J. Herbin, founded in 1670, is a company specializing in fountain pen inks and sealing waxes. Although their main focus is ink, they do manufacture some writing instruments, including a series of hand-blown glass dip pens. These come in a variety of different colors and body shapes, all of which are beautiful pieces that are truly a joy to write with.
The J. Herbin glass dip pen comes in three different models: smooth frosted, spiral, and marbleized. Each model differs in shape and size from the others, and each comes in a variety of colors. I am currently in possession of a royal blue spiral pen, and it is truly a work of art. The body is completely made of spiraled blue glass that begins as a thick, four-sided prism fused to the grip section and twists upwards, becoming thinner the farther it gets from the tip of the pen. At the base of this body is the grip section, composed of two transparent bulbs that are connected just as two sections of an ant’s body are. Inside of the top bulb is an orange bubble (only available in spiral model). The tip of the pen is connected to the second of the two bulbs, and is made of clear glass that is spiraled sharply downwards to come to a point (see picture). This spiral shape was designed to hold the maximum amount of ink, as after the pen is dipped the ink rests in the grooves on the tip and slowly flows downwards as ink is used.
This tip design is the same for all three models of pen, although the shape of the body and grip sections differ rather drastically between models. The smooth frosted model has a thin, cylindrical body and one bulb for a grip, while the marbleized model has a similar body shape as the spiral model, though without edges or spirals, and has a colorful pattern near the grip section. Visit this link to see the different pen models.
Now for the packaging. The pen comes in a black cardboard box that is slightly wider and longer than the writing instrument itself, covered with a clear plastic lid. The lid is sealed onto the box with two stickers, one on each side. Both long sides of the box tell J. Herbin’s story in gold print, one side in English and the other in French. The pen itself rests in a plastic tray. Personally, this was not the most impressive packaging job that I have ever seen on a pen, but for the price, it does its job.
Quite frankly, the J. Herbin glass dip pen performs well. It writes smoothly enough for a glass pen, and holds a large amount of ink for a dip pen (a few sentences worth). It is perfect for testing inks, as one simply has to wipe the tip with a wet paper towel to clean it, and it is also fun to use when embarking on short writing projects or when composing a letter. I would not recommend using it for long writing projects, simply because it will have to be dipped multiple times in the user’s ink. The pen sells for $25-$30, and can be purchased here at Goulet pens (in royal blue spiral, other colors are also available). This pen is great for those who need to test new inks regularly, or just for fun (and fun it is!). I give this pen five stars for being everything it should be, and more. It is beautiful, it performs well, and it is great for different uses.
Note: Recent fountain pen recognition! Check out this New York Times fountain pen article right here, published on December 26th.