The Franklin-Christoph Model 19 “1901” is a big pen. That is exactly what I as looking for when I picked mine up in December 2012. I also made the choice to get the broad stub (1.1 mm stub) nib even though I knew it wasn’t good match for what I wanted in an everyday nib.
But when ordering from Franklin-Christoph it’s hard to avoid ordering a Mike Masuyama nib grind since it’s only an extra $15. While it wouldn’t be a daily writer I wanted at least one good broad stub in my accumulation.
So this pen hasn’t seen a lot of ink since I got it over a year and a half ago. I’ve resisted the urge to swap out the nib. I’m afraid I would never use the broad stub after that and this way I can occasionally ink up the pen and try it out for a quick writing session. This review is the first time I’ve inked the pen for a long period of time. I’ve used it rather consistently over the last month with a couple different inks.
From the Franklin-Christoph website…
The “1901” commemorates the year the original company was founded, with a classic design featuring the flagship black and crème with white metal.
What I Got
The Franklin-Christoph Model 19 “1901” with the Mike Masuyama broad (1.1 mm) stub nib. The pen is a glossy black acrylic with “King’s Gold” bands on the cap and barrel. It’s a clean, straight-forward design. The Model 19 is a cartridge/converter (converter included) pen which probably can be converted to a large capacity eye dropper since there’s no metal in the pen. (Although it looks like the band goes all the way through so there may be some discoloration issues there which is why I said probably.) The pen can be posted but it feels a little unbalanced. But that’s from someone who doesn’t post his pens. The pen is light, even when posted.
The Franklin-Christoph logo is engraved directly into acrylic of the cap finial. The rhodium plated clip has the Franklin-Christoph four diamonds engraved into it. The clip is firm, but flexible enough to slide into a pocket with one hand which is helped by the upturned end of the clip. The clip is plain but functional. Even though it slides into a shirt pocked the pen is a little big for many smaller shirt pockets. Even if it fits the pen is bigger than what I prefer to carry in my shirt pocket.
The nib is the standard factory broad nib that is then stubbed my Mike Masuyama. So it has the Franklin-Christoph “F” etched on it and is labeled “B” for broad. There’s also a few swirls engraved into it. It’s a one-tone silver nib which is my preference. It also keeps all that engraving from being to gaudy for my tastes. All the engraving, except for the “F” logo is very subdued and barely noticeable.
- Length Capped: 5.4775″ (139.12 mm)
- Length Uncapped: 5.0525″ ( 128.33 mm)
- Length Posted: 6.5625″ (6.5625 mm)
- Section Length: 0.8365″ (21.24 mm)
- Section Diameter (near nib): 0.4265″ (10.83 mm)
- Section Diameter (below threads): 0.5030″ (12.78 mm)
- Section Diameter (mid-section): 0.4375″ (11.11 mm)
- Cap Diameter: 0.6680″ (16.96 mm)
- Barrel Diameter: 0.5985″ (15.20 mm)
- Weight: 0.8 oz (24 g)
- Weight (body only): 0.6 oz (16 g)
Writing With The Pen
The cap takes nearly 1 1/2 rotations to remove and get the pen ready for writing. The Franklin-Christoph block threads are at the top of the section. My thumb does lay across the threads but they are not sharp and don’t bother me at all. The section has a noticeable taper and is very comfortable for me to grip.
It’s tough for me to review the nib. I knew that when I got it that it would be about 90º off target for what I like in a nib. A broad flexible cursive nib would be about 180º off, the exact opposite of what I like. I like stub nibs but this is way too wide for my writing.
If I slow down and write bigger I can enjoy the nib. But I find this tiring so it’s not a nib for long writing sessions. That said, the nib is very smooth. Between it’s width and Mike Masuyama’s skills there’s no tooth to the steel nib. It never wants to stab the paper.
The flow is good, the feed doesn’t have any problem keeping up even when I write fast. I did have a couple problems, one of which is probably me and not the pen.
When the pen was low on Diamine Syrah ink the pen was dry after being stored nib up overnight. The flow didn’t return until I used the converter to force ink into the feed and I was able to get another page before the pen went completely dry. Up until this point it had been ready even after being unused for a couple days. Although when I let the pen sit for 5 days it did need a little time to get going, but gravity did resolve the problem.
The second issue is me fighting the 1.1mm stub. Occasionally I’d get skipping or thin lines. This was me losing the sweet spot on the nib as I was writing unnaturally large for me. Other than this there’s wasn’t any skipping. The sweet spot wasn’t unusually small, it’s just me trying to corral a nib that’s so different from what I’m used to.
Depending on the ink, the large stub does provide some nice shading and line variation. If you like broad nibs the stub provides some nice character.
Cleaning The Pen
The cartridge/converter is easy to clean. When it came time to refill this pen I wanted to refill immediately so I could write the draft of this review. So I went back to basics and just used the converter to flush the pen, no bulb syringe or ultrasonic cleaner. This was fast and while the towel did have slight traces of red it wasn’t enough to affect the next fill.
I’ve used many inks over the life of this pen, usually a short converter fill for a quick writing session. None of those inks had problems. For the month leading up to this review I used two inks for extended periods.
Diamine Syrah was the primary ink used leading up to the review. You can see the writing samples in my Diamine Syrah ink notes. The ink performed well except for my previously mentioned dry nib when the ink was low.
Once I finished off the Syrah I loaded the pen with Pilot Iroshizuku Yu-yake. This was just before I wrote the draft of this article which was my longest single writing session with this pen and it’s where I experienced the previously mentioned skipping when I lost the sweet spot. There was some nice line variation with this ink. See the writing sample below for this ink.
The nib style is not for me and I knew that when I ordered the pen. I do like having one really good 1.1 mm stub to play with so there’s no regrets. The pen itself is an excellent size for my hand. I’ve resisted swapping out this nib for a different nib. I like having the nib available for a quick writing session. I do keep considering a .9mm stub but If I did swap I’d never return the 1.1 mm to the pen. I’m lazy and having to swap nibs before I play with the 1.1 mm nib would be too much of a speed bump. With a nib more suitable to my writing it would certainly get much more use since it’s a very comfortable pen. Because of this the Franklin-Christoph Model 19 “1901” is a keeper.
Added size comparison to Lamy 2000 Feb 22, 2017