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The GERMAN Columbus brand...


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#1 Gobblecup

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Posted 01 July 2011 - 04:33 AM

Is there any information on the German Columbus brand? I bought a Columbus model 1515 from an Italian collector early this year, a piston filler, mostly because of the interesting celluloid colour and pattern. The seller told me the pen was made by a German company that just happened to have the same name as the much better known Italian Columbus brand, out of Milan. The pen I have is very much German by design, mirroring the styles and parts of other German brands in the (I'm guessing at a very broad time period) late thirties through the early fifties. I am not so much interested in knowing more about my pen, as I am in the company that made it. I can't find any information on the web about them, but I have seen other Columbus 1515s around so I know they had to come from somewhere. I hope my curiosity will lead to some informative discussion.

I will provide the best picture I can of my Columbus 1515 (the material I am told was made by "Celluloid Bayer" (or Bavarian Celluloid), I also dont know much about them, only that they made some wonderful plastic!).

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#2 FmrLEO_GJ

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Posted 01 July 2011 - 09:52 AM

Is there any information on the German Columbus brand? I bought a Columbus model 1515 from an Italian collector early this year, a piston filler, mostly because of the interesting celluloid colour and pattern. The seller told me the pen was made by German company that just happened to have the same name as the much better known Italian Columbus brand, out of Milan. The pen I have is very much German by design, mirroring the styles and parts of other German brands in the (I'm guessing at a very broad time period) late thirties through the early fifties. I am not so much interested in knowing more about my pen, as I am in the company that made it. I can't find any information on the web about them, but I have seen other Columbus 1515s around so I know they had to come from somewhere. I hope my curiosity will lead to some informative discussion.

I will provide the best picture I can of my Columbus 1515 (the material I am told was made by "Celluloid Bayer" (or Bavarian Celluloid), I also dont know much about them, only that they made some wonderful plastic!).

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Hi Gobblecup

I know nothing about this manufacturer at all... but I can say I find this fountain pen very elegant.
I like the colour, but mostly the diagonal striations. Really classy to my eye.
Garth
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#3 Gobblecup

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Posted 01 July 2011 - 11:06 AM

Thanks for the comments on my pen. A certain Italian man keeps many beauties like this pen in a spa in Tuscany, I was fortunate to have swept this one up to muggy Texas.


Don't worry, if you're the crazy Aussie / Ulsterman, you are welcome in my threads! ;)
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#4 vintage penman

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Posted 01 July 2011 - 12:38 PM

I think that it is actually a product of the Milanese Columbus company possibly using some German componentry for the piston filler and Germanic styling. There may be a connection with Kosca and also Osmia somewhere in the background. Letizia Jacopini's book will be your definitive source for all things Columbus.

#5 simp

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Posted 01 July 2011 - 01:17 PM

I think that it is actually a product of the Milanese Columbus company possibly using some German componentry for the piston filler and Germanic styling. There may be a connection with Kosca and also Osmia somewhere in the background. Letizia Jacopini's book will be your definitive source for all things Columbus.


Don't remember any note about a german production by the italian company in the Letizia book. I'll look again, but I already had notice by german collectors that a german Columbus company exixtend and was indipendent from the italian one.

I have one of these pen, and it dosn't seems at all an Italian Columbus.

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#6 fabbale

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Posted 01 July 2011 - 02:57 PM

Thanks for the comments on my pen. A certain Italian man keepa many beauties like this pen in a spa in Tuscany, I was fortunate to have swept this one up to muggy Texas.


Don't worry, if you're the crazy Aussie / Ulsterman, you are welcome in my threads! ;)




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I buy old Italian fountain pens. If you have some to sell, please send me an email.

#7 AltecGreen

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Posted 01 July 2011 - 05:07 PM

This is a fascinating question since I collect vintage Italian Columbus pens.

On the outside, nothing resembles any Columbus pens I've seen. The clip design, cap rings, barrel shape are all very different from the Italian Columbus pens. These pens are known to come with nibs that are marked 'Columbus, Robur Ist quality'. That nib marking does not seem to be consistent with the nib markings on the Italian pens.

