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Necessity Ignites Invention: A Review Of The Filcao Atlantica

filcao atlantica italy italian chilton filler pneumatic filler pen review bobje

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16 replies to this topic

#1 Bobje

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 02:01

fpn_1454293571__atlantica-complete-800.j

 

FILCAO Atlantica, a Chilton-type pneumatic filler

 

 

I'll save you some time. The FILCAO Atlantica writes smoothly, feels balanced in the hand, and is carefully constructed from an elegant material. These are fine qualities, but they aren't the reason you should write with one, if you get the opportunity, because they aren't made any more. You should write with one because it's interesting, and it's interesting for three reasons.

 

First, this particular Atlantica uses a filling system you've probably never heard of, and it's slick, quirky, and makes a lot of sense. It's called a Chilton pneumatic filler, and you can read about it in one of Richard Binder's authoritative pen encyclopedia entries. To fill the pen, you remove a blind cap, pull out a chrome rod, place your finger over the hole, immerse the nib in ink, push the rod in, and take your finger off the hole. Then you replace the cap. The system holds a lot of ink, maybe 1.2 milliliters, though I haven't measured, and because it takes me a week or so of regular writing before the ink gets depleted, I'm not planning on measuring it.

 

Second, the material used in the pen isn't just elegant. It is mahogany-paneled-private-library elegant, and could serve as a dictionary illustration for what the Italians call catarifrangente and the French call chatoyant. The material is deep, shimmering, and glowing, and it looks like a lucky day for an amateur geologist/pen collector hiking in the Alps west of Torino. Finding a boulder of gray-green granite laced with mother of pearl and curly black mica flakes, illuminated from the inside by fading candlelight, the collector made a mental note--"that rock will do very nicely.” Then it was made into a Goldilocks-sized, understated pen for people who need to mark up contracts, describe the inner thoughts of characters, write prescriptions, draw circuit diagrams, or correct the improper grammar of students, and who actually enjoy the tactile quality of the writing process.

 

Last, the pen was made by a Torinese pen designer who combined two uniquely Italian qualities – the genius that sometimes stems from economy -- as anyone who has eaten fettuccine alla Genovese could tell you. Pesto is made from basil leaves, a few stray pieces of cheese, some olive oil, and pine nuts that require considerable amounts of labor to dehusk. Combined in a sauce, these ingredients are sublime and satisfying, but one has the feeling that, on one very bleak day, they were what was in the pantry of a brilliant grandmother who needed to feed her family. Necessity ignites invention.

 

As Italian-American pen distributor Giovanni Abrate tells the story, the late founder of FILCAO, Francesco Grisolia, built relationships with the Italian manufacturers of resin used in pens and eyeglasses. In comparison to the market for eyeglass frames, pens are a tiny market, so if you're a boutique pen manufacturer trying to make handsome but reasonable products for stationery stores throughout Italy, occasionally your business relationships need to score gorgeous material at a good price. In the late 1990s, Grisolia found some material in northern Italy that had been evaluated for Montblanc special editions. Montblanc appears to have used a slightly different version for the Oscar Wilde. Grisolia used what he found to create the Atlantica, this eccentric Chilton pneumatic filler.

 

I am fairly certain that the Oscar Wilde is a gorgeous pen. For $1,500, give or take a few hundred, it ought to be. But I am absolutely certain that the Atlantica is as satisfying and delicious as a plate of fettuccine alla Genovese, served with a deep red Nebbiolo, on a table with a white linen tablecloth.

 

Now that I've saved you some time, you can choose. For $1,500, you can have an Oscar Wilde, or an Atlantica and a flight to Milano. Buon viaggio.

 

fpn_1454293701__atlantica-chilton-pneuma

 

Chilton-type pneumatic filler

 

fpn_1454293712__atlantica-nib-800.jpg

 

Medium steel nib

 

fpn_1454293662__atlantica-barrel-chatoya

 

Dictionary illustration for what the Italians call catarifrangente and the French call chatoyant.

