Danitrio Cumlaude: The Big and The Small

small brown and large blue/grey Danitrio Cumlaudes

A lot of discontinued modern fountain pens are worth pursuing and can be found used or even as NOS (new old stock).  The Danitrio Cumlaude is such a pen.

A long, long time ago… well, not so long, maybe two years ago, I acquired a Danitrio Cumlaude in blue/gray marble. Reasons: it was suggested as an inexpensive entry into Italian celluloid, it was supposed to be the size of a Montblanc 149 and an all-round nice writer. The Cumlaude was and is all those things.

The Cumlaude, however, exceeded my tolerance for large pens. Now I know a Mont Blanc 149 is not in my future. Sadly, probably not a Danitrio Densho or Takumi either—two other fountain pens comparable in size. Although the Cumlaude is lightweight at 17 grams inked and unposted, the pen’s section and barrel was too wide for my personal long-term writing comfort.

The large Cumlaude was re-homed.  Two years later I bought another beautiful blue/gray as a gift for a friend who will appreciate it’s size.

It was a pity the pen fatigued my hand because the Cumlaude would make an amazing western-style, lightweight eyedropper pen. In the mere three Cumlaudes I’ve seen, there were no metal parts in the section or barrel.

Significant size differences between small and large Danitrio Cumlaude

Lucky for me there was a smaller version of the Cumlaude that had been manufactured. The small version has long been sold out and is not easy to find! They occasionally pop-up on Fountain Pen Network and Pentrace in used condition. It took a very long time before I obtained a used, small Cumlaude. It was worth waiting for.

A cartridge converter pen, both sizes of the Cumlaude were made in two different color patterns: blue/gray marble and brown marble. Made from rods of Italian-made cellulose acetate, the colors of the pens are rich. While the Cumlaude can be found with 18K nibs, they are more commonly found with steel nibs. There’s nothing wrong with steel nibs and these are smooth writers!

Note sizes are as close as I could get ’em.

Large Cumlaude length: 5 7/8″ capped; 5 1/4″ nib to barrel; section width 1/2+”, barrel width 7/8″.

Small Cumlaude length: 5 1/2″ capped; 4 7/8″ nib to barrel; section width between 1/4″ & 3/8″, barrel width just under 1/2″.

eyedropper time

The converter for the small Cumlaude needed constant refilling during a day’s writing. Removing the converter, applying a little silicon grease around the section threads, the small Cumlaude holds a little more than 3ml of ink in its barrel. Inked and uncapped the small Cumlaude weighs 12grams as an eyedropper pen.

Be aware that any celluloid or acrylic barrel will likely stain if you ink it as an eyedropper pen. For this reason I have not yet tried turning the Bexley Submariner into an eyedropper as I’m concerned about losing the translucency in the material. Also always look to make sure there is no metal in the section threads or the barrel as you don’t want to corrode these parts.

Related Post: Dueling Cumlaudes

A Selected Reading List

Please note:  Danitrio no longer produces the Cumlaude or other celluloid pens, such as the Tosca and Alphaplus. Today the company focuses on quality urushi and maki-e pens made out of ebonite. Read the October 2010  interview with Danitrio’s Bernard Lyn in Stylus Magazine.

Update 8/18/2012:  GoGirl Cafe’s March 2012 post on her large “closeout” Cumlaude shows metal in the section in one of her photographs.

An 2012 August interview with Bernard Lyn appears on PenandDesign.blogspot.com

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4 thoughts on “Danitrio Cumlaude: The Big and The Small

  1. That brown material looks exactly like the Amber Glow material that Sheaffer used in the Balances. Have you seen one to compare or confirm?

    If it is, it’s definitely a wonderful material. Even if it’s not, it looks fantastic. Thanks for sharing.


    • I have not seen the lovely Amber Glow in person to compare. To me photos of the Amber Glow Balance looks less “carmel-ly” than the Cumlaude. (Note: that’s not a knock on Amber Glow which is gorgeous!) The Cumlaude brown is very satisfying for someone like me who has a “brown pen jones.” It would be fun to compare the two materials. Keven Cheng says the material for the Cumlaude was made in Italy. I suspect they would look different to actually compare.

      Sorry my photos are not better. I really need to get a light tent.


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