I do have a Columbus 60 with a piston mechanism that looks very similar to the Columbus 1515 pen.

#8 Gobblecup

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Posted 01 July 2011 - 08:00 PM

Don't remember any note about a german production by the italian company in the Letizia book. I'll look again, but I already had notice by german collectors that a german Columbus company exixtend and was indipendent from the italian one.

I have one of these pen, and it dosn't seems at all an Italian Columbus.

Simone



Yes, this is what I had heard originally. But I was hoping to confirm this. As you say, there is noting Italian about these pens... well besides the fact that they are quite good looking.

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:D ;)


This is a fascinating question since I collect vintage Italian Columbus pens.

On the outside, nothing resembles any Columbus pens I've seen. The clip design, cap rings, barrel shape are all very different from the Italian Columbus pens. These pens are known to come with nibs that are marked 'Columbus, Robur Ist quality' . That nib marking does not seem to be consistent with the nib markings on the Italian pens.

I do have a Columbus 60 with a piston mechanism that looks very similar to the Columbus 1515 pen.


As you note, these usually carry steel (?) nibs marked 'Columbus, Robur Ist quality'. Mine didn't have the original when it came to me, this nib is just a replacement.

I find this an interesting topic, too, for clearly these pens got around. If it was Columbus producing a line targeted to the German market, I haven't heard any evidence to support that yet. But if it was actually a separate company, based in Germany, they must have not lasted long, to have left such a small footprint.

I will be interested to hear more from everyone. :)
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#9 AltecGreen

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Posted 02 July 2011 - 03:17 AM

It would greatly help if we could nail down the year of manufacture.

I believe the Italian Columbus stopped using celluloid around 1952 or so.

#10 Gobblecup

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Posted 02 July 2011 - 08:49 AM

It would greatly help if we could nail down the year of manufacture.

I believe the Italian Columbus stopped using celluloid around 1952 or so.


Hmm... I honestly can't say much on the date myself. (I'm not an expert with 'pen dating', I think it's my breath! :lol:)

Maybe fabbale can chime in... ;)
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#11 akiva gordon

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Posted 02 July 2011 - 04:11 PM

I have a marble green celluloid columbus 1010 with an Italian columbus 14 kt nib (replacement?). Can't help with more info.

#12 akiva gordon

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Posted 03 July 2011 - 08:06 AM

Here is a pic.
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#13 Gobblecup

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Posted 03 July 2011 - 02:12 PM

Here is a pic.
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Thank you for posting this akiva. As you say, this pen, with minor differences in the cap, looks very much like the 1515, and being a model number 1010, follows the same naming pattern that would make it seem like this is part of the same line of pens. This supports the two companies theory, one being German and separate from the Italian Columbus company. But because your pen has an Italian nib, one can draw two conclusions; That this pen is indeed (and the 1515 as well) an Italian pen made by the Italian Columbus brand for the German market, or, That this pen was given a 14k as a replacement by a collector who simply assumed this pen was made by the same (Italian) Columbus brand.

I am not sure which is more likely, but the default nibs on the 1515 were steel, not gold, so this may help suggest the 1010's nib is a replacement and not the original nib. Having the steel nibs, yet first grade construction, has made me wonder if these pens may have been war productions, but wouldn't steel be the material unavailable during the war?

By the way, your pen is lovely, I have seen 1515s with the same green celluloid, and this pen is very stunning! Thank you for sharing it! ;)
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#14 Rick Propas

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Posted 04 July 2011 - 11:29 PM

I've just returned from a bit of travel. I do have some information among my stuff and will share it later. My recollection is that there is absolutely NO connection between German and Italian Columbus pens.
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#15 Rick Propas

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 05:20 PM

First my thanks to my good friend Michael Yeats who first brought this marque to my attention and provided the documentation below.

I have a large handful of these pens made by the Meissner Brothers under the names, variously, of Columbus, Rakete and Salamander.

