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  1. This arrived yesterday. The other Maiora Alphas I have or have seen are oversize pens. They are pretty and write well but are too large for everyday carries for me. This pen is smaller - the size of a Pelikan M600. I hope Maiora/Delta makes more pens in this size. David
  2. To celebrate the store's 70th anniversary, Novelli had Visconti make a celluloid fountain pen with a 14kt gold nib in a limited edition of 70. I ordered one with a stub nib, pretty much as soon as Marco announced it. The pen arrived a couple days ago, and I am very happy with it. Appearance and Design The style of the pen is somewhat old-fashioned in a positive way. The length is the same as that of the Homo Sapiens. The clip is a style that predates the current arc of the Homo Sapiens, I think. The clip is quite springy. For me, the tension is about perfect. The celluloid is dark blue with islands of gold and is much more attractive than what you see in my photos. Manufacturing quality is superb. The pen has a very comfortable section. There is a clear ink window, which i happen to like. Nib and Performance The nib is a 14 kt stub and writes rather wet. It is my first Visconti with a gold nib. The others I own all have the palladium nibs Visconti used for a number of years. I first loaded it with Visconti Blue - a good ink with a good color match for the pen. I then loaded it with Pelikan 4001 Blue-black to see if a very dry ink with provide a crisper line. Both inks performed about the same. The nib is rather springy and smooth writing but with a bit of feed back. The only negative is that there is mild hesitancy in ink flow after a brief break in writing. Ink flows well after the nib is gently flexed. I may (or may not) eventually ask a nibmeister to make it a bit crisper for my italic handwriting. The engraving on the nib is different from Visconti's usual. It is quite simple. I don't know if it has a particular symbolic significance. Filling system The pen has Visconti's well-known power filler, and it works well. As stated above, there is a clear ink window which I find a positive feature. Cost and value This is not an inexpensive pen, but the price is less than that of most of the Homo Sapiens limited editions. For a celluloid pen of this quality, I think the price is almost a bargain. Conclusion This is a handsome pen that is a pleasure to see and use. The only negative is the slightly hesitant ink flow described above. Once you are writing, ink flow is excellent. Overall, I am happy with the pen and feel it is a good value for a high-end fountain pen. David
  3. Santini Italia is a relatively new company, although there was an older Italian pen manufacturer named "Santini" which may have been the same family. I am not sure what the "1998" engraved on the nib represents, presumably some important milestone in the company's history. The company is owned by Giovanni Santini, and he is the pen maker as well. He was previously involved with Ancora pens. Santini Italia attracted my attention partly because they make their own 18Kt nibs, and they offer a stub nib. They do make some somewhat blingy limited editions but several models that are quite traditional and reasonably priced for pens made with handsome resins, piston filled and fitted with 18Kt gold nibs. So, I thought it was worth ordering one. I ordered directly from the company in Italy. Communication with them was easy and responsive. The pen arrived just a few days ago, so this is a "first look." General size, shape and appearance The Santini Italia "Libra" comes in several colors. The one I ordered is a light brown, wood grain resin. I find it rather handsome. The pen is a traditional "flat top" shape with low peaks on the top of the cap and the other end. It is a large pen, but not quite "oversize." it is about the length of a Pelikan M800 but a millimeter or so greater in diameter. I find that a positive characteristic, since I prefer thicker sections for comfort. The pen's fit and finish seem faultless. One feels it is very well made. The hardware appears to be gold plated. It is quite simple and in good taste. Santini Italia Libra with a Pelikan M800 and an Aurora 88 (both with custom bindes) Santini uncapped compare to a M800. Filling the pen The Libra is a piston filler. It takes about 6 turns to fill it. The capacity, tested with water, is about 1.5ml. It is very smooth to operate. When filling is complete, the end knob turns with a clicking sound, like the piston mechanism in my Delta Santuffos. The nib and writing As stated, the availability of a stub nib at no extra cost was a positive factor in my decision to buy this pen. My assessment revealed both strengths and weaknesses. On initial inspection, I was pleasantly surprised by the width of the nib tip. Most stock stubs on Italian pens are 0.9 to 1.3mm. This one appears to be about 0.8, which is much more usable for my daily italic handwriting. The nib is on the small size for the size of the pen. It is noticeably smaller than the nib of a M800. On closer inspection, I found one of the tines to be torqued slightly, and the tip looked like it had baby bottom. Also, it was on the round end of the "stub" spectrum. I expected writing problems. When I inked the pen, I found it wrote very smoothly with moderate to wet ink flow. On single strokes, the thick/thin line differentiation was about 2:1, but there was minimal thick/thin difference in writing because of how wet the nib is. I will be taking the pen to the San Francisco Pen Show to have the nib tuned and crisped up. I'll update my review afterwards. David
  4. Last month, I received a Leonardo Officina Italian pen. This was a limited edition (10 made) in redwood ebonite with a 14 kt gold stub nib. It is a piston loader. I posted a detailed review of that pen. (https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/334672-leonardo-officina-italiana-momento-zero-ebonite/?do=findComment&comment=4029696) I liked it so much I bought another, but one of the "numbered" (not "limited") editions. This review will be less detailed, emphasizing the differences. Numbered Edition above, Limited edition below Numbered Edition, uncapped The size and form of these pens is exactly the same. The quality of fit and finish is the same also, as far as I can tell. However, the cap of the Numbered edition unscrews, revealing the end of a captive converter. The section also unscrews, giving access to the converter. As far as I can tell, the converter is not removable, at least not easily. It seems to be standard, good quality converter. Another significant difference is that the Limited edition comes with 14 kt. gold nib while the Numbered edition comes with a steel nib. The Numbered edition comes in several materials - Positano (blue), a "Horn" resin and a black resin. I chose the pen in Positano. The photos I saw online made this material look very similar if not identical to the material Montegrappa used in their Modigliani limited edition writing instruments. Rods of this material are available to pen turners, and I had a custom binde made of this material for a Pelikan M600 by Shawn Newton. Putting that pen next to my new Leonardo shows they are almost (but not quite) identical. Pelikan above, Leonardo below As many of you know, my daily handwriting is in italic script, so most of my fountain pens have italic or stub nibs. I found one of the select few pen shops that carry Leonardo pens that had the model I wanted with a stub nib. This was a bit of a gamble for me, but I found it writes almost identically to the gold stub on my ebonite Limited edition Leonardo. Bottom line: I find this to be a beautiful, well-made pen which is comfortable to use and writes beautifully. With a price that is about one fifth of the Limited edition, it is a real bargain, in my opinion. David
  5. I first heard about Leonardo Officina Italiana pens from an Instagram posting by Glenn Marcus. His pen looked gorgeous, and he spoke very highly of it. Looking into this “new” company, I find it has been around for several decades, but, while they have made pens for a number of other well-known Italian pen companies, they only recently began making pens with their own branding. They call the first of their models “Momento Zero,” meaning for them “a new beginning.” Given the recent demise of several highly esteemed Italian pen makers and the rumored distress of some others, it is wonderful to see new Italian pen makers appearing, especially ones producing writing instruments of such high quality. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Leonardo Officina Italiana is making two lines of Momento Zero pens. One line has resin bodies, captive converter inking systems and steel nibs. It is priced in what I would regard as the middle range for a pen with these features. The other line is produced in very limited numbers. It has bodies either of celluloid or ebonite, a true piston filling system and 14 Ct gold nibs. It is priced in the lower range of top quality Italian pens - still rather expensive. The pen I chose was the Ebonite model. This was a limited edition of 10 pens. I found one at Stilograph Corsani in Rome. I had a lovely email exchange with the owner, Stefano Senatore. He had one ebonite pen left, but I wanted one with an italic nib. Stefano determined that he could obtain one from the manufacturer, but it would be outside of the limited edition. It would be numbered “00/10.” That was fine with me. The pen arrived today, and I inked it with OMAS sepia. General appearance/aesthetics The pen is made of a dark, reddish “Rosewood” ebonite. both the cap and barrel have a subtle taper. The ends of both the cap and barrel have slight points. There are two thin gold cap bands, another band between the barrel and the section and another between the barrel and the piston cap. Size/Ergonomics The Momento Zero is about the length of a Pelikan M800 or an old-style OMAS Paragon. Its barrel is significantly bigger around than the Paragon and just a bit bigger than the M800. There is a slight step off to the section, so the sections diameter is probably about 14 mm (my estimate). The ebonite pen is quite light, and it feels well balanced both posted and un-posted. Left to right: Leonardo Officina Italiana, OMAS Paragon, Pelikan M620, Pelikan M800 The gold clip has a roller at the end. It goes into and out of a dress shirt pocket smoothly and seems to keep securely in the pocket. Piston/filling The pen fills with 4 turns of the piston. The piston turns smoothly with a solid, positive feel. I have not measured the ink capacity. Stefano told me that the piston mechanism was modeled after the one used by OMAS. The nib, feed and writing experience The nib is a 14Ct gold, “semi-flexible” stub. I believe I read somewhere that the stub was 1.3 mm. However, it writes a line that is 0.8 mm wide. This is well within the practical range for my everyday italic handwriting. The nib is buttery smooth, but, with smooth Rhodia R paper and OMAS ink, it has very respectable thick/thin line variation. Together with the pen’s excellent balance, this makes for a very comfortable, fluid writing experience. When I looked at the feed, I remarked that it appeared identical to that on my OMAS pens. The nib itself is about the size of a vintage Paragon or 360 nib. Its shape is a bit different, with more flare in the shoulders. Top to bottom: OMAS Ogiva, Leonardo Officina Italiana, OMAS Paragon, OMAS old-style Milord General quality/fit and finish The fit and finish of this pen is flawless. It impresses me as being of very high quality but in no way flashy. This is clearly a pen to use, not one to merely display. That suits me fine! As a rather unique and certainly unanticipated bonus, the pen came with a little package of the swarf from it's turning. A cute touch! Last, a writing sample - my "thank you" note to Sr. Senatore. Happy writing! David
  6. Fernan

