High Praise: An Architect Grind by Dan Smith

Edison Glenmont 2014 LEA

I bought this Edison Glenmont 2014 LEA (Limited Edition Acrylic), as part of an annual Edison Pen Co. group buy, with a broad nib, which was not my usual nib choice back then. But I had my reasons. Well, reason. I knew that, at some point, I’d probably like to have some sort of nib grind performed and figured that starting with a broad nib would give the nibmeister a good sized chunk of real estate to work with. Obviously I didn’t rush into the nib work as it’s been nearly two years since I bought the pen, yet I only recently took the nib-grinding dive.

Edison Glenmont 2014 LEA (Wine Acrylic)

The Wine Acrylic on this Glenmont is stunning and almost looks like it’s lit from within. The chatoyancy mesmerizes me. And while the broad nib on this pen was very nice—smooth and wet—I felt that a pen this good looking could use a little something special. I’m trying to make 2016 the year of fewer acquisitions and more/deeper use, so it finally seemed like the perfect time to send this pen off to Dan Smith, The Nibsmith, for some nib magic.

Architect Grind

I couldn’t do anything with a nib—except ruin it—but Dan took my “clear as mud” directive and turned this perfectly acceptable broad nib into one with wonderful smoothness and character. My Edison Glenmont now sports a Dan Smith Architect grind.

Writing with broad Architect grind

Dan explains an Architect (aka Hebrew or Arabic) grind on his website, saying, “You can think of this nib as a stub rotated 90 degrees. It creates a thin vertical stroke and a thick horizontal stroke.” I test drove a few Architect grinds at the DC Pen Show but wasn’t quite ready to jump in then, mostly because I wasn’t completely sure which pen/nib I wanted modified. I tend to be a ponderer—so I pondered.

Edison Glenmont with Architect Grind

In the end, I came back to my original idea and sent off the Glenmont, and man, am I glad I did. This thing is crazy good. I filled the pen with a sample of Bungbox Sapphire and the combination of this ink with this broad Architect grind is sublime. It’s smooth and expressive and just plain fun. Capital F fun.

Architect Grind

Even without a macro lens, you can see the Architect grind. Impressive work, Dan.

What’s cool about having this Edison nib modified is that I can easily swap it into my other Edison pens should I want to change things up.


I like looking at writing from strange angles. Rather than focusing on the words, you can focus on the ink properties and expressiveness of the nib. It’s a little quirk of mine.

I couldn’t be happier with this pen or with Dan’s work.


Just one little bone to pick—I have this wonderful Architect grind but it hasn’t helped my architect skills one iota. I still can’t design a house to save my life.

Okay, that “joke” probably made you groan, but I can assure, this nib will make you sing.

Songs of high praise, that is.


I paid for the pen and nib modification with my own funds, and I was not (nor will I be) compensated in any way for this review. The Bungbox Sapphire ink sample was graciously provided by my pen pal, Phil Olin (@SgtStretch). 

Check out all of Dan’s nib services at nibsmith.com. The Architect grind shown here costs $55 at the time of this review. Prices for other nib services and grinds can be found on Dan’s website.





To Buy Or Not To Buy: Edison Collier in Antique Marble

Edison Collier in Antique Marble

I suspect you’re familiar with this internal (and ETERNAL) battle. See pretty pen. Want pretty pen.

Problem is, you only have two hands (and really, only one that can write anything), and way more pens than hands. Way more. Like, you’re on your way to becoming one of those people with goat paths that lead from one cluttered room to another. The pens, I’ve noticed, tend to pile up.


But, GAH, you want this pen. So the angel and devil both start whispering in opposite ears, each trying to outmaneuver the other.

“But it’s so pretty!”

“You have enough pens!”

“It will make my life complete!”

“Um, no.”

“But everybody’s getting one!”

“And if everybody jumped off a bridge, would you do that?!” [Funny how your brain digs up these little beauties from your childhood.]

The ping-ponging conversation continues until you’re exhausted by indecision. But, oh, how that pen speaks to you!


Such was the scenario when I saw this slightly used Edison Collier in Antique Marble on Gary Varner’s former Notegeist site.

I did my best to look away, but I couldn’t unsee that pen.

