Friday, March 24, 2023

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 471

For the last couple of years, I've been slowly acquiring fountain pens handmade by small pen makers, like this one made by the Birmingham Pen Company -- their 'Model-A' in "Jurassic Amber" resin...

(all photos by Maja ~ please click on images to enlarge) 

Here's some background about this very small pen manufacturer (which is *not* located in England!), taken from their official website:

"The Birmingham Pen Co. is a tiny family owned & operated manufacturer located just north of Pittsburgh.

In 2008, brothers Nick and Josh entered the fountain pen industry operating from their parents' basement. After a decade of contracting with many of the world's premier fountain pen component and ink manufacturers, Birmingham Pen Co. turned its first house machined fountain pen in 2018.

Today our workshop is in Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania, about 20 minutes north of Pittsburgh. Dad has become the chief pen machinist operating our CNC lathe; he's developed some innovative custom tools that allow us to produce beautiful and unique pen parts efficiently. Mom is incredibly helpful with extra processing work and lends a hand with creative new product names. Now we're entering our fifth year of fountain pen production, with ink manufacturing also in full swing."

From what I've been able to gather, the first fountain pen made by them was the 'Model-A' "Cotton Candy" fountain pen, released on February 12, 2018. Two days later, the 'Model-A' in "Jurassic Amber" resin (the pen in this review) was released. 

Since then, the company has come out with additional models, including the 'Model-C' and 'Sixth Avenue'. The 'Sixth Avenue' is the longest and widest model, whereas the 'Model-A' is the shortest model, but the longest when posted. The 'Model-C' is longer than the Model-A, but it's a bit slimmer. 

Specs for the 'Model-A', taken from their official site:

In terms of capped and uncapped length, it's very similar to my Woodshed "Hallowe'en Nights" fountain pen (an early Woodshed model size), although the Woodshed pen can't be posted and the Birmingham Pen Co. can be.


Above: A close-up of the beautiful "Jurassic Amber" resin that the pen company describes as "hues of brown, tan, yellow and gold convene in a crystal like pattern resembling a prehistoric amber deposit" on their Instagram account.

The pen can be posted, but it's very long; I think it's long enough to use comfortably unposted...and it has a nice grip diameter for my hand. It uses standard international ink cartridges or an international converter.

The pen came with a Knox single-tone gold-plated #6 steel nib (a brand of nib that the Birmingham Pen Company sells on their website). This German-made nib features an engraving of a "lion rampant" (that's a heraldic term ;). The nib width isn't marked on the nib, but it whatever it is, it's a smooth writer. I've since replaced the original nib with a two-tone Knox nib because I think it matches the pen's resin even better.

As I mentioned, the Birmingham Pen Company (BPC, for short) sells Knox nibs (currently only two-tone gold-plated oblique nibs are in stock), as well as silver-coloured steel Nemosine nibs. Both nib brands fit in my BPC 'Model-A' pen (and most likely the other BPC models, as well). Some of the Nemosine nibs being sold on their website are 0. 6mm and 0.8mm stubs, which isn't that common; most factory stub/italic nibs seem to come in wider sizes (like 1.1mm), so it's nice to find a #6 sized stub nib in a narrower nib width.

I got this pen second-hand a while back, and I love using it! It's very well made, feels really good in the hand, and it looks great :) In addition to making their own fountain pens, the Birmingham Pen Company also produce their own line of fountain pen inks (which are very nice, as well). I've bought from them on several occasions, and their customer service was always top-notch.

Late addition to this blog post: I found a nice article on the Birmingham Pen Company in the New York Times! The article was posted online in November of 2022 - link.

(~blog post by Maja~)

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