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Vintage Aurora 88 - A Gift From The Past



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A vintage Aurora 88 has been on my grail list for a while.

 

This turned out to be the year. I came across an original 88 in good condition from a seller here with lots of positive reviews. The price was right. Not Nikargenta but beggars can’t be choosers.

 

Count me among Aurora 88 fans. The pen lives up to the legend.

 

I love the size of the pen. It’s substantial, both heavier and ever-so-slightly larger-feeling than Parker 51-style pens such as the Wing Sung 601 and 618.

 

The 88 is very comfortable in the hand. The push-on cap means no threads on the barrel and the front clutch ring is ergonomically rounded and serves as a tactile reference when holding the pen. The relatively large diameter of the section also makes the pen comfortable for extended writing.

  • Length: 13.76cm
  • Uncapped: 12.5cm
  • Posted: 14.6cm
  • Section diameter: 11.8mm
  • Weight inked: 23.2 g capped / 14.75 uncapped

The Aurora 88 writes equally well posted and unposted, with excellent balance both ways. The cap posts deeply and securely. The rear clutch ring keeps the cap from scratching the barrel so no worries there.

 

Unposted, the pen is nimble and perfect for writing quickly. Posted, writing slows down fractionally but is more flowing. Great for longer writing sessions and signatures.

 

One lingering question I have is how much care I should take in choosing inks for the pen. Are there inks I should definitely stay away from?

 

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My pen is labelled as a flexible F nib.

 

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In practice, I’ve found the nib harder to flex. It’s still possible to get the tines to spread but it does take a fair bit of pressure. More than I am really comfortable with. I think of the pen as wet, soft, fine writer, similar to a Lamy 2000 F.

 

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In fact, the Aurora 88 reminds me greatly of the Lamy 2000. The come from different but adjacent eras.

 

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They booth share roots in design: Olivetti for the Aurora 88 vs Braun for the Lamy 2000. They are both piston-filler pens with hooded nibs and pull-off caps. They are similar in size (the Lamy at being a little heavier) and both write well posted and unposted.

 

I wonder if the Lamy 2000 would be here today if the Aurora 88 had not come along.

 

The Lamy 2000 was one of the first higher-end pens I added to my collection. I'm glad to be working backwards toward one of the earlier lights of the world of fountain pens.

 

More photos and comments here.

Edited by EDC
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Thank you for your thoughtful review. I think these are great pens.

 

There is no harm in looking for an 88K and 88P, either. ;)

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Thank you for your comment. I can update what I said a year ago, having purchased more 88s (especially 88K which I did not then own) and gained further experience.

 

The 88K, which I had treated as merely a transitional model, is (in my view) a distinctive and important model in its own right, with differences in style and small changes in construction. The 88 and 88K have more flexible nibs than the 88P, even though all of them are more rigid than most open nib pens of the 1950s and earlier. My 88Ps are smooth.

 

Several of my 88s have needed new piston seals, including a couple which at first had seemed OK. Fortunately, this is straightforward.

 

The 88P seal is different from that of earlier models (based on one example needing work) so replacement is less likely to be required, different if it is. Those pens being younger also helps with lack of need for such service.

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truphae_inc

Beautiful! Great review and photos!

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And don't overlook the 888, DuoCarts and 888Ps as well as the 98s and Archivi Storicas.

 

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Waski_the_Squirrel

I have two of these and I love them. One of them has a very faded ebonite turning knob and some scratches on the section, but it writes beautifully and feels amazing in the hand. It could easily become my one and only pen. Like the OP, I'm also a big fan of the Lamy 2000.

Proud resident of the least visited state in the nation!

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Errrr......

 

I'm now gonna be on the lookout for the 88.

 

I wonder if I could find one on Aurora's home turf???

 

Nice review!

 

We need more reviews for vintage European pens.

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Aurora 88s are fairly readily available from Italian sellers. Not all advertise on ebay.com rather than on .com.it. I have also bought some from Limitlesspens here on FPN. Those are unrestored, so it depends what are your criteria. Ebay prices can vary wildly, and some sellers will claim chrome is Nikargenta.

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A very fine pen and I agree with some of your comments regarding how ergonomic it is. I do love the lack of threads.

It is not unlikely that Lamy was inspired by one of the later 98 models in its brushed finish when they decided to come out with their Macrolon 2000.

51, 88 and 2000 are no doubt related and each one iconic.

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PS about the ink. Yes I would not use highly saturated inks in this to avoid staining the Window. Aurora ink, but also pelikan, waterman, J.Herbin, and similar well behaved inks would be best.

