56 Of The Best Custom Pen Makers From Around The World
A Bespoke Pen - It's a Romantic Thing
There are custom pen makers all over the world who have taken the basic tenants of turning a fountain pen (something that has been done for centuries,) and added their own stories, philosophies, and history to them. Many of them are lovingly focused on this singular item. They are in big cities and tiny towns, sometimes using the places and the natural elements around them to distinguish the style of their pens. Many of these custom fountain pen artisans have created their own materials and pushed the boundaries of machinery to offer new perspectives of what a pen can be. The commonality is that the writing instrument has been an inspiration to all of them. They are the maker and original keepers of these objects. When presented to the new keeper of the pen, the object takes on a whole new meaning. The next story begins and starts to create a secondary history that will outlast both them and the person who created it.
For someone who truly loves pens, there may be nothing more meaningful than getting to have your writing instrument customized to your every whim and will. How it looks, how it feels in your hand, and the symbolism that it might hold for you.
At Galen Leather, fountain pens are more than a hobby; they're an obsession. So it's no wonder we incorporate the ability to safely store your fountain pens into the designs of our pen cases, journal covers and pen sleeves. We even recently launched our own range of what we consider to be some of the best fountain pens available en masse that pair beautifully with our best journals for fountain pens.
For The Love of Custom Made Pens
On the heels of this obsession, I wanted to share some of the customer fountain pen makers that can make having a bespoke fountain pen a reality for you. We have also, in some cases, included smaller artisan makers who produce limited edition pens rather than customized pens because we felt that their contribution should be acknowledged and celebrated. It should also be noted that many of the custom pen makers may have long waiting lists or not be accepting custom orders at this time. So, it may be a good time to mention that patience is a virtue and also how exciting it can be to receive a custom fountain pen after waiting more than a year for it.
Custom Pen Makers From Around The World
It should also be noted that while nearly thirty pen makers and artisans are listed here, it is by no means an exhaustive list, so if you know of a maker that is not included, please put the information for contacting them in the comments and readers will be able to seek them out.
I hope you find someone’s work that speaks to you and that this article is the first step in acquiring your next heirloom.
Herewith (in mostly alphabetical order,) are the artists making some of the most unique and beautiful writing instruments around the globe.
2023 Update (26 New Makers)
The world has changed so much since we last presented a list of makers in the pen world contributing new and sometimes ancient methods of crafting writing instruments. If there is a positive we can take away from the past three years it is that inspiration and innovation will not be held back by a pandemic. This second list of pen makers is proof positive that creativity can blossom during challenging times, producing some of the most beautiful and technically novel pens we’ve seen.
As with our previous list, it is by no means an exhaustive list, so if you know of a maker that is not included, please put the information for contacting them in the comments and readers will be able to seek them out.
I hope you find someone’s work that speaks to you and that this article combined with our first list of twenty-eight, is the first step in acquiring your next heirloom.
Herewith is our second list of artists making some of the most unique writing instruments around the globe.
Trained as master toolmaker, Max Schrage spent four decades at Montblanc before starting his own fine writing instruments company. In 2009 he acquired the rights to the Astoria Pen company where he makes his David and Goliath models mostly Ebonite with the occasional additions of gold and steel. While some of the iterations are sleep and simple, others are intricate floral masterpieces that resemble fine jewelry where Schrage can really show of his masterful skillset and veteran status in the pen world.
Hiroko the proprietor of Bokumondoh studied in the UK and Italy after graduating from fashion school in her native Tokyo. In 1997 she moved to Aomori, Japan to learn the Tsugaru-nuri style of lacquering from a master practitioner of the technique. In 2002 she founded Bokumondoh and twenty years later she is pushing the boundaries of this ancient technique of lacquering in a modern way. With a waitlist of one year, her art is clearly in demand and one look at her website or Instagram will illustrate why. Each of her pens is a work of art, layer upon layer of lacquer, and hours of labor that all culminate to create pens that have depth and a story of their own to tell.
A relaunch of a nearly hundred-year-old brand, Duchessa 1935 is one of the great historic brands of Italy. Using old world craftsmanship and materials, coupled with modern technology, Duchessa 1935 uses original nibs and accessories and new resins to create pens that celebrate the past and the present. Artistic pens that celebrate tradition and innovation, these are wonderful writing instruments for those who love art history, the city of Florence and Italian pens.
Elbwood The Hanseatic Penmaker
The “E” in Elbwood should also stand for Elegant and its atelier’s master craftsman and sole proprietor, Frank Pressentin is as elegant as his bespoke pens and pencils. There is nothing rushed and fussy about these writing instruments. They are luxurious in their simplicity and express their beauty in fine lines, curves and gorgeous materials. There is nothing extraneous and nothing mechanized. The work is all done by hand, passing the artist’s emotions into each piece like a sculptor. These minimalistic tools will take on the patina and use of the owner over time, getting even better as they tell the stories of the writer. Custom writing instruments are available by request and start with a consultation to start the dialogue that will inform the pen for its long lifetime.
