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Machine Era Co. Brass Pen Review

Hey, look. I managed to review a pen that hasn’t been reviewed countless times. I first heard about the Machine Era Co. Brass Pen through the Pen Addict Slack room. At the time it was a preorder only affair but I liked the look of it and the price was right so I ordered it. And then proceeded to totally forget about it. Yep, I ordered it and forgot about it until I got the shipping notification email and went What is this?, I did’t order anything from these people.” Once I looked at what was shipped I remembered that I had ordered it. After getting the pen though, I haven’t forgotten about it since.

The pen is machined from brass and is of the pocket pen variety and faces some stiff pocket pen competition. There are many well known and loved pocket fountain pens available from different companies but when it comes to non-fountain pocket pens, two pens pretty much dominate the market. These, of course, are the Kaweco Sport series and the Fisher Space Pen Bullet pen. Can the Machine Era Co. Brass pen hold it’s own against the competition? I believe it can and that it does.

Schon DSGN pen, Kaweco Al-Sport, Fisher Bullet, Machine Era Co. PenSchon DSGN pen, Kaweco Al-Sport, Fisher Bullet, Machine Era Co. Pen

What makes the Machine Era Co. pen unique in comparison to the Kaweco Sport and Fisher Bullet, is the refill that the Machine Era pen is designed for. Instead of using the Fisher refill or a Parker Style ballpoint refill, the Machine Era pen uses the Pilot G2 refill. This is the only pocket pen I’m aware of that uses the Pilot G2 refill and I think it is an excellent idea. While the Pilot G2 may not be able to write upside down, underwater, or in extreme temperatures, how many of us truly write under these circumstances on a regular basis? The reason I feel that using the Pilot G2 refill is a smart move is because of the overwhelming availability of the Pilot G2 and it’s refills in nearly every store you walk into, at least here in the U.S. Whether it is a gas station, pharmacy, grocery store, {insert name here} big box retailer, or an overpriced airport or hospital gift shop, they will more than likely have the Pilot G2 available. Another reason I like the idea of using the Pilot G2 refill is because there are more than just ballpoint and gel refills available in the Pilot G2 size. I swapped a Pilot Juice .5mm Blue Black into mine.

One potential drawback to using the Pilot G2 for a pocket pen is that in comparison to the Parker ballpoint and the Fisher refill, the Pilot G2 is a large refill which means that a pen designed to use it will have to be larger as well. Machine Era Co. tackled this problem by making the pen slightly larger than the Pilot G2 refill which means the pen is very thin. This thinness is what makes the pen so compact and pocketable. How thin is the pen? The Machine Era Co. pen is 9.5mm in diameter while the Fisher Bullet is 9mm in diameter and the Kaweco Lilliput fountain pen is 9.3mm in diameter so they are practically the same size. Lengthwise, the Machine Era pen is a little longer than the other pocket pens but this is simply due to the Pilot G2 refill being longer. This doesn’t detract from the pocketability (is that even a real word) of the pen though because the difference in length is minimal.

The cap on the Machine Era pen screws onto the back of the pen so you don’t have to worry about losing the cap. When I first got the pen I thought posting the cap made it slightly top-heavy but I have gotten used to it and actually prefer writing with the pen posted. Because the cap doesn’t go down over the barrel much when posted, the pen is longer than most other pocket pens when posted, but not by much. The barrel of the pen is just long enough that I can write comfortably without posting the cap but find myself posting the cap anyway. 

Comparison of the body and Pilot G2/Juice refill. You can also see the threads where the cap postsComparison of the body and Pilot G2/Juice refill. You can also see the threads where the cap posts

Being made of the brass, the pen does have some heft to it, but the small size keeps the weight down to around 1.3 ounces. Machine Era Co. has just started offering a black anodized aluminum model which according to their website weighs .5 ounces. Since it is machined from raw brass the pen does have the metallically smell common to raw brass pens and it will develop a nice patina over time.

Handwriting the rough draft of this review was the first semi-long writing session I’ve done with the pen and it was very comfortable to use. It also further cemented my belief that this is a really well designed pen and that it can compete with the Kaweco Sport, Fisher Bullet, and other pocket pens. 

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