We spent our summer vacation in Bologna, Italy this year, making occasional day trips using the local commuter trains to various must-see places. One of our day trips took us to Venice, and part of that trip included taking a water taxi over to Murano, a small island where, due to historical reasons involving prevention of both fire and industrial espionage, there are a disproportionate number of glass blowers and artisans per capita.
It’s impossible to set foot on Murano without finding a glassblower. Almost all of the shops on the main canal are selling glass items ranging in prices from affordable to unimaginable, in all kinds of styles. It’s not difficult to find a pen similar to this one in many of the shops, both on Murano and in Venice itself. However, since they’re all made by hand, they’re all slightly different.
One problem with buying a souvenir like this in a glass shop is that they’re not set up for testing the pen, as would be the case in a pen store. So, I bought this particular pen based on the design of the “barrel” and the overall comfort in my hand in the shop. Unfortunately, when I got home and tried the pen on paper, it was surprisingly scratchy… Seems that the tip was chipped.
Luckily, smoothing a glass tip is not much more difficult than smoothing a normal fountain pen nib. So, a little gentle grinding with a very fin silicon-carbide ginder and further smoothing with some fingernail buffers of decreasing grid, and all was well.
This is a heavy pen – 34 grams, but it’s comfortable and well-balanced. It’s possible to write an entire sentence with one dip of calligraphy ink. Of course, the nib has no flex whatsoever, so any line width variation has more to do with the amount of ink in the grooves of the nib, and the speed of travel across the paper. That said, I would not be surprised if this, with a little practice, could result in an interesting line that is quite different from a regular fountain or dip pen.
Total weight: 34 g
Body weight N/A
Total length (not posted): 181.0 mm
Total length(with cap): N/A
Barrel max diameter: 16.6 mm
Cap max diameter: N/A