Sunday, September 23, 2012

Cocoon

Some media, FP Geeks among them, have recently announced the immediate release of a new pen model by Pilot—the Metropolitan. The name in Japan is Cocoon and has recently been released in the domestic market. It is actually a whole line of pens composed by a mechanical pencil, a ball-point pen and a fountain pen. All of them are made of "coated brass" and come in five different colors: silver, blue, bordeaux, titan, and metallic grey.


Regarding the fountain pen –our object of obsession--, its price is JPY 3150 (5% tax included, MSRP). It is a cartridge-converter pen with a stainless steel nib in F or M. An interesting detail is that this same nib is used in the Pilot Prera, and both pens cost exactly the same. The Prera demonstrator, let us remember, cost JPY 3675 because it includes the CON-50 converter whose price is JPY 525. Therefore, both pens, Prera and Cocoon, are lined up in the same market segment, apparently competing against each other.


Prera on the left, Cocoon on the right. The engravings are different, but the nibs and feeds are the same.
The pen in the presentation box.
Other products in the Japanese market in this price range are the Platinum Balance nibs in F and M) and the Sailor Lecoule (in MF only). It seems this might be a quite active area of the market and offering more models might increase Pilot’s share.

Platinum pocket pen, stainless steel with black stripes – Platinum black

Bruno Taut
September 22th, 2012
labels: Japón, mercado, Pilot, Sailor, Platinum

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Size Matters (II)

I have already spoken about jumbo pens on these Chronicles. Big as they are, their purpose was different from those luxurious pens like the Pilot hoshiawase with a size-8 nib recently described. Their main argument, we are told, was to ease the grip of those with arthritis or similar affections in their hands. And, in fact, few of these oversized pens implemented gold nibs.

The pen, uncapped. The shut-off valve is half open, as can be seen on the tail of the pen.

I wonder, though, if at that time –1930s and 1940s— there were real demographic arguments in Japan to justify this type of pen. That would be true in nowadays Japan, a country where more than 20% of the population is over the age of 65 years, and increasing--, but these are not the days of fountain pens but of cell-phones and touch-screens, although these senior citizens might not feel at ease dealing with digital technology.

The clip is the only place where there is a brand engraving. However, it only means that the clip had been produced by the company Fukunaka Seisakusho.

Anyway, jumbo pens are out there and deserve some attention from all of us fond of Japanese pens. If only, because of its historical relevance.


The exposed part of the nib is 25 mm long. The feed is made of ebonite.

Fukunaka Seisakusho produced pens between 1913 and the 1940s under a number of names —Horse Face, Ford, Arabian— as well as parts for other manufacturers who labeled their pens with their own brands. The Fukunaka’s clips were branded, as well, with a number of names: Everclip, New Clip, Perfect. And New Clip is the only band stamped on this pen, on its clip. The nib is engraved with a generic description: “Special / Iridium / Pen”. None of that provides real information on the actual manufacturer of this pen. As about the production date, the more elaborated feed might indicate a later product from the 1940s or even later, using remaining parts from Fukunaka Seisakusho.

The pen section, from the back. The conic shape is the seat for the shut-off valve.

The pen, in summary, is a eyedropper with shut-off valve. The ink deposit is in accordance with the size of the pen—over 8 ml. The nib is a generic steel unit, gold plated, cut as a medium stub in what most likely was an after market modification. It is nicely wet and pleasant to use. But it is also a slow starter due, probably, to the absence of inner cap and to the interruption of the connection with the ink deposit –by closing the shut-off valve— when the pen is not in use.

A thick pen is, undoubtedly, easier to grip than a thin one. Now, is this a friendly and comfortable pen to use? It is heavy, over 50 g, and its center of mass is a bit high up at around 80 mm from the nib tip, unposted. This later fact is not very different from many other pens (especially if posted), but few are as heavy as this one.

This is not a pen to carry around. It does not fit in any pocket and few pen cases could accommodate it. So, better reserve it for domestic use.

These are its dimensions:

Length closed: 160 mm.
Length open: 140 mm.
Length posted: 201 mm (but who might want to post this pen?).
Diameter: 26 mm.
Weight (dry): 55.9 g.
Ink deposit: about 8.5 ml.
Center of mass, unposted:     at 78 mm. to the nib end, dry;
                                                       at 80 mm. to the nib end, full.
Platinum pocket pen, stainless steel with black stripes – Platinum black

Bruno Taut
September 19th, 2012
labels: Japón, marca desconocida, New Clip, Fukunaka Seisakusho.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Size Matters

Pens, fountain pens were not only a tool but a symbol of status. Beyond the need to write there is also the effect of displaying the tool. Therefore, not all pens were created equal, and among those less equal, pens with large nibs truly attract the attention of other users if only because of the amount of gold needed to craft them.

