Jump to content
Classifieds is broken, please do not submit any new ads ×

Mercury "francois Des Trixhes": A Beautiful Pen Of Somewhat Mysterious Provenance


dms525
 Share

Recommended Posts

 

 

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?

 

 

Regular red Stipula pen box

 

 

The pen sits in splendid isolation

 

 

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.

 

 

The pen came with a Stipula-branded converter already in the pen.

 

 

The nib!

 

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 ...

 

Happy writing!

 

David

Edited by dms525
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 17
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • shahrincamille

    2

  • dms525

    7

  • mehandiratta

    2

  • FOUR X FOUR

    2

I would not hesitate in contacting Stipula directly... :)

It's a small world......but I'd hate to paint it. -Stephen Wright

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do not think the nib is original to the pen, nor the box. After Tibaldi folded shop, before this latest incarnation of a very luxe (and in my opinion a little over the top) and more expensive brand of Tibaldi, Mercury purchased as much of the Tibaldi parts and tried to make a run at selling "post" Tibaldi Tibaldis under the Mercury name. All the nibs I have seen are the blank Tibaldi nibs. Converters were blank, although it was acknowledged that Stipula nibs fit. I know there were more parts than nibs. I also know that Tibaldi, Stipula, and Nettuno nibs are all the same size. I have 2 Mercurys, one in blue and one in Havana Blue. The Havana looks just like a Tibaldi (I have a few, as well as a few Stipula pens), and has a Tibaldi clip. Same for the blue one. They both have low numbers. The Havana has a number 1 of 3. And I have never seen another. Don't remember the blue ones numbers, but I remember them as low as well. I do remember there being some issues with people not getting pens they had paid for, and then Mercury disappeared.

 

Towards the end of Tibaldi (before current re-birth/BCR) many of the pens were shipped unmarked. I have never heard of any of them with Stipula nibs or boxes. That being said, you have a beautiful pen, and I love Stipula nibs. Lucky you!

Some people say they march to a different drummer. Me? I hear bagpipes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do not think the nib is original to the pen, nor the box. After Tibaldi folded shop, before this latest incarnation of a very luxe (and in my opinion a little over the top) and more expensive brand of Tibaldi, Mercury purchased as much of the Tibaldi parts and tried to make a run at selling "post" Tibaldi Tibaldis under the Mercury name. All the nibs I have seen are the blank Tibaldi nibs. Converters were blank, although it was acknowledged that Stipula nibs fit. I know there were more parts than nibs. I also know that Tibaldi, Stipula, and Nettuno nibs are all the same size. I have 2 Mercurys, one in blue and one in Havana Blue. The Havana looks just like a Tibaldi (I have a few, as well as a few Stipula pens), and has a Tibaldi clip. Same for the blue one. They both have low numbers. The Havana has a number 1 of 3. And I have never seen another. Don't remember the blue ones numbers, but I remember them as low as well. I do remember there being some issues with people not getting pens they had paid for, and then Mercury disappeared.

 

Towards the end of Tibaldi (before current re-birth/BCR) many of the pens were shipped unmarked. I have never heard of any of them with Stipula nibs or boxes. That being said, you have a beautiful pen, and I love Stipula nibs. Lucky you!

 

 

Thanks very much for your comment and information, Michael!

 

In my searching for information regarding this pen, I did encounter a comment from a few years ago from another FPN member who had bought another of these pens from Regina. I believe it also had a Stipula nib. Now, Regina says that Stipula assembled these pens for Mercury. She may be wrong, of course, but I think if it had been she who stuck the Stipula nibs in the pens, she would have said so.

 

If you are coming to the SF Pen Show and can bring one of your Mercury/Tibaldi pens, I would love to compare and contrast.

 

Regards,

 

David

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I found the other example of this pen from Regina Martini. It was on a pen blog, not on FPN. Here's the link, if anyone is interested: Stipula for Mercury: Francois des Trixhes

 

Note that Miss Elderberry quotes Regina as saying all of the Mercury "Francois des Trixhes" pens were made by Stipulua, even those provided to Mercury by Tibaldi. Also note that Miss Elderberry's pen is number 75 of 80.

 

David

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I have this pen too - number 27/80.

 

It is fitted with a monotone, yellow 18K fine gold nib, which is very springy and a joy to write with. The engraving on the nib reads "Tibaldi".

