Machine Era are based in the USA and make metal products including wallets, key rings and, of course, pens. The Original, as the name suggests, was (almost) their first pen and it has since been joined by a stainless steel version and a brass ‘version 2’, which has a clip.
(Note that although this pen is called the Original, it’s not quite the same as the original original, which had a slimmer barrel and none of the grooves.)
Refill options: comes with a 0.5 Pilot G2 cartridge (gel ink) but this is a standard size so many other options are available
Barrel options: brass (this one), stainless steel ($60), also a new version with a clip (also $38)
Size: 4.6″ (11.7cm) capped, 4.3″ (10.9cm) uncapped, 0.4″ (1.0cm) diameter
Weight: 1.6oz (45g)
The engineering of this pen is excellent. The tolerances are spot on and there’s no play in the tip whatsoever. This makes it feel like that high quality product that it is.
There’s no branding and the barrel is a clean and simple design.
Machine Era supply the pen with a Pilot G2 gel refill. Although well-known, this wouldn’t be my own first choice. It isn’t terrible though and there are plenty of other options.1 The main advantage of this refill, other than its ubiquity, is its size. It holds a lot of ink meaning it will outlast, for example, innumerable D1 refills. It’s changed by unscrewing the tip – nice and simple.
The cap screws closed and screws on to post. The grip section is plenty long enough for even my fat fingers to hold the pen without the threads interfering.
Quite clearly, this is a brass pen. I love brass pens but there’s no denying their weightiness. That’s not so much of an issue when the balance is right. With the Machine Era Original, it’s a good nice weight and balance when unposted. The trouble is, it’s quite short like that. I have big hands and it’s just a touch too short to be comfortable to write with for a length of time. However, posting the pen, while making it a good length, then makes the pen a little too top-heavy.
That’s the only fault with the pen. It’s a good pocketable size and it uses a reasonable refill that is easy to replace (with an alternative if you wish). It’s well made and a very good price.
Extremely well made
A little top-heavy when posted
You can find some more reviews of Machine Era pens on Pennaquod. In particular, check out Jimmy Reekes’s review of the steel version on Pens and Plances. Jimmy has a great page on pen hacks, too, for when you’re determined to get your favourite refill into your favourite pen.
- There are three main sizes of refill. The tiny D1, and the larger Parker and Euro sizes. The Parker size is also known as the G2 size but the Pilot G2 is not this one! The Pilot G2 is the Euro size. To complicate matters further, the Euro size is not completely standardised. ↩