I appealed to my sense of reason. I already own an Edison Collier in Persimmon Swirl. (Talk about a looker!) AND, I already own an Edison Pearl in Antique Marble. So neither the model nor material were new to me.

I really DID do my best to ignore it, thinking that someone else would snap it up and make the decision moot. But no one did.

The price, I should mention, was excellent. A real steal. I stewed and rationalized and waffled in both the “buy” and “don’t buy” directions. I burned brain power and calories thinking about this, so strenuous was my thinking.


You’re smart. You know how this particular tale turns out. I bought the pen.

The price was too good. The pen, too gorgeous. The Antique Marble acrylic is slightly translucent and beautifully swirled. There’s chatoyancy and depth and glow. The colors are my colors.


The fine nib writes wonderfully. Upon receipt, I filled it with Montblanc JFK Blue Navy, and have been writing letters and journal entries with it often. I do not regret this purchase.


But sometimes I don’t buy the pen. And this year I’m going to do my best to do what I said I was going to do LAST year- to be happy with what I already have. To USE what I already have.


To buy or not to buy. That will always be the question.


Edison Pearl…Rollerball? Heck, ya!

Edison Pearl in Antique Marble
My Edison Pearl in Antique Marble (Photo Credit: Edison Pen Co.)

One day, back in the winter, I was battling extreme cabin fever by browsing around on the Edison Pen Co. site, as you do. As I clicked around, I noticed a section I hadn’t paid attention to before—a section about rollerball pens. Hmmmmm. Here, Brian explained that you can get every Edison Pen model as a rollerball, if fountains pens don’t do it for you. OR, if you’re like me, and keep a foot in both the fountain pen and rollerball worlds, there’s the very cool option of getting one pen body with two sections—a fountain pen section AND a rollerball section for an additional $50. When I read about this option, bells of joy chimed in my head (they did!) because as much as I love and use fountain pens, I also heavily use, and appreciate, rollerballs.

Edison Pearl Rollerball

Brian Gray and I exchanged a few emails to discuss this “two-fer” option, then came the tough choice of picking a model and material for my new RB/FP pen. I have handful of Edison pens, but no Pearl as yet, so the model decision was settled quite quickly. To choose a material, I clicked through hundreds of photos on the Edison Pens gallery and took note (quite literally) of which materials gave me a little zing. From this subset, I did some focused browsing, and ultimately decided on the Antique Marble acrylic. It’s everything I love— autumnal colors, amazing depth, liquidy swirls, some translucency, and a good dose of chatoyancy. Pretty stunning to my eye.

Edison Pearl RB & FP in Antique Marble
Edison Pearl body with both a fountain pen and a rollerball section

Brian estimated an 11-12 week wait for my custom order, and he hit that timeline perfectly. The pen arrived last week and it’s absolutely everything I hoped for. The acrylic looks like it’s ON FIRE…so hot. With the added versatility of the two sections, this is a pen that will be very hard to take out of rotation.

Edison Pearl Rollerball in Antique Marble

Brian included both a black and blue Schmidt 5888 rollerball refill (medium), along with two springs. The spring is seated onto the back of the refill to hold it in place inside the pen body so that it fits snuggly and perfectly. The Schmidt 5888 is smooth and kind of luscious—like the rollerball equivalent of fountain pen ink. The Schmidt 888 and Schneider Topball 850 refills are also compatible.

Edison Pearl fountain pen

For the fountain pen, I chose a medium nib, as I’m finding that western mediums suit me best lately—fine enough for my small handwriting, yet wide enough to see some ink shading and/or sheen. I will admit that I haven’t inked up this pen as yet, so I can’t speak to the smoothness of the nib right now. (I cleaned a significant number of pens this weekend and feel SO MUCH better getting the number of inked pens back under control. I’m proceeding with extreme care.)

Medium nib

My photos just don’t do this material justice. Much like the Persimmon Swirl acrylic of my Edison Collier, it puts me in a pen-staring trance with its mesmerizing jumble of swirled colors, depth, and translucency.

Swirls and chatoyancy

Pen cap
I like that little clear section in the middle of the cap.

