We’ve been reminiscing of treasures lost. Not iconic pens, but the movers and shakers of our niche artisanal community. Because that’s what Henry Simpole was to us all, a true truffle.

He was not only a master pen-maker and silversmith known for his exquisite pen overlays but a creative and passionate individual who signed off his entries on the fountainpen network as “Truffle Finder”. The thread dedicated to him reads like a diary. A sneak-peak into the trials and tribulations of a vintage fountain pen repairer and craftsman for bespoke orders.

People came from all over the world to visit Henry at The Admiral Vernon Arcade in Portobello Road.

Photo credit: Henry Simpole website (All images © of Neal Laver)

Fountain pens are meant to be used

True truffles, just like true fountain pens, are a rare delight and a decadent experience. The former for your taste buds while the latter captivates your eyes, hands and heart. Maybe that’s why Henry chose this moniker for himself. An assumption but one that’s supported by the following statement on his website:

“I realise that most limited-edition fountain pens are kept in mint condition – never filled or used to write a single word. My pens are made as working writing instruments and I hope some will be used and enjoyed on a daily basis for both their handling and aesthetic beauty.” Henry believed that using fountain pens, fulfilled their true value.

The magic ingredient of the Onoto Heritage Collection

Henry launched the first pen at the London Pen Show in 1999 under the company name of His Nibs Limited. Over the next 7 years, he created a further 4 designs of pens and produced the stunning overlay for the Onoto Heritage Range, a pen in rich black acrylic.

Each Heritage pen is fitted with a size 3 18-carat gold Onoto nib as standard. A true work of art which comes in a Limited Edition of 500.

They say you become what you do. And a Simpole overlay has become the diamond of fountain pen designs. The “Truffle Finder” has come full circle, to be forever cherished as a magic ingredient for fountain pens with excellent pedigree. And now, in their master’s passing, likely to garner a cult following of their own.