Where do ideas come from? I’ve always been fascinated by this question. That lightning strike, those light bulb moments. Impossible to predict, almost always untraceable.
I’ve forgotten more great ideas than I can count, mostly because I think I’ll remember them later on. Lately I’ve taken to carrying a small notebook and a pen with me everywhere I go – a resolution to never let a good idea get away from me again. Recording it on paper saves it for posterity, while the physical act of writing it down commits it to memory.
The recording of an idea is an intentional act. I have to stop whatever else I’m doing, pull out my notebook and pen, and write. I wanted to make a pen that reflected the weight and importance of that intention – one whose writing experience could mirror, or better yet complement, the natural flow of thoughts and ideas from brain to page. A pen that spoke to the meditative qualities of intentional writing, and most importantly, one that was extremely enjoyable to use.
Why a fountain pen? I find it to be the ideal tool for recording ideas and for journaling. Preparing the pen becomes part of the ritual, the literal priming of the pump, as Malcolm Gladwell puts it. The writing action itself is unmatched. If you’ve ever written with a quality fountain pen, you know what I mean. If you haven’t, you owe it to yourself to try.
Derived from my original 3-piece Alpha Executive Pen, the new Alpha Bamboo body design pays homage to the Reed Pen, the original “mother hen” of pens, which dates back thousands of years. It’s also inspired by a “bamboo finish” flashlight I made for my Dad many years ago. Bamboo is a renewable resource – like bamboo, I like to think my good ideas will never run out.
Life is filled with many rituals that go unnoticed. Maybe it’s your morning coffee preparation, suiting up for the big game, or getting the shop ready for a day of work. These small rituals prepare us for the task at hand and tells both brain and body we’re about to do this thing!
Like the original 3-piece Alpha Pen, the Bamboo Fountain pen delivers a certain amount of ceremony in uncapping the pen and preparing it for writing. It’s an act that requires thought and intent. It’s a ritual that prepares you to make something awesome happen on a blank sheet of paper.
* Video credit: Matthew Morse - Nib & Ink
A fountain pen also allows your specific personality to shine through as the line weight changes...a satisfying departure from the uninspired ball point. Ink from a fountain pen flows effortlessly onto the paper, and so do your ideas. Shakespeare didn’t write with a ball point you know. ;) I find any creative process benefits from being a little more in touch with history.
I sent out a handful of prototypes to some pen pros to get their feedback before launching the campaign. Here is what they have to say:
Ridley Pearson | NYT #1 Bestselling Author
- To write (for a living) is a privilege. The Prometheus Lights fountain pen is a smooth co-writer as I’m scripting my Super Sons graphic novel for D.C. Comics. My mechanical pencil is back in the drawer.
Pen Addict | Brad Dowdy
- This is one of the more unique and fun fountain pens I have used in recent memory. And like everything Jason makes, the quality is top-notch.
- The design of the Alpha Fountain Pen is sure to turn heads. It feels great in the hand, and is a rock-solid EDC fountain pen option.
- A bamboo-style, metal-barrel fountain pen can’t work, right? I’m happy to say I am wrong. This is a great example of Jason’s craftsmanship and attention to detail.
Nib & Ink | Matthew Morse
- The perfectly-machined solid metal build paired with the organic bamboo-like shape of the Prometheus Fountain Pen creates a unique and thoughtful juxtaposition of natural vs. manmade.
- As he did with the rollerball / fineliner pen, Jason has stuck to some unique constraints with the Prometheus Fountain Pen — namely the exclusive use of the Pelican Edelstein Ink Cartridges and Bock Nibs — and has refused to compromise on design, as is customary with his work.
- The bamboo-like styling of the pen is carried over to the slightly-waisted grip section — which is comfortable for longer writing sessions.
Everyday Commentary | Anthony Sculimbrene
The Bamboo [Fountain Pen] is incredible—quintessentially Jason’s style but still different. You no longer have to choose between an elite writer and a durable pen.
The Alpha Bamboo retains a 3-piece design like the original Alpha Pen with some updated components that are backwards compatible with all previous Alpha pens.
- Trumpet Grip: The shape compliments the lines of the bamboo-styled body while being comfortable to hold. The grip is designed exclusively for the Bock 060 Extra Small Nib which fits beautifully inside the existing cap.
- Bamboo Body: Accepts the Pelikan Edelstein cartridge only. The good news is the long body of the Alpha Bamboo takes advantage of the extra capacity in an International Standard Long cartridge. Despite being “standard”, the Edelstein cartridge is the only one slim enough to fit inside the body.
