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Columbus 92


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#1 AltecGreen

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Posted 23 August 2009 - 04:43

Columbus is an Italian brand that seems to have very little recognition these days. Columbus was founded in 1919 and is one of the oldest Italian brand with uninterrupted existence along with OMAS, Aurora, and Montegrappa. Prior to the 1950's it was one of the most important producers. However, the decision to focus on low end products in order to compete with ballpoints has certainly hurt the stature of Columbus.

First Impressions:

The Columbus 92 is a midsized pen from the 90 series which was introduced in 1951. After 1955, Columbus stopped making celluloid pens and focused on lower costs resin pens. So the 92 represents the last of the golden age celluloid pens from Columbus. During the golden age, Columbus had some of the most beautiful celluloid patterns and this Columbus 92 is a good representative. I acquired this pen on eBay and took bit of a chance since the pictures did not really do justice to the celluloid. When the pen arrived, it came in the original 1950's box with papers in Italian. To my pleasant surprise, this pen was mint and looks like it had never been inked.

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Appearance:

This pen is a midsized pen (thanks to Jeff L for the info) but is pretty slim by modern standards. The pen is 13 cm capped and 1.1 cm wide at the barrel. The shape of the pen is reminiscent of a slimmed down Parker Vacumatic. The body is celluloid while the section is ebonite. The highlight of this pen is the wonderful celluloid. The pattern is an incredibly dark and deep blue with light blue pearlescent veins that resemble the veins on an Arco pattern but without the regular striations. The veins change color as you rotate the pen, very cool. This celluloid also has the finest polish of any celluloid pen I own. The surface is smooth as glass and feels greasy slick. The polish is better than any of the celluloid pens I own (2nd Gen. Tibaldi, 90's OMAS, Visconti). Furthermore, this pen was mint and looked like it just came from the factory. Overall, the appearance is stunning.

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Nib:

The nib is a classic 14ct gold nib with vintage flex. The flex is not a 20's Waterman wet noodle but much more than any modern pen with great line variation. There is so much flex that I haven't really mastered the use of the pen. At first the pen seems toothy pen but at different angles and writing pressures, it's fairly smooth. With the slightest of pressure, you can lay down a hairline but with a slight increase the line width grows dramatically. I still need to get used to the variations with pressure. The nib could probably use some smoothing by a nibmeister. As it stands, this is a fun nib to write with despite a bit of tooth. In the writing sample, I show a bit of the line variation as well as some micro writing using a very light touch (the small letters are about 1 mm tall). Like I said, a fun nib to write with.

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Filling System:

This pen is a piston filler. Even after 50+ years, the piston worked perfectly the first time with a very smooth action. It does make you wonder about modern pens that develop piston problems right out of the box. This model can also be found in a push-knob filler similar to vintage Mont Blancs.

Cost:

This is a vintage Italian pen so the usual vintage pricing applies. Columbus is not that recognized these days so hopefully the prices stay low.


Conclusion:

Columbus as a company seems to be very under-appreciated these days. Some of the pictures I've seen of the celluloid Columbus pens from the 30's and 40's are just breathtaking. Columbus is still an active company although the ownership did change in 1992 after the death of Enrico Verga. Unfortunately, they don't work in celluloid anymore and focus on lower priced pens. However, new current Columbus seems to specialize in silver. Both vintage and modern pens from Columbus are worth looking into.

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#2 diplomat

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 20:25

Thank you for this well written review that in addition serves as an excellent introduction to the Company.

I agree that Columbus is somewhat underrated these days, especially because of the post 1960 production. I happen to have a gold overlay safety from the 20s that is a beauty that rivals the best production of the days.

I really like the celluloid on your pen, is like to combine the serious black with some naughty variation, but still in a classic suit.

Ciao,

#3 jbn10161

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 21:10

Gorgeous pen. Very good find. That celluloid and nib are wonderful, and even more amazing in a pen that is in such perfect working condition.
JN

#4 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 11:22

very unusual I like it a lot.
Pens are like watches , once you start a collection, you can hardly go back. And pens like all fine luxury items do improve with time






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