 

fpn_1454293642__atlantica-section-and-ba

 

Section

 

fpn_1454293778__writing-sample-scan-ital

 

Writing Sample. First poem in Italian by a female writer, attributed to "Compiuta."

 

fpn_1454293797__writing-sample-scan-engl

 

Rough English translation

 

fpn_1454293755__atlantica-writing-sample

 

Photograph of writing sample, Sailor Jentle doyou ink

 


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#2 Sagarb

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 05:28

Superb style of cooking the review for the delicious pen....Bon appetit.... :)  


Sagar Bhowmick


#3 rwilsonedn

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 20:08

Beautiful pen! Thank you for documenting the material and the filling system. But more important, thank you for capturing your personal relationship with the pen.

I've been lucky enough to find a very few Filcao pens, and from them I suspect that we are just beginning to appreciate what Grisolia accomplished with his little pen business. Wonderful materials, interesting filling systems, great design, and it all comes together into a wonderful writing experience. Filcao deserves careful study, I think.

ron



#4 Bobje

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Posted 05 February 2016 - 01:21

Ron, Sagarb, 

many thanks for the feedback!


Reviews and articles on Fountain Pen Network

 

CHINA, JAPAN, AND INDIA

Hua Hong Blue Belter Penbbs 456 | Stationery | ASA Nauka in Dartmoor and Ebonite | ASA Azaadi | ASA Bheeshma | ASA Halwa | Ranga Model 8 and 8b | Ranga Emperor

ITALY AND THE UK

FILCAO Roxi | FILCAO Atlantica | Italix Churchman's Prescriptor

USA, INK, AND EXPERIMENTS

Bexley Prometheus | Route 54 Motor Oil | Black Swan in Icelandic Minty Bathwater | Robert Oster Aqua | Diamine Emerald Green | Mr. Pen Radiant Blue | Three Oysters Giwa | Flex Nib Modifications | Rollstoppers


#5 s_t_e_v_e

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Posted 05 February 2016 - 11:27

Nice review Bob!

This lesser known Italian pen maker is quite a surprise. I like their designs, very elegant. And I'm sure their nibs are just as good.

#6 Berelleza

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Posted 05 February 2016 - 13:16

So well written! I tasted the pen instead of taking in all the magnificent details of her. It sounds like  food  I would have every day.



#7 Ian the Jock

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Posted 05 February 2016 - 14:35

Another brilliant review, of another beautiful pen Bob.

I'm not a fan of Italian food generally, but I do have a taste for Italian pens, and this one appears to be a wee bit special, and not just because of the filling system either.

I love the way you create the historical backdrop, which throws up images of the passion and care that has gone into making such a beautiful pen.

Anyone who has the pleasure of owning one of these pens, has more than just a fountain pen in their hand.

They have the history, the passion, and the dedication of Francesco Grisolia, albeit through their own hand, supplying the ink to the paper, and that is certainly something worth having.

 

Great Review.

 

Ian


It’s a well kent fact that Scotland (The Land Of The Rising Water) has the most beautiful, picturesque, colourful, history laden landscape in the world.

It’s just a shame that you can only look at it through a rain soaked car window.
 
Every cloud though,  If there was no rain, there’d be no RAINBOWS.

 

My top tip:-

If you are walking the dog through mountain bike country.....don't wear headphones.


#8 rwilsonedn

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Posted 05 February 2016 - 19:58

Another brilliant review, of another beautiful pen Bob.

I'm not a fan of Italian food generally, but I do have a taste for Italian pens, and this one appears to be a wee bit special, and not just because of the filling system either.

I love the way you create the historical backdrop, which throws up images of the passion and care that has gone into making such a beautiful pen.

Anyone who has the pleasure of owning one of these pens, has more than just a fountain pen in their hand.

