Made In America

One of my first jobs was as a computer network tech and one customer was Sikorsky, the helicopter maker. It was cool walking down the factory floor watching the helicopters come together in my own backyard. While fountain pens can be made in smaller factories I still have an affinity for ones made in my home country. There’s not a lot to choose from but I like the options.

While several pen companies are U.S. based or have a U.S. headquarters only a few manufacture here. These are the U.S. made pens I’ve accumulated.

Bexley Pen (www.bexleypen.com)

Photo of the Bexley Pen 2007 Owner's Club pen
Bexley Pen – 2007 Owner’s Club in Mahogany

Bexley is oftern described as the last U.S. manufacturer of fountain pens. As we’ll see, that’s not entirely true, although they may be the only one that can be described as a major manufacturer.

I bought my first Bexley pen in October of 2005, a orange Bexley Submariner. Unfortunately it’s one of two fountain pen I’ve ever lost (The other being a Lamy Safari). At the time I lost it, it was my favorite pen and it always had ink in it.

The Bexley Imperial I added in July is the fifth Bexley in my current accumulation. I like most of the Bexley designs and the pens have held up well. Three of them are ebonite/hard rubber pens which is a particular weakness of mine. I have two of the 2007 owner’s club pens (both hard rubber), in addition to an ebonite Imperial, an Intrepid and a Poseidon.

Franklin-Christoph (www.franklin-christoph.com)

Photo of the Franklin-Christoph Model 25
Franklin-Christoph Model 25

While their website doesn’t specifically say all their pens are made in the U.S., the ones I’ve accumulated have been. They also have a manufacturing facility in Houston, TX according to their website.

While I just learned of F-C this year, I’ve already added four of their pens to my accumulation. The workmanship has been great and they feel solidly built. But with less than six months experience I can’t speak to their long term durability, but my expectations are high. Especially since they offer a lifetime warranty.

Edison Pen Co. (edisonpen.com)

Photo of the Edison Collier pen
Edison Pen Co – Collier in Antique Marble

Edison is another brand that is new to me this year. It’s a one man operation, but since the guy is in Ohio they are certainly American made. Like the other pens I’ve mentioned, the workmanship and quality is great. I haven’t had them long enough to know their durability, but my expectations are high. I have the Collier, Herald, Nouveau Premiere and a Pearl.

Gate City Pen

Photo of The Belmont Pen
Gate City Pen – The Belmont Pen

Gate City Pen is a brand created by Richard Binder. Their tagline is “Modern Pens, Vintage Flair”. The three Gate City pens I have were clearly made by Bexley although the designs were unique (I assume Richard does all the design and Bexley manufactures). I have the New Dunn Pen, the New Postal Senior, and the Belmont. All Gate City Pens have unique fill systems. Well, unique to modern pens since they’ve vintage inspired.

Wrapping Up

It’s nice to see quality pens made in my home country. I’ve no complaints about the quality and don’t regret any of the acquisitions. But that last sentence can also be said about many non-US made pens.

Any other American manufacturers out there? Anyone else have an affinity for fountain pens made in their home country?

This Just In: Franklin-Christoph Model 02 Intrinsic

Photo of my Franklin-Christoph Model 25 Intrinsic
Emerald Green Franklin-Christoph Model 25 Intrinsic Fountain Pen

My second Franklin-Christoph pen of the week, and fourth overall, is the Franklin-Christoph Model 02 Intrinsic in Emerald Green with a medium italic nib. While not specifically listed for this pen, it appears the F-C medium italic nibs are .8mm.

Like the other F-C pens, I picked it for its quality and unique design. The italic nib is a first for my accumulation.

The F-C website calls this its flagship pen and lists the following specs:

  • .540″ upper barrel diameter
  • .420″ lower barrel diameter
  • 5.591″ capped length
  • 5.54″ cap posted length (including nib)
  • 4.942″ barrel length (including nib)
  • Made of hard acrylic with numerous steel or gold nib choices.

You’ll notice that the posted and not posted lengths have just over a half-inch difference. The tapered barrel sits deeply inside the cap when posted.

There was a difference between the website pictures and what I envision emerald green to be. The pictures showed a darker pen than I would expect to be called emerald green. I wanted the color in the picture and I was happy that was the color that arrived. It’s a dark pen that turns to black in some areas. It’s translucent in spots when held up to the light. The shading is great.

photo of the Model02 italic nib
The Franklin-Christoph Model 02 Medium Italic Nib

I picked an italic nib for this pen which is a first for me. For it”s first ink I picked another personal first, choosing De Atrementis Black Edition Black-Green ink.It’s a nice dark green ink.

