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OK, so, I knew this was coming. Perhaps I was not expecting so soon, but I knew this was the direction things had taken.

I was actually discussing about this pen, and the status it was in, in another thread here not too many days ago.

When I bought this pen in early 2015 I knew something was wrong with it, because the price was so cheap, and some deterioration was already evident.

Then again I liked it so much and was not prepared to pay the above euro 1000 it was selling mint already at that time (and earlier).

The Galileo Galilei pen was released in 1993 in a limited edition of 4,692 pieces to celebrate the 650th anniversary of the University of Pisa, but the wild celluloid used is one of those for which deterioration issues have been reported often.

I was not wise enough not to pick this up then, the visible defect was mostly aesthetic and I though I could easily live with it for such a nice pen.

The first issue showed up immediately, when the pen arrived the nib in the section was loose, and came out.

I had the pen checked by Brunori, a respected shop in Milano (now closed...), the nib collar in ebonite had disintegrated, but he had spares and replaced it for me.

Due to the defect I obtained a further extra discount from the seller (a now untraceable noushop1963 not sure whether on the bay or on some other local site) making this purchase as cheap as a resin Omas, back then. Now I know that disintegrated collar was probably the first alarm bell I should have listened to.

I'm not complaining, though, I've happily used the pen, and the slight warping in the celluloid sort of reminded me the pen was actually alive...

It was.

Here a couple of pictures of the pen still in relatively good health...

fpn_1602193648__p1180464-3_omas_galileo_

 

fpn_1602193725__p1180465-3_omas_galileo_

If you enlarge the photos (click on them) you can see however that degradation had already started. The brass ring on the finial is corroded and green, some corrosion is also visible on the greek on the cap.

 

It's really difficult to spot the warping in the celluloid in the middle of the barrel, but you could feel it under the fingers.

fpn_1602194041__p1080960_.jpg

 

At any rate, when I started noting the corrosion I documented myself more about the problems with decaying celluloid and out-gassing, and the specific issues with the wild celluloid (in some specimens, not all, note there are still quite a lot of wild celluoid Omas pens that are perfectly fine) and sure enough I convinced myself that it what was happening to my Galileo.

I cleaned the pen from corrosion and isolated it from other pens (especially other celluloid pens).

I started using it more regularly, to sort of better enjoy it's uncertain health, but I noted that corrosion would continue, and the pen would start forming a slightly sticky patina on it's body...

I also noted that the pen had started acting strangely on my inks... one of the blue inks I put in it became purple...

Water I put in it turned yellowish...

The pen, stored in an open carboard box on a shelf, stained the cloth inside the box, forming a pen shaped greyish stain...

(I've called it my personal sindone...)

I had not totally given up using it, so a couple of days ago I picked it up for a washing and refill. When I tried turning the filling knob the celluloid body snapped in half in my hands...

This is the poor body

fpn_1602195182__p1190920-3_omas_galileo_

 

fpn_1602195288__p1190924-3_omas_galileo_

 

I'm sorry for these heartbreaking images.

I'm feeling as in loss of a close relative (well, ok, almost...).

Probably the nib needs to be salvaged, I have not yet managed to pull it out, I think I need to unscrew the section, I've noted it turns although it's very stiff.

 

For the moment though I just need some comfort...

 

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Ah, sorry to see this. I have the Galileo Extra in Wild celluloid and it also has a crease in the celluloid in almost the same spot as yours. They don't go on forever and some don't even last a long time but I'll enjoy it while it's here. I will salvage its nib if it gets too far gone because the nib is amazing. That, combined with the celluloid, makes it a very beautiful pen. I feel your pain.

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Dear friend: I know there is no other way to confort you if not suggesting you buying another Wild pen... The hunt will maintain you occupied!

 

There are a few Galileo offered here and there (some of which already show the beginning of a short life, others that look pristine), a fewer Grand Paragons in Wild celluloid (I find them irresistible), some very limited editions made by OMAS for particular shops (veeeeery expensive), and also a few dedicated to the anti-Galilean Pope Urbano VI (much more expensive than the Galileo).