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Also, for the early cartridge pens, modern Platinum cartridges and converters fit and work. If you add in the Platinum adapter you can also use International Standard cartridges.

 

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I am afraid I have no idea what he was saying by way of description of his actions.

 

I briefly wipe the section and nib in much the same way as for any other pen, either with a lint-free soft cotton cloth or a chamois. I have not noticed any problems arising as if there were something else I needed to do.

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I usually put a drop or three of ink back in the bottle, turn nib up and draw in any excess ink.

 

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RoyalBlueNotebooks

Here's an interesting video. It shows blotting the ink from the hood after filling the pen.

 

The special demonstrator 88s he uses is unique in itself but I don't understand the purpose of the exercise. Was (is) this considered best practice after filling the pen?

 

 

Very interesting video, thank you for sharing!

The demonstrator version is the one used by the manufacturer as a part of the quality control process. Fascinating.

The original instruction manual (the tiny ticket) which arrived with the Aurora 88 and related inkwell state that the hood of the pen shouldn't be flooded with ink. The post-filling cleaning of the pen is complete only when the ink in the hood chamber is absorbed, as he does with the piece of tissue paper. He specifies that one should keep the pen nib-up during this practice, so the paper absorbs only the ink in excess, and not the ink in the barrell.

This is a practice I've heard suggested by a couple of retailers, or, now that I see jar's message I think it was actually here on FPN... Anyway, I've heard/read that after filling a pen one shouldn't immediately write with it, but one should let a few drops of ink out of the nib and then unscrew the converter/piston to draw the excess ink out of the section.

fpn_1502425191__letter-mini.png

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Very interesting video, thank you for sharing!

The demonstrator version is the one used by the manufacturer as a part of the quality control process. Fascinating.

The original instruction manual (the tiny ticket) which arrived with the Aurora 88 and related inkwell state that the hood of the pen shouldn't be flooded with ink. The post-filling cleaning of the pen is complete only when the ink in the hood chamber is absorbed, as he does with the piece of tissue paper. He specifies that one should keep the pen nib-up during this practice, so the paper absorbs only the ink in excess, and not the ink in the barrell.

This is a practice I've heard suggested by a couple of retailers, or, now that I see jar's message I think it was actually here on FPN... Anyway, I've heard/read that after filling a pen one shouldn't immediately write with it, but one should let a few drops of ink out of the nib and then unscrew the converter/piston to draw the excess ink out of the section.

 

Is there a performance / engineering reason behind this practice? That's what's kind of baffling me. Excess ink in the hood causes... what kind of problems?

 

As I understand the video (that is badly :) ) he says the same practice applies to P51 pens?

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RoyalBlueNotebooks

 

Is there a performance / engineering reason behind this practice? That's what's kind of baffling me. Excess ink in the hood causes... what kind of problems?

As I understand the video (that is badly :) ) he says the same practice applies to P51 pens?

I was too fascinated by the demonstrator version of the Aurora 88 and by the exquisite inkwell that I missed the P51 part.

But the instruction manual and the presenter claim that that excess of ink in the hood would be too much for the capillary action of the feed and it would cause splatter on the page. So, for a neat writing from the get-go, it is suggested to suck up this excess.

fpn_1502425191__letter-mini.png

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I was too fascinated by the demonstrator version of the Aurora 88 and by the exquisite inkwell that I missed the P51 part.

But the instruction manual and the presenter claim that that excess of ink in the hood would be too much for the capillary action of the feed and it would cause splatter on the page. So, for a neat writing from the get-go, it is suggested to suck up this excess.

 

Makes sense. Thank you for clarifying!

 

 

I usually put a drop or three of ink back in the bottle, turn nib up and draw in any excess ink.

 

Sounds like you do this intuitively. :thumbup:

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OK, let us be complete. Filling any pen it should be automatic to wipe excess ink off the nib on the bottle as you withdraw it.

 

In the case of piston fillers I then make three more slight movements with the piston: down a smidgin (pen over the bottle or else up-pointed), back up the same smidgin, then down half a smidgin (pointed up). Then comes the section / nib wipe I mentioned. My thinking behind those extra piston movements is to remove excess ink from the feed area, but not to leave the piston tight at the back of the barrel. The latter notion comes from something I read about Aurora 88s somewhere.

 

In the case of plunge fillers, having completed the fill I leave the shutoff valve closed until the ink line visibly weakens, which can take a little while. This has resolved early-blob issues for those. All forms of rubber sac pen are simply used after the cosmetic wipe.

Edited by praxim

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