I was drawn to this fountain pen when I was looking for another alternative to the famous Lamy 2000. I wanted something more elegant, less expensive, and with a hooded-nib and a piston filler. I initially wanted to buy the Aurora 88p but none was available that was within my price ceiling of $80. I searched eBay and found a seller from Italy who shipped it quickly and with no added cost. It came with a case, an original instructions for an 88 pen, and two empty Aurora cartridges with the Duocart sleeve.
I bought this pen thinking that it was a piston-filler 88p. I thought that I had snatched up a bargain when the seller misspelled the Aurora 88 and mistakenly added another "8" in the title. It turns out that the name was right and that this 888 is a cartridge filler variation of the piston-filler 88. Anyway, the pen did not disappoint as you will read below. Since then, I bought a Platinum converter and some ink cartridges from Pendemonium after doing some searching here at FPN on what filling system is still available for this pen.
APPEARANCE & FINISH
The pen's finish is in very good to almost mint condition with the black plastic and gold-plated cap still free from scratches and stains. The only real sign of use was the dull looking section, which cleaned up pretty well after I soaked it for 20 minutes in water and ammonia (10:1 parts) to clean the nib and feeder. The designations Aurora, 888, the serial number, and the nib size that were etched on the section surfaced under the ink stains.
DESIGN, SIZE, & WEIGHT
The pen's design was one of the main reasons I bought it. I also really like all things designed in Italy (i.e. cars, furnitures, etc.). It has a simple and elegant look to it that will never go out of style. In some ways, the design is a cross between the Parker 51 and the Lamy 2000. Basically, it looks good from any angle, which is a fine example of excellent design. It is also well-balanced with either cartridge or converter inside.
One thing that I do not like about the pen is the little ball at the end of the barrel that is supposed to secure the cartridges. It rattles around when I shake the pen, but it hardly does this when I write.
When capped, the length is approximately 5 and 5/16 inches; uncapped 5 inches, and posted 6 inches. The width of the pen is approximately
NIB DESIGN & PEFORMANCE
The pen was a dry writer when I inked it after it arrived. I had to flush and clean the section with water & ammonia twice. I also had to tune and align the nib to get it to write smoothly. Aligning the nib took longer than expected as I found it difficult to bend the tines since the nib has some flex to it. Once I had spread the tines too far and it started giving me too much line variation and shading. I then had to put the tines closer as it has to touch at the tip due to it being a flex nib. Once it aligned, I could write with the pen from both sides of the nib.
The fine point nib is made of gold, but I do not know what carat. It does have some flex with some light pressure. You can avoid the flex if you just let the pen slide under its own weight. It can be pulled straight out of the feed for servicing. It writes a little toothy for my taste, but it does give some feedback when you write. Compared to my Pelikan M150 with an EF nib, it is a bit toothier but finer than the Pel's EF. With Pelikan, Sheaffer, and Platinum inks, you get some nice line shading and variation due to the semi-flex nib.
The hooded nib design also allows one to leave the pen uncapped for a while without experiencing ink dryout. I think I've left this pen uncapped for about 10 minutes and I did not face any hard starting. I recommend a fine nib for this pen as a personal preference.
As mentioned above, this pen is a cartridge filler pen. It came with two empty Aurora cartridges and a brass sleeve to hold them (Duocarts). I replaced them with a Platinum converter and some Platinum cartridges, which fit the section nipple precisely.
I once had a problem with ink leaking into the cap and the section when I stored the pen horizontally overnight. It turns out that the old Aurora cartridges leaked and let air in, thus causing excessive ink to flow out. These cartridges also gave me problems with air pockets building inside them. It cleaned out with the ammonia flush. In any case, I will not be using these old cartridges anymore buying the Platinum converter and cartridges.
For under $80 with shipping from Italy, this pen is a bargain given the excellent condition it is in. I bought it from eBay after performing a worldwide search with keywords "stilografica" and "aurora". I then had to buy from Pendemonium the only cartridge/converter that will fit in it today, which is made by Platinum.
This is my favorite pen for now. I use it daily at work. It also fits my Esterbrook desk pen holder so I can leave it there all day without having to cap or uncap it all the time. I carry it with me in my shirt pocket too without experiencing any leaks. I think that vintage Auroras are underrated for the design and performance that it gives. It looks great, writes like you're connected to the paper, and is easy to maintain. I recommend this pen to anyone looking for a stylish pen to use and carry around.
You can do a search here at FPN about vintage Auroras using keywords "vintage" and "aurora". Here is a nice thread at FPN with some links to websites:
Edited by gregoron, 13 December 2007 - 01:55.