 

Some month ago I bought a Galileo for my daughter Carlotta, to award her for the beautiful work she has done with her Master Thesis ("Angelical music for a New World"). I find a perfect pen at a very reasonable price, a price like they were used to be ten years ago... Carlotta is very happy, and she sent me a photograph of her pen, which I would share with you, sansenri:

 

 

fpn_1602198797__omas_galileo_con_tagliac

 

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This is the saddest thing I have seen all day!

PAKMAN

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The first issue showed up immediately, when the pen arrived the nib in the section was loose, and came out.

I had the pen checked by Brunori, a respected shop in Milano (now closed...), the nib collar in ebonite had disintegrated, but he had spares and replaced it for me.

Due to the defect I obtained a further extra discount from the seller (a now untraceable noushop1963 not sure whether on the bay or on some other local site) making this purchase as cheap as a resin Omas, back then. Now I know that disintegrated collar was probably the first alarm bell I should have listened to.

 

I am so sorry to hear about your loss sansenri. Very painful, I'm sure and you are kind to have documented the story for us and for having provided such excellent photos.

 

I would not be too hard on yourself. I am not at all sure that the disintegration of the ebonite nib collar was an "alarm bell," as you say. The ebonite nib collars employed by Omas from 1919-1995 were of very poor quality and many, many of them deteriorated just as yours but with no other signs of off-gassing related damage to the pen. Indeed, it occurred in many pens made of a celluloid type / color which has no history of deterioration and in many resin pens, as well. I recently restored an Omas Europa FP (Blue resin - 1992) which had a collar that fell apart. (See photo attached) For these collars prolonged exposure to ink is probably more to blame than anything else. Sometime after mid 1994 to early 1995 Omas began to employ nib collars which were made of much more durable material.

Europa1.jpg

Edited by Seney724
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sansenri,very very sorry for your loss.

I'm glad you did get to enjoy it for a time, even if that time was too short.

We should all be glad there's a place like FPN where we can show and share this kind of pain.

a fountain pen is physics in action... Proud member of the SuperPinks

fpn_1425200643__fpn_1425160066__super_pi

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I am so sorry for your loss.

 

I remember seeing a photograph of a similar Arlecchino pen being offered for sale on Ebay. The Seller stated that it had been sent to Omas twice previously & been remade but after it merely cracked in half, Omas said they had no remaining rod stock to remake the body. I saw other posts regarding the instability of some Arlecchino Omas pens & was happy I had not purchased one to face that loss.

 

I was overjoyed last year to discover Leonardo Officiano was offing a pen in Arlecchino resin & promptly ordered one after double checking with the owner of Novelli that the pen was indeed an acrylic & not celluloid. Never having seen an Arlecchino in person I am very happy with my hopefully stable alternative. I watch carefully my Omas Burkina & Saft Green pens as well as the Montegrappa & Viscontis I have in celluloid.

 

I agree that the beauty of the materials makes them better to have had & lost than never experienced owning & using one but the demise of your pen saddens me greatly.

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Christopher Godfrey

Commiserations, sansenri! What a sad loss! The more especially since we are used to pens that last for eighty or even a hundred years (in other brands), so that we wonder why one of our favourites (favourite, singular?) should not last equally long...

 

Is there any possibility, do you think, that some sort of repair might be effected? It would take some magician to accomplish, I daresay...

 

I also wonder if there is some sort of molecular incompatibility between the different colours in these sorts of celluloids? I, too, have heard the horror stories about the arlecchino pens that disintegrate and it seems as though they snap where the different colours adjoin each other.

 

By the way, when I got my burkina Ogival pen, a few years ago, I noticed a pungent, chemical smell from it: was this the out-gassing to which people refer? And should I therefore be keeping it separately from other pens?

 

I'm heart-broken for you, sansenri!

Edited by Christopher Godfrey
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Thank you all for your kind words, I knew this was coming and was prepared, it is absolutely true that it's better to have had a time to enjoy it, and after all it's just a pen!

