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Herald New-style by Brian Gray
Posted 23 October 2008 - 22:41
This review is of the New-style Herald by Brian Gray. He began producing this pen in mid-2008. It is called the New-style because he had the original Herald, and this is, really, a completely different pen. Brian now does business under the name of Edison Pen Company.
I have been a fan of Brian’s pens for a long time. When he came out with the original Herald I knew I wanted one, and when he announced he had come across one piece of green and black striped ebonite I finally gave in. That Herald is a big, substantial pen that screams “quality” from the word go. The New-style Herald is, if anything, even better! The New-style I bought is in Red and Black ebonite, and I ordered it with a Taccia steel nib. I have been using this pen for about a month now, and these are my impressions.
The Edison pens come very securely packaged in a protective plastic sleeve with added padding, which is then taped inside a couple of layers of bubble-wrap. All of this is inside a securely taped up cardboard box that also acts as the mailing container. Since I don’t keep my pens in the box they came in, I could care less whether it had a fancy presentation box, as long as it arrived safely and was ready to write.
The pen has a nice, sleek torpedo shape at both ends. It is a touch over 5 ¾” long capped, and a whopping 6 7/8” posted. I ordered this pen with the gold colored clip, which seems to go very nicely with the red and black ebonite. I am usually a silver-colored hardware fan, but this is really very nice! Visually this is a very appealing, nicely balanced pen. The shape fits the size nicely.
Nib Design and Performance
To my own surprise, I ordered this pen with a Taccia steel nib. I am a big fan of gold nibs. When I bought my original Herald I opted for the Bexley stub. But recently Brian sent me a pen to try out that had a nice fine steel nib on it, and I was amazed by how much I liked it. So when I ordered this pen I asked him if he would like to try grinding a nib for me, and thought an appropriate platform would be the Taccia nib. Brian works on every nib he sends out, whether it is a little tweak or a full grind. I asked him if he’d like to try an OBB nib, and with what he had available, he said a broad left-foot oblique stub was about what I would get. I agreed, and he went to work. And I am not disappointed! This is a sweet-writing nib. It has probably the lightest touch of any pen I own. I barely touch the paper with this nib, and it flows a wonderful, rich line with plenty of line-width variation. If I forget myself and start pushing too hard, it gets kind of catchy, so I think it almost tends towards being a cursive italic rather than a regular stub. But it is so nice when I just let it glide softly across the page, which also helps my writing!
The Filling System
This is a standard cartridge/converter system. I could have ordered it in as an eyedropper filler, and I think it would be great as an eyedropper, but I don’t mind the converter. What else is there to say about a c/c filler, except it works?
For the quality of pen that Brian is making right now, I believe this is the best bargain going. I paid a little over $200 for this pen, and in the nice ebonite with the matching ebonite section, it easily competes with pens much more expensive. For this price you get to pick the material it is made out of, matching it to your own style, and you get to choose the nib and a few other small options. This is a hand-made custom pen, for the price of a ubiquitous, mid-range commercial pen. I feel that I received excellent value for my money!
How Does It Stack Up?
Since I started by announcing that I also have one of the original Heralds, a little comparison between the two is in order. The original Herald is longer and heavier than the new Herald. I don’t have a scale so I can’t give you the weight, but the original comes in at 6 ¼”, almost a half inch longer than the new Herald.
The largest diameter is about the same on both pens, but the new Herald has more of a “pointy” shape on the ends. I’m sure part of this was so you could technically post the cap on the new Herald, but I have to say that the posting ability is just barely there. The cap, when posted, doesn’t feel real solid, but it does stay in place, so those of you who post can now be satisfied! While the “pointy” shape kind of allows you to post the cap, it definitely improves the shape and visual appearance of the pen. I think if Brian had shaped it so it would post better it would have ruined the sleek shape he has attained with the new Herald.
The original Herald still used the center-coupling parts from a kit pen. It allowed for a very nice, secure threading for the cap, but it added quite a bit to the weight of the older pen. Since then Brian has been doing all his own threading for the cap coupling, and it really improves the look and feel of this pen. It allows him to use the same material for the section, which really enhances the look of the pen.
As for how they write, both are essentially the same at heart. They both have a c/c filler, and while they have different nibs, both have been worked-over by Brian, and so are smooth and a pleasure to write with. I was a little prejudiced against the new pen at first because one of the things I liked about the original Herald was it’s length. I have large hands, and the older pen fit my hand very nicely. When I saw that the new Herald was shorter, I worried that it might be too short. But never fear! The new Herald is just the perfect size, and the weight makes this even more pleasurable to hold onto for extended writing sessions.
I believe that Brian is making some great pens at this point, and I look forward to seeing him advance in the coming years! The New-style Herald is a big step up the ladder from the original Herald. It is light-weight, nicely shaped, classy without being too busy, and has a subtle elegance that marks it as an uncommonly good pen. I would like to add a little criticism here, just to keep this review fair, but in truth I can’t find anything about this pen that is worth picking on! Since I am a big fan of piston-fill pens, how about if I say I look forward to seeing Brian’s pens with piston mechanisms?
In the end it all comes down to what you like, and I like the New-style Herald. I believe you will too, because Brian will make your pen just for you, and your tastes. I encourage you to try one of his pens while they are still a bargain.
Posted 24 October 2008 - 02:42
Posted 25 October 2008 - 13:40
I just got the new Herald in mandarin yellow. This is a very nice yellow material!!
I too got the Taccia steel nib. It is very firm, but Brian tunes them up to write the way you want and mine is very smooth. I think the Taccia nib is a good deal, as long as you do not mind a very firm nib.
Mine posts but, as you say, not overly firmly. For me, this is not a problem. I do not post.
For me, this is a good pen and a good deal!! JC
Posted 25 October 2008 - 19:43
Posted 26 October 2008 - 11:50
Posted 22 February 2009 - 22:05
Posted 22 February 2009 - 22:14
if you're inking/using these pens, would you also share some writing samples please?