Friday, February 28, 2014

Onishi's

Nibmeister Kato Kiyoshi died in January of 2010. His former apprentice Onishi took over his legacy, or his remaining stock, to continue producing fountain pen made of celluloid. As was the case of Kato Seisakusho’s, Onishi Seisakusho’s pens are not labeled with any brand name, which easily triggers the confusion—is this a Kato’s or a Onishi’s pen? Or none of the above? Only recently, by 2012, Onishi started to make pens with new colors instead of using the old inherited stock.


An Onishi Seisakusho pen in tortoise celluloid.

The Onishi pen on display today is a cartridge-converter one made of tortoise celluloid. The nib, as was the case on cheaper Kato Seisakusho’s, is a Schmidt unit made of steel.


The Schmidt nib, made of stainless steel.


Inside, a boring and efficient converter (international).

These are its dimensions:
  • Length closed: 140 mm
  • Length open: 122 mm
  • Length posted: 160 mm
  • Diameter: 13 mm
  • Weight (inked): 24.2 g


The clip remind that often used by Pilot, but it was also implemented on some Kato Seisakusho's pens.

My thanks to Mr. Kikukawa.


Pilot V (Super 200), falcon nib – Pilot Blue-black

Bruno Taut
Yokohama, February 27st, 2014
etiquetas: Kato Seisakushô, Onishi Seisakushô, Schmidt

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Undercover Sailor

Last week I described the case of the nibs made by the company Ishikawa-Kinpen Seisakushô for Ferme and how those nibs were labeled with the JIS registration number (3231) of the nib maker and the name of the pen company, Ferme. Not much information on the nib maker, but enough to track down the actual origin despite being sold by a different company. And in the way of writing that text, I found another interesting example of anonymous –or not so anonymous— nib.

Nibmeister Kato Kiyoshi is a sort of a mythical figure in the Japanese pen scene. His story of travels and business in the Middle East and in Europe made him a man of action whose novel has not yet been written. He finally settled in Osaka and in the 1990s he started marketing his pens also in Japan. These Kato pens –Kato Seisakushô pens— were made of celluloid and were not labeled with any brand name. The pen box had a very generic and uninformative “Celluloid Pen / Hand Crafted / Made in Japan” sign, and nothing else.


Kato Seisakushô's model 800F. A piston filler with a gold nib.

Neither very helpful were the nibs. Those made of steel, usually associated to cartridge-converter pens, were Schmidt. Those in 14 K gold, often in piston fillers, were more obscure. Their engraving was, again, very uninformative: “SUPERIOR / 14K / LIFETIME / GRATIFY / JAPAN”. However, it seems that those gold nibs are likely to be Sailor’s. Masamichi Sunami says so on his Fountain Pens of Japan, and it seems to be generally accepted among the Japanese stylophiles.


A Sailor's medium nib in 21 K gold, and the unbranded 14 K gold nib of the Kato Seisakushô's pen.

On my side, I can only add that the size and shape of this “Superior” nib is the same as that of Sailor’s nibs in medium size, made of both 14 K and 21 K gold. In fact, they are interchangeable, as can be seen on the pictures of this Chronicle. Of course, this proves nothing, and the title of this Chronicles should have an additional question mark: Undercover Sailor?


A Kato Seisakushô Profit (top) and a Sailor Realo in celluloid (bottom)? Their nibs are perfectly interchangeable.

In any event, in the case of these gold nibs –Sailor’s or not—, Kato Seisakusho’s pens belong to the group of companies that hide the origin of their nibs, like Hakase and Ohashido. Maybe we could find out where they came from, but it is not obvious.

My thanks to Mr. Murase.


Platinum pocket pen (1967), manifold nib – Platinum Violet

Bruno Taut
Yokohama, February 25th, 2014
etiquetas: Ferme, Ishikawa-Kinpen Seisakushô, Kato Seisakushô, Sailor, plumín, Hakase, Ohashido, Schmidt

Friday, February 21, 2014

Pilot Capless - 1968 - C-250SS

Introduction:

In 1968, Pilot gave another turn to the idea of a capless pen by creating the Capless without any pushing (or pulling) mechanism. The 1968 model is probably the most original among all Capless models ever made by Pilot or by any other maker.


