Sunday, August 14, 2011

Edison Urushi Herald

Can you have too many fountain pens? Or, at least, can one say he has enough fountain pens?

I've tried to say "Yes" to both of the above questions. Several times - usually after I find another fountain pen that's just that little bit (or very much in some cases) different.

The Urushi Herald fountain pen, from the Edison Pen Company and the hands of Brian Gray and Ernest Shin, is a case in point. An ebonite pen, coated in many, many layers of lacquer, covered in 23.5K gold power and then further layers of pigmented lacquer.

The process took months of painstaking effort, by hand.

The two men strove for an modern touch with pigments chosen to produce a teal color. However, the vagaries of handcrafted work and the heat and humidity of this Spring and Summer caused the end result to turn out darker than they'd originally hoped for.

The resulting pen has a green cast to the lacquer, with underlying blue visible in some lights. Since the pen did not turn out in the striven-for color, Brian graciously lowered the final price.

The pen is clip less, the first of such that I own - leaving me terrified I'll drop it or let it slide from a pocket. Not a problem were I to leave it at home in a desk drawer - but such pens should be used. My favorite description for fountains is "functional works of art". As such, they should be allowed to fulfill their function.

The Urushi Herald is a limited edition pen. I have a few limited editions - my Aurora Europa (one of who-knows-how-many), my Delta Peace pen (one of 1,994), my powder blue Pilot Vanishing Point (again, no idea of how many). The Urushi Herald is different. It is third of twenty. That's it. That's all.

I opted for the F nib - without further customization, for that would be a waste of the pen crafter's skill. My ability with pen and ink falls far short of the skill required to make use of the more esoteric flavors of nib style.

The nib is wonderful as it moves across the paper. There is a slight resistance which serves to allow the writer remember his place.

The resulting line is not as fine as I've seen with other nibs, but the clarity is all down to the nib, and not the writer.

Given the lacquering that's been applied to this pen, it's recommended that one doesn't "post" the cap. This is not a problem in my case, I'm European. Sometime last year I read that caps are seldom posted in Europe. Who knew? It seems I've been doing it "right" all along - at least in so far as how "right" is defined where I hail from.

As it turns out, I don't post the cap while writing because it changes the center of gravity of a pen for me, leaving it seeming unbalanced.

I've inked the Herald with a Royal Blue from Pelikan. It has a very rich tone to the color and seems to suit this pen very well.

Given, however, the green cast to the entire pen, I may go looking for a deep and rich green that should complement it nicely.

Below is a sample of how the pen writes - using the Pelikan Royal Blue, on a Levenger pad.


  1. I'd have that pen up on a wall, showcased behind glass. :) Kudos to you for actually using it!

  2. lovely lovely lovely - congrats!!! I just ordered an urushi pen from Ernest - a Pearl Urushi koboku shiage with an 18 kt XF nib - 16 weeks ACK!!!

    Enjoy your new pen.

  3. @Laura - Ah no, they (fountain pens) *have* to be used. They just have to be. :)

    @Julie - Thank you - it is lovely indeed. I've looked through Ernest's site. Gorgeous, gorgeous pens. Enjoy! They do take a while - but, it's art.

  4. Beautiful pens - here is a haiku I wrote about the fate of mine

    Your blog is great!

  5. @haikudoyu - Thank you for the comment. I enjoyed your fountain pen haiku, once I got past the pain. :-)

    And yours, a whole blog dedicated to haiku, how could I not like?

  6. We share an obsession! I have Mont-Blancs and a Monte Verde:)

  7. @Anne - Obsession it is, though one friend of mine was pleased to call it a "fetish". I had trouble defending myself against her judgement. I have neither of those - oh dear, now I have something to look for. :)

  8. Beautiful pen! This is the second pen article of yours I've read Kevin and you are changing the way I look at them. They are indeed works of art.

    Helen from helen-scribbles

  9. @Helen - I'm glad you enjoyed the post, Helen. In this high-tech world, of which I am very much a part, I enjoy these works of art. They help slow me down a little, and they are beautiful to look at, and to work with.

  10. There's nothin' more appealin' than a writer man with an esoteric nib. (Hmmmm, has a CBT ring to it, doesn't it?)

    Loved this, Mr aware of the art as an author man ~

    The nib is wonderful as it moves across the paper. There is a slight resistance which serves to allow the writer remember his place.

    You just figure which is best for the flow in signing the frontpiece of our book, will you?

    ~ Absolutely*Kate

  11. @*Kate - Oh, I have the *best* pen already for that! It's a most spectacular signature pen - again, a work of art signed by the artist. A thing of beauty - which should go well with this tale being woven between us of CBT and friends...among others.

  12. "A MOST SPECTACULAR SIGNATURE PEN" is indeed the one and only dear co-author of THE 1976 SOCIETY. But dear sir {her eyes sparkle} - a work of art pen which is signed by the art of the pen creator for signing the opening pages of the work of art we are penning?

    Oh dear sir ~ How sensationally *splendid*!
    ~ Absolutely*Kate scribing Carolina Beatrice Templeton's delighted exclamation