July last year I reviewed an unusual urushi finish on a copper pen by a new UK based pen maker and finisher, Ruth Bolton. Since then she has moved on with new designs and finishes, as well as her own on-line store, and has now started to sell her wares at pen shows. Here we have one of her new designs, the Kitsune, an aluminium pen with some interesting elements and a geometric engraved pattern.Continue reading
In 2020 Onoto once more teamed up with TMB Art Metal to work on a pen part made from metal recovered from a Battle of Britain fighter plane. Previously we had the Spitfire, made of Duralumin from a wing spare removed from P7350, a surviving MK2 that required the part to be replaced to remain airworthy. For this pen less metal has been used, coming from P2725 TM-B, the Hawker Hurricane Mk1 flown by Sergeant Ray Holmes and famous for being crashed through the tail of a Dornier Do17 bomber which looked like it was flying at Buckingham Palace. The incident was made famous as the German plane was filmed falling out of the sky and crashing on to Victoria Station. Alas P2725 faired no better and Holmes had to bail out. He not only survived the Battle of Britain, but also the war, dying in 2005 at the age of 90.Continue reading
A few weeks before the Spring 2022 London Pen Show I heard Onoto were working on a new lower cost model. An entry point to their range and heirloom ownership ethos. Little did I know that when I asked Feng Li of Onoto on the day, instead of being given snippets of information he rushed off and returned with a tray full of the first batch which they were selling pre-launch at the show. If these were numbered or came with ownership cards like their other models, I would now have number #1. Monday this week (the 21st of March 2022) the pen went live on their website.Continue reading
Originally I was just going to list the ‘one man band’ makers with links to their sites, but then decided, why not expand it to include the larger companies. Note the lists are not comprehensive and I will add new makers as I am told about or discover them.Continue reading
Den’s approach to pen making has been slightly different from the norm. Using a lathe for work he moved towards combining a newly discovered love for fountain pens with his professional skills, with the twist being a very public learning experience as he has covered his trials and tribulations on his Facebook page, warts and all.Continue reading
People tend to mistakenly think that when Parker moved their manufacturing to India and Platignum (not to be confused with Platinum) appeared to cease to be, that fountain pen production in the UK had halted. However, even before that time, a number of small craftsmen were already starting up. One of these, in 2003, was Bryan Lucas at the Worcester Pen Company.
At the start of 2019, Onoto were invited by the British Government to be part of a trade deputation to Dubai. While there they were inspired by the traditional rich colours of Arab art and design. On return, one Feng Li experimented with filling in the chasing pattern on Pearl Magna Classic, looked at the results and … a set was created and sold at the following pen shows.
Pens are emotive. The nibs, the material, the looks, the feel, all play on our senses. The variations both within and between manufacturers and craftsman help propel our hobby, our collections, and our expenditure forwards, while also providing a source of joy, and dare I say, at times frustration. Wood often grabs my attention, so when John Twiss posted a picture of three new, primarily wooden pens on Facebook and Instagram just before the Spring London Pen Show, my interest was piqued.
I first came across Rob van Nigtevecht and Powerful Signature on a UK based Facebook fountain pen group, where he posted pictures of pens he was making in various stages of creation and assembly. In early 2018 he produced a dark blue pen with appropriate roundels on both finials to help celebrate the centenary of the RAF. This attracted my attention and stirred me on to look at his website. I think by then both RAF pens may already have been sold, but he also had a Marine edition, made from Conway Stewart rods which caught my eye and the rest, as they say, was history.
During this review, and overview I will be covering both of my pens made by John Twiss.
John has been a stalwart of the UK pen show scene for many years. Starting as a hobby, either before or after he took early retirement from IT, he hand makes his pens from a workshop at the Sherwood Forest Art and Craft Centre, near Nottingham in the UK, selling both on line and through pen shows. With the latter, not only is he an attendee, but also helped restart the Newcastle Show in 2018. In addition to his own pens, he also sells other brands through his (joint owned ?) TwiCo shop.