C-250SS, first model, initially released in May of 1968.


The second model had a black sliding button in the clip, otherwise fixed to the pen body. It was released some months later than the initial version, probably already in 1969.


Features:

Codes. C-250SS. This model is made of stainless steel with the tail in black plastic. There are two variations. The first one (May 1968) has a sliding clip. The second one, released some months later, has a fixed clip and a button on it. (Refer to the pictures).
Original_price. C-250SS: JPY 2500
Production_years. 1968-1969(?)
Nib_unit. Type V. Gold 14 K.
Filling_system Single spare cartridge. CON-20 and CON-50 can be used.
Opening_system. “Sliding mechanism”. The nib moves in and out sliding along the pen body by gravity. The sliding clip or button simply open a small door to allow the nib to move down either to release the nib (pen pointing down) or to hide it (pen pointing up).


Pilot C-250SS. 1968.


Dimensions:

C-250SS
Length closed 129.5 mm
Length open 136 mm
Diameter 11.5 mm
Weight 18.1 - 19.4 g


The black piece on the back can be uncrewed to access the nib unit.


Nib unit:

Type V. In 14 K gold. This is the first Capless model to use single spare cartridges and converters CON-20 and CON-50.


The type V nib unit. The metal sheath on the back hides the single spare ink cartridge. To use a converter, either CON-20 or CON-50, the sheath has to be removed.


Detail of the nib unit. The step under the nib secures the position of the nib released to write.




Additional information:

Two variations existed on this model. The first one, from May 1968, had the whole clip sliding to open the way to the nib. The second model, released some months later, has a black plastic button on the clip. Pressing it operates the mechanism to release the nib. The clip is fixed to the pen body.

As is the case of most Pilot pens of the time, both the nib unit and the body are dated.


The first C-250SS model with the nib extended.


Back to the "Pilot Capless - 50 years" page.

Bruno Taut
Yokohama, February 2014
etiquetas: Pilot, Capless

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Ferme (II)

When writing the Chronicle on the actual origins of the nibs of many pen manufacturers, my intention was only to provide an introduction for the following pen. But the text became long enough to be an independent blog entry, and in the meantime new pens and new information got in the way to add more value to it. For today, though, we will only speak of this pocket-size Ferme pen.


Japanese pocket pens are well known to the usual readers of these texts, and little else could be added. This Ferme, in particular, is a formal looking pen in black with golden accents—just as many others. Its originality lays on its brand –Ferme pens are hard to find— and on the authorship of the nib.


The engraving on the nib clearly reads Ferme, but there is also a number—3231. It corresponds to the Japan Industrial Standards registry of the company Ishikawa-Kinpen Seisakushô, lead by nibmeister Ishikawa Masatoshi. In this regard, Ferme belongs to the group of pen companies that declared the origin of its nibs, even if in a veiled manner. After all, few people might know about those numbers and their meaning.


This nib by Ishikawa-Kinpen is made of 18 K gold, and contrary to what Sunami and Lambrou say on Fountain Pens of Japan --“feather-like flexible nibs”--, this is fairly rigid. The feed, made of plastic, covers perfectly the modest demands of the nib, and the overall result is very pleasant.

As was the case of many Japanese pens in the 1960s and later on, this Ferme pen uses Platinum cartridges. No current converter fits in the barrel.


These are the dimensions of this pocket pen:
  • Length closed: 120 mm
  • Length open: 10.5 mm
  • Length posted: 147 mm
  • Diameter: 12 mm
  • Weight (dry): 12.0 g
  • Ink deposit: 1.1 ml (standard Platinum cartridge)

This pen was manufactured in the early 1970s.

My thanks to Mr. Furuya and Mr. Dorado.


Ferme pocket pen, Ishikawa-Kinpen 18 K nib – Sailor Yama-dori (山鳥)

Bruno Taut
Yokohama, Ferbruary 1st, 2014
etiquetas: Ferme, Ishikawa-Kinpen Seisakusho, Platinum, metabitácora

Friday, February 14, 2014

Pilot Capless - 1965 (II) - C-500MW and variations

Introduction:

In 1965, Pilot had released the cheapest ever Capless model. For JPY 1000 the customer could buy a basic writing tool with this original configuration –a push button to release the nib. Later on the year, by October of 1965, a more luxurious model (CS-200RW) was marketed. One month later, in November, a new luxury Capless was launched—the C-500MW, closely related to the initial C-600MW from 1963.