    Vintage Aurora 88

    Every wednesday morning, I stop by this café for about forty minutes, before heading off to my tai chi class... Yesterday, was using my Aurora 88. One of my favourite pens. The cap is engraved with the A.G.V. logo with the Venetian Lion (an Italian insurance company) For you viewing pleasure.
  7. Mardi13

    Condor Pagliero

    Last month I picked up this very interesting pen on eBay, thanks to a listing posted in the Market Watch forum by OcalaFLGuy. It seems to be a pen made by the Pagliero Pen Company in Italy. http://www.fountainpen.it/Pagliero/en This is one of the pens labeled "Condor." There are no other markings on the pen other than the initials "MS" at the top of the clip. That might mean something else -another pen company? -but the seller thought it was possibly a Pagliero. It certainly has what to me is an Italian design sense, like a Ducati motorcycle. As you can see it is a piston-type filler. The nib is interesting to me, as the underside seems to look sort of folder-over on itself. I'd welcome other observations and opinions. It writes quite nicely, a wet smooth line between M and B, I think. In size it is just in between the Sheaffer Imperial and PFM pens, but the barrel/nib section is longer than both of them. The last photo includes the Imperial for comparison. The ink is J. Herbin. Perle Noire. So there it is - if you see one out there, it's a pretty nice pen, take a chance! I paid about $65 US for it including shipping from the UK.

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