Translucent threads
Catching a glimpse of the threads

When you buy an Edison pen, you get guaranteed satisfaction. In the letter that came with my pen, Brian wrote, “Our services go beyond the sale. If you ever have any issues, let us know. If you ever get a scratch, we’ll be happy to buff the pen free of charge.” It’s great knowing that I won’t have to jump through hoops should an issue ever pop up.

Edison Pen Pearl rollerball

While the Edison Pen Co. is famous for their gorgeous fountain pens, they probably aren’t who you immediately think of when you’re shopping for a rollerball. Maybe that’s about to change.

I purchased this pen with my own funds. I was not compensated in any way, nor was I asked to provide a review. But, really, how could I not?!

2014 Wrap-Up: The Feelings

Simple tree
Simple tree

I had planned to get a post up last week, but then I caught a cold (unexpected) and Christmas arrived (expected). One thing was fun, the other not so much. Slowly coming out of my sinus miseries and low-key Christmas celebrations to think about getting things back to normal. Well, normalish.

Baking cookies
Baking molasses cookies. Or as I call them, mole asses cookies.

I’m off from work for most of the week— just have to pop in on Friday for a little while— so every day feels like Saturday lately. Which is what I imagine heaven feels like.

Christmas colored Retro 51s
My festive Retro 51s

A couple of feelings routinely kick in this time of year, as one year ends and the other begins. The first is gratitude. Thanks for all of the good stuff and good people that I’ve encountered in the last year, much of it related to pens (and paper and ink and pencils) and the pen/pencil communities. These are the places where I feel most comfortable, where my introverted tendencies vanish, where I have a blast.

The Retrakt
Karas Kustoms Retrakt

Though not a complete list by any means, these are just some of the people and places who made 2014 a memorable year:

The Pen Addict with Brad and Myke (responsible for oh so many pen purchases and for an always entertaining commute)
The Erasable Podcast with Andy, Johnny, and Tim (Who would’ve thought I’d listen to a show about pencils? I do, and I love it.)
Anderson Pens (Oh, that chat! It’s like meeting with friends every time I tune in.)
SBREBrown & Gourmet Pens & the “I won’t be ignored” kitty (Great information with great humor. You guys rock.)

Pen, pencil, ink, notebook, and storage vendors
Anderson Pens
Dudek Modern Goods
Edison Pen Co.
Field Notes
The Goulet Pen Co.
Karas Kustoms
Nock Co.
Pen Chalet
The Pen Company
Retro 1951
Write Notepads & Co.

Thanks to some for supplying review items, to others for great customer service, and to all for great products and that extra-special personal touch.

My nib guy
Dan Smith @fpgeeks

Thanks for making less than stellar pens remarkable, quickly and affordably. Great work!

Tracy Lee

Thank you for understanding when I TAKE SO LONG TO REPLY. Your letters and cool envelopes are a source of delight in my mailbox. So glad we’re getting to know each other better while using our pens and inks.

Bloggers, Tweeters, Facebookers
I won’t name names because I’ll leave someone out then feel bad, but you all entertain and educate me, amuse and enlighten. This is the BEST community.

Best hotel
The Sheraton at Tysons Corner for returning my “left behind” Akkerman ink after the DC Pen Show. Amazing customer service. So grateful.

Pencils at the ready
Pencil line-up

The other feeling that kicks in this time of year is “fresh start.” Old year out, new year in. Time to purge, reorganize, and start with a blank(ish) slate. Fred and I regularly purge and straighten out our pantry during our break between Christmas and New Year’s. Annual ritual. Afterwards, we vow to use what we have on hand before adding more stuff to the cupboards.

Conklin Stylograph
Conklin Stylograph (to be reviewed)

In that same vein, I plan to make 2015 a year where I buckle down and USE my pens, pencils, papers, and inks— switching my focus from acquisition to using. When you have a Staples Printer Paper box full of empty notebooks, it might be time to stop buying notebooks and start writing in them. Like every day. Don’t get me wrong, I use my stuff but I need to REALLY use my stuff. There’s plenty here to be written in and written with, plenty to be reviewed, plenty to have fun with. Plenty.

