Celebrating, commemorating and delighting in change with a Franklin-Christoph model 19 fountain pen

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A Franklin-Christoph model 19, black with The King’s Gold bands, a number six, rhodium plated 18k gold, medium cursive italic nib custom ground by master Michael Masuyama marks my recent change of work from JPMorgan to MongoDB.

Franklin-Christoph Model 19 with The King's Gold; 18k gold, medium cursive italic nib; custom ground by Michael Masuyama
Franklin-Christoph Model 19 with The King’s Gold; 18k gold, medium cursive italic nib; custom ground by Michael Masuyama

When I went to Landmark Academy in Georgetown, Connecticut the headmaster was Fred Eager, who is the author of The Italic Way to Beautiful Handwriting: Cursive and Calligraphic. We were all given felt tipped calligraphy pens and taught to aspire to lettering that was as functional as it was pleasing to read and write. When you progressed the felt tipped disposable was replaced by a fountain pen, marking a level of deserved accomplishment. This memory is what selected the medium cursive italic nib, which most would say takes care and patience as it is less forgiving even with a custom grind.

Franklin-Christoph Model 19 with The King's Gold; 18k gold, medium cursive italic nib; custom ground by Michael Masuyama

The model 19 is also known as the “1901” which commemorates the year the original Franklin-Christoph company was founded. It was of significance to the maker and would play that role for me as well. It is a larger pen crafted from a single bar of methacrylate with some understated, elegant colored bands that fire freckles of jeweling. The King’s Gold reminded me of my late grandfather’s ring made of tiger’s eye. It looked masculine, yet showed up a little, like a well-polished pair of shoes.

Franklin-Christoph Model 19 with The King's Gold; 18k gold, medium cursive italic nib; custom ground by Michael Masuyama

The photographer I am wondered what the nib would look like at three times its size. The marks of a master nib grinder that with the naked eye are almost invisible show the rubs in an effort to make for a smoother delightful experience and even some unexpected rubs that simply show the nib has been worked.

Franklin-Christoph Model 19 with The King's Gold; 18k gold, medium cursive italic nib; custom ground by Michael Masuyama

Writing with the pen was an interesting experience, since I tend to print left-handed holding under the line. I tried the lettering from my childhood and could scratch out a few forms. It got better and better to the point that I found an out of print copy of Fred Eager’s book to polish up on my penmanship. The most interesting discovery is that when I hold my hand above the line it writes in cursive. It is amazing to me that my hand and brain still have those patterns and movements at the ready. My cursive flows as your opposite hand draws a line, with a level of uncertainty and flourish that the controlled print and italic lettering hides. It was a wonderful gift to remember.

Writing sample from Franklin-Christoph Model 19 in Pilot Iroshizuku Shin-Kai on Kyokuto 5mm dot
Writing sample from Franklin-Christoph Model 19 in Pilot Iroshizuku Shin-Kai on Kyokuto 5mm dot

I wouldn’t alter my move from IBM to JPMorgan. There were plenty of lessons learned that I needed to remember; plenty new ones to take note of; and refinement of my being, learning from my spirit. As seems my luck, the people were professional and supportive. My exit was unremarkable and fluid. MongoDB is an exciting chapter that lines up with where my mind meets the world. Thank you Franklin-Christoph for creating a pen that celebrates, commemorates and delights so well.

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