In 1919, Italy was marked by a post-war crisis, but bubbling with great hopes for recovery.
It was in this very same year that the Fabbrica Italiana de Penne a Serbatoio-Aurora was founded with the financial support of Isaia Levi, in the heart of Torino, at 9, Basilica Street.
This was the birth of Aurora, the first true Italian fountain-pen company. In that year, the success enjoyed by the mythical Aurora pen coincided with a new historic direction. Italy woke up to the first rays of a sun was destined not to set, while Aurora became the name of a company destined for success.
From those very first years the company showed that it was able to produce writing instruments with inimitable allure and refinement, being able to compete with the British and American ones, although the first models were of a rigorous black but with an Italian allure.
Only 6 years after its foundation, in 1925, Aurora began to produce fountain pens in different colors, using a material that later on meant to be one of Aurora’s sign of distinction: the celluloid. This was the material used on the International series, a model produced by Aurora quite similar to the Parker Duofold, and that significantly contributed to build a strong reputation for Aurora fountain pens.
In 1928 an extraordinary event significantly contributed to the worldwide recognition of Aurora. The Italian explorer Umberto Nobile, pilot of the Zeppelin named Italy, was flying over the North Pole to draw the Arctic map, when he suffered an accident due to the bad weather conditions that shot down the Zeppelin with its 18 crew staff on board.
In that moment, a 48-days epic survival period began, in which Umberto Nobile wrote down in his diary all their experiences…..with his Aurora fountain pen.
Seventy-nine (79) years after they were rescued, Aurora produced the limited edition Umberto Nobile LE, showed in the image below, in honor to this explorer and his mission.
In 1929, after an internal reinforcement of their internal procedures, Aurora managed to access the Spanish, Swedish and Polish markets, what led the company to increase their production and introduce the 1930 new Novum series, in the image below:
In 1935, Aurora launched the Ethiopia, due to the Italian invasion of that country. The Ethiopia had the Imperial Eagle engraved in its cap, and was designed for the Italians that were on duty abroad.
The Ethiopia is a fountain pen with very few information available. There are so few that in some forums is considered to be the Holy Grail in fountain pens, due first of all to its limited production, but most of all to its massive destruction upon the fall of Italian fascism near the end of World War II.
Due to the scarcity of gold during the War period, a special alloy named “platiridio” was produced and used in some economic references such as the Selene and Olo, as well as in a model for students known as Topolino (the Italian name for Mickey Mouse).
In 1943, the Aurora premises at via della Basilica 9, were completely destroyed by a bombing of Turin, what forced Aurora to move to the North of the city, at Abbadia di Stura, were still today Aurora has its siege.
It is at that time, in 1947, when it takes place the most well-known model of Aurora, the Aurora 88.
This fountain pen was designed by Marcello Nizzoli to compete with the Parker 51.
The Aurora 88 meant a complete new way for the future.
Until that moment, the Aurora fountain pens had all been named with latin names related to the future (Novum, Optima, etc.). However, during Wolrd War II the American soldiers walked around Europe with a fire arm….and a fountain pen to write their letters! The fountain pen they used had an innovative design for that time, with a plastic body and a metal cap. It was the Parker 51.
Aurora wanted to rebirth and that is why it abandoned the latin names and baptized its new creation as Aurora 88, as a way to honor too the Parker 51.
The Aurora 88 sold more than 5 million units all over the world, and was under production until the 70’s. The 88 is considered to be the most successful Italian fountain pen. Later on, in the 90’s, a new Aurora 88 was produced, although its materials and characteristics are completely different.
In 1954, a new version is launched, named Duo Cart, designed by Albe Steiner, which was the Aurora response to the pen advancing. The main particularity of the Duo Cart is that it led Aurora introduce the ink cartridge.
The Duo Cart cartridge was designed by the 1963 Chemist Nobel Prize Giulio Natta. It had the particularity of allowing a second cartridge to be linked to the first one by a metal tube, in which a ball was introduced. When the cartridge was empty, the ball moved making a clinking that allowed the student to know that one cartridge was already empty.
In the 60s, Aurora was acquired by the Verona family, their current proprietors, who maintain the same high-quality philosophy that made Aurora being known worldwide.
In 1965 Aurora introduced the Auretta and the Reserve Magic:
In 1970, Aurora produced the Hastill, a model designed by architect Marco Zanusso, that had a cylinder steel body made upon a single block steel cylinder, and an innovative ink-filling system: the Idrograph.
Due to its unique design, the Hastill is shown at the Industrial Design Department of the Museum of Modern Art of New York (the MOMA).
In 1982, the Marco Polo and the Magellano series are produced, using silver and gold for their production-
And the Magellano.
Already in 1986, Aurora began to commercialize the Kona, a model inspired by the Doric columns designed by Giugiaro, the industrial designer specialized on Alfa Romero or Maserati).
As it can be seen on the photo, the design clearly evokes the Doric style….
At the end of the 80s, Aurora introduced the new Aurora 88 in two different versions_ the Big one and another slimmer one. This relaunch of the Aurora 88 combines the handcraft tradition together with the latest production technology, what led this Aurora to be shown at the Science and Technology National Museum of Milan.
Later on, the company introduced the Ipsilon and the Optima series, colorful models that are still today in the Aurora catalogue.
In 2004, together with the 85th anniversary of Aurora, the firm produced the limited edition 85 Anniversary, a fountain pen that has several details inspired by the first designs of Aurora, from the logo the form of the cap.
Since then, Aurhas introduced some limited editions related to Africa, Asia and Europe, each one of them in a color that represents the most characteristic element of these continents: from the African terrain brown, to the Asian wild green or the European marble grey.
Today, Aurora has just launched the Alpha, the fist letter of the Greek Alphabet, which symbolizes the beginning of a new journey for Aurora.
By this new collection Aurora wishes to symbolise a major change.
A new line inspired by the Italian architectural beauties, characterized by romantic elements, smooth curves and round shapes for the cap culminating in the stylized ovoid on the top and engraved on the ring.
And this is the end of the story... by now. Aurora still produces their beauties in Italy, where the latest technology together with the most experienced artisans brings us all unique stylish and refined made in Italy pens.
Thanks for your reading...! And of course, comments and suggestions are more than welcome!