A collector turned penmaker, Ethan Ellington, spent eighteen months during the pandemic in his London studio working on the prototype for a luxury pen that checked all of the boxes minus an excessive price tag. Using his background in mathematics he focused his design on weight to comfort, adjusting the dimension, construction, and materials until it passed muster during blindfolded prototype testing against the most expensive fountain pens in the marketplace. The result: Ellington Pens’ first eight designs with an octagonal cap, offered in eight beautiful colors, balanced whether they are unposted or posted, at an extremely palatable price point.
The evolution of their original company Fisher of Pens which they ramped down in 2019, F3 which stands for Fisher Family Fountain Pens, started in 2021. This husband-and-wife team (their kids were actually the impetus for penmaking in the family, having tried a make your own pen station at a booth at a craft fair and encouraged their Dad to try too,) have taken their ten years and experience of making thousands of pens to create their newest creations. While they do not accept custom commissions, they do take suggestions and if your idea is selected, you have first rights of refusal when the pen is made before it’s open to the public.
Matthew Faivet, the tailor-made designer, has been making pens in Alsace, France since 2010. Offering custom pens in a wide range of materials such as woods, resin, ebonite, bone, and horn. Mainly a custom purveyor, Faivet shares a dialog with his clients when they start by choosing from his nine models and from there, he will work with them to come up with the pen of their dreams, limited only by their imaginations.
Garcia Deschact is the love of true loves Andy Deschact and Laura Garcia Belli. While they come to pen making from backgrounds that might seem unlikely (think opera singing and molecular biology for Laura and being a chef and sculptor as Andy did,) they coalesce perfectly in their pens which are made using sterling silver, enamel, ancient and precious woods, gemstones and other fine materials. Their site offers pens for sale (don’t miss their licensed Smurf pens which are as charming as they are flawlessly executed,) but also offer custom services for proprietary pens to meet a client’s exacting requests.
Two brothers, Joep and Teun Prinsen of the Netherlands are behind Giants’ pens aim to make high quality pens at an affordable price. Combining their yin and yang skills and temperament they have spent the last several years learning their craft in order to expand their custom offerings with regards to finishes and materials.
Gravitas Pen started as Ben Walsh Pen Design by its namesake, a cabinet and furniture designer from Dublin, Ireland who started his eponymous company making cement pens which he sold globally to corporate and private clients. Encouraged by this success, Ben set out to make a top-quality pen that could outlast its owner. Precision machined using ultem, titanium, polycarbonate, powder coating and other strong and modern materials, the design and construction of Gravitas’ pens have been through hundreds of hours of testing and multiple versions before Walsh was satisfied they were ready for market. And word on the street is that this is just the beginning.
German made Haskoson focuses on sustainability, social compatibility, and regional production. Using new materials and celluloids from days long past, Haskoson creates timeless writing instruments that are as functional as they are beautiful.
Based in Hong Kong, Hex Pens combines the traditional art of fine writing instruments with state-of-the-art technology. A feast for the eyes, these pens look like DNA, the double helix, an optical illusion, or all of the above. The company also offers a custom version, so if you can dream up how you’d like to see your ink suspended within your pen, it’s possible Hex can make it happen. Currently, all of Hex’s pens are sold out, but they are expected to restock in Q1 of 2023, so stay tuned.
Specializing in fully machined writing instruments, Arizona made Karas Pen Company draws their inspiration from their home state and attempt to partner with other Arizona companies to source anything they can’t make in house. Working in aluminum and resin, Karas’ pens are sleek, functional, and often come in limited small batch runs making them highly sought after by their diehard fans and Karas Pen Club members.
Proudly crafted in the Philippines, Kasama pens are all about materials, Kasama, meaning companion, make a perfect every day carry pen because they are made with durable (and beautiful) plastics such as ultem, peek, Delrin and vespes and metals like titanium, aluminum, and copper. Artistically they are not afraid to mix these materials and the result is something strong both physically and aesthetically.
If you are looking for an affordable pen that has a large ink capacity that won’t leak or burb, look no further than Kiwi Pens. Through the partnership of a pen enthusiast and a veteran pen maker of sixty plus years, these eyedropper and demonstrator pens come with Bock nibs and are all about the ink.
Since 2008 Loclen has been handcrafting pens in Veneto, Italy. These are contemporary pens that are unique in their innovative design but made using traditional techniques. They are crafted mostly from aluminum and brass on old school lathes and mills by skilled artisans and are for any pen (or pencil!) enthusiast looking for a pen that is cool, chic and functions perfectly.
