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A Blow Filler? A Blow Filler!

Posted by on Jul 06 2010

Hi Pen Fans!

I always love it when a customer approaches me with new ideas, designs, filling systems, and challenges to consider.

I had a customer speak to me about a blow filler.

This is a filling system that was used very early in the history of pens.  I’m not sure that it was a real lucrative filling system, as I’ve never seen one live, but it turned out to be very interesting and certainly fun.

With a blow filler, there is a sac attached to the section or housing which holds the ink.  This is just like any other typical pen incorporating a sac as the reservoir, such as a lever filler, button filler, crescent filler, etc.

Each of these sac filled pens incorporate some way of compressing the sac.  When you dip the pen in ink, compress the sac and then release, the result of the sac returning to it’s shape will cause a vacuum resulting in ink being drawn into the sac.

In the case of a lever filler, there is a pressure bar that compresses the sac, activated by a lever.  With a button filler, there is a pressure bar activated by a button on the bottom of the pen, with a crescent filler, the same applies, and you can guess what activates the pressure bar. 

So this pen fills the same way, but with an incredibly simple method of compressing the sac.

How does this pen fill?

There is a very small hole drilled into the bottom of the barrel, which is visible in the photos below. 

The section threads are made very precise, to the point of where they are airtight.

This seals the barrel internally.

So to fill the pen, you insert the nib into an ink reservoir, and blow into this hole on the back of the barrel.

Since the interior of the barrel is sealed, blowing into the barrel increases pressure, causing the sac to compress.

When you stop blowing, the sac decompresses, drawing ink into the sac. 

Two or three cycles of blowing into the back of the barrel will fill the pen completely.

The blowfillers of the past would typically not have an ink window.  The customer who ordered this pen wanted some kind of way of knowing where the ink level was.  We went with an ink window, and also a clear sac.  This makes it easy to determine when it’s time to refill.

This pen was also made from original Sheaffer Crimson stock.  Very hard to find.

This was a seriously fun pen to make.  It was really nice to revive a design from a very long time ago!

Brian at Edison


Urushi Pearl Project Videos….

Posted by on May 24 2010

Hi Pen Fans!

The Urushi Pearl Page has just been updated with new photos and videos of the process.

The nine layers of laqcuer have been applied and sanded.  The unevenly applied, or decorative layer has been added.

Videos are documenting the mixing of the Shibo Urushi, and the application of the Shibo Urushi.

Click here to see the progess.


Brian at Edison


A little time away…

Posted by on May 15 2010

Hi Pen Fans.

Just a quick heads up.  I’ll be taking some time to myself this coming week.

I’ll be doing emails, but if I’m slower than normal, you’ll know why.

I’ll be back in action on the 24th.


Brian at Edison

Chicago Pen Show

Posted by on Apr 27 2010

Hi Pen Fans.

My wife and I will be packing up our car and heading to Chicago on Thursday morning.

I won’t be set up on Thursday, but I’ll certainly walk around.

Then I’ll have everything set up Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

I will have probably my largest inventory that I’ve had at a pen show.  Well over 50 pens.  I will have around 6-7 bulb fillers, and today I’ll be cranking out plenty of Morgans.

My current inventory can be seen below….

(if you cannot see the slideshow above, click here)

Be sure to check back, as this slideshow will be updated today and tomorrow with more inventory for the show.


Brian at Edison

Nancy Olson, Ink.

Posted by on Apr 21 2010

Hi Pen Fans.

Nancy Olson, the editor of Stylus Magazine, recently began a new blog that I’ve found quite enjoyable.

Click here to view…
Nancy Olson, Ink
…and you will see the other reason for this post.  Nancy put together a nice entry regarding a couple of Edison pens that I recently sent her to evaluate and critique.

You can see her review of two of my pens on her blog, or here is a direct link.

I recommend bookmarking and/or following Nancy’s blog.  She’s only been blogging since February, but I’ve found every entry to be a great read, and I always look forward to the next one.


Brian at Edison

The Pearl Urushi Project….

Posted by on Apr 08 2010


The Edison Pen Company is proud to announce a collaborative project with Ernest Shin, of Hakumin Urushi Kobo.

Most of you know enough about the Edison Pen Company.  Here’s an introduction to Hakumin Urushi….

Hakumin Urushi, run by Ernest Shin, is a US-based studio devoted to working with the Japanese tradition of lacquerware and exposing it within the United States as well as the western world. Although Urushi is not unknown outside of Japan, many have only been exposed to a relatively small range of what is possible when using lacquer. While these techniques including the famed Maki-e are certainly praiseworthy works of art, they only touch on a small fraction of everything that is Urushi.

Japanese lacquerware (or Urushi, as it is also known by its Japanese name) has a history spanning over several millennia. Over that time, lacquer production has reached a level of complexity that is rarely seen in the world of arts and crafts. Between the versatility of the lacquer itself and ingenuity of the craftsman, there have developed hundreds of different techniques to create exquisite works of art from the perfectly polished deep black so closely associated with Urushi, to meticulous paintings with sprinkled gold and silver, to the exquisite patterns created as much through the whim of chance as the mastery of the craftsman.

