I was surprised to discover the Ferris Wheel Press The Scribe ($45) ballpoint pen recently. It is a beautiful, lacquered ballpoint pen in the spirit of the Caran d’Ache 849 and the Parker Jotter. It’s sreamlined, elegant and beautifully packaged.
Normally, I prefer easy-to-recycle packaging and The Scribe is both posh and recyclable. The pen comes in a square-shaped tin embossed with the company logo and a friction-fit cap. The packaging can be recycled because its metal but can also be reused. It’s pretty enough to look good on-shelf in a shop and present as a gift. This would definitely qualify as a pen that would or could be gifted to a graduate or someone who just got their doctorate or passed the bar.
While most readers here are avid fountain pen collectors, I suspect we all own some upscaled ballpoint or rollerball pens and The Scribe would sit beautifully amongst our fountain pens.
The Scribe is available in several different lacquer colors but I chose the millennial pink because …. why not? The pen itself is a rounded square shape that is comfortable in the hand. The hardware is gold tone and the pen features a hex-shaped, knurled end that will advance and retract the pen tip. The clip is long and slender with subtle engraving on the clip with the company branding.
The most disappointing part of The Scribe is the refill. I discovered that The Scribe utilizes the Cross screw-in refill. It’s probably one of the most limited refill options. While the Cross screw-in refill is available at most big box office supply stores, options are limited in terms of tip widths, colors and ink type. With the (more common) Parker-style refill, users can choose a wide variety of options and these refill are readily available just about any place that sells stationery from a drugstore to a pen shop.
For a non-pen-snob, the refill might not be a dealbreaker. The Cross ballpoint refill is long lasting and available in blue and black. Its a solid refill.
For picky folks, like myself, this lack of refill options is a sad turn of events. Unfortunately, until I purchased the pen, I didn’t know what refill it would take. With most ballpoint pens, I already have a cache of refill options that I’ve hacked or modified to work but the Cross screw-in refill is the hardest to create an alternative. So, if you have. preference for gel ink, microtips or a wider range of color options, I wouldn’t recommend this pen. It’s beautiful but its usefulness is severely limited by the refill. I wish The Scribe had used a Parker-style refill or even the Schmidt rollerball refill. If it had, I would have definitely put The Scribe in the same class as the 849 or the Retro 51 Tornado as a new “modern classic”.
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