Manu Propria - Hand Made Fountain Pens

"manu propria" (lat. m.p., mppria, mppa oder mpria) - with my own hand -
Manu Propria Fountain Pens is a small, independent one-man manufacturer
founded in 2013. The atelier is based in Ittigen-Bern, Switzerland.

As a lover and user of Japanese fountain pens, it has been my goal for the longest time ever to make my own fountain pens. In December 2013 I founded MANU PROPRIA Fountain Pens, following the tradition of Japanese fountain pens using traditional ebonite material and urushi lacquer - but with my own personal "Swiss" touch.

According to the term MANU PROPRIA „with my own hands“, all fountain pens are completely hand made by myself in my atelier.

Monozukuri is a Japanese term which is described as "having the spirit of producing excellent products and the ability to constantly improve a production system and -process."

MANU PROPRIA fountain pens are not something you can simply walk into a shop everywhere and buy. They are hand-turned and hand lacquered, manufactured one piece after the other. The nibs used, are 18 kt (750) gold made in Germany.

Handling a MANU PROPRIA fountain pen will make you deeply appreciative of the workmanship that goes into crafting each pen, the attention to detail that I bring to my pens.


On Urushi Lacquer

"Darkness is an indispensable element of the beauty of lacquerware… [Traditional lacquerware] was finished in black, brown, or red, colors built up of countless layers of darkness, the inevitable product of the darkness in which life was lived. But lacquerware, Tanizaki notes, isn’t merely a visual delight — its magic is multi-sensory, amplified by a sense of mystery: I know few greater pleasures than holding a lacquer soul bowl in my hands, feeling upon my palms the weight of the liquid and its mild warmth. The sensation is something like that of holding a plump newborn baby… With lacquerware there is a beauty in that moment between removing the lid and lifting the bowl to the mouth when one gazes at the still, silent liquid in the dark depths of the bowl, its color hardly different from that of the bowl itself. What lies within the darkness one cannot distinguish, but the palm senses the gentle movements of the liquid, vapor rises from within forming droplets on the rim, and the fragrance carried upon the vapor brings a delicate anticipation. What a world of difference there is between this moment and the moment wen soup is served Western style, in a pal, shallow bowl. A moment of mystery, it might almost be called, a moment of trance".

Junichiro Tanizaki (1886–1965) - (In Praise of Shadows 1933)

MANU PROPRIA fountain pens will keep their value and are very hard to find on the secondary market. You will particularly enjoy the fact that you are using a pen that very few people will recognise or even own.

Martin Pauli