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Singular materials in writing

May 12, 2020 3 min read

Singular materials in writing

How many times has it happened to you that you want to buy a fountain pen but you are not sure what the material it is actually made of is?

Aurora was the brand that managed to recover and re-boost celluloid, renamed it "Auroloid". It is a rich material that requires careful manufacturing and that over the years has been giving way to the unstoppable drive of plastics and resins. Until the Italian brand rescued it. Some people call it “the new celluloid”, as Auroloid is cellulose acetate, while the classic celluloid is cellulose nitrate. Thanks to this, the Auroloid achieves a bit more depth of color and a warmer feel in the hand.

Its marbled texture and iridescent shine are the main attractions of this material, which is the main feature of the  Aurora’s Optima collection, which features a classic tint design inspired by a legendary 1930s model.

Aurora Auroloide

Wood has always played a special role in the history of Faber-Castell, and continues to do so to this day. The pioneering German house crafts noble woods in order to create exclusive writing instruments.

Even though they use them in different collections, it is in the  Classic line where we can see the woods in all its glory. With them they create writing tools with fine ribbed bodies in matte black Macassar Ebony wood, in reddish brown Pernambuco wood or dark brown Grenadillo. These noble woods are of extreme hardness and laborious processing. Due to the natural variations in tone and texture, each of the pieces made with these woods is unique and unrepeatable.

Pernambuco  wood has a fine, straight and uniform grain. It has great resistance to deformation, making it an ideal wood for the creation of durable fountain pens. Grenadillo wood is one of the hardest and densest woods in the world, considered a very durable species over time. And finally,  Macassar Ebony wood: dense, with spectacular colors and patterns, since it is black but can have lighter grains.

These models are not only visually curious, but also functional, since they fit comfortably in the hand.

Graf von Faber Castell Woods

The renowned Italian house Visconti introduced a whole new concept through its  Homo Sapiens line. It did so thanks to the use of lava extracted from the Etna volcano (now active) in cap and barrel. The resulting material contains 50% pure resin-reinforced lava, being a strong, resilient and, above all, very attractive and original material for the manufacture of fountain pens.

It is unbreakable, scratchproof, non-flammable (unlike celluloid). On top of all that, the lava mixture is hygroscopic, meaning that it will absorb moisture from one’s hand, thereby giving it a patina over time that is unique to the owner.

Crystal Dream Double Reservoir, Bronze, Dark Age, Evolution...In Iguana Sell we have all the Homo Sapiens Lava collection for you to choose your favourite!

Visconti's Lava

Ebonite is the name Charles Goodyear gave to hard vulcanized rubber. It is, therefore, a trade name assigned for its appearance similar to ebony wood which is hard and black.

When held in the hand it provides a comfortable and warm non slip grip. Besides, as it is produced 100% from natural rubber, it is an environmentally friendly and sustainable material.

To find out if a fountain pen is made of ebonite, rub the material and hold it close to the nose. If it gives off a pungent odor, it is ebonite. Its smell is a consequence of the sulfur present in it. We recommend not exposing these pieces to light excessively, since it causes the appearance of sulfuric acid on the surface, progressively discoloring it from a greenish gray to a final white. If immersed in water, it will also discolor.

Some of the most known Japanese brands such as  Nakaya ,  Pilot Namiki,  Taccia o  Platinum use Ebonite as main material for their extraordinaire fountain pens.


The properties of carbon fiber, such as high flexibility, high strength, lightness, tolerance to high temperatures and low thermal expansion, are properties similar to those of steel, even achieving greater impact resistance than this metal, due to its great hardness At the same time it is a light material, suitable for wood or plastic. Thanks to all these characteristics it is very popular in the elite sport. The fountain pens’ world has borrowed it to make some of the lightest pieces on the market.

Some great manufacturers such as  Visconti,  Pilot Capless ,  Montegrappa or  Caran d'Ache have created sporty as well as elegant models by uniting the characteristic black square pattern of carbon fiber with other classic materials.

Carbon fibre

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