to say that this pen feels absolutely wonderful when writing unposted.

4. Nib Design & Performance- I ordered mine with a 14k Bock, customized to ax XF stub by nibs.com. The review of this nib will be saved for another place and time, but I like it. I also have the steel stock nib that ships standard with the pen. Brian picked out a nice XF nib for me and tuned it up magnificently. Brian's nib is a smooth writer with perfect flow. The beauty of the nib in this pen is that you can change it out like many of our favorites, you just unscrew on section, and screw in the other.

5. The Filling System- the pen has a standard international converter. This is fine by me!

6. Cost/Value- You can look at the Edison Pen site for all the pricing, but this pen cost me $205 (plus the nib from nibs.com). For any excellent pen, this is a great value. Other than my M805, it is the most expensive pen that I have bought. Quite frankly, I normally would not spend this on a pen, but this one is worth every penny.

Edited by MYU, 13 October 2008 - 14:20.

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#2 Aslan


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Posted 29 December 2007 - 02:51

Thanks for a wonderful and detailed review. I just received a Herald from Brian today; antique gold marbled acrylic with a Taccia nib (comments to come later). I couldn't agree more with the accolades about the Herald and Brian Gray. He is a delight to work with and his pens are magnificent! thumbup.gif

Your pen is beautiful. I hope it gives you years of service and pleasure.


#3 greencobra



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Posted 29 December 2007 - 17:49

I've been thinking about this pen too since I first saw Brians photos of the prototype. Damn you jmkeuning. you're pushing me over the edge! smile.gif And not a bad position to be in. I might have to make contact with the alien called Brian.

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