They have the history, the passion, and the dedication of Francesco Grisolia, albeit through their own hand, supplying the ink to the paper, and that is certainly something worth having.

 

Great Review.

 

Ian

 

Wonderfully well said.

ron



#9 wastelanded

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Posted 07 February 2016 - 01:31

What a great review, just the right amount of everything and informative. And that pen is certainly easy on the eyes. Thanks for sharing with us.
"I was cut off from the world. There was no one to confuse or torment me, and I was forced to become original." - Franz Joseph Haydn 1732 - 1809

#10 latetotheparty

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Posted 07 February 2016 - 13:41

Ditto to the above, like a history,art and cooking lesson all in one. Thank you.

#11 Bobje

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Posted 10 February 2016 - 19:52

Steve, Oldtimer, Ian, Wastelanded, Late, many thanks for your feedback. Perhaps the new FILCAO team should name materials after pasta. Or gelato. Stracciatella would look great!


Reviews and articles on Fountain Pen Network

 

CHINA, JAPAN, AND INDIA

Hua Hong Blue Belter Penbbs 456 | Stationery | ASA Nauka in Dartmoor and Ebonite | ASA Azaadi | ASA Bheeshma | ASA Halwa | Ranga Model 8 and 8b | Ranga Emperor

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FILCAO Roxi | FILCAO Atlantica | Italix Churchman's Prescriptor

USA, INK, AND EXPERIMENTS

Bexley Prometheus | Route 54 Motor Oil | Black Swan in Icelandic Minty Bathwater | Robert Oster Aqua | Diamine Emerald Green | Mr. Pen Radiant Blue | Three Oysters Giwa | Flex Nib Modifications | Rollstoppers


#12 visvamitra

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Posted 10 February 2016 - 21:56

Excellent review. Thank you :)



#13 pictogramax

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Posted 15 February 2016 - 23:05

The pen is interesting, but the review is written even better. A pleasure to read.

#14 FOUR X FOUR

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 01:21

The pen is interesting, but the review is written even better. A pleasure to read.


AGREED. His handwriting is gorgeous

#15 tonybelding

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 02:23

Very nice.  I like seeing traditional, well-executed pens like this.

 

The "filling system you've probably never heard of" is unusual but perhaps not quite that exotic.  You can get new Edisons with a similar mechanism, and it's also a very close relative of the Sheaffer touchdown filler.



#16 Pensei

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 03:51

Coming in late here, but thanks for an elegantly written review of a beautiful pen. 



#17 Bobje

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Posted 16 February 2016 - 17:31

Visvamitra, thank you. I have been enjoying your Jinhao ink reviews. Lots of Jinhao pen reviews out there, but these are the first I've seen of the inks.

 

Pictogramax, it's great to get support from such a long-time FPN member. Thank you.

 

Four X Four, thank you. I always enjoy your sense of humor, and am glad that my italic practice is starting to show.

 

Tony, thanks for this perspective. The Chilton is kind of a like a blow filler that you don't have to blow.

 

Pensei, thank you for reading and glad you liked it.


Reviews and articles on Fountain Pen Network

 

CHINA, JAPAN, AND INDIA

Hua Hong Blue Belter Penbbs 456 | Stationery | ASA Nauka in Dartmoor and Ebonite | ASA Azaadi | ASA Bheeshma | ASA Halwa | Ranga Model 8 and 8b | Ranga Emperor

ITALY AND THE UK

FILCAO Roxi | FILCAO Atlantica | Italix Churchman's Prescriptor

USA, INK, AND EXPERIMENTS

Bexley Prometheus | Route 54 Motor Oil | Black Swan in Icelandic Minty Bathwater | Robert Oster Aqua | Diamine Emerald Green | Mr. Pen Radiant Blue | Three Oysters Giwa | Flex Nib Modifications | Rollstoppers






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: filcao, atlantica, italy, italian, chilton filler, pneumatic filler, pen review, bobje



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