Monday, November 30, 2015

Singing Bird

The Birdie was an inexpensive fountain pen made by Pilot in the 1980s.


In a nutshell, it is an all metal pen, stainless steel, with a plastic gripping section and a steel nib. Its filling system is by Pilot cartridges and it also admits the use of the CON-20 bladder-type converter.



The stainless steel nib in point F. It was manufactured on May of 1981.

The main characteristic of this pen is its very small size—thin and short. And simple too: the cap friction fits both the section (closing the pen), and the barrel (posting it). The later configuration is very nicely designed—the barrel becomes thinner to allow for a smooth fit a clean look.

These are the dimensions of the Pilot Birdie (1981):

Length closed: 110 mm
Length open: 105 mm
Length posted: 129 mm
Diameter: 9 mm
Weight: 12.9 g (dry, with converter)

The stainless steel nib is not particularly interesting. It is just functional and efficient, boring until we discovered there was a three-tined music nib, untipped, implemented on the Pilot Birdie.


On top, the cap posted on the barrel. Note the alignment between both pieces. On bottom, the music nib, the section, and the single spare Pilot cartridge. On this pen, made in April 1982, the clip is marked with the model name: Birdie.

And then, the boring and efficient Pilot Birdie became a very exciting pen.


The untipped three-tined music nib.

As can be seen on the pictures of this text, there were several variations along the history of this model. The dimensions stated on this text correspond to the model issued in 1981. The model with the music nib was made in 1982 and its ends are not flat.

My thanks to Mr. Niikura.


Sailor pocket pen, 21 K – Daiso Black cartridge

Bruno Taut
Madrid, November 28th, 2015
etiquetas: Pilot, plumín, plumín musical

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Madrid Pen Show 2015

I wonder whether it is worth to write about yet another pen show. In a sense, all of them are one and the same: people gathering around fountain pens. But I attended the 2015 Madrid Pen Show (November 13th to 15th, 2015) and I feel compelled to speak about it.


Photo courtesy of Foro de Estilográficas member Antolín.

The Madrid Pen Show is currently the biggest event of this kind in Europe—70 tables, 62 traders from 13 different countries, and over 1200 visitors in the two and a half days of the event.



The following video by Mr. José Riofrío truly captures the pleasant atmosphere of the event. The commercial side is a given to any such show; the social part is also there, but is often limited to the local community of stylophiles. The Madrid Pen Show is, in this regard, the meeting event of most of the Spanish pen community, regularly connected through the Spanish pen fora, mostly the Foro de Estilográficas and Relojes Especiales – Grafos. Some of the members of this community can be seen at the dinner party, which by now is an integral part of the celebration.


The pixelated figure (min 3:05 and 3:12) corresponds to Mr. Tom Westerich, who after greeting the camera decided he was too important to appear on the video and filed a complaint before YouTube. This is, therefore, the "Westerich-correct" version.

A lot has been said and written on how to proceed in events like this, but I am afraid that even the most seasoned collector becomes overwhelmed by the sheer amount and variety of pens. It always becomes difficult to decide how to spend the always limited resources.



But if asked, I would advice in the following terms:

I. Keep focus on what you want. This might be either a model, a brand, a category of some sort, etc. Your eyes and your brain will quickly filter the signal from the noise.

II. But do not close your eyes totally to those pens not fitting your primary interest. A pen show is a magnificent opportunity to see and to touch extraordinary pens, which takes me to point III.

III. Ask, touch, try,… and ask again. Take the chance to learn about your beloved objects.

IV. Explore the show before buying, but also consider that some pens might be rare finds. Sometimes, what is left behind might be gone forever.

V. Assume you will not see every single pen in the show. There are just too many, and that is why rule I becomes even more important.


Enjoy the pen show near you, even if overwhelmed.

Special thanks to Mr. José Riofrío and to Antolín.


Parker 51 demi, vacumatic – Private Reserve DC Supershow Blue

Bruno Taut
Madrid, November 17th, 2015
Edited on December 16th, 2015 due to privacy complaints of Mr. Tom Westerich.
etiquetas: Madrid, mercado, estilofilia, evento

Saturday, November 21, 2015

More by Mr. Iwase

Mr. Iwase is this raden master who customized his pens in unique ways. I already reported on his workd over relatively rare pens crafted by Mr. Momose and by nibmeister Kubo Kohei. But Mr. Iwase also decorates more common pens—Pelikan M1000 and M800, and Montblanc 149.


A collection of Pelikan M1000.


Pelikan M800 and M1000, and Montblanc 149. The reddish pen is just coated with urushi.

As before, Iwase uses sea shells, usually abalone, and tries to preserve on the pen the colorful patterns of the uncut shells.

The collection of these pens is simply spectacular, but they are for the personal use and enjoyment of the author. Mr. Iwase does not sell them.


(Click on the pictures to enlarge them.)

Once again, these are unique pens even if, in essence, they are well known products.

My thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Iwase.


Sailor ProGear Senior – Nagasawa Bokkô

Bruno Taut
Over Siberia, November 9th, 2015
etiquetas: Iwase, Pelikan, Montblanc, maki-e

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Hiroshi's Pilot

At some point in these texts I expressed my views on maki-e pens. There are some models that are well known because they are part of large editions that can be seen on catalogs; but at the same time it is possible to find one-of-a-kind type of maki-e pens.

The later are, more often than not, regular and well known pens covered with an additional later of decoration commissioned to some maki-e artisan. In this regard, as I also pointed out on some other text, there is no such thing as a fake maki-e pen provided the maki-e decoration was actually there.


The following pens are, in essence, two Pilot Custom 67. It was a very interesting model: simple decoration, derived from the anniversary model Custom 65, and a nice selection of nib points, including a music nib. And it also provided a nice canvas for additional decorations.


On this case, the decoration is simply urushi lacquer in black –ro-iro— and in pale red –shu. Both pens carry the artisan’s handle name, Hiroshi (洋), followed by a kaô” (花押), a stylized signature. The person behind them is Mr. Asakura (朝倉).


The name and the kaô. They provide an additional decorative feature.


The feeds are also coated with urushi lacquer.

How many of these pens were made? I do not know. Did they become part of the Pilot catalog? I do not think so. Are they falsifications? Of course not.

Nothing these pens offer to the history of writing tools in Japan, but the collector values their rarity. Some even love their simple beauty.


Sailor ProGear Senior – Nagasawa Bokkô

Bruno Taut
Over Siberia, November 9th, 2015
etiquetas: Pilot, maki-e

Post sriptum; June 15th, 2016. These pens were never part of the Pilot catalog. These are customizations made by Mr. Asakura after he retired from Pilot's "kokkôkai". More information on the text "Hiroshi (II)".

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