C-500MW, initially released in November of 1965.


From left to right, gold plated model C-1000GW; "half" gold plated C-700GW; and regular model C-500MW.


Features:

Codes. C-500MW. The basic pen has a very light golden color over an aluminum body. More luxurious models have the section gold plated, C-7000GW, or the whole pen gold plated, C-1000GW. The later one was marketed on July 1966.
Original_price. C-500WM: JPY 5000
C-700GW: JPY 7000
C-1000GW: JPY 10000
Production_years. 1965-? (at least up to 1968)
Nib_unit. Type IV. Gold 14 K.
Filling_system "Double spare" cartridge. 2 units.CON-W converter can be used.
Opening_system. “Belt system”. The barrel rotates with respect to the gripping section, thus releasing the nib. The whole mechanism is inside the section of the pen, and it actually pulls the nib in and out of the pen.



Dimensions:

C-500MW
Length closed 140 mm
Length open 144 mm
Diameter 12 mm
Weight 20.4 g


Nib unit:

Type IV. In 14 K gold.


The type IV nib unit, with the empty pen behind. The metal sheath of the nib covers the converter (CON-W) or 2 double spare cartridges.


The guiding notch is clearly visible on these two nib units.


Detail of the nib. This one was made at the Hiratsuka factory on January of 1968.


Additional information:

As is the case of most Pilot pens of the time, both the nib unit and the body are dated.


Back to the "Pilot Capless - 50 years" page.

Bruno Taut
Yokohama, February 2013
etiquetas: Pilot, Capless

Monday, February 10, 2014

Torion Nib, by Kubo Kohei

Many different elements already mentioned on these Chronicles come together today by the hand of a very interesting nib.

At some point I spoke of the brand Push, owned by the company Tanaka Daigen Do, from Osaka. This company is still active today, but its pen production was stopped by the late 1960s.


A Push pen, by Tanaka Daigen Do, in celluloid.

On another text, I described the nib of the Pilot Justus, now well known after the release of the Justus 95 model. These nibs –old and new— can be adjusted in their flexibility by means of a sliding plate moving up and dawn on their backs. Fellow blogger KMPN provided additional information on the actual patent of these nibs (US patent US4347011), invented by Yanagita Shikichi (柳田清吉). This invention connected the Pilot Justus with the much older adjustable nib of the Wahl-Eversharp pen. On this case, the flexibility was limited by a zipper-like plate that kept the tines more or less together. This mechanism was patented in the US in 1932.


New and old Justus, side by side.


The Wahl-Eversharp nib patented in 1932.

Finally, on a third text, the protagonist was nibmeister Kubo Kohei, an old master still active in Tokyo. In the past, Mr. Kubo had worked for a number of pen companies –Elliott, Nobel— and ended up owning the later of them.


A music nib by nibmeister Kubo.

So, what do we have for today that combined all these elements?

The following is an adjustable nib in the fashion of the old Wahl-Eversharp unit. It was made by Mr. Kubo Kohei for the brand Push, as can be read on the nib. Its material is stainless steel, and was manufactured in the late 1930s.



The back of the nib shows that the feed had to be very special in order to allow the zipper to limit the flexibility of the nib.


The inscription on the nib: "PUSH" / TORION / PEN / 4".

Needless to say, this is a copy of the Wahl-Eversharp nib for the Japanese market. It is questionable whether the American company ever got to know about its existence.

My thanks to Mr. Sunami.


Kato Seisakusho 800F – Sailor Yama-dori

Bruno Taut
Yokohama, January 10th, 2014
etiquetas: Push, Pilot, plumín, Nibmeister Kubo, Wahl-Eversharp, Elliott, Nobel

Friday, February 7, 2014

Pilot Capless - 1965 (I) - RW Models

Introduction:

In 1965 Pilot reduced the price of Capless pens even more by introducing yet another model. This was a much simpler pen initially aimed at the student market. These series of models were made of aluminum, and the nibs, at first, were made of steel. On this model, the opening of the pen, to release and fill the nib unit, is done by removing the push button. This design feature makes this pen particularly light.


