[attachment=368724:Tibaldi-Mercury pen txt001.jpg]
I purchased this pen from Regina Martini because of the beautiful celluloid material, her assertion that it was a Stipula product and the availability of a Stipula 1.1 mm italic nib for it. I began looking for documentation of this pen's provenance after I had committed to the purchase. I was able to find quite a bit, but some facts remain unsettled. As best I can determine, Mercury was a luxury goods manufacturer and retailer established in Belgium in 1948. In 2002, the company was sold by the descendants of the founder. It was still in business in 2007, when my pen was produced, but appears to have subsequently closed. I don't know when.
Mercury bought materials from manufacturers and assembled pens which were then sold under their name. Tibaldi was an important supplier of manufactured parts, including parts made from some of their famous celluloids. The Mercury "Francois des Trixhes" model utilized Tibaldi's Grey/Blue "Impero" celluloid. Eighty pens were made. However, it seems that the Tibaldi company itself went out of business before production was complete. My pen post-dates the Tibaldi closure. The pen is made with the same Tibaldi parts as the earlier numbers in the series. However, it is fitted with a Stipula nib and converter and was packaged in a Stipula box. I have seen claims that Mercury bought up Stipula's manufactured parts when the latter went out of business. Whether Mercury or Stipula actually assembled the pen is unclear.
In any case, it is a beautiful pen. It appears to have impeccable fit and finish. It writes like a dream, as I expected from prior experience with a number of Stipula 14Kt gold 1.1mm italic nibs. How about some photos?
[attachment=368726:1 Mercury Francois des Trixhes pen box.jpg]
Regular red Stipula pen box
[attachment=368729:1 Mercury Francois des Trixhes pen.jpg]
The pen sits in splendid isolation
[attachment=368728:1 Mercury Francois des Trixhes pen engraving.jpg]
Mercury's engraving. Note that other reviews I have read show photos of pens with serial numbers lower that 40 which have Bock nibs with or without Tibaldi's name. All are xx/80 however.
[attachment=368727:1 Mercury Francois des Trixhes pen converter.jpg]
The pen came with a Stipula-branded converter already in the pen.
[attachment=368730:1 Mercury Francois des Trixhes pen nib.jpg]
I am very happy with this pen, but I remain quite curious about the history of its production. I am also curious about the model name. So far, I have been unable to find anything about "Francois des Trixhes," presumably a person after whom this model was named. One FPN topic said this model was produced in celebration of the 175th anniversary of Belgium. I am no expert on Belgian history (to say the least!), but my reading indicates that the modern nation was "born" out of a rebellion in 1830. 1830 + 175 = 2005. That is about right, although in another topic I read the pen was produced in 2007. A minor discrepancy, to my thinking. I would therefore suspect that M. F. des Trixhes was a Belgian historical figure who played some significant role in the creation of modern Belgium. "Trixhes" is a Belgian geographic name, so I assume Francois or his family was from there.
Any one who can shed light on these mysteries is invited to do so. Meanwhile ...
Edited by dms525, 04 August 2016 - 00:58.