Machined goodness
Machined favorites

So I’m closing out 2014 and starting 2015 feeling grateful and blessed. And you— all of you— are the reason.

Peace and good health to you all.

Write Notepads & Co.
Write Notepads & Co. loot

The “Anti-Stealth” Edison Nouveau Premiere 2014 Spring Edition (Cherry Blossom)

A couple of weeks ago, I was blabbing about my love for all things stealth, like pens with black matte bodies and all-black nibs. I DO love those. I really do.

Edison Nouveau Premiere Cherry Blossom

But then I saw THIS pen on the Goulet Pens site and it’s obviously as “anti-stealth” as a pen can get. It’s pink and swirly and alive with depth and sheen. And it spoke to me. LOUDLY. Quite frankly, it would not shut up.

Pink & swirly!

Let’s set the groundwork— I’m not a pink person (she says, as she sits here wearing a pink shirt). Well, I did request a pink room when I was eight, but I chalk that up to falling for the “girl’s room = pink” stereotype of my youth. I’m much more drawn to earthy colors, and taupe. Lots of taupe. So me wanting this pink pen sort of came out of left field.

Sheen and depth and swirls!

It’s like how I LOVE the movie “The September Issue” despite being one of the least fashionable, comfort-trumps-all people I know. That movie, about the making of the September issue of Vogue magazine, is packed with moments of beauty, creative genius, and hard work. This pen, it seems to me, is packed with those as well.

Stabby ends

The Edison Nouveau Premiere model features a pointed body and cap, which makes it look a little “stabby.” That slightly tactical look, coupled with the luscious pink swirls, makes the pen that much more appealing to me. It’s like it’s tough and soft at the same time, which is a cool mix.

Translucent cap

One of my favorite things about the look of this pen is the translucency— how you can catch a glimpse of the nib and converter inside the pen. Coupled with the sheen and the swirls, this is, to me, the perfect look— full of interest and surprises.

Uncapped Cherry Blossom

The pen is a light one— 17g overall (10g body, 7g cap). This coupled with the nicely tapered grip makes it a great candidate for long writing sessions. The cap doesn’t post, but the uncapped body measures 5-1/8″ making it perfectly usable for just about everybody.

Edison nib

I ordered the pen with a medium steel nib, and after a bit of debate, filled the included converter with my beloved Levenger Shiraz ink. This is a “we were meant to be together” pairing, and writing letters and notes with this pen/ink is a true pleasure. The nib writes wonderfully. It’s juicy, with just a touch of feedback. No hard starts, no skipping. The ink always flows even if I’ve left the pen sitting for a couple of days.

Cherry Blossom

What’s really nice is that the #6 nibs are easily swappable. Just screw out one nib unit and screw in another. Because of this, I ordered a couple of spare nibs with my pen— a fine as well as a 1.1mm stub. It’s like having three pens in one for just a little more money.

Edison branding

As noted on the Goulet Pens website, “Edison Nouveau is a joint collaboration between Brian Gray of the Edison Pen Company, and Brian Goulet of the Goulet Pen Company. This is an exclusive line of Edison fountain pens available only through the Goulet Pen Company.” Branding is super subtle, and notes that this is the 2014 Spring Edition of the Edison Nouveau Premiere, meaning this version will only be available until mid/late June. It’s not a limited edition pen (i.e., there aren’t a limited number available), rather it’s available during a limited timeframe. I’m already anxious to see the 2014 Summer and Fall versions.

Oh, those swirls!

But for now, I love my pink Edison Nouveau Premiere, despite my professed love of black stealthy pens. (It’s our inconsistencies that make us interesting, right?) This pen positively POPS and sparkles and shines. It’s bright, it’s fun, it’s fresh and swirly.

Edison Nouveau Premiere Cherry Blossom

It is the Cherry Blossom.

Prized: Edison Extended Mina in Cinnamon Swirl Acrylic (EF nib)

On Saturday April 27th, the planets and stars aligned JUST right and I miraculously won an Edison pen during the FPGeek’s FPtv Episode 69 Live Broadcast. When Stephen pulled my name out of the hat (yes, an actual hat), I did that thing that football players do when they score the winning touchdown. (And if you know me, you know that’s TOTALLY out of character.) The win was particularly cool, because the first name Stephen drew belonged to someone in the chat, and they, apparently, hadn’t stuck around long enough to see if they’d won. So a second name was drawn, and it was mine.

