Omas Extra Ogive

People often seem surprised when I tell them that there are still folks who make a living repairing pens -- we're not talking crazed hobbyists, but people who actually repair other people's pens as a means to pay mortagages and orthodontist's bills. If a pen breaks, don't you just throw it out? Pens were very early to go down the road traveled by successive categories of consumer goods, from shoes to clothes to home electronics...someday, I predict that when our cars break down, we'll just phone the dealer to come pick them up and leave replacements.

Anyhow, in the old days, pens were so expensive that repair was a more attractive alternative than replacement. Fortunately, the pens were made to be repaired by skilled technicians using basic (if specialized) hand tools. Of course, someone had to make all the parts, and that's where Armando Simoni came in...

In 1919, Simoni left his job with a small toolmaker to go into business for himself, making (among other things) retractor mechanisms for safety pens. In 1925, he set up shop officially as the Officina Meccanica Armando Simoni, which got shortened to OMAS.

At first, Simoni concentrated on making replacement parts for the variety of foreign pens that found their way into Italy during the early years of the century, but from there it wan't difficult for him to begin making complete pens of his own design. These early pens included two mechanically ingenious models of "Doctors' pens", sac pens that concealed thermometers.

In 1932, OMAS introduced the Extra line, beautiful 12-facted celluloids reminiscent of the contemporary Wahl Dorics. Later in the decade, these were joined by the Lucens line, sacless piston-fillers of translucent celluloid. Ever since, variations of these designs have remained in the OMAS line, making them an unusual and direct link to the penmaking past.


This page features an OMAS Extra in the Ogival (round) style, purchased new (and I am glad to say at a steep discount) in 1997. It is made of a lightweight and resilient natural resin with an 18k gold point. This pen is a very simple design, but wonderfully detailed.

You can read more about OMAS at the website of the very interesting-sounding Club Armando Simoni in Bologna, Italy.

This file last posted on:
2005-Jan-20 17:50:26 CST
MCMVIII, the red network