Edison Herald Grande

There isn’t much I can say about the Edison Pen Company, founded by Brian Gray, that hasn’t been said a million times. In brief, they have a production line of pens that are available at various retailers, but one can also custom order a pen from them in several models and a large number of neat materials.

So I’m the guy who, given a vast number of potential combinations of pens and materials, chose a black, cigar-shaped pen with gold trim. Perhaps that’s boring to some, but I don’t care.


The Herald Grande is, unsurprisingly, a very large pen. When capped, it dwarfs my other oversize pens. Uncapped, it’s comparable to my Pelikan m1000. The section is a big, fat cylinder with very little taper to it. The barrel has a bit of a waist near the threads and flairs out a bit before tapering down again, which gives it a subtle, unique shape. It’s a light pen, and its section diameter and length of the barrel make it great for long writing sessions. The cap posts very securely, but it’s absurdly long when posted.

The engraving is more subtle than it appears in this photo.

The fit and finish were absolutely superb out of the box. The threads are perfect. The seam between the cap’s finial and the cap is barely perceptible. This is pretty standard for Edison pens.

Here, the seam between the cap and the finial is barely visible. It is not tactile at all in person.

The nib worked well out of the box, also typical of an Edison pen. Edison claims to adjust their nibs to have an ink flow of 7/10, and that’s what mine was adjusted to at first. On Edison’s scale, I think I would prefer closer to an 8.5/10, but it’s pretty easy to fix. The beautiful thing about Edison pens is they’ll accommodate just about any request the buyer can think of, within reason, and ink flow is one of those customizable points.

What doesn’t come across in a written review or even in photographs is how the pen material feels. It’s a subjective point, and one that is difficult to describe. Compared to the various plastics used in pens, ebonite feels different. Some would say warm, or smooth, or soft, but it’s nice to the touch in an organic way. This sensation is amplified immensely on a pen as well polished as this Edison. This is a pen I can just hold, but like any reflective, smooth, black surface, it shows fingerprints like no other.

If I was going to criticize this pen, it would be that it’s huge. On the other hand, that’s why I bought it, so that’s not really a fair criticism. Personally, I think it’s a bit of a shame that Edison doesn’t offer #8 nibs on their giant pens like this, but surely only offering #6 nibs helps keep costs lower and, functionally, there isn’t a lot of difference. It’s an aesthetic preference.


I think in the custom pen realm, Edison makes some of the nicest pens at the moment. In a lot of ways, the company eschews needlessly fancy stuff (like #8 nibs) in favor of practical materials and designs. Even so, Edison still offers options–filling systems, nibs, and so on–that most other custom makers cannot compete with. And if the options are too daunting, one can always send Brian Gray an email for help.

I love the Edison Pen Company and they’re easily one of my favorite fountain pen makers. It’s not just because they make awesome pens, there’s more to it than that for me–it’s really cool to have a modern pen made by fellow Midwesterners who are keeping a tradition of Midwestern pen manufacturing alive. Even if one’s not looking to buy into a company’s cool story, Edison pens are still fantastic and a relatively great value considering the customization options.


  • Perfect Fit and Finish.
  • Fantastic customer service and a lifetime warranty.
  • This pen is massive.


  • Despite their great value, Edison pens are expensive.
  • This pen is massive.
  • I sort of wish #8 nibs were an option on bigger Edison pens.
  • I sort of wish I ponied up for the pump filler/vacumatic option on my pen.


  • Cap:
    • Threaded cap.
    • 1.5 turns to remove.
  • Nib:
    • Two tone 18k gold.
    • This one is a fine.
    • Other options:
      • Steel nibs in extra fine, fine, medium, broad, 1.1 italic, and 1.5 italic.
      • 14k flex nibs in extra fine and fine.
      • 18k nibs in extra fine, fine, medium, broad, double broad, 1.1 stub, and oblique double broad.
      • Edison can custom grind nibs into just about anything one could want, too.
  • Body:
    • Polished black ebonite.
    • Other options abound.
  • Filling system:
    • Standard international cartridge/converter system.
    • Long cartridge compatible.
    • Converter ink capacity is 0.8mL.
    • The pen can be converted into an eyedropper filler (measured 3mL ink capacity).
    • Edison has other unique filling system options in addition to cartridge/converter pens, depending on the model.
  • Length:
    • Capped: 166mm
    • Uncapped: 142mm
    • Posted: 187mm
  • Weight:
    • Total: 26g
    • Pen: 16g
    • Cap: 10g
  • Section diameter:
    • 12-13mm
Top to bottom: Delta Dolcevita Oversize, Yard-o-Led Viceroy Grand, Edison Herald Grande, Lamy Safari, Pelikan m1000.
Top to bottom: Delta Dolcevita Oversize, Yard-o-Led Viceroy Grand, Edison Herald Grande, Lamy Safari, Pelikan m1000.
Posted, with Safari. It posts well but feels way too long to me.

Edison Nouveau Premiere

I bought my first Edison NP as a college graduation gift to myself and opted for the 18k gold nib option. Is the 18k nib worth the up charge on Edison pens? Maybe. The surface of the gold nibs are more highly polished and look nicer but they do not perform that much better than the steel nibs and they certainly aren’t flexible.  Gold nibs reputedly feel different when writing because they are slightly bouncy or springy compared to steel nibs. That isn’t always true but seems to be the case with Edison’s nibs, made by JoWo in Germany.

Every Edison pen I’ve bought has written well out of the box whether a gold or a steel nib.


The broad nib on my winter 2012 was ground to a stub by Dan Smith and is smooth with nice line variation. I ground the Fall 2014 broad to a stub myself, and the Fall 2017–which I’ve loving dubbed “my Guy Fieri Pen”–is a stock fine.

The NP is a Goulet Pens exclusive product and they release seasonal special editions, so these finishes aren’t available anymore. The fit and finish on Edison pens is always spot-on. They are simple cartridge/converter fillers that can be readily converted into eyedropper filled pens, if so inclined. All production Edison pens are quite lovely and American made.

I have two issues with the NP line, though. For one, I want to post these pens. They feel like they should be posted. But they don’t post, not really anyways. The cap sort-of fits on the end but barely hangs on and makes a weirdly balanced pen that feels too long.

My second issue: I am always incredibly annoyed when a manufacturer makes a full-sized, standard international cartridge/converter pen that is just barely too small to accommodate a long international cartridge. It’s an oversight that bugs me. I don’t use cartridges often but having the option to take a few high-capacity long cartridges while traveling is very convenient.

The NP is longer and thicker than this Yard-O-Led Standard. . .
. . .but cannot accept the same cartridge,

Maybe I’m weirdly enthusiastic about this point, but I have a backstory: I had a tragic, inky accident on a business trip and didn’t have a way to refill my pen. This is when I discovered that Waterman cartridges are sold in practically every office supply store in the US. If I had a standard international long compatible pen, I would have been set, but I didn’t. I always take one on business trips now, out of tradition. Honestly, I usually just take a bunch of pens and refills with me, but one of them is always a pen compatible with Waterman cartridges.

To be fair, a long international cartridge will fit in a NP with some coercion but removing the cartridge is another matter. They are not advertised as compatible, either.

Obviously these minor issues were not enough to stop me from buying three of these pens. I recommend them.

It’s really hard to capture these cool materials with my less-than-stellar photography skills