While I had previously planned to review this pen it was for further down the line, partly due to a side project connected with the fountain pens for a fiver article, and partly due to other pens I wished to cover first. Spotting that the Helix Oxford is presently on sale at Asda (on the UK high street) for just £4.50 I felt now was the time to cover this pen while it can still be bought at the reduced price.Continue reading
These days most people associate Yard-O-Led (YOL) with a range of sterling silver writing implements hand crafted from a workshop in the Jewellery Quarter of Birmingham, UK, however back before the 2015 buyout from their previous owners Letts, they had other pens in their inventory.
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.
Continuing with my cover of English pens, it’s time to look at a modern ‘oldie’ and stalwart of the industry. The Italix Parson’s Essential from Mr. Pen. Back when I first started going to the London, UK Fountain Pen Club about three years ago this was still a ‘must have’ pen within the community, and for good reasons as it was cheap, good value for money, and with the availability of a very large number of hand ground and tested nibs (Peter Ford from Mr. Pen being the nibmeister). I tried one at the time, actually I tried this specific one at the time, and decided that maybe I would get one further down the line.
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.