Fountain and Ballpoint Pens, Revolutionary Roots Collection, 1815 White House
We had the chance to sit down with Eagle Pen Co. President and co-founder Jeremy Piper to ask him about his company and products. Jon and Jeremy Piper are a father and son team, whose dedication to history and American craftsmanship is reflected in the luxury pens they create.
Started from a shared interest in pen making, Eagle Pens have become extremely popular amongst avid pen collectors and history enthusiasts alike. They use historic artifacts, such as historic pieces of wood or antique watch parts, in their designs. Each pen is American-made, hand-crafted, and uniquely designed to highlight American history and tradition.
Above, from left: Jon Piper (Eagle Pens, co-founder), Barry Gabay (Contributing Editor, Pen World Magazine), Jeremy Piper (Eagle Pens, President and co-founder)
Pictured at The Great Republic, CityCenterDC
Even at a young age, Jeremy Piper took an interest in pen making. It all started in middle school shop class when he became fascinated in the process of creating pens by hand. It became a hobby that he shared with his father, Jon Piper, and they took to crafting pens at home.
They purchased their first lathe together-- a machine used to shape the pen materials-- and began to work on a new father-son hobby. For four to five years, they simply practiced their craft after school and work, as a way to spend some time together and create pens that they could use everyday. Pretty soon, the fun pastime turned into a full-time endeavor, and they invested in more professional materials to create pens that they could sell on the market.
Fountain Pen, Pine Lumber from the 1815 White House
"We started attending a few local craft shows, setting up a cheap folding table and table cloth to show our wares; but importantly, we kept bringing home a little bit of money to fund our hobby. Eventually we branched out into larger art shows, created a website, and started taking things a little more seriously. Soon after, we got our very first wholesale order with Orvis, a very popular hunting and lifestyle catalogue-- we knew we were on to something."
When the operation turned into a more serious endeavor, the pair began searching for funding and support to launch the company.
"During a holiday art show in DC, we stumbled into The Great Republic and met with owner, Eddie Papczun. Eddie quickly latched onto our American made values and loved the historically-inspired direction we were trying to take the company. With his help we secured an investor, which allowed us to buy packaging, displays, machinery, and historic materials - everything we needed to truly elevate our product and our brand."
"Eagle Pen Company was born."
Fountain Pen, Rolex Watch Parts
Nowadays, most luxury pens are made overseas by European brands. It's difficult to find a truly American-made, quality pen on the market. When asked about what makes the company unique, Jeremy replied;
"Simply put, we are the only truly American-made, historical, luxury pen makers. All of the large, American pen companies have quietly been moving production overseas for the last 30 years. It has now gotten to the point where even American presidents, senators, congressmen, etc. are signing bills and laws with pens no longer manufactured in America. This has left an unusual hole in the market where no true luxury pens, designed and manufactured on US soil, were available--at least until we made ourselves known."
Eagle Pens are also unique for the materials they use. Never before has a pen company been entirely devoted to featuring historical pieces in the way the Eagle Pens does. Take the Revolutionary Roots Collection, for example (shown below). Here, a historic piece of a horse chestnut tree planted by George Washington in 1794 is used in the pen design. In this way, Jeremy and Jon Piper have embraced American pen making tradition while simultaneously featuring American history in the process.
Fountain and Ballpoint Pens, Horse Chestnut Tree, Planted by George Washington
"Pens certainly do make up the majority of our conversation, without a doubt..."
Of course, creating these historic pens is no simple feat. According to Jeremy, hand painting a single pen tube can easily take eight to twenty hours of work! The process of creating each specialty pen can require five to six people and days of intensive work from start to finish. Jeremy and Jon are actively involved in this process; from the early acquisition of historical artifacts, to choosing pen designs, and to packaging and shipping their unique creations. This certainly keeps the father-son duo close:
"Pens certainly do make up a majority of our conversation, without a doubt, but this company has been an incredible source of growth for me personally and many life lessons are woven into our discussions of how to grow a company."
Jeremy gave some insight into where he sees the company going next. With such unique practices, Eagle Pen Co. could lead the pen industry towards innovative and new heights. Recently, they acquired a rare piece of the original Wright Flyer built by the Wright Brothers in 1903, to use in a new pen.
"We have been working fervently on a few projects lately, namely our Wright Brothers pen. Holding an actual part of the first Flyer to have sustained flight, one of the largest ever technological advances for humanity, in your hand is an experience to say the least."
"Most of the Wright Flyers to date (as well as Wright Brothers' material) is held by museums, archives, and the Wright family, making material quite rare as you could imagine. The piece of metal we acquired through private auction is one of two known like pieces in the world to exist in private hands. If the relic has air-tight documentation and a story we love, it usually ends up coming home to stay in our relic vault."
Historic Piece from the Wright Flyer
While the Piper family sees value in creating unique and historically inspired products, they also build products to last. "In 20 to 30 years if you pull one of our pens out of your pocket or briefcase, it will still shine like the day you bought it and it is designed in such a classical way to never look 'old', to never be dated. Our pens are made to be as beautiful and resilient in 30 years as they are today."
Eagle Pen Company's success in the pen world started from a shared interest between father and son. It grew from there to produce a company that is flourishing under the care and devotion the pair puts into their work.
"Looking at the pens we were making 10 years ago, and comparing that with what amazing pieces we make today... I'm incredibly excited to see what the next 10 years hold."
Fountain Pen, Horse Chestnut Tree, Planted by George Washington
Find Eagle Pens at all locations of The Great Republic.
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