But it's also true that there is no better place to share my sadness than here on FPN, where I know you'll understand my feelings!

With thanks!

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Sorry to see this happen!

 

Please save nib, feed, collar, clip and piston mechanism.

 

I have had the same breakdown with the Omas LE Arlecchino and Paragon in Arlecchino celluloid. I can post pictures if you like. Both pens were around 1000 each. I definitely would not have bought them knowing about the celluloids quality. Als this makes me hesitate to buy another Omas celluloid pen. Even this was a collection focus once. Same fear with other 1990s and 2000s celluloid pens.

 

Cheers

 

Michael

Edited by Michael R.
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Thank you Michal, I had been thinking about saving the nib and feed, probably also the collar if I can take it out unharmed.. Also about saving the clip, a few years ago, the cap on one of my resin Omas Paragons broke and I managed to have it replaced and it's original clip put back on it.

Not sure about the piston, should I keep that also as spares?

 

I own several celluloid pens, I have not counted but they are quite a number.

We can't be too scared anyway, I'm fully convinced several of my celluloid pens will outlive me...

So actually this is making me pull them out of storage, with intention to use them more often!

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Commiserations, sansenri! What a sad loss! The more especially since we are used to pens that last for eighty or even a hundred years (in other brands), so that we wonder why one of our favourites (favourite, singular?) should not last equally long...

 

Is there any possibility, do you think, that some sort of repair might be effected? It would take some magician to accomplish, I daresay...

 

I also wonder if there is some sort of molecular incompatibility between the different colours in these sorts of celluloids? I, too, have heard the horror stories about the arlecchino pens that disintegrate and it seems as though they snap where the different colours adjoin each other.

 

By the way, when I got my burkina Ogival pen, a few years ago, I noticed a pungent, chemical smell from it: was this the out-gassing to which people refer? And should I therefore be keeping it separately from other pens?

 

I'm heart-broken for you, sansenri!

Thank you Christopher, no, repair is out of discussion, the celluloid is still decaying so nothing would fix it (as far as I know once the process starts it cannot be stopped, actually it becomes faster - I read once discussion that temperature might slow it down - it is a chemical reaction - but then what use would be keeping an Omas in the freezer...).

The process is known, but I think there is no precise explanation as to which celluloids are more prone (except that they may have not been "cured" properly) and why. I've read comments from celluloid experts that the lighter colours tend to be more subject to the issue, but cannot say whether this is true.

 

I've seen a Visconti in celluloid (I think a Voyager) that was rebuilt in resin by one of the American custom pen makers.

A nice job, in that case possibly it was more worthwhile to rebuild the pen and save the plunger mechanism with ink window.

In the case of my Omas I think the distinguishing part was the celluloid, I don't think it's worth it to attempt a rebuild.

 

Do keep your celluloid pens under control, in my opinion it is best to store them separately and ventilated (not all together), although the smell with yours might just be the typical camphor smell.

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I am so sorry for your loss.

 

I remember seeing a photograph of a similar Arlecchino pen being offered for sale on Ebay. The Seller stated that it had been sent to Omas twice previously & been remade but after it merely cracked in half, Omas said they had no remaining rod stock to remake the body. I saw other posts regarding the instability of some Arlecchino Omas pens & was happy I had not purchased one to face that loss.

 

I was overjoyed last year to discover Leonardo Officiano was offing a pen in Arlecchino resin & promptly ordered one after double checking with the owner of Novelli that the pen was indeed an acrylic & not celluloid. Never having seen an Arlecchino in person I am very happy with my hopefully stable alternative. I watch carefully my Omas Burkina & Saft Green pens as well as the Montegrappa & Viscontis I have in celluloid.

 

I agree that the beauty of the materials makes them better to have had & lost than never experienced owning & using one but the demise of your pen saddens me greatly.

Thank you Barkingpig, I have avoided the Arlecchino too... :)

but as I said, there are a lot of Wild celluloid pens around and also Arlecchino celluloid pens which are fine.

I am convinced that these problems were batch related.

My Galileo was clearly showing signs of trouble already 6 years ago.

