The summer of 2021 found John Mottishaw enjoying the Canadian countryside, the home of his youth. After an over-25-year career leading Classic Fountain Pens pen shop, creating the Nakaya Naka-ai fountain pen, and helping pioneer specialty nib grinds, it was time for Mottishaw to take a vacation; in fact, a well-earned retirement.
On the other side of activity, European-born and current Miami, Florida resident Emmanuel Caltagirone is entering his prime. The son of a renowned pen maker, Caltagirone has made a name for himself with his Armando Simoni Club (ASC) fine writing instruments brand, which utilizes vintage OMAS celluloid and classic Art Deco design along with innovative power-filling systems and large No. 8 flexible gold nibs.
But it’s more than ASC that has kept Caltagirone busy. The Pen Family (the name of Caltagirone’s company) also includes U.S. brands Wahl-Eversharp and Bexley, British brand Conway Stewart, and French brand Oldwin Paris. From the kernel of an idea—the relaunch of those gorgeous, vintage OMAS celluloids—Caltagirone has built a family of pen brands with a range of personalities.
Caltagirone says, “We make pens in Europe and the United States. We recently moved Pen Family operations in the U.S. to a new location in Miami. We use CNC machines to make the pen parts and have the equipment to polish and engrave parts, then plate them in gold, rhodium, ruthenium, and other finishes. We assemble the parts coming from Europe in addition to the ones we make here.”
Caltagirone’s strength has always been through strong partnerships: Syd Saperstein of Wahl-Eversharp, Howard Bexley of Bexley Pen Company, André Mora of Paris, France pen shop Mora Stylos and his proprietary brand Oldwin Paris, and background partner Jack Leone—all have contributed to the success of the Pen Family.
But the other individual in the background, a longtime friend and a purveyor of Pen Family pens, was Mottishaw. After a career as a sculptor, Mottishaw began Classic Fountain Pens—now known simply as nibs.com—in 1996 as a highly curated online pen shop with a focus on Japanese fountain pens. Nibs.com is an exclusive distributor of Nakaya writing instruments, which was founded by Platinum Pen Co. President (and Mottishaw’s personal friend) Toshiya Nakata.