The Aurora Duo Cart fountain pen ($180 in burgundy and gold) is a re-creation of the original Duo Cart of 60 years ago. If the photo on the box is any indication, only minor alterations have been made to the original design. Originally, the name came from the pen’s ability to carry two cartridges, the one it was using and a spare. Hence the “duo cart.” The modern version comes with a converter which occupies the majority of the barrel and modern cartridges appear to be a bit longer making it difficult to fit two in the barrel, though the name lives on.
While I don’t make a big deal of packaging, a well-placed vintage photo on a recyclable cardboard box is always welcome. Inside the box was the converter, cartridges and a small bottle of ink. Everything needed to start off on a fountain pen adventure.
Inside, was the vintage clamshell box with satin lining that was legendarily found in the Aurora basement. It even smelled like vintage attic! From what I understand, the stash of vintage clamshell cases has already been depleted and sadly, I don’t even get to keep this one (its just a loaner) but at least I got to sniff it.
The pen is pristine Mary Tyler Moore bordeaux red with a gold tone cap engraved with fine vertical lines. The ends of the pen are flat and smooth. On the barrel end is an embedded, smooth, gold disc, Very modern and understated.
Between the barrel and the grip is a matching gold band with engraved rings. This is a case where you can definitely put a ring on it.
The nib is hooded, similarly to a Parker 51 though there is a bit of a step down to the nib. Visually, I noticed it but once I started using the pen, the step pretty much disappeared.
The nib is listed as medium but it is a very blunt, almost italic-style medium. If there was anything that I would want added to the Duo Cart line, other than a variety of pen barrel color options, it would be nib size options. Not everyone is going to want a nib that is quite this broad and flat. It certainly has a lot of character is much more of a stub in the range of a 0.8mm to a 1mm than it is a traditional round medium nib. So, from that perspective, I liked it a lot better than I thought I would. It took a page or so of writing for me to find the sweet spot and get the feed good and wet so that it was writing smoothly and consistently for me and that may have had more to do with my being left-handed than the pen.
That said, once the Duo Cart and I got going, it was pretty smooth sailing on the Rhodia paper. The nib actually ended up reminding my of the Esterbrook 2442 Falcon that I like so much so we ended up getting along swimmingly.
The Duo Cart is also available with a black barrel with silver trim ($156) if you are feeling a bit more Mad Men and a little less Laura Petrie à la the Dick Van Dyke Show.
A little more about the ink: I used the new Robert Oster Soda Pop Blue ($17 bottle but everybody is sold out!) for this review which is a vivid bright blue with a bit of a red sheen. In writing, a bit more of the turquoise shading shows through particularly with the wider nib. I suspect the color would be darker overall in a finer nib.
DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Kenro Inc. for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.