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sansenri,very very sorry for your loss.

I'm glad you did get to enjoy it for a time, even if that time was too short.

We should all be glad there's a place like FPN where we can show and share this kind of pain.

Thank you Mhguda, absolutely, that is exactly how I feel, glad to have enjoyed it, glad I could eventually share the sad story :)

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Sorry to see this happen!

 

Please save nib, feed, collar, clip and piston mechanism.

 

I have had the same breakdown with the Omas LE Arlecchino and Paragon in Arlecchino celluloid. I can post pictures if you like. Both pens were around 1000 each. I definitely would not have bought them knowing about the celluloids quality. Als this makes me hesitate to buy another Omas celluloid pen. Even this was a collection focus once. Same fear with other 1990s and 2000s celluloid pens.

 

Cheers

 

Michael

I am interested to hear this.......

 

Whereas I have heard of countless LE Arlecchinos which have broken down, I've been told that the Paragon Arlecchinos, which were manufactured as a small, numbered LE exclusively for Omas Society members, were not subject to the breakdown as they came from a small celluloid stock which had been fully and completely cured. This is the first report I have seen of a Paragon having sustained the breakdown. So, at least for me, your post was very important.

 

The photos you offer, and especially those showing it on the Paragon Arlecchino would be great. If you'd prefer to not post them but are willing to send them to me via private e-mail please PM me and I will provide you with my e-mail address.

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I am so sorry to hear about your loss sansenri. Very painful, I'm sure and you are kind to have documented the story for us and for having provided such excellent photos.

 

I would not be too hard on yourself. I am not at all sure that the disintegration of the ebonite nib collar was an "alarm bell," as you say. The ebonite nib collars employed by Omas from 1919-1995 were of very poor quality and many, many of them deteriorated just as yours but with no other signs of off-gassing related damage to the pen. Indeed, it occurred in many pens made of a celluloid type / color which has no history of deterioration and in many resin pens, as well. I recently restored an Omas Europa FP (Blue resin - 1992) which had a collar that fell apart. (See photo attached) For these collars prolonged exposure to ink is probably more to blame than anything else. Sometime after mid 1994 to early 1995 Omas began to employ nib collars which were made of much more durable material.

thank you Seney724, I'm not being hard on myself, as I mentioned I was aware something was not too right with the pen when I bought it...

The fact is the collar in the pen had not just cracked like yours it had disintegrated in tiny particles... when I first inspected the pen I thought it was missing...

the repair shop then explained what happened, but did not suggest it might be due to off-gassing, I think at the time the problem, besides some slight external warping of the body, was not evident. As you say though,it might have just been a problem of a very brittle collar.

In my opinion the early Omas celluloids are actually good. Like the black ones or grey striped, and I've never really heard of any stories about degradation on those. I believe what is more likely is that in more modern times, when celluloid came back, the modern processes were industrialized and some batches did not get proper enough curing (a matter of excessive request? to shorten times? Omas to blame or the celluloid producers?...)

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In my opinion the early Omas celluloids are actually good. Like the black ones or grey striped, and I've never really heard of any stories about degradation on those. I believe what is more likely is that in more modern times, when celluloid came back, the modern processes were industrialized and some batches did not get proper enough curing (a matter of excessive request? to shorten times? Omas to blame or the celluloid producers?...)

I agree completely sansenri.

 

I am been told that the process for making the celluloid in the 30's - 40's was so toxic that the water around the Omas Factory became quite polluted and Omas was forced by the City to correct their process such that this would cease to occur. In all liklihood, the new process was more environmental friendly but less stable in terms of the potential for degredation. Add to that, then, the rush to move new pens out the door and the inevitable corners which were cut and one can see an ever increasing risk to the development of the problem.

 

Perhaps some others are more familiar with this aspect of the history of Omas??

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sansenri: I am so sorry to hear about the passing of your beloved Omas Galileo. She was loved and taken care of the best way possible by someone who appreciated her beauty and did not abandon her at the discovery of her incurable illness. She was a lucky girl, and you are a good man.

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