I have received a number of requests/questions to post pics, etc. of my fountain pen collection. To be honest, it would take too long to do in one sitting, so I thought I might do a number of short, quick hits covering my collection from A – Z.
A is for Ancora
Let’s begin at the beginning …my initial thought for A was Aurora – but not so fast, I have a red Ancora Perla fountain pen with a medium nib. First a few pics, then some details.
The History of Ancora
According to Stylus Magazine, “The Ancora pen company was founded on the shores of Lake Maggiore, Italy, in the early part of the twentieth century. Giuseppe Zanini received his first fountain pen as a gift, and fountain pens became his gift to the world with the inception of the Ancora pen company at Sesto Calende in 1919. His earliest wish was simply to make beautiful pens, but his long-range desire was to create every piece of every Ancora pen in his own factory. Zanini’s untimely death in 1929 bequeathed the fruition of this dream to his son Alfredo, and within a year, all parts of the company’s ebonite and celluloid button-filled pens were produced within the Ancora factory.
Eighty-five years later, Giovanni Santini is fulfilling the original mission of the brand: to produce exquisite pens with passion and care and share them with those who appreciate the timeless fervor that created them. Santini collects vintage pens and owned a pen shop in Turin for a number of years. But it was his work as a pen repairman that gave him the initial impetus to make his own writing instruments.
Santini resumed the production of Ancora pens in 1998, and the passion he puts in the pens today is the same passion Zanini had for his products.Pen production takes place in Pavia, about fifty miles south of Milan, where the company fittingly resides in a 1913 Liberty-style building. “We have a small but very complete factory in which we produce all the parts for our pens. We have no mass production—everything is handmade,” says Santini.”
Material and colour
Ancora has employed an exclusive resin in order to reproduce the richness and iridescence of the pearls of the south seas – not surprisingly “Perla” is the Italian word for “pearl”.
The pictures speak for themselves, the colour of my pen is a gorgeous, bright red with a wonderful marble effect -quite amazing indeed! The material is exceptionally light.
As seen in the pictures, the pen has two large sterling silver bands with an interesting wagon-wheel like design on them. The cap band is engraved with the words “Ancora Italia” and the clip has an anchor symbol on it – in case you haven’t figured out the naming pattern yet, “Ancora” is the Italian word for “anchor”.
When capped, the pen is just under 14 cm (5 1/2 in.). When posted, 16 cm (6 1/2 in.). The only potential problem with this pen is that it will not stay posted – I say potential because the pen is large enough for me that I do not need to post it, others may feel differently. The diameter of the pen varies from 10mm at the ends to 15 mm at the widest part of the barrel (3/8 – 5/8 in.) and the cap diameter is 15 mm (5/8 in.).
The $100,000 question?
Ancora is one of the very few companies that still produces their own nibs. In fact, the whole pen is handmade. I have read in some places that this approach has created some quality control problems – variances (a bad word to QC people!) in the quality of the pens and nibs. Some writers even suggested that you always write with your Ancora before you buy it (rather than purchase over the internet, for example) to make sure the nib is okay. Well, I purchased mine from a reliable Pentracer so I was able to check on the nib quality before I bought the pen (even though I didn’t actually write with it). The nib is 18k with a rhodium plating to match the silver trim.
Bottom line, mine writes beautifully – nice flow and the nib has an incredible amount of flex to it (so much so, it took a bit of getting used to it). I think this pen can be had for around US $175 – a great value.
Filed under: Ancora, fountain pen, Perla