Return to Pens of Uncertain Provenance

Italian “51” Knockoff

I mention on the page for Parker’s “51” that it initiated a widespread wave of emulation.  This is one of the lower-end examples of that international effort; cheap plastic, cheap filler, cheap cap and cheap point.  How cheap?  The point is malleable, although for someone with very gentle hands it’s actually sort of nice to write with.  I’m inclined to think it was made in the 1950s.

On reflection, it might be a knockoff of the Aurora 88, which was a good Italian pen emulating the “51”.

I should also note that putting this pen up for identification is a little like offering knife-free cracks at the Gordian knot, as the true identity of this pen is very unlikely to emerge unless someone who actually worked on it puts up a hand.  This general form of pen, sometimes not even admitting to being from Italy, has appeared under a baffling array of different brand names and trim variations– “Milord”, “Universal”, “Garretti” and “VV” are all ones I’ve seen or heard of (the last I assume to stand for Vae Victus, although some suggest it was a well known Italian office supply company), and there are others I cannot bring to mind.  One suspects a central manufacturing source, a sort of Italian Eclipse or Wearever, which forewent putting impressions on so a third party could claim them as their own.

Size: 13.4 cm long capped, 15.0 cm posted, 12.5 cm uncapped.

Point: Plated steel… or possibly lead.

Body: Plastic.

Filler: Syringe , capacity approx. 1.4 ml

Made In Italy not-actually-a-“51” (ID#0031)


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