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Did Montegrappa Make A Ringtop?


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I bought a pen the other day - a blue ringtop advertised as a Montegrappa. If it is, it goes a long way back, since demand for this design of pen went extinct in the Thirties - not unlike the very sudden extinction of the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous.


Has anyone ever seen one?

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  • sidthecat


  • MarcShiman


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I was a collector of vintage Italian pens for a long time, and it seems that every single ebay ad for an Italian pen suggested that it was either a subbrand of Omas or Montegrappa. I remember one fairly prominent advertiser claiming that Tabo was a subbrand of Omas!


It may have been that Montegrappa sold some unbranded pen parts, but we don't have particularly accurate records. What we do know is that there were hundreds of pen manufacturers back in the 1930's and 40's making pens that looked very much like one another. In particular, the pen industry of Settimo Torinese was loaded with garage-type pen assemblers, sharing clips, caps, cap bands, nibs etc with one another. Many of these no-name pens looked very much like (actually, blatant ripoffs of) Montegrappa and Omas pens. Ring tops weren't all that common - often called "princess" pens.


For the most part, Montegrappa was a very low-end manufacturer, much of what it made was absolute junk. The "Extra" line of theirs was sometimes an exception, but having a vintage Montegrappa pen is no pedigree that you would want.

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I guess I'll see what I get. I'm curious because I've seen a lot of ringtop pens listed on eBay, but Italian pens are rare and this was the first Montegrappa I'd ever seen listed. I also bought the first Reform I'd ever seen listed and it's a very nice pen, if strange. I wondered if such a pen had been seen in ads or stock lists.

Oh, well. One man's trash is...frequently another man's trash.

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It's a Montegrappa, all right, a piston-filler from perhaps the Thirties. Branded on the barrel, which is a very handsome green and red-streaked celluloid. The Montasio nib was ruined, so I asked Mr. Minuskin to replace it with a very nice Waterman nib I happened to have. It's a lovely writer now, with a very sturdy feel, seemingly quite well-made.

If it's a low-end pen, Italy has a very high low-end.

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