I’m looking forward to using the new pen, nib and ink.

This Just In: Franklin-Christoph Model 25 Eclipse

The Franklin-Christoph Model 25 Eclipse is my third Franklin-Christoph pen. I added this pen to my accumulation for several reasons. I like the F-C pens I already have. They’ve been great writers with unique designs I like at a fair price. This pens unique design continues that tradition. They also have a wide range of nibs for their pens and I want to expand my nib collection. While there are other ways of doing this why not add a pen at the same time?

The pen is made of acrylic and rhodium plated brass. It’s got a small threaded cap that covers the partially hooded nib. The cap is designed to “post” under the clip. I picked a medium (.9mm) stub nib for this pen. The pen is a cartridge/convertor.

The hooded nib on the F-C Model 25 Eclipse
The hooded nib

The pen is designed to be carried nib down, making it unique among the pens in my accumulation. Since ink in the cap is such an obvious concern, I suspect F-C has considered that and cap ink will be no worse than my other pens.

The first fill for this pen was Aurora Black My daily carry lacked a black ink and I like having a black ink in the mix. Aurora Black is also an ink I’m familiar with and I wanted something familiar since this is a new nib style for me. Because of the hooded nib I filled the convertor directly from the bottle then put it in the pen.

I generally prefer bigger pens as daily writers which did make me hesitate on this pen. But after a brief try-out I find it comfortable to write with and don’t expect any problems using it  for longer writing sessions. The stub nib is nice and smooth.

I’m looking forward to using this pen.

This Just In: Franklin-Christoph Model 29 Bellus

Franklin-Christoph Model 29 in it box

One of two pens waiting for me when I arrive home last night was the Franklin-Christoph Model 29 Bellus. I ordered the fine steel nib from among the myriad of choices. Part of me felt I should try one of the kore exotic nib choices. It’s nie to see a manufacturer offer a wide variety of stock nibs. The pen is black lacquer with rhodium plated trim. I picked fire-engine red for the clip ring to add a splash of color.

The cap is attached to the pen via a magnet, both when covering the nib and when posting. I’m not yet sure if I like the magnetic cap. I’m a little concerned the cap could come loose too easily. We’ll see.

While I don’t typically post my pens when writing, I probably will with this one. The cap posts securely and I like the balance better than when not posted. But this is just a first impression so it’s take some writing to see if my opinion changes.

There’s significant engraving on the pen, including what Franklin-Christoph calls their “Paradox Pattern”. I like the look of this pen. The engraving isn’t overwhelming and I thinbk the pen has a classy look. It’s heavier than my other recent acquisitions, but not too heavy and with a solid feel.

The pen is a cartridge/converter fill and uses standard international cartridges. For the first ink I’ll be using Rohrer & Klingner Schreibtinte (Blue-Schwarz). It’s a limited edition ink that I’ve yet to use. It seems appropriate for this classy pen. Because of the engraving near the nib I’ll be inking directly to the cartridge rather than dipping the nib into the bottle. Cleaning the ink from the engraving could be a pain.

I’ll have a full review and more pictures once I’ve used the pen for a while. But my first impression is that this pen will be the start of a Franklin-Christoph addiction.

This Just In: Franklin-Christoph Model 66 Stabilis Desk Pen

Franklin-Christoph Model 66

A recent addition to my collection is the Franklin-Christoph Model 66 Stabilis Desk Pen. I’ve actually had it a couple weeks but I’m just getting around to inking it up. I’ve been admiring the Franklin-Christoph pens since learning of their existence. I like their style and they seem to be a good value. I have a couple of their pen cases, but this is my first foray into one of their pens. (I do have a second on the way).

This is a clip-less desk pen, with a flattened area on the barrel to prevent rolling off the desk. This, and the long length makes this a unique pen in my accumulation. I bought the pen with a extra fine steel nib. It will become apparent I have a preference for thin nibs.

For the first ink I picked De Atramentis Robert Louis Stevenson. It’s an ink from the blue family, but has a very purple look to it. This has been less purplish and more blue once the extra fine nib puts it down on paper.

The specs from the Franklin-Christoph website are:

  • Capped Length: 6.3″
  • Barrel Diameter at cap: .55″
  • Barrel Diameter at smallest part of the grip section: .41″
  • Cartridge/Converter that can use long or short international cartridges.
  • Can be converted to eyedropper fill

I’ll have a full review and better photos once I’ve used the pen for awhile. Anyone else used the Franlklin-Christoph desk pen?