Machine Era is a tiny company started in 2013 by two machinists out of Richmond, Virginia. Since then, the duo has zeroed in on manufacturing finery out of the ordinary. Today we’ll look at one specimen in particular — the Machine Era brass pen. Okay, okay — a $38 brass pen.
And no, the pen is not a Signet or one-of-a-kind; it’s meant to commemorate nothing more than the everyday. As Machine Era puts it, “a key part of our every day is a favorite pen…And for something we carry everyday [sic], we want something well made and fit for use.”
This Brass Pen is Pragmatic
What would I have to say to compel you to drop $38 on a gel rollerball? Before you write this EDC pen off as just another late-stage capitalistic trap for 30-something hipsters, hear me out.
The allure of the Machine Era Pen is twofold, as I see it. First, the pen’s technical aspects, like any small-batch everyday carry object, are familiar but exceptional:
- A solid-brass body that matures to a honey golden tone with use
- Swiss-turned machining for optimal balance and ink flow
- Heavy-weight, compact construction (1.6 ounces, 4.6 inches long, 0.4 inches in diameter)
- Threaded cap and dual-threaded ends for a secure, screw-on fit when open and when closed
- Compatibility with all colors and line weights in the Pilot G2 cartridge family (Machine Era includes one classic black G2 cartridge with each pen)
…But It’s Wistful, Too
Second, the well-designed but common item evokes a tactile and inviting experience; it’s the antithesis of entering data on a screen. So, let’s meditate on that experience for a moment:
- What it feels like to put a perfectly weighted pen to paper
- To whisp your thoughts across the page in 0.7-mm fine-point ink
- Notice that this simple act unionizes mind, sight, and movement; how it leads you to rediscover the shape and breadth of your letters and marks
- Feel the calm that comes with unbroken attention, without blue-violet rays and browser tab cacophonies
As an editor and copywriter, I spend much of my time tip-tapping away on a computer. And the longer I’m at it, the more I miss the simple pleasure of putting pen to paper without worrying about pushing it into the cloud somehow. I know that I’m not alone — digital fatigue is a global phenomenon. The modern digital grind commodifies our attention — socially, academically, in terms of work and leisure. It’s an information super-highway robbery of increasingly rare sensory experiences.
The fellas at Machine Era get it. And, in their own way, they are doing something about it.
So, yeah, at the end of the day, the Machine Era Pen is simply that: a pen. But isn’t that what makes it so remarkable?
See it — and everything else the Richmond boys are up to — at machine-era.com.