As noted with the March website update, timsvintagepens has started listing the dozen fine vintage Italian fountain pens purchased from a collector in Italy. Learning about these pens has been quite an adventure for me, both because there is so little information available and because it has been an awakening to a different culture’s historical manufacturing and marketing methods. Manufacturing mirrors society, and this was certainly true in Italy in the prewar years: very local, making lower quantities of fine pens, in smaller communities and neighborhoods in cities. As a result, the output of family-operated firms was often as beautiful as Omas and Aurora, but they are not easily named or differentiated. It makes for fascinating study.
How did my Italian venture happen? Like many a pen adventure…I bought a Columbus 140 that was described over-enthusiastically. Although the nib was in good shape, its “as is” works and barrel were shot. So I went hunting, and found the same pen without a nib on Italian eBay (an adventure of its own). The seller reached out to me to learn why I wanted such a pen without its nib, and so began the year’s ongoing email conversation between a retired architect and long-time pen collector and me. We have become friends, mutually discovering the limits of online translation apps. And, as happens with pen people, conversation led to a first purchase of two pens (the Tibaldi and Tabo in my collection) and then the second, the dozen. It’s early days, and everything I learn leads to more I need to learn, which reminds me why I’m in this to begin with. Enjoy the first three, the Aurea, the Montegrappa, and the Stilan!