Hello dear readers.
Today I want to talk, by way of introduction, about a pen manufacturer which I’ve recently come to know about.
It’s called the Desiderata Pen Company and it’s run by a gentleman by the name of Pierre Miller.
This name is still quite new and I don’t see it much talked about in fountain pendom but I have to say, it’s pretty difficult to contain my enthusiasm for the pens he makes.
The concept of the product is to provide the superior flex performance of a dip nib in a fountain pen.
Unless you go to vintage, the modern fountain pen ecosystem is void of any decent flex nibs that would put the vintage nibs of yesteryear to shame.
First of all, the nibs aren’t flexible enough. You can get your nibs worked on by a nibmeister to take material off of the nib to add flex to it. I’ve picked up such nibs for my pelikan pens from Richard Binder. It comes with plenty of warnings attached: don’t flex too hard or you’ll spring the nib. And he only offers gold nibs. Needless to say these nibs are obscenely pricey, more than the pen itself in fact, approaching the stratosphere.
The second problem you see when you search for flex performance in a modern fountain pen is that the ink supply from the feed to the nib, in most cases, is inadequate, resulting in railroading if you go too fast or flex too far.
Both of these issues combined, make for pretty murky waters when you actually search for a decent flex pen in today’s market.
The really revolutionary work in nib technology and metallurgy for flexible nibs happened maybe 100 years ago in the early part of the 20th century. That was the golden era for flex, and some of the giants from that age were Waterman, Wahl Eversharp, Mabie Todd. Parker and Sheaffer were big names for fountain pens in general, but not neccessarily flex nibs.
I’m really puzzled why today’s market has nothing decent to offer on flex nibs. Namiki Falcon would be a poor approximation to flex, and cannot even come near the performance of vintage flex.
I guess fountain pens in specific, and the act of writing by hand in general, have become anachronisms. No one writes anything by hand because there’s email, and no one uses fountain pens, because there’s a ballpoint for every occasion. So I guess the market is really only following what the current trend is and where the demand takes it. Still, though, (and don’t hate me for saying it), they can put a man on the moon but they cannot make a darn nib that compares to ones that were made 100 years ago. They just don’t make flex nibs like they used to any more.
Well, this is where Pierre comes to the rescue.
He hand turns these pens on a lathe to a beautiful effect. He uses cheaply available Zebra G nibs to get all the flexible performance of the best kind that is currently available in today’s market. He uses an ebonite feed, hand cut, with an extremely generous ink supply (more on that below). He uses a bulb filler mechanism to keep things simple and provide enormous ink capacity. Everything about this pen just sings the right tune. Every aspect of it is thoughtfully designed.
I don’t write like this every day, but when I need to. I have the right tool for it. I know this will be the first pen I’ll reach for whenever I need to write a thank you note to someone or write a nice letter which I need to send to a pen pal who loves beautifully handwritten notes.
Have you ever seen an ink channel that wide on any feed?
It’s like the Grand Canyon!
It’s like the Hatim al-Tai of fountain pen feeds.
I will mention a caveat here which should be kept in mind. The Zebra G nibs that are used in these pens are not rust proof. They are meant to be dipped into ink and written with, so they come into contact with moisture only for short durations if used in this fashion.
When used with a fountain pen, the nib is in contact with the moisture at all times, therefore it will rust eventually, and you’d have to replace it with a new one. A pack of 10 Zebra G nibs can be had from JetPens for a modest sum of $13, not bad at all.
Truthfully, though, I’ve kept the nib in the pen and inked for about a month and saw no signs of corrosion.
If you don’t plan to use it for long durations, it behooves you to pull out the nib and feed and wash and dry it and keep it in that state until you need to put it back in service again.
I came to know Pierre via an order that I placed on Etsy for one of his pens. Initially I waited for a while for the pen to be shipped and then I emailed him to follow up on the status.
Him and I got to talking. Originally he was running into some manufacturing issues. The caps for the pens were not coming out right. After apologising profusely, he offered me different options to make it up to me, full refund, discounted pen of a different type, etc.
I told him I was more or less understanding of the problems he was running into, but I really valued the fact that he tried to do right by me.
He evenutually gave me a full refund because he couldn’t get the cap to come out right, and he just didn’t feel right about sending me the pen in that state. He wanted to send me a pen that he was proud of, a pen that he can stand behind the quality of. That says something about the care and workmanship that he puts into his products.
About a month later he contacted me saying that his purple heart cedar pens are now ready and he would like to give me the fist stab at getting these pens from his first batch.
I was truly excited and placed the order on Etsy. The pen arrived promptly a few days later, and what can I say. It was love at first sight.
The brand logo is quite simplistic, which I personally prefer over the heavily ornate or busy monikers. It comprises of straight lines and a circle in black over a plain white background.
I’ll still need help figuring out how it translates to the spirit or the vision of the brand, but the logo doesn’t neccessarily have to do that. Its just a way to identify the name with the face.
The name of the company is still very new (at least to me), and not a whole lot of people know about it. But Pierre is a very nice guy, and I hope he gets lots of business and his brand takes off in notoriety and popularity.
There are two different types of fountain pen users as far as I can see. First are those who think of a fountian pen as a personal statement, they treat their writing instrument almost like jewelery or their shiny new car.
The other camp are more into creating beautiful text on paper, the calligraphers, the artists. For them a fountain pen, first and foremost, is a tool, an instrument of their trade. It has to perform well in the hand.
Pierre products speak to those who want a superior writing experience. Those who are interested in creating something beautiful on the paper, and not those who merely like to hold a thing of beauty in their hands, overly priced, ornate and made of precious materials.