We have a lot to thank the Ancient Mesopotamians for, including early forms of writing, rubber - which would be used in some of the first erasers, and copper. It is reported that it was 5-6000 years ago when the ability to extract and work with copper was first fully harnessed by ancient Mesopotamians. You may be asking yourself what copper has to do with anything...well, this article looks at the properties which make copper pens unique and intriguing.
As I write this in March 2020, we are faced with an unprecedented health threat which is seeing the world change habits and become more conscious of the actions they take and the impact that this has. In the midst of many people beginning to work from home, and the eventual lock down of the UK for anything other than essential movement, I am reminded of the fact that within an office environment, whether at home or in public, there are huge challenges to hygiene. It has been proven on many occasions that office objects which are not able to be frequently sanitized are heavily populated with bacteria. This includes keyboards, phones and pens!
Antimicrobial Properties of Copper Pens
This leads to the magic metal that is copper. Naturally antimicrobial, copper kills bacteria, yeasts and viruses on contact and retains this property even after being cleansed itself. Interestingly, copper is also an important part of our diet as it is an essential trace mineral, crucial to red blood cell formation. That is not to say that we would suggest chewing on the end of a copper pen! There is plenty of dietary copper available in grains, potatoes, beans and leafy greens.
Studies performed at the University of Southampton show that copper-based alloys containing 65% or more copper are effective against:
- Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecalis (VRE)
- Enterobacter aerogenes
- Escherichia coli O157:H7
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
These are considered to be representative of the most dangerous pathogens capable of causing severe health issues and often fatal infections.
The study showed that on copper surfaces, more than 99.9% of MRSA as well as the above listed bacteria are killed within two hours of contact at room temperature.
Investigate the research here.
Because of these characteristics, copper is used in a number of medical environments, everyday surfaces, and as fungicides in agriculture (thank you Bordeaux Wine communities for using copper as a coating to stop thieves and discovering this!).
With all of this in mind, it is still relatively unusual to find copper pens. It isn't immediately clear why this would be, except perhaps that copper is relatively dense and therefore achieving the perfect balance required to create a great pen is a little more tricky than with plastics and other metals. Additionally, there is a slight, yet distinctive, scent to copper that any of you who wears a copper bracelet will be aware of. This scent is not something I find personally offensive, and it is easily removed with a gentle hand washing (something that we are all pro’s at by now!). It is said that over time and with extended use, the propensity to transfer the scent from pen to hand reduces significantly. But it would seem like, as with many things in the world of writing equipment, it is a factor that remains an issue of personal preference.
Like a good pair of leather boots, copper only gets better with time and use. One of my favourite characteristics of copper is the patina that develops through use, which acts as a personalised story of the pens use.
Image Credit: U/LegoDarthVader Imgur
This property means that each and every pen will become truly unique, but for those who prefer a shiny and pure aesthetic, copper pens clean up beautifully with a gentle abrasive (vinegar or lemon will do the trick). The distinctly warm and luxurious colour tone of copper can add something a bit special to your stationery collection and it has featured heavily in both fashion and home decor trends in the past couple of years. Needless to say, copper is one of the most beautiful and unique metals you can find on everyday items and is as such, perfectly suited to pens.
This stunning offering from Montegrappa features a contemporary and sleek shape. Crafted in mirror polished copper, the elegant brushed silver plated trim compliments the pen beautifully. This effect is reminiscent of the vintage piping and tubing employed in the process of making grappa, famously distilled in the region surrounding the Montegrappa factory. Initially inspired by the classic Moscow Mule cocktail, Montegrappa has registered an exciting new grappa based cocktail. The drink itself is made of 40ŒÁ premium quality grappa, bergamot scents and a habanero chilli twist - definitely not for the faint-hearted!
The concept behind the Montegrappa Mule was to create a writing instrument with a minimalist design making use of natural materials without chemical contamination. Further to this, the objective was to create something beautiful which would become unique to the user as it was used, with the telltale copper patina creating a rugged and vintage aesthetic.The Mule is likely to acquire tiny imperfections and begin to develop a unique patina as soon as it is taken out of the box.
The ballpoint pen comes with a black fine refill and is presented in a gift box. Also available as a Fountain Pen and Rollerball.
The flawlessly delicate pen from YStudio is a fine example of how something so utilitarian such as copper, can be worked to create a thing of beauty. Crafted from copper or brass, the YStudio desk fountain pen is presented in a handsome wooden box, again demonstrating the craftsmanship of the talented designers and creators at YStudio who work with all natural materials. Inside, you will find a lovely rice paper booklet introducing the product with instructions on how to use, refill and look after your pen. Additionally, the YStudio desk pen comes with a solid pen holder which has the extra function of being a paperweight or even an elegant desk accessory.
This pen is fitted with a Scmidt gold plated nib available in fine or medium sizes and takes international standard size cartridges.
The Liliput Fountain Pen - an elegant little number, ideal for either pocket or handbag! First produced by Kaweco in 1910 when it was made from black ebonite, this modern day model is CNC machined from a solid block of copper.
As with most copper pens, the Liliput Copper fountain pen is left untreated to develop its own unique patina, although it can be polished to restore a shiny appearance if desired. This model is a gorgeous compact pen at just 97mm when closed, it is ideal for transporting in your pocket or bag. When the pen is opened it is a well balanced 126mm so makes for a wonderful writing experience. Fitted with a polished stainless steel nib available in sizes; Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, Broad and Extra Broad, this pen takes international standard cartridges or the Kaweco squeeze converter if bottled ink is your preference.