Arun Singhi has been in the pen industry for more than five decades and went out on his own in 2015. While he works in metal and ebonite, his specialty is hand painted pens and they are spectacular works of art that are incredibly detailed and express the art of Indian motifs, history, and culture. He offers custom pens, so if you can dream it, Mr. Singhi will use his skill, heart and soul to bring it to life for you.
Mayfair Pen Company
Mayfair Pen’s goal is to make their customer the perfect pen and aside from rare drops and pen shows, they are a by custom order only. With five models currently, the features that have been a standout in the market and drawn rave reviews from Mayfair Pen owners are the pens’ pure minimalism that is all about ink capacity aka the “vial of resin”, the option for ultem sections, and the pens’ very distinct concave curve at the section, making them supremely comfortable to write with and a gorgeous way to show off materials.
What do you sometimes do when you love fountain pens? You start making your own. This is the case with Teodor Mircea who makes his socially responsible pens with materials like Eltaryn (an ivory alternative), urushi, wood, and ebonite. Penteo keeps some pens in stock, but offers a very large selection of materials to choose from for a custom pen. Penteo also offers a button-filler option, so if you are in search of a unique custom pen, Teodor may be the one who should make it for you.
For over fifty years, Ranga has been making pens. Started by M.S.Pandurangan and now joined by his son, the company makes fifty models in acrylic and ebonite. With so much to choose from and Ranga’s reasonable price point, clients in over 100 countries often have more than one bespoke Ranga in their collection.
With a dozen models made in Wales, Rockster pens are offered in small batch commission sign-ups and the occasional offering on Instagram. In other words, to get one, you have to stay on top of things. Anyone who has seen these beauties would agree it is well worth it. Made with cellulose, erinoid, woods and other materials and with signature bands of color throughout the cap and barrel, these are striking writing instruments with small details that make them standouts.
While Ian Schon’s Schon Dsgn made our list last time around, a lot has happened since we last wrote about him. He moved his studio to Philadelphia, he went against his personal love for the pocket pen and answered his fans’ cries for a full-sized fountain pen and most notably, he manufactured his first in house nib and it is exceptional. Called the Monoc nib, it is made from solid titanium with an integrated nib, housing and tipping. The titanium gives it a soft graphite like quality without bounce. If you are someone who like to have full control over your nib when writing, this is your nib. While it is currently only offered in one width, it can be tuned by a nibmeister to your liking, and it fits any of Schon Dsgn’s pens that take a #6 Jowo nib. A real innovation in manufacturing, it deserved mention in this new round of our makers’ list and trust me, you want one (I know I do,) so get on the waitlist stat!
Stanford Pen Studio
In the home studio of Dave and Di Mohr in Stanford, South Africa, the Stanford Pen Studio is pushing boundaries. While Dave is making the pens, Di is making the blanks and this partnership has produced some of the most out of the box thinking when it comes to blank inclusions and their baker’s dozen of classic, elegant, models. Think seed beads, wound and woven metallic thread, native woods, your favorite Expressionist painting and hand-painting by their own collective of artists and you have just some of what you might see in the finished barrel of a Stanford Pen Studio pen. Nature and design convene in a kaleidoscope of colors and thoughtful design. And while they may currently have a waiting list, they do offer custom work, so your favorite pet or flower can be a part of your next favorite pen.
We met Eran from Israel, at DC Pen Show 2023, who had a table next to us. And his pens caught our attention, each one is like a one-of -kind work of art. Scopus Pens was an idea born of a meeting between three passionate artists in the very special surroundings of the city of Jerusalem. Ilana and Eran Hovev met Misha Manusov during the Jerusalem Art Fairs, and an instant connection was evident. Each has their own individual approach to expression through art, and the conversation soon turned to how nature influences art. Understanding that there was a mutual vision, the trio used the time they found during the Covid pandemic to develop and tune this vision, and the result is the wonderful and unique world of Scopus Pens.
Originally a solo act, in 2019 Stüdyo Ağaçkakan became the brainchild and company of two friends who are using the platform of their pens to share the history and culture of their Turkish heritage. Their pens convey Turkish motifs, art and craft using innovative techniques and materials. They have now brought their pens to the world, traveling to international shows where audiences have been enchanted by the care, thoughtfulness, and variety of their pens. From jeweled overlays, urushi and hand painted elements, there is a pen for all tastes. And if there isn’t one that perfectly suits you, the studio will customize one for you.
