Williamson's Safety Fountain Pen - Turin

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This page is a translated version of the page Williamson and the translation is 100% complete.

For many years the history of the Williamson - Turin brand has been distorted by one of those many name coincidences that have led to the assumption that this Turin-based company was, at its inception, started as an import business for pens made in the United States, later achieving a success that would allow it to survive the closure of the original company. Thanks to in-depth historical research on the brand by Paolo E. Demuro[1] it was instead possible to ascertain that it was a completely Italian firm, born with the takeover of a well-established stationery shop in Turin in the first half of the 1910s.

The Williamson-Torino pens stands out for good quality Waterman-style safeties, for which Amisani appears to have been an agent for Piedmont during the period of the transfer of representation from L. & C. Hardtmuth to Carlo Drisaldi. Thereafter, high quality celluloid pens were produced (particularly for ringed celluloids) that are among the most interesting pens between those produced by second tier Italian companies. Production seems to have continued until the 1950s.

Brand advertising
Brand photos
Other documents


The Williamson, brand, or to be more precise, the Williamson Safety Fountain Pen, is one of the most interesting of the Turin companies, both in terms of its history and its production, partly because of the misunderstanding that long led it to be identified with as an agent of the American Williamson Pen Co. Instead, the company turns out to be, for all intents and purposes, a completely different firm that has no plausible connection with its American namesake.

A Williamson 1939 advertising

The history of Williamson originates from Riccardo Amisani's acquisition of Ditta Motta, a well-established stationery shop at 42 Via Roma in Turin, in the early 1910s.[2]It is unclear when production of the first pens, some good quality safety, actually began, but they were quite successful. The pens were branded "Williamson Fountain Pen," with the logo of a flower in a circle, and the mention of a patent, No. 4497, dated 1912-01-21, a date curiously similar to that of Amisani's registration of the Williamson trademark except for the inversion of the last two digits of the year.[3] At this early stage safety and later lever filler, inspired by similar American models, were marketed; at a later stage, celluloid flat tops models clearly inspired by the Duofold were produced.

In 1921 Amisani registered on his name the Williamson trademark (Reg. Gen. N. 20926), to create an independent production under the name of "Società Anonima Penne a Serbatoio Williamson". A precise date for the company foundation is not known, but early 1930s are being indicated, with headquarters at 12 Via Principe Amedeo, Turin, but the registration of the trademark, and the indication given in this page of the Annuario industriale della provincia di Torino (the reliability of which, however, in the presence of several inconsistencies, is not conclusive) make 1921 more likely. In the registration of the trademark, however, there is a reference to its transfer to a "Società Anonima Penne a Serbatoio" which took place in August 1934 that constitutes a definite limit to the company's existence with this name.

In the '30s the company was manufacturing good quality fountain pens that, as for the whole Italian production, were clearly inspired by American models. In particular, the Williamson was known for the production of Vacumatic imitations, with ringed celluloid pens of excellent workmanship and high quality which have little to envy to the original ones from Parker. These models were produced in four sizes with excellent flexible nibs.

According to Letizia Iacopini the company changed its name and location after the WWII, becoming the "Metron Società Anonima Officine Piemontesi Penne Stilografiche Williamson", and moving in Via Madama Cristina 132, Turin; to this company belongs to the re-registration of the trademark done in 1943 (Reg. Gen. N. 69052). After war production were some interesting Parker 51 imitation. These pens were made in ringed celluloid in a wide range of colors, with button filler and metal cap.

The company ceased operations in the '50s, put into crisis like many other fountain pen manufacturers by the advent of the disposable ballpoint pen, but it was still active at least until 1956, appearing in this page of the "Annuario generale dell'industria e del prodotto italiano" of that year.


Year Event
1906 Riccardo Amisani begins[4]his Williamson reseller activity
1915 the company is founded by Riccardo Amisani Williamson in Torino
1923 Riccardo Amisani registers Williamson trademark

External references

  • [1] An article in the Settimo Torinese district, with references to Williamson with dated information that traces her back to the American namesake
  • [2] An article on the brand essentially identical to the previous one
  • [3] A page from Letizia Jacopini's old website, dated information about the firm, unfortunately the 1905/6 AD is not visible
  • [4] A Williamson review on the forum
  • [5] Same review more complete on Zona900 website


  1. gathered in his booklet "Riccardo Amisani's WILLIAMSON SAFETY FOUNTAIN PEN, Turin, misleading clues," which he kindly donated to us, and from which much of the information on this page has been taken.
  2. At least since 1915, which we will take as the founding date, as seen in this advertisement in which it appears as Waterman agent for Turin and Piedmont.
  3. The production of safeties and the use of this logo are further confirmation of the lack of relationship with the Williamson Pen Co. , of which no safety is known in the USA, and which never used this logo.
  4. referring to a flyer of this year that shows Riccardo Amisani as general representative for Italy and colonies.