Continuing with reviews of mystery pens from mystery brands...
From the modest research I've done, the mystery model pen below is from Italian manufacturer Stilus - a company that has been around in some form since 1917 - and was likely produced some time in the 50's.
I'd call it a Parker '51' clone , but that just sounds dirty. To be fair, there was a lot of (let's say) homage going on after the '51' was released; various companies produced fountain pens with hooded nibs and reminiscent silhouettes in the 1940s and 50s.
But while the similarities of this pen to the Parker 51 cannot be dismissed, there are enough differences to let this Stilus stand (or fall) on its own.
Starting on the outside, the Stilus is undoubtedly not made of Lucite - its plastic feels like a lower grade, lighter and more susceptible to breaking. The Lucite body significantly attributes to the Parker '51' 's longevity, so I have no expectation of these Stilus pens to last as long. The cap has an interesting texture of consecutive grooves along most of its length. The clip doesn't seem to be strongly anchored to the cap, but it hasn't broken off yet, so maybe that's just a baseless opinion.
Removing the cap, the nib and feed stick out more than on the 51. Unfortunately, this allows me to see what look like molding (?) seams. It's as if it wasn't cut cleanly from a sheet of feeds. Maybe I'm describing this horribly, but if you've dealt with models and plastic toys, you probably know the rough seams I'm talking about.
The Stilus' section is actually longer than the 51's, but it's visually broken by a metal band, followed by a series of ovular ink windows around the barrel. I actually love the ink window(s), but I find the layout to be aesthetically peculiar. It almost bothers me.
Moving under the hood, there are two particularly significant differences between the P51 and this Stilus.
One: This Stilus is missing the internal collector that aids in the '51' being able to stay inky for so long. Additionally, the feed is essentially fin-less. So despite the hooded nib, I find this pen to dry out much faster than the '51' or even a traditionally-nibbed pen. I've made no scientific endeavors to chart this, but I've used this pen a good deal with different inks, so I am confident in this matter.
Two: The Stilus has a plunger filling system, rather than Vacumatic or Aerometric. Comparing it to the Vacumatic, this plunger is slower and less fun. Comparing it to the Aerometric, it's far more cumbersome and a pain to clean out. And since the plunger cannot be disassembled at home for cleaning or relubricating, it has become a clunky pain. The plunger action is not smooth, with hiccups causing less ink to be taken ink than the capacity would otherwise allow.
Also, I just don't like it.
Alright, that's enough with comparing it to the Parker 51, because it is just not holding up. Time to judge it on its own.
Uncapping this pen is an unpleasant experience. The cap is held on with friction against the metal band. You can feel the scraping. Ugh!
On the plus side, it posts very securely...
The trim, and design in general, is simple and cheap. Aside from the way the section is split up by the metal band, I'm ok with the Stilus' looks. Ok with, but not inspired by.
As the pictures above illustrate, it's narrower than the '51', but their sections are both ~8mm where I grip them. The Stilus is 12.2cm open and 14.6cm posted. As I mentioned before, the cap posts securely - and deeply. I find it very well balanced when posted, still very light. It has to be several grams lighter than the '51', but I can't speak to exact weights. For now.
The Stilus was advertised as having an Extra Fine nib, and I believe that to be accurate. It holds the same general line width as most "European" extra fine nibs that I have. Whether we call it Tooth or Feedback, there is a tactile response to the nib on paper. So it's not glassy smooth, but there's no catching, scratching, or other unpleasantness.
Overall, my experience with Stilus has been unremarkable. It's decently constructed and designed, but there's nothing catching about this pen. I don't reach for this over a Parker '51' or even my Scrikss 17. Now that I've finished reviewing the pen, I expect it to sit on the sidelines indefinitely. The only case I have for it is as a disposable backup, and that's just sad. Sorry Stilus, I tried.