From the Aurora company website:
Aurora, an Italian story
It was in 1919, the year the treaty of Versailles was signed. In an Italy marked by a post-war crisis, but bubbling with great hopes for recovery, the first steps down a long road were taken with the birth of Aurora, and the creation of the first true Italian fountain-pen. A rich textile merchant, founder of the Torino company of the same name, saw the crystallization of a dream he had long meditated and planned.
In that year, the success enjoyed by the mythical Aurora pen coincided with a new historic direction. Italy woke up to the first rays of a sun was destined not to set, while Aurora became the name of a company destined for success.
From those very first years the company showed that it was able to produce writing instruments with inimitable allure and refinement. A unique style which, following the evolution of taste, yesterday as today, brought together experience, technique, precious materials and artisan skill and refinement.
Having earned the appreciation of admirers round the world, the trademark represented forms and materials which, from the beginning, were tangible examples of the most refined made in Italy products.
Kenro, the U.S. distributor for Aurora has some information about the company on their website and a very informative video.
For a complete history of the 88 fountain pen please let me refer you to this wonderful post by Fountain Pen Network member, diplomat: The Aurora 88 Dynasty.
According to an article written by Giovanni Abrate in The Pennant, Spring 2006, Vol. XXIII No. 1, "The Aurora 88 was launched in November of 1948, and met with immediate success." If you are a member of the Pen Collectors of America you can read his two part series in these back issues online.
My 88 is a modern, large size with an open 18kt gold M nib and a yellow or amber ink window (I think, I can't quite remember and it's hard to tell since it is loaded with purple ink). This pen is smooth, but I haven't quite decided if I am happy with the M nib, I may take it to the Miami Pen Show and have the nib modified (I'm not an touching 18Kt nib, I'll leave that to the pros).