Also available as a ballpoint pen!
With all the stunning features of the Fountain pen mode, the ballpoint version of the Liliput is equally as striking! Featuring a screw off cap, the ballpoint liliput copper pen is an absolute delight.
Another from YStudio! An absolutely stunning copper hexagonal barrel is certainly the signature of this piece. Along with the pen itself, you receive accessories including a protection case made of maple wood, a brass ring and 2 leather laces. The carry case is exceptional as it allows for secure transportation even under rough circumstances with complete security - you may even find the confidence to pop this one in your pocket! As this pen can't be posted, it is perhaps on the shorter side for most. However, its short stature not only promotes its travel ability, but also offsets the weight accrued by creating a pen from solid copper.
This pen is fitted with a Scmidt gold plated nib available in fine or medium sizes and takes international standard size cartridges.
Based in Austin, Texas, Modern Fuel creates heirloom quality writing tools which can be passed through generations. The main concept behind modern fuel is the creation of writing equipment which allows for a more focused and thoughtful life.
The Modern Fuel Copper ballpoint pen is a beautiful example of well crafted pen designed to last. By adding tellurium to their copper, Modern Fuel make create a stronger and easily machinable material. As with all our copper pens, the natural antimicrobial properties of copper are a great selling point and offer both aesthetic prowess and the knowledge that germs are not being spread!
The Modern Fuel Ballpoint Pen in Copper is push button operated and comes fitted with a Fisher Space Pen black pressurised refill, but can be operated with any G2 Parker type refill, thus enabling it to be converted to a rollerball pen if desired. The pen can be fitted with a black pocket clip if required.
- Lifetime guarantee.
- 100% metal: no plastic parts.
- Hand-blended and finished.
- Removable powder-coated clip.
- Scotch Brite pad for upkeep.
The Modern Fuel Ballpoint Pen in Copper is 140mm in length, weighs 48g and is presented in a cork gift box.
Montegrappa is synonymous with style, elegance and creativity. This particular model is certainly a luxurious take on the copper pen! like the Mule, the Grappa is inspired by the distillation process of Grappa, however this model is also inspired by the influence of steampunk design.
The materials used in the manufacture of the Grappa pen - stainless steel, brass and copper - are reminiscent of the distilling vessels used to produce the famous Italian licquor. Montegrappa's skilled technicians executed hand-applied hammering techniques on the copper components, while tiny screws - both functional and ornamental - remind the user of the technological inspiration of the product. Even the pocket clip continues the grappa making theme, formed to recall the copper tubing used in the distilling process.
This pen is truly exquisite with stunning details placed throughout the writing instrument. Inserted into the top of the cap is a disc made of real cork as used in a grappa bottle top, beneath a filigree-cut octagonal grid recalling Montegrappa's eight-sided symbol.
The fountain pen is being produced in a limited edition of 1912 pieces and a rollerball pen is also available, again in a limited edition of 1912 pieces, the number 1912 representing the year that Montegrappa was first established.
The Grappa is fitted with an 18ct gold part rhodium plated nib embellished with a bunch of grapes on the vine and available in Fine, Medium or Broad widths and presented in a beautiful blown glass bottle akin to a glass distilling vessel with dark wood stand and an ingenious stopper upon which the pen can be suspended when not in use. Comes with 2 international standard size black ink cartridges and an ink converter should bottled ink be your preference.
Copper not your thing? Brass is a wonderful alternative. Brass is essentially the generic term for a number of copper-zinc alloys, different proportions of each metal produces different properties with all brass characteristics including; strength, machinability, ductility, wear-resistance, hardness, colour, electrical and thermal conductivity, hygiene and corrosion resistance.
The colour tone of brass tends to be more closely comparable to gold than the pinky/orange hue of copper. Brass has been used in various components of pens including ink cartridges, springs and the body of pens.
More often, the brass is concealed by lacquer, but we are seeing a raw brass trend take full force in the world of writing instruments. Similarly to copper, brass pens develop their own patina and sense of wear that is unique to each individual pen and its user. Here are a few of the brass pens on offer at The Hamilton Pen Company.
The Fisher Space pen was the flagship product after the company was formed in 1948 and is an icon of american design, exhibitions feature the writing tool at the illustrious Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Manufactured in Nevada, USA, this pen is produced to exacting standards and utilises Fisher's tungsten carbide ballpoint and patented visco-elastic ink in a pressurised cartridge. As a result, the Fisher Space Pen can write in the most demanding environments:
- In the zero gravity vacuum of space
- In extreme heat up to 200°C
- In extreme cold to -20°C
- Upside down
- On grease
The brass model of the bullet pen is incredibly stylish and is perfect for those people who need a pen which can perform whilst also looking incredible!
This pen is fitted with an SPR4 black medium point refill
Whether you are looking for an on-trend writing instrument whose design will stand the test or time, or you are looking for a pen which helps fight the battle against bacteria, brass and copper pens are the ultimate in style and substance.
Although the antimicrobial properties are both impressive and incredibly important in the current pandemic, each featured pen is so much more than a practical option.
We think there is something truly intriguing in the unique patinas created in both brass and copper pens and the unusual nature of these writing instruments make them a spectacle for your desk - cant go wrong there!
Explore the variety of copper and brass writing equipment available at The Hamilton Pen Company