Stunned. Serious stunnage. I was stunified.

As the winner of the Edison giveaway, I was allowed to select any cartridge/converter, steel nibbed pen from Brian Gray’s current inventory (up to $250 value). Now THAT was a daunting/fun/colorful decision. There were hundreds of pens to choose from (this was just prior to the Chicage Pen Show, luckily) and I flipped through the entire inventory a couple of times before narrowing things down. Ultimately I settled on the Extended Mina in Cinnamon Swirl Acylic, with my usual EF nib. The pen arrived a few days later, and wow…just wow. This thing is gorgeous.

Extended Mina

When browsing through Brian’s inventory slides, I was  quickly taken by the shape of the Extended Mina. The pen gently tapers to the center so the ends are a bit thicker than the middle of the capped pen. There’s no clip, and the pen cannot be posted, so if you require either of those features, this model is not for you. But it is definitely the one for me. The look is clean and smooth, and the Cinnamon Swirl Acrylic makes it truly jaw-dropping.

Extended Mina

This particular swirled acrylic has amazing depth and sheen and translucency. I like how you can catch a glimpse of the threads through the cap. And the colors are “my colors.” Rusty oranges and greens and golds and blacky blues all swirled in a mesmerizing pattern. You can’t not look at it.

Cinnamon Acrylic

The tapered section fits my hand perfectly. Holding this pen is like slipping on that perfect pair of sandals…the kind that make you exhale with comfort. (Obviously the Extended Mina and I were meant to be together.) And this EF nib is wonderfully fine, perfectly fine…somewhat finer than the EF nibs I have on a couple other Edison pens. Which suits me…well…fine. I couldn’t be happier with this pen.

Edison EF nibbage
Edison EF nibbage

What’s cool about Edison pens (like this one, and my Collier in Persimmon Swirl) is that they totally ruin you for other pens. My wishlist doesn’t tug at me nearly as hard now that I’m using my Mina. Which is kind of nice. To feel pen-satisfied.


“Prized,” as defined in the dictionary means:
1) Offered or given as a prize;
2) To value highly; esteem or treasure.

And so this is my prized pen. This is my Edison Extended Mina. Pinch me.

Uncapped Extended Mina

Nothing Compares 2 U: Edison Collier Persimmon Swirl

Apologies to Sinead O’Connor for stealing the song title to title this post, but I am dopey swoony over this pen. Like I miss it when I’m not around it. It has completely stolen my pen-loving heart. It has spoiled me for all other pens. This is serious, folks.

Behold the Edison Collier in Persimmon Swirl. Oh, my. There I go, swooning again. (Did I faint? Did I get the vapors?)

Use with cartridge or converter OR as an eyedropper pen

By listening to the Fountain Pen Geeks podcasts, I’m learning a lot about the fountain pen players, including Brian Gray (Edison Pen Company, the maker of this pen) and Brian Goulet (The Goulet Pen Company, the seller of the pen). The Collier is one of Brian Gray’s production pens and is sold by The Goulet Pen Company, as well as a few other sellers. I love poking around on The Goulet’s website, and let me tell you, when I spotted this pen, my eyes popped out of my head, just like a cartoon critter’s.

Yes, like this.

This is the biggest pen I own, but it’s wonderfully comfortable and fun to hold. The section is perfectly shaped for my grip, so writing with it is a dream. A DREAM. The #6 two-tone steel nib (fine) writes smoothly and without hesitation. The looks are truly killer. Photos don’t really do justice to the sheen and depth of the persimmon swirl pattern. The branding is simple and subtle. There is not one misstep with this pen. Not a one.

I could blabber on like a fool all day long, but I think I’ll just let the photos do the talking.

Persimmon Swirl. (Reminds me of Nemo!)

Oh so subtle branding

A view of the #6 nib

Edison Collier vs. Lamy Vista

Edison Collier, I’ll say it again. Nothing compares 2 u.


AND here’s a super review from another fan: Stephen Brown’s video review.