BOLOGNA AND ITS NIBMAKERS
Bologna was one of the major “pen cities” in Italy from the early 1900’s till WWII and beyond. It was the city where Nettuno, Colorado, Omas, Tabo, the Scotland and a few more famous brands were manufactured, but also the place where a few very important nib manufacturers were located.
Three major nib companies were active in Bologna in the 1930’s: Rover (owned by Roberto Verlicchi), Globus (Owned by Mario Cecchini) and Mercurio (connected with Armando Merighi).
Unfortunately I do not have reliable references as to when these companies were founded but they all were active in the 1930’s through the 1950’s.
In the picture below an example of the nibs which where manufactured by these three nibmakers.
Mr Armando Merighi is well known to Italian collectors for his connection with the brand “The Scotland Italiana” even if it is not clear if he was a pen maker or simply a distributor of this brand. This piece of information derives from an old invoice, which is published in the History of the Fountain Pen in Italy, where various The Scotland models are included. Mr Merighi’s activity is connected in addition with the production of Mercurio nibs, which were mostly used as replacement nibs by repairmen. In the Italian Trademark Archives, threre are two registration documents related to Mr. Merighi's activity: one referring to Mercurio nibs and the other one referring to The Scotland Italiana fountain pens.
Mercurio nibs exist in various sizes both in gold 14 ct and steel.
The company was located in Via Farini and was active till the mid 1950’s.
Globus nibs were produced by Mr. Cecchini; they exist both in 14 ct gold and steel and, like Rover nibs, these were mostly used as replacement nibs by repairmen.
The company was located in Via Begatto,5.
Globus fountain pens are not known.
The Rover Company became Comit at the end of WWII ( probably acquiring Globus) and continued to manufacture nibs for many Italian pen makers, including Radius (many late Radius nibs bear the Comit engraving) and Aurora as well (a series of nibs for the Aurora 88 were manufactured by Comit).
The trademarks Globus and Rover kept however being registered till the late 1950’s.
Rover nibs can be found both with the Rover engraving and with a symbol which is a large rounded "V" with a large "R" inserted into it. You can see this logo on a few of the nibs in the picture below.
Various comparison of design and style support the theory that many Bolognese nibs of famous pen makers (Quadretti, Tabo, Nettuno..) were manufactured by Roberto Verlicchi/ Mario Cecchini /Comit.
Rover nibs show in fact similarities with Nettuno and Omas nibs, not only in the shape of the tines and vent hole but also in their geometry, length and width.
In the picture two nibs from Bologna: Esse.Ti.Bi (Tabo) and Quadretti (Colorado). I added the Omega nib (Omega AVM pens were manufactured by Columbus),because its geometry is very similar to the other two nibs.
The quality of these nibs is undoubtedly extremely high; Rover nibs offer the same performance in terms of smoothness and flexibility as Omas and Minerva nibs.
Early Rover nibs have a heart-shaped vent hole, like Omas and Minerva nibs, while later ones have a round vent hole. This variation is present in Columbus nibs as well. The connection between E. Verga, Columbus' founder and Cav. A. Simoni has been analysed in many ways and it is possible that it involved the production of their nibs, too.
Although Omas always stated that its nibs were manufactured in their own plant, many collectors are nowadays convinced that from the second half of the 1930’s, Omas nibs were produced by Rover.
There are in fact many evident similarities between Omas/Minerva and Rover/Comit nibs.
Earlier nibs were probably imported from England, in the same way as Columbus' and other early pen manufacturers'. If this supposition was demonstrated, it would mean that Omas never produced its own nibs and had them manufactured most probably by Rover/Comit....