Cervinia
fountain pen

A Story that continues

Giuseppe Carboni, a twenty years old young man, native of Macerata - in the Italian Eastcenter region of Marche - in the years immediately following the First World War, like many of his contemporaries is forced to take the road of emigration and arrives in the city of Turin – North western area of Italy. After some experience of work at lathe machine shops in the field of car production, Giuseppe finally arrives at Aurora, the new pen factory established by Isaia Levi in Turin, moving its first steps at that time. The frenetic development of the world of safety pens at that time strikes him with all its excitement and novelty. These are the years when the young Giuseppe Carboni collaborates directly in the creation of historical pieces of the Turin factory , which culminate in the making of the pen for the Pope . For years this pen will continue to be present in the epic tales of those days, that Carboni loved to tell as an example of a very great difficulty overcome with the pride of those intended to memorable challenges.

In the early Thirties, provided with a strong experience and a bit impatient for the depersonalizing atmosphere connected to the growing size of Aurora, Giuseppe Carboni collects his savings and starts a first workshop of safety pens in the center of Turin, in via XX September. It is 1936 when the Giuseppe Carboni’s company opens its doors under the name “Cervinia” as to emphasize in the name the height of the commitment taken up. “Cervinia” in fact recalls one of the highest peaks in the western Italian Alps, the Mount Cervino. Soon, from a small workshop, Cervinia becomes a respected fountain pen factory with about forty people employed. An unusual balance of man and woman workers was held at the workshop. It is said that “the most perfect fountain pen” (as Cervinia called itself) drew its sophisticated perfection among other things on the skillful touch of the woman workers’ group, who were used to get the distinctive shine of the Cervinia celluloid with their unmistakable hand-buffing. At the end of the Thirties , Carboni opened a retail shop where he sold its Cervinia products in via Nizza - Turin, until little ago surviving the disappearance of the factory in the early Fifties. Here worked since his youth Giuseppe Carboni’s nephew, Giovanni Borrione, the last witness of this glorious history of Turin writing instrument crafting.

The Cervinia creations introduced over the years have seen a large number of models, all marked by a sober and essential style , which expressed the discreet sense of beauty that prevailed in the taste of the time. And even during the war - albeit with some effort – Cervinia remained an example of excellent and remarkable product reliability. Cervinia alternated about thirty colors of celluloid around a base of black ebonite used for the parts most in contact with inks. At the heart of the fountain pen a variety of filling systems, including Cervinia, always demonstrated great technical mastery and a wide scope of applications: inbuilt pistons alternated with button fillers and Vacumatic systems. The Forties were a very turbulent time for Cervinia, since the bombings of the city of Turin during the Second World War, which occurred without interruption between 1943 and 1945 sacrificed the workshop in via Limone, in the outskirts of Turin (where the Manufacture in the meantime had moved). The last predicaments of the War forced it to a quick evacuation of the plant (which temporarily settled at a City brewery run by Giuseppe Carboni’s relatives) and all the valuable material in Cervinia stock. With the German troops occupying Turin after 1943, Carboni luckily sheltered raw materials and semi-finished parts in the only place that seemed safe enough and on hand. Six boxes of celluloid pens and hard rubber in rods were dropped in the basement of Via Nizza below the Carboni family’s shop.

Unfortunately, as often happened in those moments suspended between suspicion and delation, someone noticed the unusual transportation of material and imagining a clumsy tentative to hide weapons and ammunitions intended for the Insurgents, warned the German authorities. An immediate inspection of the SS to verify the nature of the material contained in the crates took place. But providentially the German captain did not dwell much on the case and having inspected only the crate containing the hard rubber, he resolved to leave the poor Carboni in peace (imagine what would happen if instead our German officer had tried to lit the rods of celluloid, so easily flammable!).

Really lucky misconstruction, as it has brought a dowry, still unfinished, of about ten thousand fountain pens by Cervinia and Royal (the other brand meanwhile registered by Carboni for a line of price affordable products addressed to students) along with a large amount of celluloid and hard rubber from the Thirties.