Aurora Nobile: only the best ink pens were taken on antarctic expeditions

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Aurora and Leonardo

best ink pensNo, Leonardo da Vinci never wrote with an Aurora fountain pen since he lived 400 years before its invention, but his tremendous contributions to Italian culture inspired an 18 karat gold Limited Edition in his honor. An exquisite collection,   ranked among world’s best ink pens, reflects the beauty and precision attributed to the Renaissance genius.

best ink pensThe most illustrious version of the product features a solid gold body and cap with a ruby-lined clip. Etched into the gold is a portion of the Maestro’s codex on the flight of birds. This line of Aurora pens is one of many exclusive designs produced by the world-famous company that originated in Torino, Italy. And Nobile, the pen discussed here, is just like this piece of art work. Nobile was the inspiration for another fountain pen model but actually also owned an Aurora. But more about this later.

Aurora Pen Company, creator of best ink pens

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Isaia Levi

The year was 1919, and post-war unemployment had beset the boot-shaped nation. The timing was right for the first authentic Italian fountain pen developer, so Isaia Levi provided the best ink pensfinancial means to open the Fabbrica Italiana de Penne a Serbatoio-Aurora on Basilica Street.The company produced a fine writing instrument, one of the best ink pens on the market, comparable to the British and American brands. Aurora designs quickly became recognized for their quality, refinement, and cultural flair.

After the manufacturers began to make the fountain pens in various colors, the business established a reputation for its use of celluloid. Each series that has followed the original Aurora fountain pen has exhibited a genuinely classic form. The styles range from everyday writing varieties to extravagant collectors designs. With the creation of the Diamante, the company became the World’s only producer of a diamond pen with more than thirty carats. But really every edition, however, bears the distinct Aurora characteristics–tradition, value, and elegance–that place the Italian instruments among the best pens in the world. Many notable people during the past century have enjoyed writing with these luxurious, but practical, models.

Only best pens for explorers

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Umberto Nobile

Umberto Nobile carried his Aurora pen into renown in 1928 when his airship crashed onto ice in the Arctic. The Italian aeronautical science professor, engineer, and military general had already flown successfully over the North Pole in a Zeppelin of his own design in 1926 along with Norway’s Roald Amundsen and America’s Lincoln Ellsworth. After a public dispute over who had actually led the historic expedition, Nobile went back to the Arctic Circle two years later on another of his carefully designed airships, the Italia.

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Il Dirigibile “Italia”

This time he took along one of his best ink pens, his Aurora, which proved its worth during the explorer’s many stranded days. While he and his surviving crew members waited seven weeks to be rescued, Umberto recorded the daily events in his log. The radio operator had managed to save his set but was unable to get his messages through. Meanwhile the disheartened men set up a (red) tent for the injured and began practicing survival techniques. Nobile had suffered a broken arm and leg but was comforted when his dog, Titina, awakened after being knocked unconscious during the crash. When the crew members heard several large crashes the first night, they realized the floe on which they were trapped had separated from the main iceberg. The danger was imminent; the ice could crack beneath them at any moment. These details may have been forgotten if the brave explorer had not taken notes with one of Italy’s best ink pens, the Aurora.
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The Aurora Nobile

After a couple of weeks, the radio signal went through and boosted the international rescue mission. Russia’s Krassin, the strongest icebreaker of the era, was cutting through the treacherous floes while numerous pilots unsuccessfully searched from overhead. Even Umberto’s greatest rival, Roald Amundsen, boarded a hydroplane and went north. The discouraged castaways, however, were growing more weary with every passing day. The injured expedition leader continued to record the events with his Aurora fountain pen, a product of the company that had manufactured Italy’s best pens since 1919.
Finally the crew was spotted by a Swede who landed his Fokker with skis on the ice. According to the strict orders of the pilot, the pilot took Umberto Nobile and his dog to safety first. Nobile was airlifted to Ryss Island, a base camp of Swedish and Finnish air rescue efforts. The pilot then set out to return for the other stranded men. As he tried to land on the floe again, his plane overturned and the rescue attempt failed.
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Krassin in arctic ice

The remaining survivors were not picked up until the Krassin arrived, which was 48 days later.

Numerous people had died as a result of the tragedy, including Roald Amundsen whose rescue plane was never seen again. Although Nobile was blamed by his country’s leader, Mussolini, he was eventually credited by both Russia and the United States for his expeditions.

Meanwhile, he drew the world’s attention and his name was given to one of the best ink pens, the Aurora Nobile fountain pen.

The fountain pen of The Nobile collection is proposed in Limited and Numbered Edition: 1919 Fountain Pens with Golden Silver cap and ebonite barrel or the 18 Kt Solid Gold nib-99 Fountain Pens with Solid Gold cap and ebonite barrel.  18Kt Solid Gold nib Special care has been devoted to the creation of the packaging: “The Red Tent” which reminds the famous camping tent used by Nobile and the crew of the expedition. The tent is a bit tacky and too much marketing. But I like the lively material of the ebinite, really dark brown with orange veins. The vermeil is a bit more on the orange side. The contrast between this vermeil and the dark brown ebonite material is much richer than with black. The ebonite is a wink to Nobile’s time period.
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The Aurora Nobile

The Aurora Nobile is however a modern fountain pen. True italian design, a modern filling system and historic, classic materials. It is vintage inspired. I has a high price tag, but inspiring on several levels.

You can find more information, reviews and the price of this specimen of one of the best ink pens, here.

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