Made In America

One of my first jobs was as a computer network tech and one customer was Sikorsky, the helicopter maker. It was cool walking down the factory floor watching the helicopters come together in my own backyard. While fountain pens can be made in smaller factories I still have an affinity for ones made in my home country. There’s not a lot to choose from but I like the options.

While several pen companies are U.S. based or have a U.S. headquarters only a few manufacture here. These are the U.S. made pens I’ve accumulated.

Bexley Pen (www.bexleypen.com)

Photo of the Bexley Pen 2007 Owner's Club pen

Bexley Pen – 2007 Owner’s Club in Mahogany

Bexley is oftern described as the last U.S. manufacturer of fountain pens. As we’ll see, that’s not entirely true, although they may be the only one that can be described as a major manufacturer.

I bought my first Bexley pen in October of 2005, a orange Bexley Submariner. Unfortunately it’s one of two fountain pen I’ve ever lost (The other being a Lamy Safari). At the time I lost it, it was my favorite pen and it always had ink in it.

The Bexley Imperial I added in July is the fifth Bexley in my current accumulation. I like most of the Bexley designs and the pens have held up well. Three of them are ebonite/hard rubber pens which is a particular weakness of mine. I have two of the 2007 owner’s club pens (both hard rubber), in addition to an ebonite Imperial, an Intrepid and a Poseidon.

Franklin-Christoph (www.franklin-christoph.com)

Photo of the Franklin-Christoph Model 25

Franklin-Christoph Model 25

While their website doesn’t specifically say all their pens are made in the U.S., the ones I’ve accumulated have been. They also have a manufacturing facility in Houston, TX according to their website.

While I just learned of F-C this year, I’ve already added four of their pens to my accumulation. The workmanship has been great and they feel solidly built. But with less than six months experience I can’t speak to their long term durability, but my expectations are high. Especially since they offer a lifetime warranty.

Edison Pen Co. (edisonpen.com)

Photo of the Edison Collier pen

Edison Pen Co – Collier in Antique Marble

Edison is another brand that is new to me this year. It’s a one man operation, but since the guy is in Ohio they are certainly American made. Like the other pens I’ve mentioned, the workmanship and quality is great. I haven’t had them long enough to know their durability, but my expectations are high. I have the Collier, Herald, Nouveau Premiere and a Pearl.

Gate City Pen

Photo of The Belmont Pen

Gate City Pen – The Belmont Pen

Gate City Pen is a brand created by Richard Binder. Their tagline is “Modern Pens, Vintage Flair”. The three Gate City pens I have were clearly made by Bexley although the designs were unique (I assume Richard does all the design and Bexley manufactures). I have the New Dunn Pen, the New Postal Senior, and the Belmont. All Gate City Pens have unique fill systems. Well, unique to modern pens since they’ve vintage inspired.

Wrapping Up

It’s nice to see quality pens made in my home country. I’ve no complaints about the quality and don’t regret any of the acquisitions. But that last sentence can also be said about many non-US made pens.

Any other American manufacturers out there? Anyone else have an affinity for fountain pens made in their home country?

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6 thoughts on “Made In America

  1. This post has been up for a while but since there are no comments yet, I thought I would give a little feedback. It was good to see an article about American made fountain pens. While there are numerous wood workers out there making pens from kits, it is nice to find a few folks that are really trying to make a formal business of it. Too much of American business these days involves nothing more than moving bits of data from one file to another and skimming a few percentage points. Producing a physical item is gratifying for both the producer and consumer.

    Noodler’s makes a very good value priced line of pens and inks. They are all steel nibs. Most are piston filled. Many are claimed to be “environmentally friendly” (an overused term) since the plastic used in their manufacture will degrade under anaerobic conditions. I think the flex nibs are the best of the lot. For the money they are great everyday pens. While the company does not have an official home page on the internet, there are a number of outlets for the pens and inks.

  2. I really enjoyed your writeup. It gives me hope. My dream is to manufacture 100% American made pens. I would currently classify myself as one of these “wood turners” that you mention. My pens however have garnered lots of international attention and I would say 85% of all my sales are overseas. It is comforting to hear from pen enthusiasts that really want quality luxury pens made in our own back yard. I am working toward this goal and hope to join the ranks with Bexley and Edison at some point. They are my inspiration. Thanks for the article.

  3. I just went through the input. I am ordering a few as one of my friends is going to US. thanks for inputs mate.

  4. Here’s a new in 2015 American company making their pens in the U.S. Currently, parts are made in eight different states which spreads the production to many Americans. Although not inexpensive, these pens are engineered and designed to match up against those at twice the price from Germany, et al. Check us out.
    http://www.americanpencompany.com/index

  5. I love America, but there is something wrong. I started using fountain pens because, mine at least, are made of metal and look pretty good and write fairly well. But paying for a pen, I think it was some kind of type of rubber or something like rubber, I forget, over $800.00 and he said that if you can get it from Japan it’s around $550.00. If these prices aren’t way out of reality, then people are nuts. This pen had no jewels, just the tip was worth anything. One of the post gives a site and the pens are $245., $145., and the like. Leave these pens out for a second, (they will steal gel pilot pens even) and gone.
    I think the problem is the people here in America want to make a killing and in other countries they are at the opposite end.
    The makers, we will use pens in this case, have to adjust there quality of living from upper middle class to middle class (and I use these terms just to qualify the classes). To charge people an exorbitant amount of money for a pen, when I know for a fact the materials are as cheap as sand, not counting the nibs in some cases. Example, above the pen is $800.00.+ here and around $550.00 in Japan. Both places are making a profit but in Japan but is $250.00 cheaper and Japan per capita is as wealthy as America. This is fact and I’ll show you. I was going to buy, let’s say object A. Object A here on Amazon was $29.99 and object A on another web site from China was $30.00 for three object A’s. And it was the exact same company for both sites and they are based and sell out of America, you figure that out, and don’t make excuses. Back to pens, if it does not have jewels and not a gold tip then please, american makers come down in price so we can afford them. Ironically, it is the foreigners that are probably buying the pens and all of us Americans miss out. And makers don’t care.
    Stop the highway robbery and come down to a manageable number instead of a number that makes you fairly endowed with money.
    Not just pens but most products, eventually we will be bought up by other countries and OUR OWN LAWS WILL PROTECT THEM AND SINK US.
    THANKS FOR YOUR TIME BROTHERS

    JAMES

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