My other Danitrio pens have a frog, a dragon and phoenix, a wave, and a pair of ninjas. The baby octagon that arrived the other day must be the black sheep of the family. Or it coalesced from the atoms of Hotblack Desiato’s spaceship.

Danitrio baby octagon

Danitrio baby octagon

Zaphod’s attention however was elsewhere. His attention was riveted on the ship standing next to Hotblack Desiato’s limo. His mouths hung open.

“That,” he said, “that … is really bad for the eyes …”

Ford looked. He too stood astonished.

It was a ship of classic, simple design, like a flattened salmon, twenty yards long, very clean, very sleek. There was just one remarkable thing about it.

“It’s so … black!” said Ford Prefect, “you can hardly make out its shape … light just seems to fall into it!”

Zaphod said nothing. He had simply fallen in love.

The blackness of it was so extreme that it was almost impossible to tell how close you were standing to it.

“Your eyes just slide off it …” said Ford in wonder. It was an emotional moment. He bit his lip.

Two black Danitrios

Two black Danitrios

Not only is this the plainest Danitrio I own, it’s also the shortest. Here it is beside Dragon and Phoenix, a Takumi-sized pen. Note the difference between urushi-covered ebonite and plain ebonite. There’s already a faint hint of oxidation, no matter how careful I’ve been not to leave Dragon and Phoenix lying about exposed to light.

Close-up: cap meets body

Close-up: cap meets body

The facets aren’t crystal sharp, but rounded off, giving the pen an almost organic feel in the hand. The matte black urushi finish (called kuro-keshi) doesn’t only look good; it protects the ebonite underneath from oxidizing.

Danitrio flexible nib in EEF

Danitrio flexible nib in EEF

I asked for a flexible nib in EEF. It’s semi-flexible, unlike the EEF in the Danitrio ninja pen. (That one is several years old, and it is possible that there have been changes in nib manufacture since then. Or I could have just gotten really lucky.)

Danitrio flexible EEF writing samples

Danitrio flexible EEF writing samples

The first fountain pen many people buy is black. It feels like a smart choice, like black leather shoes or a black satchel. Black doesn’t have to be boring, especially in the world of writing instruments, where variations in finish, shape, length, girth, weight and trim abound. There will always be a pen that speaks to you and says, “Take me home.”

You can't go wrong with a black pen

You can’t go wrong with a black pen: hairline finish, ebonite, kuro-keshi, shiny

Was your first fountain pen black? Do you still have it?

  • http://twitter.com/srhiltz Sarah Hiltz

    Mine was! Black and shiny. And I do still have it. In the small town I lived in at the time, it was the only fountain pen I could find for sale anywhere. It has a medium nib and it’s not flexible at all, really… Still, it does have some sentimental value being my first pen.

  • Margana

    Handsome pens! I love black pens and have a post in the works about them.

  • bmillicent

    I gotta give you two thumbs up ! You have dragons (I was born in a dragon year) and quote Douglas Adams (had a Hitchhiker’s themed cake in the shape of 42 a few years ago).

    Very first fountain pen was back in school, so it was a little plastic Sheaffer one. I think it was red, but that was so long ago. I don’t know where it went. Black pens can be quite lovely now though. I just can’t get so excited about black ink. There are so many beautiful colored inks to load up those black pens !!

  • quinden

    Mine was a blue Lamy Safari – no longer with me.

    I love the Short Octagon; your kuro-keshi is stellar! I have a tame midori with a stub nib that I have fallen in love with :)

  • Matt

    Nope, streamline franken big red.

  • Brian Gray

    That’s a good lookin’ pen!

  • leighpod

    I don’t have my first pen anymore, sigh. But it was black too. :)

  • leighpod

    I’d love to read that!

  • leighpod

    I know people who have colorful pens who only use black ink. LOL.

  • leighpod

    It’s a gorgeous design and very Dani. :) Do you have photos of your pen anywhere? It sounds lovely.

  • leighpod

    Of course your first pen would’ve been a franken. :D

  • leighpod

    It is. I was wondering how facets would feel on a pen with this girth, but as it turned out the pen is really comfortable to hold.

  • quinden

    I do indeed – here’s one shot outside, and one with my Hakumin/Edison Mina :)

  • http://leighreyes.com Leigh Reyes

    That green is so distinctive. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/Sheehmi Mike Sheehan

    My first fountain pen, in 1990, was a sterling silver Sheaffer Targa. Yep, still got it. Many after it were black and despite some nonblacks, like my Dolce Vita, I still gravitate back to black. The more colorful ones don’t get out of the case as much. Nice review.

  • leighpod

    Such a pretty midori. How do you find the Hakumin/Edison pen?

  • leighpod

    Thank you! :)

  • quinden

    It’s one of my favorite pens, but very different from the Danitrio. I really love Ernest Shin’s work – I also have a Pearl with an ishi-me finish and a cursive italic nib. I reviewed my Mina on FPN a little while ago, and did a little photo shoot of my Pearl in the ‘Pens from the Land of the Rising Sun’ forum. Here’s a couple of photos of them with my acrylic Pearl :)

  • http://twitter.com/paperandhand paper and hand

    My first fountain pen, in school in the ’80s, was a red Pelikan Pelikano and I still have it even if battered and now retired. The first pen I bought returning to fountain pens some years ago was a red Lamy Safary, do you see a pattern? :)

  • http://twitter.com/PeaceableWriter JD Eames

    Great post, Leigh! I have 3 short octagons. Love ‘em. Appreciate seeing yours next to the cool Takumi-size pen.

  • Derek in New York

    Yes, indeed it was, and I still have it, a Sheaffer Targa in matte black, actually, so the genetics run deep. Thanks for reminding me! I love your obsessions.

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