Sunday, May 20, 2012

And now, a word about Edison

A month or two ago, I wrote a review about the Bexley Jitterbug! in which I also briefly mentioned Edison Pen. The gist of the comment was, I’d been leery of both Bexley and Edison for some time, not sure how well they, as boutique makers, would compare with the more “major” penmakers.

Edison Mina (above), Edison Pearl
(as always, all photos are clickable)

Well, I’ve gotten over that little fear.

About the same time that I bought the Jitterbug!, I bought an Edison Mina on the secondary market. Ever since the pen had come out, I had been intrigued by the shape; it reminded me a bit of the Waterman Serenite, which I’ve always thought was lovely but couldn’t justify the price, even to myself - and I'm pretty good at rationalizing the purchase of pens.

Minas don’t come on the secondary market very often – for that matter, it seems Edisons in general don’t – and they tend to sell fast if they do. I figured that if I didn’t care for the pen I could always sell it again.

The Mina was smaller than I thought it would be – for some reason, even though dimensions are published for all Edison pens, I didn’t picture it as svelte as it turns out to be.

Despite its slightly diminutive size, it’s comfortable to hold and to write with. I was a bit worried about that; as I’ve mentioned before I have occasional issues with arthritis and tendonitis in my hands, primarily from overuse, so I tend to like larger pens for writing; they’re generally easier to hold.

The pen is simple in appearance; there’s no accommodation for blingy stuff. Its beauty lies in simplicity of line. The fit and finish are very precise.

Shortly afterward, I saw on FPN that an Edison group buy was coming together. I thought about it for a while before I jumped – but jump I did, and bought one of the ebonite Pearl LE pens on offer, ending up with number 24 of 79.

(Speaking of rationalizing - one of the things that got me to buy the pen was the relationship of the pen model name to the nickname I have for my car, which is based on the car being pearl white. Yes, I can justify almost anything if I try hard enough.)

When the pen arrived, I wondered at the step down from barrel to section; it seemed like it would be hard to work with. In use, however, I don’t have an issue. The fact that Joe swipes it at every opportunity tells me he doesn’t have any issue with it either, and his hands are larger than mine.

Again, the fit and finish are very precise. I suspect Brian Gray's standards and tolerances are rather tight. And the shine on it is one I don’t think I’ve ever seen on ebonite before; this also speaks to craftsmanship. Brian’s prior experience as a woodworker making furniture with marquetry work, another craft that would require careful precision, clearly shows. Before I had discovered his background, due to the careful handmade fit of the pens I wondered whether it had involved engineering ; in a way, yes, definitely. Not to mention that if he ever makes another of those marquetry tables, I Want One.

Both the Mina and the Pearl write a consistent line; no muss, no fuss, no hiccups, and no balky starting. Despite the lack of blinginess of either pen, both are quickly becoming favorites of mine. Why? Simply because reliable, useful tools are always in vogue for me.

The Mina nib, a number 5, somewhat smaller than the Pearl nib below

In fact, I like both of these so much that I am now awaiting the arrival of the urushi Mina from Ernest Shin and Brian Gray. I had been going to wait until that pen arrived before posting this, but I figure the fact that it’s a blingy Edison (well, certainly by comparison) means it’s deserving of its own post! Expect photos and a write-up once it's arrived and I've had a chance to work with  it a bit.

I am quite happy with my Edisons; they're well built and consistent performers. I suspect you'd like one too!

Thanks to our friend Budd who brought home from Egypt the papyrus you see as background for these images. Someday I'll summon up the guts to try to write on it.


  1. Hi,

    Is the Mina in Black Rose Acrylic in the picture shown above? I am trying (very hard) to decide on my first extended Mina material and Brian seems to have too many materials on his site.
    Any suggestions?


    1. Hi Shom! Yes, that is black rose acrylic. (It's not the extended version of the Mina, though.) Having so many choices is kind of a double-edged sword, isn't it? So hard to choose!

      I hope you enjoy your new pen!