This review is of the Herald that is available in various versions at Edison Pen Company. Brian at Edison Pen (formerly Pencraft) is very responsive and seems to be working hard to please his customers. I was turned on to Edison Pen after reading a very favorable review of the Beaumont online on The Fountain Pen Network. Brian offers several styles of pens and seems to keep some in stock. Custom orders will also be accepted. The pen I ordered was from a small run using some green and black swirl ebonite Brian picked up at the Bexley Pen Factory. Edison Pen Company offers several nib choices, and even some custom nib work through www.nibs.com. I went with a slight upgrade to a medium, two-toned Taccia nib for a modest $25.
Brian unabashedly states that he patterned the Herald after Sailor's King of Pens. I did not, however, think of the King of Pen when I first saw the Herald, I thought of my Nakaya Cigar pen and I'll make some comparisons to it as I go along. The Herald came packaged in a clear plastic tube with the pen visible inside. I was not sure what to expect but I couldn't wait to open it up. Even in the tube the pen looked big. For some reason I was not expecting such a large pen but I was glad because I prefer a large pen.
I was immediately impressed with the weight of the pen and the quality of the finish. The Herald is made of ebonite and it feels warm, well balanced, and smooth in the hand. Unscrewing the cap revealed the Taccia nib in a contoured black plastic grip section. It is this section that the cap screws on to, not to the pen body itself. The grip section has molded threads and the cap has a matching insert that matches the section. The cap screws on snugly, perhaps a little to snugly since it takes more effort than normal to remove the cap. In addition, the plastic insert prevents posting the cap, although it would be awkward to post such a long pen. In comparison, the Nakaya Cigar pen has threads cut into the cap and pen body, which I find to be more elegant. The Nakaya pen is also turned entirely from ebonite, no plastic. In defense of the Herald, the black plastic insert in the cap protrudes a few millimeters giving it the appearance of a solid black band that contrasts well with the green/black ebonite swirl pattern.
The tapered ends of the Herald are reminiscent of the Nakaya. Unlike the Nakaya, however, the Herald has a clip making it easier to carry around. Evidently, the Herald is available with a curved or a straight clip. Mine is the straight version although I think I prefer the curved clip based on the photos I see online. If you order a pen from Brian don't be afraid to ask about options on every part of the pen! Ok, so, the Herald a stunner but the real question is How Does it Write?
Brian ships his pens with the nibs tuned to write a little wet. First, I am impressed that he makes the effort to personally tune each nib. Second, I had some trepidation about a wet writer being a lefty and all, but I was intrigued to use the pen as Brian envisioned it. I have a Taccia Staccato fountain pen that appears to have the same nib. Compared to the Staccato the line produced by the Herald is quite a bit wetter and the nib feels smoother. Wet nibs tend to feel smooth but I suspect that Brian worked the nib to smooth the metal some. No doubt about it, the Taccia nib on the Herald is superior to the same nib on the Taccia pen.
Comparing the Herald's Taccia nib to the Nakaya nib was interesting. The nib on my Nakaya was specifically tuned to my writing style. It is also a Japanese bold, which is something like a Western medium. The Herald's medium nib, however, produces a thicker, richer line than the Nakaya's bold nib. The Nakaya nib produces an incredibly consistent line and feels neither smooth nor rough on paper, it just feels right. While not a wet writer the Nakaya lays down a steady line that never hesitates. At least with Private Reserve Velvet Black ink, the Herald tends to dry some when carried upright requiring a quick, slight shake to initiate ink flow. A persnickety ink, Velvet Black has been known to outright clog some pens, but it did not clog the Herald. The steel Taccia nib seems a little rigid but with a moderate pressure some line width variation occurs. Nice. Writing with this well-balanced pen is a real pleasure.
I can't get enough of the Herald. It looks good by itself and in a shirt pocket. The nib is a joy, laying down a wet, but not too wet line. In use the ebonite warms, giving off a distinctive scent that is a guilty pleasure for me.
You may think it unfair that I compared a Nakaya pen costing more than twice as much, and made specifically for me, to the Herald. That the Herald warrants comparison to the Nakaya at all is a ringing endorsement for Brian's workmanship. With prices for pens, even regular production pens, seemingly skyrocketing, Brian is a great find.
Finally, for Christmas Brian unexpectedly shipped his customers some great paste, Renaissance Wax, that he uses to polish his pens. Wow! When you buy an Edison pen you don't just get a pen, you get Brian too.
Edited by MYU, 29 October 2008 - 03:11.
Repaired broken image links