Bauhaus lines and minimalist appointments recall the pre-Montegrappa era and an unsung pioneer of penmaking
Among the industrialists who joined to open Italy’s first fountain pen nib factory in 1912, Heinrich Helm’s influence has been by far the most enduring. A production technician by trade, the native Austrian’s duties in Bassano del Grappa involved far more. Like any technology enterprise, the pen industry of the day was beset with challenges and unknowns. Invariably it was Helm everyone would look to for solutions.
While his knowledge made him invaluable, his lively personality also made him an object of great affection. When the factory began producing finished pens for resale, management needed a name to trade under. They found it in Helm’s nickname and Elmo was born.
The new Elmo 01 recalls the strides in design and production technology made under Heinrich Helm’s care. The 1920s were a period of change, when modernist thinking placed new importance on simplicity and craft. Inspired by the Bauhaus movement, Helm was eager to escape the archetypes of dipping pens and seek out contemporary solutions. His vision of a comfortable, affordable writer with a low propensity for leakage made Elmo a household name, and laid the groundwork for later, more glorious designs.
More than ninety years after leaving his post, Helm continues to loom large. Though the Elmo brand has been retired for several decades, it lives on in spirit: every Montegrappa product is made by Elmo & Montegrappa S.p.A. The robust, all-round performance of the Elmo 01 responds to the needs of modern-day writers with three nib grades and rollerball and ballpoint variants. With pens again providing an essential item of every day carry, it helps to be reminded of Heinrich Helm’s legacy.
Filling system: converter, cartridge
Length: 142 mm
Diameter: 14.8 mm
Weight: 26.60 gr