 

The cap bands and clip I believe are made of sterling silver, although they were not marked as such. They tarnish over time (and easily polished off), and do not corrode unlike the plated metal parts of my other pens when placed beside my Montegrappa Historia Parchment nitrocellulose, which had gone rogue and displayed characteristics of "toxic plastic" :bawl:

 

The converter that came with this pen is a Schmidt K5, although I'm not sure whether this was the original one fitted by Mercury.

 

But I seldom use the converter though; this pen was so precisely made that I often use it as an eyedropper without even needing to apply any silicone grease to the threads.

 

 

The Stipula nib on the pen above is not original to it. Probably Mercury obtained enough celluloid blanks to produce the limited run of 80 pieces, but not the same number of marked, or even blank, Tibaldi nibs to go along with the pen bodies. Since the nib is a #6, I suppose any Bock ones of the same size would fit right in, such as the Stipula in this example.

 

 

Shahrin B)

 

 

P.S. I just remembered - the box that my pen came in was NOT a Stipula one; it was a blue Tibaldi box and I believe I still have it, but I have to look for it first :P

Edited by shahrincamille
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That is a very nice blue. What color is it?

Tibaldi's Grey/Blue "Impero" celluloid (as specified in the original post….. )

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That is a very nice blue. What color is it?

 

If you are asking about the pen, it is made from Tibaldi's "Impero" celluloid, as Francis said. If you are referring to the ink, it is Stipula Blue.

 

David

Link to comment
Share on other sites

you have a certain thing going for this Tibaldi celluloid...

 

Can you blame me? :rolleyes:

 

David

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's some pictures of my own Mercury Francois des Trixhes

 

http://i231.photobucket.com/albums/ee187/ugakgedik/Mobile%20Uploads/IMG_20160818_165459_HDR.jpg

 

http://i231.photobucket.com/albums/ee187/ugakgedik/Mobile%20Uploads/IMG_20160818_165817_HDR_1471510744205.jpg

 

http://i231.photobucket.com/albums/ee187/ugakgedik/Mobile%20Uploads/IMG_20160818_165923_HDR_1471510791190.jpg

 

Shahrin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's some pictures of my own Mercury Francois des Trixhes

 

http://i231.photobucket.com/albums/ee187/ugakgedik/Mobile%20Uploads/IMG_20160818_165459_HDR.jpg

 

http://i231.photobucket.com/albums/ee187/ugakgedik/Mobile%20Uploads/IMG_20160818_165817_HDR_1471510744205.jpg

 

http://i231.photobucket.com/albums/ee187/ugakgedik/Mobile%20Uploads/IMG_20160818_165923_HDR_1471510791190.jpg

 

Shahrin

 

It appears to be the same as mine, except for the nib. I wonder at what number (xx/80) Tibaldi stopped producing the pen and either Stipula or Mercury started.

 

David

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you are asking about the pen, it is made from Tibaldi's "Impero" celluloid, as Francis said. If you are referring to the ink, it is Stipula Blue.

 

David

The ink, thanx.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

David thank you for the nice review of a very nice pen! This is developing in a nice topic as well.

The description shahrincamille gave seems quite adequate and precise.

Although I do not consider myself an expert on the subject, the clip resembles the ones that I have on two of several of my Stipula 900s (and some others that I don't have on hand right now - sorry).

Also the silver rings IMO somehow have the Stipula look.

Current modern daily users: Montegrappa Miya, Omas AM87, S.T.Dupont D-Line, Stipula Etruria Tuscany Dreams, Tibaldi Modello 60.

Current vintage daily users: Aurora 98p, Big Red Lucky Curve, MB622, P51, P75, Pelikan NN400.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

David thank you for the nice review of a very nice pen! This is developing in a nice topic as well.

The description shahrincamille gave seems quite adequate and precise.

Although I do not consider myself an expert on the subject, the clip resembles the ones that I have on two of several of my Stipula 900s (and some others that I don't have on hand right now - sorry).

Also the silver rings IMO somehow have the Stipula look.

 

I had not remarked on the hardware similarities, but the overall shape of this pen is very similar to that of the Stipula Etrurias. I have several Stipula pens that are Etruria-based LE's, and their exact dimensions vary more than those of any other pen model I own. I have attributed this to them being handmade, individual works of art as opposed to mass produced commodities.

 

David

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share








×
×
  • Create New...