Urushi works particularly well with fountain pens because of it’s closeness to the user. As much as it is beautiful in its appearance, a piece of lacquerware is meant to be touched–to be physically experienced. Urushi has always been used for utilitarian goods in Japan, and specifically for those that are meant to be picked up or held in the hand–small soup bowls, inro and tea caddies to name only a few. It only makes sense that something as close to the user as a writing instrument be finished with lacquer.

So what is the collaboration with Edison and Hakumin Urushi?

Edison and Hakumin Urushi will create a Tsugaru-nuri version of the Pearl.  This will be a limited edition.  The plan is for ten pens, but if demand is high enough, this may be increased to a limited edition of twenty.

Tsugaru-nuri is one of the regional forms of lacquerware produced in Japan and is named for Tsugaru, Aomori Prefecture in Japan. The range of techniques uniquely derives its patterns using serendipitous means. A textured surface is created through the use of various materials such as seeds or burnt rice husks, or mixtures of various substances with Urushi, such as egg whites or tofu. This layer is then lacquered over with contrasting colors and after curing, the whole piece is then sanded smooth finally revealing the distinctive patterns of Tsugaru-nuri.

The particular technique to be used for these pens is called Karanuri, one of several techniques considered Tsugaru-nuri. After the meticulous application of the first layers of lacquer, the same used for standard unadorned Urushi pieces, an uneven layer of lacquer is applied using a mixture of urushi and egg whites, a sticky, gel-like mixture that resists running and dripping prior to curing. The mixture is carefully applied ensuring that the texture is pronounced enough to create the desired patterns while not too thick to avoid the wrinkles typically caused by curing an overly thick layer of lacquer.

After a slow and extensive curing process, the uneven layer covered over with multiple layers in contrasting colors, in this case, 23 karat gold powder and translucent Urushi. Once these layers are fully cured the piece is sanded smooth, just enough to reveal the intricate patterns of Karanuri. Afterwards, the piece is finally polished meticulously to bring the surface to the deep shine so distinctive of Urushi.

How will this come together?

Please visit the Urushi Pearl Project Page for more details as well as progress pictures…

Brian at Edison

A Late-Night Penmaking Session….

Posted by on Mar 26 2010

Hi Pen Fans.

I have had my webcam running since the beginning of my company, and it’s been a big success.

There, customers can see me making pens live in real time and chat with me as their pen is being made.  I have one camera set up to show a close-up of the work on the lathe, and also an overhead camera showing my shop in general.

This has been a great way for my customers to see their pens made, make real-time alterations to custom pens, and also get a better understanding of how penmaking occurs.

However, a limitation has been my time schedule.  I’m out there Monday through Friday, 9-5 EDT.

I have developed a regular crowd, and most of these people are folks who have a computer at their workplace, and can tune in off-and-on during the day.

But I realize that I’m missing a large crowd of people.  These include people who do not have a computer at their workplace, and also people on the West Coast or international regions where my time schedule just doesn’t work out.

So next week, I’m going to do a late-night penmaking session.

On Tuesday, March 30th, I will do a penmaking session at 7:00 pm Eastern Daylight Time.

This is a good time slot for people who’s job will not allow viewing and also for people who’s time zones do not coincide.

The best way to watch and chat is to go to this page…

However, people can also watch and chat from their iPhone or Android, using the Ustream Viewer App, which is here…

Here’s what will happen on Tuesday night…

I will be making a pen for my inventory that I haven’t made before.  This will be a Huron in Crossgrain Ivory Celluloid.

I’ve used plenty of standard Ivory Celluloid, but I recently found some that is cut crossgrain.  This will make a very striking effect.

The stock that I will use is photographed below…


I will also do an additional pen, and I will leave the specifics of this pen up to the crowd.

I’ll be happy to take suggestions.  Any material, any model, even highly custom, within reason…so post some suggestions.

Then I’ll be happy to take questions and chat (although I will certainly chat where I can during the making process, as well).

So if you are interested, please tune in….

Tuesday, March 30th, 7:00 pm EDT.

www.edisonpen.com/webcam.cfm  or use the iPhone or Android Ustream Viewer App.

I hope to see lots of you there!

Brian at Edison

Introducing The Morgan…

Posted by on Mar 19 2010

 Hi Pen Fans!

I’m proud to introduce my newest model, The Morgan.


(if you cannot see the slide show above, click here)

I’d like to discuss a little about its design.

I have a lot of clients who love the Pearl, but prefer a pen that is longer, and posts more secure.  This has been made evident by the number of custom Pearls that I’ve made to be extended in length.

This pen is one of my longer offerings, at 6" capped.  The extra length allows me to create a very elegant profile that allows for secure posting.

This pen is offered standard as a cartridge/converter, but can be made into a bulb filler, and also a rollerball.

Obviously, the pen is available in the materials shown on the Morgan Main Page, but any custom material that you and I can dream up is available.

Please go here for more details.


Brian at Edison