Our story begins with Leigh who being the sneaky person that she is, quietly sourced a length of Tibaldi Impero celluloid rod with the help of FPN regular Thomas (TR) Hall. TR ships the stuff from an undisclosed location to the Edison Pen Company where Brian Gray secures the secret stash until Leigh sends word as to what is to be done with it.
I had no hint of this devious scheme until over dinner one lazy evening, Leigh asked me what I thought of a custom his-and-hers set. Truthfully, I was unsure. I’ve had no meaningful experience with Edison, only two brief encounters with a Collier and a Beaumont. When she showed me a picture of TR’s Menlo that Brian made from the Tibaldi stock, all hesitation vanished and I caved faster than a rundown mine.
TR Hall’s Menlo eyedropper. (Photo by Brian Gray)
Leigh of course, already knew what she wanted. I had to choose something that would fit my Stay Puft Marshmallow mitts comfortably and so I asked Brian for help. He gave me some options and I decided his Glenmont might fit the bill. I sent an email finalizing the order which Brian replied to with his usual can-do vibe, but he also shared that there was enough stock to possibly turn three pens if we so chose. As the prayer goes, lead me not into temptation for I can very well find it myself.
(Photo grabbed from artofpen.com)
He mentioned though that depending on the models we wanted, the third pen might feature celluloid on the barrel alone. Leigh and I agreed that the material was too good to waste but neither of us wanted a black cap on any of the pens, not against celluloid so rich in character. Parker’s Big Red offered inspiration. I thought the hat-trick would be possible if two of the pens sported black ends just like the iconic Duofolds of old. To give Brian even more room to work with, Leigh chose the smaller Beaumont Pneumatic to complete the trio. Brian agreed that if both the Glenmont and Beaumont were given ebonite finials, sections and blind caps, Leigh’s Menlo was assured of being completely self-colored. With that settled, all that was left was to wait six weeks until we received the shipping notice from Ohio.
On to the Glenmont.
It’s big, for starters. Capped, it exceeds the length of an MB 149 or a flagship Souverän. But unlike an M1000, this one is quick on its feet. It balances just slightly behind its section, a feat made possible by the lack of a metal piston mechanism in its barrel. The Glenmont also posts easily, deeply and securely. Doing so adds a bit of weight but it does not diminish the pen’s agility in any way.
A Montblanc 149 and TWSBI AL give you an idea of the Glenmont’s size. It isn’t a behemoth, but you can hardly call it petite.
Uncapped, the 149, Decapod and Glenmont are about the same size. The Montblanc though has earned the nickname “Chubby.”
The hourglass section guides the fingers intuitively to a comfortable grip, while the threads and step near the barrel join never intrude or abrade. Seams are all precisely dressed and contoured, and no casting or machine marks are apparent anywhere. Some Germans and a few Italians could learn something about fit and finish from this pen.
The German plays it straight. The Japanese decided to go conical. Yankees seem to love their curves.
Not even Janesville made a filler this handsome.
The vacuum filler may have been inspired by the beloved Parker Vacumatic but this clearly isn’t a NOS or vintage filling unit. It looks to be all brass and exquisitely machined. In fact, you can feel every nuance of the diaphragm as you cycle the plunger. Nothing wiggles or wanders and I can’t ever recall using a Vacumatic that felt so precise. (And yes, it sucks in ink the way Black Holes devour planets.)
She might look a little plain, but wait ’til you see her dance!
I asked for a Medium nib and what they fitted was a bi-tone 18k model that is blessed with a hint of softness. Set to flow wet, it careens across paper like nobody’s business, laying down stubbish lines but with the smoothness of a round tip. Leigh says Medium nibs are boring and she’s usually right. Not this time though, as this has to be the most enjoyable M I’ve ever owned.
Every inch of the pen feels warm to the touch in the way made possible only by organic materials such as ebonite and celluloid. Uncapping the pen sends the inimitable signature of camphor wafting around your space, reminding you yet again that this isn’t your daddy’s Papermate Flair. Modern acrylics have come a long way, but they still can’t match these timeless materials when it comes to creating a full sensory experience.
Transitions from finial down to blind cap are as close to perfect as you’ll ever get. The guys from Milan (Ohio, not Italy) know how to build a proper pen. (Photo by Brian Gray)
In itself, this unique Glenmont is an exquisite article. But what makes it truly profound is that some of pen-dom’s nicest people combined their efforts to help a pen couple celebrate a milestone in a most special way.
Thanks to Brian Gray and TR Hall for making all of this possible.
(If you want to check out the Menlo and Beaumont that Brian made for Leigh, go HERE. )