Inspired by his wife Gemma’s calligraphy, but uninspired by the lackluster tools in her industry. Using his skills as a furniture designer, product designer and blacksmith, Tom set out to make better and more creative tools that stay true to the calligrapher’s needs. Along the way, he piqued the interest of fountain pen enthusiasts and so he applied the criteria of the calligrapher to more portable fountain pen. Seven years later, the company offers both calligraphy and fountain pens, as well as their newest pen the Lumos. The Lumos has nine interchangeable and replaceable fineliner and brush pen nibs which make it both versatile and sustainable, perfectly in line with the brand’s ethos.
Wet and Wise
Take a mechanical engineer who is a seeker of beauty and a fountain pen enthusiast, and you might just have the next custom pen maker. Such is the case with the owner of Wet and Wise who was an engineer for over two decades. Each pen is handmade in Belgium using vintage and modern resins and celluloids. The company specializes in bespoke items, tailoring the pen to the clients’ individual specifications.
2021 Update (28 Pen Makers)
Yoshi Nakama has been an artist all of his adult life. Having settled in NYC from Japan in the late 1970’s he became a fabricator for a prominent artist.
That artist just happened to be a fountain pen lover, something that he shared with Mr. Nakama. In 2012, he bought a lathe and produced some wood pen kits. My how far his designs have come from that time. Now made start to finish, by hand (save for the Jowo nibs,) 18111 pens are cast Alumilite resin adorned with maki-e techniques that have been translated to modern tools and materials. Roll stoppers are 3D printed in wax and cast in gold plated brass. Each blank is hand cast, turned and threaded by hand. The result is the natural world expressed in explosions of color and gilded in gold.
They look like science experiments, the kind that cause oohs and ahhs.
Completely 3D printed barrels are fitted with caps and grip sections that have been machined from solid rods of clear cast acrylic. They can only be eyedroppered, but this is where the magic begins. Not only do these pens hold a tremendous amount of ink, the ink becomes the star of the show as it swirls through a double helix or ribbon design. For those hesitant because stained acrylic gives them pause, Additive Pens has developed a proprietary ink resistant coating to minimize it. So, ink these away and remember that the reason you have an Additive Pen is to write with it. That is, if you can stop staring at the extraordinary barrel long enough to.
Birmingham Pen Co.
Brute Force Designs
Carolina Pen Co.
Chesapeake Pen Co.
Country Made Pens
The Desiderata Pen Company
Edison Pen Co.
If there is something aesthetically engaging and dramatic right from the start when you click on this site, it may be because the husband and wife proprietors are a chef and an opera singer respectively. With luxury materials such as diamonds, sterling silver, mother of pearl, and vintage Omas blanks, this Belgian based company is making truly luxurious writing instruments. Make sure to take a look at the rest of their team known as the “cuddle department,” as it’s clear that adorable cats have added to the joy of this duo’s pen enterprise.
The Herbert Pen Company
Hinze Pen Company
Kanilea Pen Company
Kilk Fine Writing Instruments
One of my favorite finds while penning this article (and I really do pen them before I type them,) is Kilk Fine Writing Instruments in Istanbul.
It is hard to put their story together without wondering about the cloud of mystery that surrounds it. I’m hesitant to chalk it up to a lost in translation moment because I like what I’ve gauged from my reading, which is that at some point an artist in a collective decided to make pens for its members. Meaning “writing instrument” in Old Turkish, the company believes that writers should have a pen that is private and exclusively made, just for them; that the pen carrier’s persona and the persona of the pen should be one and the same. Made with gorgeous resins, ebonite, stones and details of sterling silver, these pens are exactly what their makers intended them to be: jewels.
These pens look like they were made by a jeweler’s hands with good reason: they were!
Having made wedding rings since 2009 and other handcrafted items since 2004, Monty Winnfield turned his trade towards pens, as well. All made to order in Colorado, customized nibs and pens are made using titanium, ebonite, exotic woods, brass, acrylic and alumilite. Some people want rings for their wedding, and some want pens. I’m with the camp that says life at its finest is about and instead of or and prefer to have both. Monty Winnfield seems to cater to just that!
Mythic Pen Company
Ready to shed a little tear over pens? If you’re not, take a moment and then read this story about Shawn Newton who started his Hot Springs, Arkansas pen company to help kids in need.
A former educator, Shawn had been giving pens to his students for years when he came up with the idea to make great pens to give to them, rather than store-bought ones. His first goal in 2011 was to make good quality pens for deserving students. His next goal was more ambitious: to help them go to college through scholarships. Fast forward to the end of 2019, with nearly $60,000 given to students to pursuit their secondary educations. These pens with a cause are beautiful to look at and use but the good that they do, is even more special.
Ryan Krusac Studios
Tailored Pen Company
If you are a custom pen maker and want to be featured on our next article please don't hesitate to contact us via contact page. Also we are supplying Jowo Nibs in bulk for pen makers.
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