Fountain Pen 201: Indie Pen Makers

Happy Fountain Pen Friday, and welcome to another issue of Fountain Pen 201. This week, I’ll be discussing indie pen makers.

When I discovered indie/small business pen makers, I was amazed by the options opened up to me. For the most part, it’s ruined me for large manufacturer pens. Right now, 8 of my 20 pens are from indie makers, and I’m expecting 3 more.

My Pen Collection
Starred pens are from indie makers.

In my opinion, the “best” thing about indie pen makers is your ability to get custom pens. This can be as basic as a special clip, or as unique as a completely custom pen. I spoke to Yoshi Nakama of 18111 at the DC Pen Show last weekend, and commissioned a completely custom pen from him. It’s going to be gorgeous, like the rest of his pens, so follow me on Instagram to see it when it arrives. Depending on the maker, you may be able to get a custom material from them. Some makers, like Jonathon Brooks of Carolina Pen Company, are known for their unique materials.

Brooks pen material
A Franklin-Christoph pen made from a Caroline Pen Company/Jonathon Brooks material.

Some of the things you find in indie-created pens are difficult, or impossible, to recreate in a large scale. For example, Chet Herbert of Herbert Pen Company has a “ribbon” series with hand-painted paper ribbons. They would be nearly impossible to create on a large scale. I’m lucky enough to have two pens from this series, a limited edition and a special edition.

Herbert Pen Co ribbon pens
Left: Goldfish ribbon pen. Right: Herbert Pen Co. and Papier Plume New Orleans Tricentennial Pen

You can find some interesting shapes and pen designs from indies as well. From double-ended pens, to faceted barrels and/or caps, clips and roll stoppers, the customizations and unique pen attributes available will blow your mind. But, if you want a simple pen that makes the material the star, you can find that, too, and Mike Allen of Woodshed Pen Company is brilliant at it.

Woodshed Pen Co pens
Three pens from Woodshed Pen Company

Some pen makers (like Desiderata and Osprey) are also making pens that have multiple interchangeable nib sections. Take this early Osprey model that also takes Noodlers nibs and Zebra G dip pen nibs aside from proprietary Osprey nibs.

Opsrey pen and nibs

One downside to indie pen makers is that they seem to have exploded in popularity recently, meaning LONG wait times. In some cases, like Brian Chu of Red Dragon Pen Company, indies have had to close their commissions list because of their demand. While I’m very happy that these indie makers are experiencing such popularity and success, it’s hard to wait that long. But I guarantee the wait is worth it.

So, if you’re interested in purchasing a pen from an indie maker, or even if you just want to check out indie pens, I’ve compiled a list of indie companies. I’ve left off a few, like Edison Pen Company and Franklin-Christoph, who are well-established and quickly growing out of indie status (in my opinion). Let me know in the comments if I’ve missed anyone, and I’ll add them to the list.

Pen Makers

NOTE: This list is alphabetical by company name, it is not ranked. The company name is linked to their website or Facebook page, if one exists. The @handle, when present, is a link to the company’s Instagram page.

18111@18111com
Additive Pens@additivepens
Asa Pens@asapens.in
Atelier Lusso – @atelierlusso
Benu Pen – @benupen
The Birmingham Pen Company@birminghampens
Broadwell Studios – @broadwellstudios
Brute Force Design – @bruteforcedesign
Carolina Pen Company – @brooks_803
Chesapeake Pen Company – @chesapeakepenco
Desiderata Pen Company – @thedesideratapencompany
Dryad Pens – @dryad_pens
Faggionato Stylos – @faggionato_stylos
Fisher of Pens – @fisher.of.pens
Fountain Pen Revolution – @fountain_pen_revolution
Frontier Pen Company – @frontierpenco
GW Pens – @gwpens
Haskoson Pen Company – @haskoson
Herbert Pen Company – @herbertpencompany
Irish Pens – @irishpens
JC Lesher – @jrlpens
Kasama – @kasamaph
Matthieu Faivet – @stylo_matthieu_faivet
Mini Wood Productions – @miniwoodproductions
Newton Pens – @newtonpens
Osprey Pens – @ospreypens
Pendoras – @pendoras_
Ranga Pens – @ranga_pens
Red Dragon Pen Company – @reddragonpenco
Romulus Pens – @jalbertlawrence
Ryan Krusac Studios – @ryankrusac
Schumacher Pen Company – @maxschumacher98
Scriptorium Pens – @scriptorium_pens
See Pens – @seewoodpens
Smith Crafters – @smith_crafters
Stylo Alexandre Duboc – @atelier_alexandre_duboc
Tom’s Studio – @tomsstudio
Turning Point Pen Company – @turningpointpenco
Twiss Pens
Woodshed Pen Company – @woodshedpenco
Write Turnz – @writeturnz

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