(Image courtesy Scott Franklin, Franklin-Christoph)
Google defines rare as:
- (of an event, situation, or condition) not occurring very often.
- (of a thing) not found in large numbers and consequently of interest or value.
- unusually good or remarkable.
The listed definitions are quite apt for this post, as I get to talk about a rare material, a rare pen offering, but even more rare, a very gracious owner of a company.
One of the more coveted materials for custom pens is “Tibaldi Impero” celluloid. Tibadi last used this material in the 1990′s in a pen of the same name. The material was also used on some Bexley pens, including the 2006 Owner’s Club pen.
The material is desired because of the amazing depth, sparkle, and combination of colors. There are black, gray, silver, and blue chunks and veins throughout the material, and each rod looks different. Indeed, the blue veins running throughout the material look like some sort of blue alien version of lava to me. The depth is difficult to photograph, and pictures seldom do the material justice.
Several years ago, I was able to find a source in Europe for these celluloid rods. Shipping from Europe was expensive, so I figured why get one piece when I could get several? I inquired with a variety of pen friends, and a portion of a rod was reserved for some of those who were interested. I was fortunate in that Brian Gray of Edison Pens agreed to hold the material for me as people decided what they wanted to do with their allotment. Many had pens made by Brian, but others chose other custom pen makers. Brian was gracious enough to help get the material to the pen makers. I want to publicly thank Brian for all of his help in the original coordination efforts.
Once people saw pictures of these pens, even more people went looking for the material. While there still was more stock available, over the years, it seems to have been mostly depleted. Much of the material I acquired was used, but there was a small amount of it left. But, only enough to make a pen or maybe two. What to do? So many people desired a pen made from this material.
Finally, last year, it hit me. There was a way for me to share some of this celluloid with a bigger group of people, even with the limited amount I had. To do that, I turned to Scott Franklin of Franklin-Christoph. Why Franklin-Christoph? I’ve already explained how they made me a loyal customer. Having met Scott several times as well, I thought he would be willing to take on my unique request.
I asked Scott whether he would work with me on a limited run pen, using a transparent material for the pen, with a cap finial made from Tibaldi Impero celluloid. By only making the cap finial out of this material, I could make more pens available. Oh, and I wanted to be able to donate all profits of this to charity. How could we make this a reality?
Scott was very gracious in walking me through various options for the pen model, but also materials that I liked. Since this was also a one-time run of pens, Scott offered to handle all the logistics of ordering and fulfillment so I didn’t have to put together an online store. Scott even made prototypes of options for me to ensure that the finished product would meet my expectations. Most importantly, since all of the profits are going to charity, Scott worked with me to find ways to maximize what could be donated. $120 per pen will be donated to charity. For all of this, and much more, I’m humbled and grateful that Scott was willing to partner with me on this project.
The pen is the Model 20 Marietta, and is also available in the Pocket 20 size. The body, cap, and section are all made from a dark gray clear material. The cap finial is made from Tibaldi Impero celluloid.
(Interestingly, Scott tells me that the very first Franklin-Christoph pen produced in their North Carolina facility used this same material (about 3 years ago). I had no idea about that when I asked about it, but I love pens made using this dark gray. If you’ve seen the middle part of my Double-Ended Edison Pearl, my original Newton Shinobi, or the base material for my Hakumin Urushi Kobo Raden pen, you’ve seen this.)
I love how the pen turned out. The pen has a very nice, clean look, and it complements the Tibaldi Impero material wonderfully. Since the material is transparent, similar to the “Ice” (clear) material Franklin-Christoph uses, the pen also looks wonderful when eye dropper filled.
Curious how you can get one of these? Look at the answer to the first question in the Questions and Answers section below.
Update: 2017-07-28 13:45 - All of the pens have been accounted for and sales are now closed. Thank you everyone for your support! Together, in less than 10 hours, we raised over $10,000 for charities.
As I mentioned in the beginning, I feel very privileged that Scott from Franklin-Christoph was willing to be so accommodating with me on this project. The pen turned out even better than I imagined, and we were able to create a lot of pens for everyone to enjoy.
Once this project is complete, I’ll post a follow-up that talks about how things went.