On top, the long C-100RW model. On bottom, the shorter (and more common) CS-100RW.


The more luxurious CS-200RW, released in October of 1965. Its main characteristics are the 14 K gold nib and the gold plated clip.



Features:

Codes. C-100RW, CS-100RW, CS-200RW. The first, from March 1965, is longer than the rest due simply to a longer push button. Apparently, the basic and more common shorter version CS-100RW was released later than the long one. Finally, the luxury model CS-200RW, with a golden clip and a 14 K gold nib, was marketed in October 1965.
Original_price. JPY 1000 (C-100RW and CS-100RW) and JPY 2000 (CS-200RW).
Production_years. 1965-?
Nib_unit. Type III. Steel and gold 14 K. There are several variations on this type.
Filling_system C-100RW (long model): 2 double-spare cartridges. CON-W can be used.
CS-100RW and CS-200RW (short models): 1 double-spare cartridge. Coverter CON-W cannot be used.
Opening_system. "Knock system" (push button). The button has two positions. The first one, the first knock, releases the nib. The second retracts it. If, when closed, pushed the button deep inside, the nib will return to the closed position.



Dimensions:

C-100RW CS-100RW / CS-200RW
Length closed 136 mm 125 mm
Length open 128 mm 117 mm
Diameter 11 mm 11 mm
Weight ca. 15 g ca. 13 g


Nib unit:

Type III. In steel and in 14 K gold. There are two main variations, IIIa and IIIb. The second of them, however, shows many small variations that will be labeled as IIIb.1, IIIb.2 and IIIb.3. On these IIIb units, the final push button is perfectly interchangeable among them. That is not the case with unit type IIIa, whose push button only fits that type. For more information, check the pictures and their captions. 14 K gold nibs are only implemented on IIIb types. All the nibs can be used in all the pens with the only caveat of the use of the appropriate tail for type IIIa nibs.


On top, the type IIIa nib; on bottom, type IIIb.1. Note the plastic notch on the first. The notch is metallic on all type IIIb nibs. The way the nib units fits into the push buttton aldo differs on these two general types IIIa and IIIb.


On top, the type IIIa nib. On bottom, a IIIb.


From top to bottom, types IIIa, IIIb.1, IIIb.2 and IIIb.3. The differences among these last three types lay on the metal notch and the ring on that same area.


On top, type IIIb.2; on bottom, IIIb.1. There is no ring on the IIIb.1. On IIIb.2 the ring is cut to avoid the guiding notch.


Type IIIb.3. The notch is on top of the ring.


Additional data.

These pens were made in a very wide number of colors. There also exists a clipless demonstrator version of the short model (either CS-100RW or CS-200RW) that was never for sale.

Nibs and bodies are engraved with the production place and date.


CS-100RW and CS-200RW in assorted colors, including a demonstrator unit.


Three variations of the CS-200RW.


The transparent version of the RW Capless from 1965.


Back to the "Pilot Capless - 50 years" page.

Bruno Taut
Yokohama, February 2014
etiquetas: Pilot, Capless

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

German Music

The pen of the day is not Japanese, but German. In fact, it is a full fledged Montblanc in its biggest and more representative model—the 149. But this is not any 149, and to see that we only need to check the truly amazing nib.


A regular Montblanc 149?

Its three-tined music nib is a bespoke unit ordered by the proud owner. It was commissioned to Montblanc Hong-Kong, which was cheaper than its Japanese counterpart. The order took two months to be completed and delivered.


A 18 K gold nib. On the side it reads "Handcrafted". By hand-really?

Now, is it just a three-tined nib? Not so easy. On the reverse side, we can see up to five tines separated by four slits. All in all it is a very wide, 6B, stub nib with a complex slit structure. Exquisite work.


The back of the nib shows a more complex structure than just those three tines visible on the front. Please, excuse the out-of-focus picture.

This nib proves Montblanc could make actual working fountain pens instead of mere symbols of status. But they do not come cheap.

My thanks to Mr. Suzuki.


Pilot Custom 74, music nib – Pilot Black

Bruno Taut
Yokohama, February 3rd, 2014
etiquetas: Montblanc, plumín, plumín musical
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