Thursday, February 15, 2018

Review: Manuscript ML1856 Fountain Pen @couronneducomte

Thanks to La Couronne du Comte for sending this beautiful pen for a review! I have been interested in it since they received it awhile ago - mainly attracted to its color!
Manuscript, Experts in Calligraphy: Since 1856, as a result of an association with D. Leonardt & Co, Manuscript has been at the forefront of pen nib manufacture and design. Now, over 150 years later Manuscript continues along that path combining the traditional elements of writing with new and exciting craft products. - La Couronne du Comte
Review Manuscript ML1856 Fountain Pen @couronneducomte 8
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Body material: Italian resin
Trim: Metal
Cap: Screw on
Posts: Yes, friction
Nib material: #6 Steel
Filling system: Standard international cartridge/converter
Length (capped): 139.47 mm/5.49"
Length (uncapped): 123.32 mm/4.86"
Length (posted): 175.92 mm/6.93"
Length (section): 27.0 mm/1.07"
Diameter (barrel): 11.34 - 14.32 mm/0.45" - 0.56"
Diameter (section): 8.94 - 10.68 mm/0.35" - 0.42"
Weight (all): 24 g
Weight (cap): 14 g
Weight (body):  10 g
Price: € 135,00
Where to buy: La Couronne du Comte
La Couronne du Comte

The Manuscript ML1856 is presented in a firm black upright box. The top is adorned with the logo in silver foil. The side has the Manuscript logo, "Manuscript", ML 1856, and the motto:
Born of heritage and tradition,
Created for modern day penmanship.
The lid lifts off to reveal the pen in a foam base. The box also serves as a display/holder for your pen. The pen comes with an ink cartridge, a converter, and a small pamphlet with company history. There are also details on how to activate your two-year warranty. I like the packaging. It isn't very heavy for shipping and it doesn't take up too much space. Low plastic usage as well.
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The ML1856 is a very pretty, eye-catching pen. It is a round pen with rounded off flat ends, tapering towards the end of the barrel (for posting the cap). The top of the cap has a metal emblem of the Manuscript logo set flush in the cap. The clip is attached to an external metal ring around the cap. The clip is engraved with 1856 and has a rounded end. The clip design and the finial suit the pen well.
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Uncapped, the pen appears to be full sized. There is a sharp step down from the barrel to the section, followed by cap threads. The gripping portion of the section is pinched, quite slim, and ends in a flared ridge before the nib. When capped, the cap and body come together almost seamlessly. The thin section looks a little disproportional to me. It would look better to my eye if it was a little wider.

The highlight of this pen is obviously the gorgeous Italian resin. The turquoise ocean is chatoyant and pearlescent, bright and cheery. The material glows are you rotate it in the light. The color reminds me of a crystal blue lagoon or a Caribbean sea! Such a beauty. 


The #6 steel nib is a 1.1 mm stub (also available in medium and 1.5 mm stub) from JoWo. It has a single slit, a round breather hole, and it is engraved with some flourishes. The Manuscript logo is laser-engraved in the center of the nib.
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The nib is interchangeable and can be unscrewed from the section as a unit. The nib, when aligned straight on the page, is smooth, medium wet, and is a lot of fun to write with. Stub nibs are some of my favorite writers, so I really enjoy writing with this 1.1 mm stub. I use stubs of this size on a regular basis so it was enjoyable to add a new one to the rotation. I also enjoy this nib for calligraphy practice.

The line variation is significant from the shape of the nib itself. It's a firm writer so not much in the way of pressure variation. The stub offers thin cross strokes and broad downstrokes. It is well tuned and well adjusted. Great as a daily user, for adding some character to your handwriting, in addition to calligraphy practice.
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If you rotate your nib into the page as you write, you will likely find the writing experience inconsistent, rough, and unpleasant. That is not how I use stub nibs but if you do rotate your nibs, the stub might not be the best choice. The sweet spot of the nib is definitely on the flat edge of the tip. At worst, if you love the pen but do not care for the nib, you can swap the nib out for the one you like.

The cartridge/converter set up works fine. Quick and easy, easy to maintain. If you convert it to an eyedropper, you can see through the barrel slightly.


The clip is super stiff and tight so it is best to slide it on and off papers. It's quite hard to lift so it's tough to put it in an elastic pen case or in a shirt pocket so I would not suggest that.
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Top to bottom: Manuscript ML1856, Lamy LX, Sailor 1911 Large.
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The section is strange and it's probably the only part of the pen I don't like. I find it uncomfortably thin, especially compared to the thickness of the barrel in the web of my hand. The threads are not sharp but the ridge is noticeable. Although it is slender, it's not a slippery section so I only find it uncomfortable in terms of the size. If you dislike thin sections (as I do), this might not be the one for you.
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Unposted, the pen feels balanced and is a comfortable length. Those with large hands may find it a touch too short. The cap sort of posts but not ideally. It's snug enough not to fall off but it is way too long, terribly unbalanced, and top heavy, and downright silly! Unposted is the only realistic way to go.

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This is an attractive model with a gorgeous color. I love that it uses a #6 interchangeable nib and can be used as an eyedropper. It's a simple model that is easy to use and maintain, and I appreciate that. I'm not crazy about the section but it isn't an absolute deal breaker for me until I come to the price - €135,00 is too high for a resin pen, steel nib, and c/c set up. I have seen worse, and the material is truly beautiful. As I have other pens that take #6 nibs already, I have a hard time justifying this one in addition to all the others I have. The 1.1 mm stub nib is not unique and can be purchased separately to add on to your existing pens. I think the real winning factor here is the stunning resin. 

I received this item/these items free of charge for the purposes of this review. I was not compensated monetarily for my review. Everything you've read here is my own opinion.


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