About This Model

There were many small fountain pen manufacturers in Italy during the vintage era, particularly in Torino and Bologne, and included Artus, Atlantica, Aurea, Imperiale, Kosca and others. The trouble is that there is almost no published information about them, except for the wonderful scholarship of Letizia Jacobini, who has managed to tease out most of the sub-brands and models from brands, a tremendously complex job. Most of the brands here were one purchase I made some years back to experience mid-level Italian vintage pens. They were almost all button-fillers, in celluloid patterns that I had never seen before or since. The nibs were almost all steel, responsive and often at least minimally flexible. Filcao started in the 1960s in Settimo Torinese, Italy, as a machine shop for metal parts. Crediting Richard Binder for the history, it's noted that by the end of the decade Filcao was producing cartridge/converter fountain pens, which then became its primary business. In 2004, Binder designed a pen for Filcao called “Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean,” an all-new button filler. It was followed by the Atlantica, the Nobile, and the Silvia. Filcao closed in 2012.

About This Pen

Imperiale is an Italian brand from the 1930s until the early 1940s, which, according to Jacobini’s scholarship, was a “commonly found brand probably made in Settimo Torinese”. I’ve not found other information about the brand, but there were numerous small family firms in Settimo Torinese that were also active jobbers for other firms. In short, this is a handsome, delicately styled pen in a relatively unknown brand, with a very interesting clip and great nib! To be more specific, its size is typical, 127mm (5” exactly) long capped and just under 12mm wide below the cap edge, and the cap and barrel are both ten-sided with the facets matching exactly. The celluloid is a lightly shimmering black and grey, with all-black crown and tassie. The barrel facets slope to round just at the cap edge for a smoother grip, and in an attractive added touch, the cap slopes to round just below the two cap rings. There is a very shallow, vertical imprint that is only “Imperiale” in small caps under a five-pointed star. The pen, after some serious cleaning, has no scratches or scars. The barrel threads show what might appear to be residual cleaning material from sloppy cleaning, but it is assuredly in the celluloid. Otherwise, this is a very clean pen. This pen’s clip is quite curious, similar to many similar devices in 1930s Italian pens, most of which have not survived; unusually, this one works! Depressing the mildly decorated, spring-loaded bar on top pivots the bar over the spring, which raises the point under the clip and holds the pen in a jacket pocket under the pressure of the spring. The nib is a sweet, flexible nib, not a full flex but a delightful fine to broad 14K writer. The nib’s brand is not identified but is thought to possibly be by Degussa; it has an engraved sun. Is this pen fragile? No, it is a bit delicate, but solidly made. There are a few barely visible spots of potential delamination, but that is the worst of it. This is probably not an all-day everyday user, but for home or office use, or in a case if used elsewhere.

Price: $195 Sold

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