We are proud to present, “The Jabberwock,” a custom fountain pen made entirely by hand in our shop in rural Western New York State. Loosely based on the poem, “Jabberwocky,” by Lewis Carroll, we tried to reflect the whimsical nature of Carroll’s work while respecting a sense of traditional pen design and function. The final product is the culmination of several months of planning and hand-building.
The focus of the poem is on the Jabberwock, a terrifying creature, and it relates the story of a father warning his son of danger as the boy sets out to slay the imaginary beast. Through the story, the son encounters a variety imaginary flora and fauna as he seeks to slay the Jabberwock with his “vorpal sword.” The design of the metal work for this pen includes the Jabberwock which has been constructed to reflect the original drawing of the creature. On the reverses side of the cap, a “Jubjub bird” sits perched in a “Tumtum tree.” Lacking any original artwork to draw from, the designs for the bird and tree were left entirely to the imagination. The remainder of the metal work was developed to reflect the stone castle home of the young beast-slayer. The metal fittings are all constructed in nickel silver – approximately forty separate pieces of metal and seventy solder joints – and are set on a “moss green” acrylic material that reflects the eerie nature of the woods in Lewis Carroll’s poem.
In terms of function, the pen is based on a 13 mm cap thread and Jowo #6 nib. The overall length is 152 mm, the open length is 142 mm, and the total weight of the pen is 45 grams. The ink delivery allows for cartridge or converter. All body metal work is lined internally, so eyedropper filling is also possible.
In the spirit of full disclosure, the inspiration for this pen came about over forty years ago. I was sitting in a high school English classroom in the rural village where I grew up, and I was “less than interested” in the lesson for the day. I found myself leafing through the worn literature textbook to amuse myself, stumbled onto the full-page illustration across from, “Jabberwocky,” and I was lost for the remainder of the class period. I read the poem several times but it was the art that really mesmerized me. That particular year was not a great one for me with regard to English instruction (or the perpetrator thereof), and I regularly found myself back on a dog-eared page with an etching of a mythical beast and nonsense words by a poet with whom I was not yet familiar. That was the year that I fell down the rabbit hole. This pen is probably a good sign that I am still falling.