The firm appears to have made good to high quality pens until after World War II

Below is a small tray of Columbus pens (left to right, Rakete Columbus Tanker 1010; Columbus 2020-note the unvented Columbus/Rakete nib; another 2020, this one with a blue ray barrel and a Salamander (replacement) nib; a Columbus Rakete 3535 with an Aristokrat (replacement) nib.
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An oversize Rakete 808,

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alongside the 3535 for comparison

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A Salamander Safety pen

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And its nib

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Finally, these invoices show the connections between and among the companies

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Hope this helps cast some light on a high quality, but obscure, maker.

Thanks to David Isaacson for calling this thread to my attention
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#16 Gobblecup

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 05:42 PM

Rick,

First off I want to say thank you for providing all this information. It will take me a bit of time to really drool at those pens, and examine those papers, but until I do I want to thank you for helping bring this brand's obscure history to light and sharing what you know with the rest of us.

I think I want to start collecting more Columbus pens now. Posted Image
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#17 simp

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 01:48 PM

[...]

Hope this helps cast some light on a high quality, but obscure, maker.

Many thanks for your valuable informations, I know Rakete but I was ignoring it was the same of the german Columbus...

I can add this invoice:

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(a full resolution scan can be found here)

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#18 Gobblecup

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 03:19 PM

Now that I can see Rakete and Columbus are the same maker, I will have to keep my eyes open for both. I just picked up a Rakete Stylograph on the bay, it looks much like my 1515 or Akiva's 1010 in build and style.


EDIT: Now I am wondering where these were produced... my German has gotten rusty, but I see stock of Rakete and Columbus pens going to a Herr Josef Schropp in Regensburg Bavaria, where the Rakete Firm of the Meissner Brothers seems to be based in Beerfelden Hessen. So, partially due to my rusty German, and the smaller print in Rick's photos, I am guessing that these are receipts of Schropp buying stock from the Meissner Brothers firm, which I am assuming was based (and therefore I would assume the pens were made) in Beerfelden Hessen.

I wonder if the pen listed as Rakete Tintus Allesschreiber is the same "stylograph" piston filler I just won here on ebay?

Thank you Samone and Rick for posting all of this! I hope more information and pictures of Columbus/Rakete/Salamander pens can be complied in this thread! :)

P.S. I think I just found my first real collecting focus, if anyone is willing to sell their Columbus/Rakete/Salamander pens, shoot me a PM, I will see what my pen budget will allow... ;) :D

EDIT #2:
This link and this link may be of interest regarding Josef Schropp, 'he' was a retailer in Regensburg (Bayern) it seems who also had pencils made with his own 'branding'.

EDIT # 3: It seems Penboard.de has some interesting material on Columbus/Rakete here. The set shown is a beautiful one, and not for sale it looks like... Solid Sterling Silver guilloche with a very interesting inkview window! Posted Image

I will quote a bit of the unique information given about the brand in the description:

"Columbus was a small brand, based in the area of Fuerth near by Nuremberg, Southern Germany. With this same logo, you do also find pens with the brand Salamander, made by Salamander Werke ,near Hannover. There is no exact proof, but general understanding is, that the company was split in two parts, and one of the parts moved the production and took the name Salamander but still used the same logo."

I hope my searching so far has been of interest to some! :D

Now The question is, which Columbus/Rakete/Salamander pens were made where and when?
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Edited by Gobblecup, 08 July 2011 - 12:46 AM.

Gobblecup ~

#19 Rick Propas

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 02:48 PM

Ahhh, my friend, you have fallen into a deep hole. I will contact my friend Michael Yeats to see if he has anything more.

e-mail me at rickpropas@comcast.net and I can send you larger scans of what I posted.
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#20 Rick Propas

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Posted 09 July 2011 - 09:34 AM

Michael has written,
From what I can gather, the brothers Meissner owned Salamander; sometime in the 1930's they moved the factory to southern Germany and renamed their product Rackete (rocket) to keep up with the times.... hard to know what the war did, as it seems that K. Meissner is the only brother identified in the later Columbus invoices. It seems that Columbus was a separate small company that Meissner(s) took over after the war. It had nothing to do with the Italian Columbus pen maker.

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