I think it is pretty well established at this point that I am a fan of Japanese pens, both of the standard and fountain variety. There is something about the craftsmanship and history of many of these brands that is enticing, not to mention the ready availability of the super fine nibs that I prefer.
To limit myself to only pens from the Far East would be doing myself - and other pen brands - a huge disservice because there are so many amazing manufacturers out there. One of them, based right here in the US, has established itself as a big player on a smaller scale. Say hello to The Edison Pen Company.
The man behind Edison, Mr. Brian Gray, takes a personal approach to the pens he creates. In fact, that is a core part of the service he offers:
With the exception of the Production Line, the vast majority of pens sold at Edison are a custom creation between the client and myself. This means that you can pick your favorite model of pen and then decide your favorite material to have it made from, along with many other possible customizations.
It is great to have this level of customization available as a consumer, and with the sterling reputation that Brian has you know you will be receiving a product that perfectly suits your needs.
While I haven't bought my first Edison Pen yet, my friend Thomas has many and I am fortunate to be able to test drive a few while trying to decide on a body style. First up: The Edison Pearl.
Out of the batch of pens I was sent, the barrel design of the Pearl spoke to me immediately. The cigar-shape body, length, diameter, and slightly tapered ends are all spot-on. What caught me off guard though was the weight. The acrylic material used is LIGHT! For a pen this size, I honestly wasn't expecting that. It was a little off-putting at first even. But after some discussions with Thomas mixed in with some reading and research on other similar pens my expectations were set properly. What really solved the weight issue for me was time. Once I moved into day two and three with the Pearl I stopped noticing the weight completely.
There were two items that I was unable to stop noticing though. First off, the step down from the barrel to the section is steep. This is done to ensure the thick wall of the cap is flush with the barrel when closed but it gave it somewhat of an awkward feel when gripping the pen.
Secondly, I could never get settled in with the nib. It is a stock EF steel nib, and while it was good, it was not great. I didn't feel like my lines were as sharp as they could have been, but there are a litany of possible reasons as to why. I would never subtract points from a pen on loan because of the nib.
Thomas' Pearl was purchased as part of the 2012 Edison Pen Group Buy where he was able to buy this Cobalt Fleck model for $170, which is a great price. Stock Pearls run around $250 these days. For the amount of customization and personalization Brian puts into these pens that seems like a fair price.
The Edison Pearl definitely makes my wish list, but with all of the other pens I have tested (and yet to post reviews of) it is down the charts a little ways. I'm fairly certain I will own one in the future though.
As a side note, the 2013 Edison Pen Group Buy is in the early stages of planning. If interested, be sure to follow the thread over at The Fountain Pen Network.