(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)
I saw the Le Tigre cebloplast/celluloid (a vintage material) on Shawn Newton’s Instagram last summer. I immediately emailed him to see if I could have a pen made from the stuff. Initially he said he could only make a barrel from it since he only had a little of the material. But, fortunately, he found more hidden somewhere in his holy of holies of stock. I would get an entire pen made of Le Tigre. Rawr!
I placed my order July 7, and Shawn gave me an estimated ship date of March 2017. Jaw drop. Yes, Shawn’s work is mega-popular, and that means a wait of at least six months (my pen actually arrived the first week of February).
As always with Shawn Newton pens, the wait was worth it. My pen was shipped in a Newton-branded steel tumbler with a lovely pen wrap made by his wife.
Le Tigre cebloplast is outrageously gorgeous—green, yellow, and black striped with tons of chatoyance. The material has so much depth and color and is quite unique.
Shawn told me to be careful with this pen. The Le Tigre is a vintage material, and if I were to drop the pen on a hard floor, it would likely shatter.
The pen itself is light (cebloplast/celluloid is light material) and of medium length (148mm capped, 133mm uncapped, 177mm posted). On Shawn’s site this pen is listed as a small Sumpter. The Sumpter is a classic cigar-shaped pen with a screw-on cap and a plain steel clip.
It is a cartridge/converter (converter included).
I lucked out and got it with an 18K rhodium-plated fine nib etched with the Newton logo.
I’ve purchased three pens from Shawn, and this fine nib is the very best writer of the three. In fact, it’s one of the best writers of all my pens.
It writes so smoothly and with the perfect amount of wetness, and the nib has a wonderful bounce to it. I inked it with Sailor Jentle Epinard which matches the color of the cebloplast nicely. I used it today in my Women Writer’s class to take notes. I was writing as fast as I possibly could, and the nib and feed kept up without any problems.
Thus far, this is my favorite Shawn Newton custom pen. I love the unique, vintage material. The Sumpter shape is classic and uncomplicated. And this baby writes like a champ. Just don’t drop it, Susan. Do. Not. Drop.
- One of the best things about custom pen makers like Shawn is you can get a brand new pen in vintage material.
- The Sumpter is a classic, simple design that feels well balanced in the hand.
- The standard 18K fine nib I got with this pen is simply excellent—one of the best writers in my collection.
- I like cartridge/converter pens, so I’m happy with this system. But if you prefer piston fillers, you can have Shawn make your pen with a piston at additional cost.
- Shawn is so much fun to work with. He didn’t get to be super creative on this pen because the small amount of Le Tigre cebloplast limited our options. But you can have a pen made in any number of configurations with virtually any material. The only limits are your imagination and the size of your wallet.
- The Le Tigre material is vintage, and I don’t think Shawn has any more. Sorry (not sorry). I believe I got the last of it.
- The small Sumpter might be too small and light for people who like weighty, large pens. But, you can always ask Shawn to add metal rings and/or a metal barrel to a pen if you want more weight.
- The one bad thing about this vintage cebloplast is it’s super delicate, and I’m a klutz. Kid gloves with this pen, folks.