- Cap & Clip: The cap includes our trademark 6/4 Titanium Pocket Clip and features a new matching pocket clip screw, machined entirely in-house and laser marked with the Prometheus logo. If you prefer the look of a brass screw instead, you can pledge for one via BackerKit after the close of the campaign...meaning your pen will come with a matching screw and a brass screw.
You’ll find lots of great reviews of the German-made nibs from Peter Bock AG. That’s fine, but I rely on first hand information...meaning I personally tested nibs from all of the top manufacturers. No surprise, Bock was the most reliable and pleasant to use. The #060 nib is small enough to fit into the cap, but larger nibs will not. You’ll be able to select from EF/F/M/B point size for the nibs via BackerKit after the close of the campaign.
Yes, you are limited to using Pelikan Edelstein cartridges. Don’t worry, that’s good news: this is one of the most well regarded fountain pen inks around, and available in a variety of award winning colors. Each Alpha Bamboo comes with one Tanzanite (blue/black) cartridge, my personal favorite. Obviously you’ll need more ink! You’ll be able to pledge for five-pack tins in a variety of colors via BackerKit after the close of the campaign.
Those of you who know my projects know that I try to keep things as simple as possible, including pledging for rewards. So here is the deal:
Choose from the following standard materials offering (L to R):
EN Plated 6061-T6 Aluminum
- C360 Free Machining Brass
- C145 Tellurium Copper
- 6AL-4V Titanium
Early Bird Rewards: The first 50 backers in each material offering can pledge at 50% off the future retail price.
Non Early Bird Rewards: If you weren’t quick enough, you can pledge at 40% off future retail price.
Each Alpha Bamboo Pledge Reward comes with:
- 3-piece Alpha Bamboo Fountain Pen in material of choice
- Titanium Pocket Clip with custom machined Matching Material Screw & 3mm Allen Key
- Bock 060 XS Nib in choice of EF, F, M, B Point Size*
- One Pelikan Edelstein Ink Cartridge in Tanzanite (Blue-Black)
* If you need help picking a nib size, please see the FAQ at the end.
Weights & Dimensions:
- Aluminum: 1.0 oz
- Brass: 2.2 oz
- Copper: 2.4 oz
- Titanium: 1.2 oz
- Open: 5.7 in
- Closed: 5.0 in
Made right here in our Mountain View, California shop. Machining is done on both a Haas ST-10Y and a ST-10 CNC Lathe. Doing everything in-house means I'm able to minimize external risks along with making a high quality product. All pens feature Class III instrument-grade threads.
Precision that’s not marketing hype. I don’t deal in hype. I machine precision parts for a living and you can (and should) expect world-class craftsmanship. If you are buying a pen that is machined, you are going to feel the difference when it’s designed and manufactured by a machinist!
Production Schedule: The following is an estimate, not a guarantee.
I’m leaving plenty of time in the production schedule in case the project does better than I think it will. Fingers crossed! :)
As with my past Kickstarter projects, I'm using a platform called BackerKit to manage the fulfillment process. Participation is not mandatory...but is greatly appreciated :) My experience demonstrates that BackerKit is a critical tool in delivering the right reward to the right person at the right time, and that's good for everyone.
You may choose to opt out of BackerKit, but it may delay/complicate the delivery of your reward. Most serious project creators are using BackerKit because it makes backers happy. Notice it's called BackerKit and not CreatorKit ;) Fulfillment and data tracking are exceedingly difficult on any project. Asking me to manually manage your contact information is time consuming. This is time spent at the computer and not in the shop making parts or shipping rewards. Be a team player and we all win!
- You'll be asked to confirm your pledge information and provide your shipping address through BackerKit.
- BackerKit puts you in control of your pledge by allowing you to manage your own order quantity and shipping address.
- You will not receive a Kickstarter survey requesting this information.
- If you opt out of BackerKit, you will not have the option to modify your reward quantities.
Risks and challenges
Machining and assembly is done completely in-house, and I've already put the fountain pen through first-run manufacturing. Normally the "figure it out" work starts when funding is completed. In this case, for your convenience and my sanity, I've already done all of that.
Right now the main source of risk is the lead time on nibs and ink. We placed an order with Bock before the campaign launched in order to minimize the risk of late delivery. We are currently working with Pelikan to ensure that inks will be available in the right colors and quantities. We know getting nibs and ink is possible...the main issue is (potentially) a slight delay in shipping if it takes longer than it’s supposed to.
Beyond that, the major risks to this project will be flood, earthquake, tsunami, giant meteor impact, and/or a sudden sub-zero cold spell that freezes 80% of the earth overnight.
Seriously though, the real risks are still large ones like a piece of machinery suffering a major malfunction.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)