The appeal continues—those large nibs were not that common and rarity is always a powerful argument for collectors. On these chronicles we have seen some outstanding examples of large nibs. A couple of impressive size 10 by Waterman, property of nibmeister Yamada, set indeed a very high standard.

The beautiful and simple looking size 8 nib by Pilot.

How did Japanese companies deal with this need to show affluence? Maki-e decoration was one of the arguments, and it worked well even outside Japan, as the success of the Dunhill-Namiki joint venture shows. Some of those nibs sported some really big nibs —size 50— that are now revived on modern Namiki pens.

On this picture, the star on the inner (and lower) cylinder is clearly visible.

But those were not the only examples of big nibs. Earlier in time, in the 1920s, Pilot created nibs as big as size 8 and implemented them in combination of the very unique hoshiawase system to prevent ink leaks from their eyedropper pens. This particular combination is very rare to find, and is priced accordingly.

A well preserved BCHR pen, albeit there is some oxidation on the cap.

This is a large pen made of hard rubber, and is decorated with a subtle and attractive pattern (BCHR):

Length closed: 148 mm.
Length open: 141 mm.
Length posted: 190 mm.
Diameter: 13.5 mm.

My thanks to Ms. Jade and Mr. Nikos Syrigonakis.

Push in celluloid, lever filler – Pelikan Royal blue

Bruno Taut
September 2nd, 2012
labels: Pilot, plumín, estilofilia

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Cut-away

I have mentioned several times that apparently only one of the Capless models saw a transparent version, although it was never for sale. But a pen as original as the Capless, although it was not the first retractile nib in history, deserves some additional descriptions. Pilot’s museum Pen Station, located at the company’s headquarters in Chuo ward in Tokyo, does provide them by displaying some cut-away units:

C-600MW, November 1963.
And a variation on this model: no clip, urushi finish (C-1000W, from 1964):

C-200SW, August 1964.

C-250SS, May 1968.

C-400BS, June 1971.

FC-15SR, December 1998.

FCF-2MR, September 2006.

My thanks to my friend Haywoody, who gave me the idea for this post.


Senator President – Montblanc “I love you” scented red.

Bruno Taut
September 2nd, 2012
etiquetas: Pilot, Capless

Friday, September 7, 2012

Family Portrait (IV)

If, as I claimed, the Pilot Capless family of pens is one of the very few icons in the Japanese pen scene, it truly deserves a family portrait. On the following picture we can see all the models of this pen. Color variations are not included here.


However, two rarities do figure on it—the transparent version, never for sale, of the Spring 1965 model; and the Platinum’s short lived Knock model.

My thanks to Mr. Niikura.

Pilot G-300V – Wagner 2008 ink

Bruno Taut
September 7th, 2012
etiquetas: Pilot, Platinum, Capless

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Push

Push was the pen brand of the company Tanaka-Daigen-Do founded by Tomisaburô Tanaka in Osaka in 1918. The main technological argument in its early pens was a spiral-shaped ink channel that favored the ink flow and avoided the need to shake the pen —eyedroppers with shut-off valve— before using it. After the war. the company produced a number of very attractive pens with silver overlaid decorations.

A Push pen, made of celluloid, probably in the 1940s.

The clip is engraved with the name of the company and its logo.

The founder died in 1967, and its company survived him up to today. However, it stopped the pen production in the late 1960s.

The Push pen I am presenting now is made of celluloid; implements a lever filler, a stainless steel nib, and an ebonite feed. It is engraved with the brand name on the nib, on the clip, and on the barrel. These are its dimensions:

Length closed: 122 mm.
Length open: 108 mm
Length posted: 141 mm
Diameter: 11.5 mm (cap)
Weight: 12.0 g (dry)

The steel nib is engraved as follows: "ACID PROOF / PUSH / IRIDIUM / POINTED".

The beautiful feed made of hard rubber.

My best guess is that this pen dates back from the 1940s.



Pilot G-300V – Wagner 2008 ink

Bruno Taut
September 3rd, 2012
etiquetas: Japón, Push
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