Materials

Visconti is in a continuous balance between tradition and research for new materials and compounds.

We hereby remind:

At the beginning of the 1950's plastic lived its golden age. Thermoplastics as polyester, ABS, PVC and Plexiglas (that are shaped through injection of melted material) were frequently used to rapidly produce the most different tools at low costs and in a wide range.

There are many different kinds of plastics ranged according to their infrangibility, flexibility and resistance to light and wearing.
The acrylics are among the best resins for fountain pens production, and are especially appreciated for the brightness of their colours.

Recently acrylics have been used to produce mottled and spotted effects resembling to celluloid, with really impressive results.

In this case we have to lathe the previously coloured material plates.
From 1900 until 1960 it was the material most widely used material in mass production. It has now been substituted by injection molded plastics. Production process: the material in powder form, is pressed in a mould. The male mould presses the powder at 150 degrees. This process is called press-moulding because pressure and heat are used to harden the material.
The main property, still unsurpassed, is its resistance to heat and low electrical conductivity. Visconti used it for some of its pens.
This material was invented by the Hyatt brothers in 1864 and is made from cotton, alcohol, camphor. The entire process to reach a workable material lasted from 4 to 8 months depending on the thickness. In fact the drying process is very important.

Celluloid pens were made by two main process:
  1. By Wrapping
  2. Turned from a solid block or bar
Both processes had advantages and disadvantages.
  1. Wrapping: a 2/3 millimeters sheet celluloid is cut in long strips and rolled around a rod or pulled through a cone. The tube which is then obtained, is glued at the seam and dried for 20 days.
    Advantages: Color is constant throughout the pen, no material is wasted.
    Disadvantages: In some colors the seam can be visible.
  2. Turned from solid rods: Advantages: Easy execution for all shapes possible.
    Disadvantages: only a limited amount of patterns are available, 80% of material is wasted.
Note on Celluloid
Easy to colour, allowed many colours and designs. Its composition is totally not allergic, it partially absorbs humidity from the hands, so it feels smooth and comfortable. Shock absorbance (resilience) so it was an excellent material for pens.
By the way during manufacturing it could bee easily flammable and the process required adequate precautions, it becomes soft at only 70 degrees.
Constant exposure to light could cause abnormal drying and can becomes fragile!

Storage / cleaning
Celluloid items had to be stored in dark ventilated place at not more than 25/30 degrees. Clean with a silicon sponge like those used to clean shoes.
This is another historical material for fountain pens: the oldest. This material was first invented by a very well know inventor: Charles Goodyear.
Its composition is rubber vulcanized with sulfur and this was the first material used to make fountain pens. Unfortunately not many makers are left and most of them have little knowledge of the process used to make the colours of those early pens.
In years of experience working with ebonite we noticed that the quality of this material is variable, mainly due to its principal use. Today it is no longer used for fine objects but used in technical devices with no consideration for aesthetic requirements.
In fact the old beautiful mottled and ripple ebonite have disappeared forever.
Colors today are opaque. Colorants used in the past such as iron oxide are proving to be cancerous and therefore are no longer in use.
Pens made in ebonite become opaque because of the tendency of sulfur to come up to the surface. If exposed to sunlight the colour tends to fade.
Storage / cleaning
Very dark & ventilated place.
Use a microfiber fabric (like those for eyeglasses) to polish.
Afterwards a silicon sponge can be used.
We remind the usage of natural Volcanic Lava (Homo Sapiens) compound, very smooth and soft, as well as of Terracotta compound to remind the earth of Tuscany (Brunelleschi).
Stainless Steel is a strong material and Visconti uses it polished, matted as well as with a unique vintage treatment.
Chemical element with Symbol Ti, Atomic number 22, atomic weight 47.9.
It has a density of 4,45 g/cm melting at 1680°C and boiling-point beyond 3000°C.
After the II World War, the creation of missiles and supersonic airplanes led to the search for metallic materials with specific features: able to resist to  the high temperatures of the jet engines and to  the friction of the air at very high speed.
Titanium alloys, which are lighter than steel, but much more resistant, helped to overcome these difficulties.
In addition, titanium is resistant to the corrosion of many acids, salt water, etc.

About

Since the 1988, the Visconti brought the writing industry back to Florence after an oblivion period over the years andit has turned Florentine and Italian craftsmanship into an icon of its products accompanying its fundamental values: Italian Design & Creativity, Craftsmanship, Quality, Luxury.