The company which would become Stipula was founded in Florence by Renzo Salvadore. It began pen production in 1982, nine years after it was initially established as a producer of ornamental fittings for leatherwork. It would be another nine years, though, before Stipula was actually making pens in its own name, as prior to 1991 their output was all devoted to other brands. The name of the company is a reference to a historical means of formalizing a commitment, a small stick or straw broken in a ritualistic manner; Stipula is the straw itself, and English draws “stipulation” from it. The company remains a family concern, the next generation of Salvadores having been drawn into it; for reasons founded in the history of many other pen companies, this makes me hopeful for their continued success.
Stipula is not quite as elevated as some other Italian pen companies; the low end pens aren’t cheap, but someone of limited means can consider them. The high end is pretty high, though, with the usual leavening of limited editions one finds in many modern pen-makers, as well as some interesting capless models and a relatively uncommon high-flex titanium point. They also offer an interesting and slightly antiquated bespoke service, the painting of a miniature on the barrel of the pen (or a watch-face, of even cuff-links) from a picture ; fans of Jane Austen, in which group I count myself, will no doubt be highly intrigued.
Stipula also offers the Netto pen filling system, in which a somewhat more muscular version of the capillary well found in some vintage dip-pens is used to provide a source for filling pens without submersion of the section in the case of self-filling pens, and without submersion of the fingers when one is filling a dismounted converter. While an apparent throwback to the 1950s and the desperate hunt for clean, convenient filling, it is really more of an accessory for the well-heeled pen aficionado to prove that they are a both well-heeled and a pen aficionado.
Models I’ve examined: