First off, a special thanks to Massdrop for sending over the The Dignitary fountain pen by Allegory Goods for review. They have a drop currently in progress for the pen so definitely take a minute to check it out. If you are new to Massdrop, take some time to check out their other selections as they have really increased their offering for the likes of our people... (pen/paper nuts)
Allegory Goods is a pen and leather goods manufacturer that I have seen in the past, but hadn't heard too much about. They originally got their first funding start through a Kickstarter campaign back in 2013 and have been making their handmade goods ever since. A neat outfit from Chicago that specializes in making items from reclaimed and unique woods from around the world.
The Dignitary is on the slightly higher end of Allegory's pricing model coming in at $125 for the fountain pen. They also have a rollerball version of the same design. (keep an eye out for that one at a later time...)
The pen is turned from two different woods which makes it quite unique: Bethlehem Olivewood and preserved Bog Oak.
The trees which the Olivewood comes from (in Bethlehem) have been pruned and nurtured for over 2,000 years and have considerable religious and historical significance. As the tree branches are clipped, the wood is preserved and offered to craftspeople. Pretty neat stuff.
The second material, Bog Oak, is something that I was pretty excited about as I've always wanted to see and handle some. Maybe someday I'll get a piece to make a pen holder from.... Bog Oak is found throughout parts of England, Ireland, and Europe and is the remnant of once vast oak forests that were ultimately trapped in peat bogs that were created after the end of the last ice age. The wood was preserved in such a condition that it can be found and harvested and still used to make jewelry and other crafted items. The Bog Oak can be as old as 3,000-5,000 years.
Seriously, super fascinating! A seemingly odd blend of unique woods that come together nicely.
The Olivewood is the lighter wood with beautiful swirling and striping dark grains, while the Bog Oak is a dark (really dark) uniform brown (from being preserved in mud sludge for 5,000 years...) and has some very distinct grains. Both woods are are smooth and have a very subtle, oiled finish.
If you are familiar with turned pens, there is often a common "bulbous" shape that seems to trend among craftspeople. Not your traditional straight lines or subtle shapes; these pens generally are pretty curvy to accentuate the grain and color of the wood. Probably not for everyone from a completely aesthetic perspective, but if you enjoy these types of pens The Dignitary doesn't disappoint.
The pen tapers from being wide on both ends and narrow in the center near the threading break.
The hardware of the pen is a shiny black, like hematite, with several gold/brass rings and accents including a hex bolt on the cap. I generally am not much of a gold person, so the furniture isn't entirely to my tastes, but still looks nice overall with the striped contrasting light/dark design of the wood. It actually pulls it off pretty well in my opinion.
From a branding perspective, the Allegory Goods logo is laser etched on the cap just opposite of the clip.
The nib of the fountain pen isn't anything overly special, a gold plated steel Iridium tipped found standard in pen kits, but writes decently and inked up right away. The nib did see skipping and some slow starts periodically while writing. In a pen like this my thoughts are that the nib isn't something to be overly picky about; you are paying for the craftsmanship and unique materials and it writes well enough to enjoy the overall experience. The pen came with a plastic international converter and an international short: I opted for the cartridge.
The cap does post, but I find that doing so makes the pen too long and somewhat odd shaped. Unposted, the barrel and section are a slight bit short, but the pen still fits into the fleshy part of my hand.
In contrast to the pen barrel, the section is very narrow, straight, and slick. If there is an ergonomic complaint, that would be it. The bulbous turned design is manageable, but the narrow section made it a bit more difficult for my hands to grip. There are some pens with traditionally thin sections like the Kaweco Sport, but there is a slight concave shape which gives your fingers something to rest into. The straight and slick surface of The Dignitary section isn't the most comfortable unfortunately.
All of that being said, I think The Dignitary is a super neat pen from a craftsmanship and unique materials perspective which I know a lot of people would really enjoy. Please check out the drop currently running on Massdrop and stay tuned for something special with The Dignitary rollerball...
Special thanks again to Massdrop for providing the pen for review.