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Thread: Vintage Aurora 88 vs 88P: Fine nib size variation

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    Default Vintage Aurora 88 vs 88P: Fine nib size variation

    Hi,

    I'm new to posting here but has been lurking for a while. As a result I've learned a great deal and begin to dabble a bit into vintage. For my first Italian vintage, I got myself a pretty nice 88P with firm fine nib a few months ago. It's a bit finicky in terms of inks and paper but it's the smoothest nib I've owned (and for a Fine nib nonetheless!).

    So I had to get myself an original 88 and came across one in poor condition but it was cheap enough so I just snatched it to see. This one does not have any marking on the barrel or cap, no Aurora branding, no serial number but the size and nib/cap design all point to the original 88 (circa 1948-53, if I'm not mistaken). It has an F marking under the section that means Fine nib (at the same location on the section as my 88P). I actually got it to work alright without having to replace anything. It has a VERY wet but lovely flex fine nib, though I was quite surprised with how the nib writes. Here is a sample of the 88P's fine nib and 88's fine:







    You can see the thickness difference is quite stark between the 88 and 88P. I know a flexible fine should put down a different line from a firm Fine but the variation here is a bit too much (the 88P being closer to Sailor Soft F-M and the 88 being closer to a Pelikan Broad in the photo).

    The size of the tip on my 88 is also quite bigger than the tip of the 88P. I tried to capture it in a photo here (88 is on the Left):







    For me the 88 writes too broad to be a fine nib. Could this be the nib is indeed a Broad or it is just how the 88 writes? Or I may have an ink flow problem on my 88 that makes it write too broad (it is indeed very wet)?

    Thank you in advance.
    Last edited by spiritstampede; February 7th, 2019 at 05:55 AM.

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    Default Re: Vintage Aurora 88 vs 88P: Fine nib size variation

    Welcome!
    There's a good reason the original 88s tend to write wetter: their feed design was less complex (to the point of being prone to unexpected leaks). I've come to accept this as I love Mr. Nizzoli's design.
    In your case, part of the problem could very well be its un-restored condition; the felt and leather seals on the original 88 pistons are likely to have lost their faultless seal over time.

    Your description of the markings on your pen is very intriguing. I've never heard of a 88 without the rounded-triangle engraving on the front side of the section. Some pens apparently weren't serialized, but the brand engraving is shared by all members of the 88 "dynasty." Another thing is the width marking--I've never heard of an original 88s having such a section marking as these pens already had a creative color-coded nib typing system at the end of their piston knobs. Could you provide us with better pictures of your pen?
    Last edited by fountainpenkid; February 7th, 2019 at 10:06 PM.
    Will
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    Default Re: Vintage Aurora 88 vs 88P: Fine nib size variation

    Thank you so much for the information. Now I suspect the section has been switched on mine to one from later runs (possibly a 88K?). It doesn't look or feel like the piston knob (which is brownish rubber - and sadly has a crack) but look to be the same material as the pen body (celluloid?). I saw a photos of the knob markings for nib size somewhere but can't recall so I'm also posting a photo of the top of the piston knob in case it helps identify it.

    Here is some more photos (I'm sorry the pen looks quite rough, it must have been through a lot ). The only marking I can see is the "F" - and of course deep scratch marks )








    And here is the whole pen (top) next to the 88P



    Again, thank you for the inputs!

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    Default Re: Vintage Aurora 88 vs 88P: Fine nib size variation

    Quote Originally Posted by fountainpenkid View Post
    Welcome!
    There's a good reason the original 88s tend to write wetter: their feed design was less complex (to the point of being prone to unexpected leaks). I've come to accept this as I love Mr. Nizzoli's design.
    Does switching to a dry ink like Pelikan Black help? It does with the Baoer 100, which looks like it was inspired by the 88 (and which is actually amazingly good - it's one real weakness is turning into a gusher with wet inks.)

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    Default Re: Vintage Aurora 88 vs 88P: Fine nib size variation

    Thanks for the suggestion. I currently have Montblanc Midnight Blue in it which tends to be on the dry side. Another dry-ish ink I have is Quink Black but I haven't tried it yet. It certainly writes wet but my concern is more about the thickness of the stroke. I'm leaning more and more to the possibility my 88 actually have a Broad nib, not a Fine.

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    Default Re: Vintage Aurora 88 vs 88P: Fine nib size variation

    My experience is that Quink Black isn't dry enough for gusher pens. Pelikan Brilliant Black has tamed a few for me.

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    Default Re: Vintage Aurora 88 vs 88P: Fine nib size variation

    Quote Originally Posted by spiritstampede View Post
    Thanks for the suggestion. I currently have Montblanc Midnight Blue in it which tends to be on the dry side. Another dry-ish ink I have is Quink Black but I haven't tried it yet. It certainly writes wet but my concern is more about the thickness of the stroke.
    Stroke width can vary a lot with wetness - how much depends on the ink. I really would try a sample of Pelikan Black.

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    Default Re: Vintage Aurora 88 vs 88P: Fine nib size variation

    Hmm the section looks like a 88P with its sharp cutoff at the nib-end of the section. The markings (and lack thereof) still make no sense to me. Maybe an experienced Aurora collector can shed some light on this?
    Will
    If my p.m box is full, feel free to email me at dabantur@gmail.com.

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