Giorgi and his collector friend Edoardo have shown us
a very unusual fountain pen, created at a time when brisk
competition was at it's height by many manufacturers to capture
the imagination of new pen customers.
Not at all unlike today's modern pen manufacturers constantly introducing new designs and themes, often bringing back design elements from past history. I imagine it is only a matter of time before one of today's larger pen manufacturers will attempt a similar design for today's collectors.
At this time in 1932 when the Zerollo was introduced, fountain pens on the market
featured everything form lever fillers, various piston systems,
several crescent fillers, all made as improvements and simplification
to the older eyedropper method, often messy and inconvenient.
Compare this directly to the rapid advancements of today's
computer products, each maker trying to outdo the other with
whiz-bang features and simpler operations. Fountain pens in
1932, albeit a modern derivation of a reed or a feather quill,
were considered the state of the art with their unique features
for ease of use.
The Zerollo Two Pen was created by a Genoese pen maker Dante
Zerollo, who obtained British Patent # 397736, and was granted
August 31, 933. The inventors were listed as Mirko Chelazzi
and Dino Frulli, who were likely employees of Dante Zerollo.
The Two Pen appears at first inspection similar to a conventional
safety pen with retracting nibs. In this case, the barrel
contains two complete fountain pens, each contained in a thin
tube with it's own ink sac, pressure bar, feed and nib.
this pen required the user to absolutely read the instructions,
as it was unlike any other pen ever introduced. First, the
cap was removed which contained a short metal rod. This rod
is used as a "match filler" to insert the rod into a small
hole in the side of the barrel to apply pressure to the pressure
bar and the ink sac for filling. The interior of the barrel
contains twin spiral grooves for the purpose of propelling
either of the two pens contained. A right hand twist action
of the end cap would propel one pen, while retracting the
other. A left hand twisting would reverse the action.
Zerollo Twin Pens were made not only in hard rubber material, also celluloid as Dario has illustrated, some with fancy gold and silver overlays.
There is at least one known Zerollo that also contains a fountain pen and a mechanical pencil.
Zerollo licensed his products to John Dunhill, and also to Unic of France who manufactured pens under the brand name Duo-Colour. Styled differently from the Zerollo, the clips and nibs are marked Unic, but the caps are marked Zerollo in a small script and also the patent number is indicated. A few other Italian manufacturers made twin-nibbed pens, such as Itala, Colorado, and Diana. Duplex, an American company made an inexpensive similar fountain pen also.
Most large fountain pen manufacturers had continuous research for the development of a more unique or easier filling mechanism to capture more of lucrative pen market. Many variations were created, and some prototypes I have seen are truly ingenious works of wonder.
Probably one of the most unique and well performing filling systems today would be the Visconti travelling ink pot. Another creation brought to you by those clever Italian pen makers.