Friday, November 19, 2010

Torelló

Spanish fountain pens are basically unknown outside Spain. Their history, actually, has not yet been written and it might very well be the history of a frustration—that of the inability to generate any successful industrial enterprise. But among those failures and frustrations some pen companies created very interesting products in Spain.

Such was the case of the company Súper T, based in the city of Torelló, in Barcelona province. Manuel Portús Ribas created this company in 1942, and it was active until 1976, five years after the death of its founder.

October 1953. Súper T ad of pen models 20, 40, 60, and 80. Collected by Grafopasión member Claudio.

Súper T manufactured basically two models, named Gester and Olimpia. The first is known to be in production since 1943. There were four basic versions of it –20, 40, 60 and 80—, three of which remained in the company catalog until the mid 1970s. The very luxurious Gester 80 –“a gift for a prince”, the ads said— had a solid gold cap and disappeared from the catalog around 1957. That model is now very rare and highly sought after by collectors.

Delta de Oro prize. Photo courtesy of Olga Portus.

The Olimpia model took its name after the Olympic Games in 1960. This pen received the “Delta de Oro” prize of design in 1961 given by the Catalan Associació de Disseny Industrial del Foment de les Arts Decoratives (ADI-FAD). It was on production until the company disappeared.

Ad from September 1953 of Parker ink manufactured in Torelló. Advertisement collected by Grafopasión member Claudio.

During the 1950s Manuel Portus received an offer from Parker to buy the company. Apparently, the American company was interested in the gold plating system used by Súper T—it provided very high quality results on caps. The parties did not reach an agreement, but as a result of the negotiations, Súper T started manufacturing Parker ink –Quink— in Torelló, Spain.

Manuel Portús died in 1971 and the company passed onto his son Juan Manuel. The decline of the company started, coincidentally, at that time. The early 1970s economic crisis and the popularization of ball pens pushed Súper T into reducing production costs. The excellent quality of previous years vanished rather quickly.

Finally, the company closed down in 1976.

My thanks to fellow Grafopasión forum members Alberto, Claudio and Olga.

(Súper T Gester 20– Pilot Iroshizuku Kon-peki)

Bruno Taut
(Madrid, November 17th, 2010)
[labels: España, Súper T, Parker, fora]

1 comment:

anele said...

Curiosa historia. Ya sabes que soy una analfabeta de las plumas, así que tampoco es de extrañar que no me sonara ninguna marca española.
Ahora ya sé por qué.

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