Friday, January 29, 2016

Gama (II). A Stick

On the previous text I presented the brand Gama, produced by the stationery shop Gem & Co. in Chennai. The models I showed were all eyedropper with steel nibs and very classical looks… save one I left for another Chronicle.


Some Gama pens. One sticks out...

The first look of this particular model is surprising—it looks like an ebonite blank ready to go to the lathe. It is almost perfectly cylindrical, and only under close inspection the line between cap and body can be seen. The ends are almost perfectly flat, and, contrary to the rest of the pen, they are polished. This feature is shared by other Gama models—the Raja and the Kuyil, for instance.


The stick. Note the band name engraved on the barrel end.

Inside, we find a gold plated nib engraved with the brand name, although it was manufactured by the Indian nib brand Ambitious. The feed (diameter of 5.0 mm) is made of ebonite. The pen is an eyedropper and the whole barrel works as ink deposit. On the outside, a subtle engraving informs us of the pen brand, but you really need to look for it.


The section is polished, as is the case of both ends of the pen.

The cap has no clip, keeping the clean lines of the pen unaltered. It cannot be posted in any way as the pen has a constant diameter all along. These are its dimensions:

Length closed: 152 mm
Length open: 141 mm
Diameter: 13 mm
Weight: 19.5 g (dry)
Ink deposit: 1.1 ml (the body is not completely hollow)

The writing quality is more than acceptable on this particular unit. The line is quite wet although occasionally the flow becomes irregular, but without interruptions or blobs. It seems, though, that there is not much consistency on the quality of the nibs and some adjustment is often needed. The quality control is still precarious in many an Indian good.


The nib --gold plated steel-- and the feed --ebonite--. The nib inscription reads as follows: "(G logo) / GAMA / FIVE / YEAR POINT / (logo of the nib company Ambitious)".

I do not know the model name, albeit it takes a number of features from the desk model Ezhuthani. The pen cost around EUR 16.

My thanks to Paco-san.


Gama in black ebonite – Montblanc White Forest

Bruno Taut
Shinjuku & Nakano, January 21-29th, 2016
etiquetas: India, Gama

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Gama (I)

The city of Madras, the old name of present day Chennai, has already shown up on these Chronicles as the home of the Indian manufacturing plant of Pilot. That center closed down in 1978, but that did not mean the end of pen production in the city.

The stationery shop Gem & Co. from Chennai produces its one line of pens under the brand name Gama. The company started business in the 1920s as importers of pens and pen parts from Great Britain, and around 1950, the brand Gama was launched.

Today, Gem & Co. makes mostly eyedropper pens in ebonite. Some other materials such acrylic and vegetable resin are also used. Occasionally, high-end models implement German nibs by JoWo, and can be inked with cartridges and converters.

It is indeed not clear how many different models there are currently on production. The basic reference as of today, seems to be the website if the stationery merchant Asa Pens. On it we can check some of the Gama models, but the selection is likely to be driven more by the current stock than by the actual catalog of the manufacturer. It is also possible that being Gem & Co. a small company, models and variations were subject to small productions and quick changes.


Four of the pen models by Gama. From the top, the first and the third are made of ebonite; second and fourth, of plant polymer. All of them are eyedropper pens.

The model named Forever, nonetheless, seems to be a stable pen within the catalog. This is an ebonite eyedropper pen, with a steel nib. It is a fairly large pen –146 mm long when closed— that holds about 2.5 ml of ink in its barrel.


The Gama Forever in blue and black ripple ebonite. Steel nib in size 6. Ebonite feed.

On the other end, we can find a very small pen: 69 mm long (closed) and less than 6 grams in weight. This is also an eyedropper made of ebonite.


The very small model of Gama pens. The total length is 69 mm. Again, an eyedropper made of ebonite.

Two other pens shown on the pictures of this text are eyedroppers, but they are made of some kind of plant polymer (vegetable resin, some call it) that has a very distinctive smell. These come with steel nibs of sizes 5 and 6.


A Gama pen made of plant polymer. Eyedropper, size 6 steel nib. This pen has an ink window that can be a source of ink leaks.

Finally, there is another pen, black in color, about which I will speak extensively on another text.

My thanks to Paco-san.


Gama, black ebonite – Montblanc White Forest

Bruno Taut
Shinjuku and Nakano, January 21-23, 2016
etiquetas: Gama, India

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Matching (XVII). Paidi Century

It might be time to revive this old series of Chronicles on originals and copies and inspirations and homage. In a sense, all I had to say on these issues had already been said, but some recent encounters show new and different models for the copies. Now, the originals seem to be Japanese, and this is interesting in itself.

The following pen is a Paidi “Century 1”. Paidi is just one of the brand names of the well known Shanghai Hero Pen Company.


Paidi "Century 1".

Under the rather colorful body, an interesting nib emerges—an integral steel nib in the fashion of the Pilot Murex/Myu and the Parker T1/Falcon.


The integrated nib.


The Paidi Century 1 (bottom) together with other well known integrated nibs.

Can we speak of copies? This Chinese pen dates from the 1990s and therefore showed up in the market years later than the American and Japanese counterparts. At the same time, the variations in shapes and colors among all these pens are clear and hardly any confusion could exist in the eyes of the consumer. But is this enough to speak of different pens instead of plagiarism? The answer might depend on the side of the border you were in.


From the top, clockwise, Parker Falcon, Pilot Murex, Paidi Century 1.


From the top, clockwise, Parker Falcon, Pilot Murex, Paidi Century 1.

This is the model Century 1, and there are other variations—the Century 5, and the Century oversize with a screw on cap. The same nib was also implemented on some models marketed as Hero.

These are the dimensions of this pen:
Length closed: 135 mm
Length open: 113.5 mm
Length posted: 141 mm
Diameter: 10.0 mm
Weight: 19.5 g
Ink deposit: 1.0 ml


Pilot and Parker rely on cartridges and converters for these models. Only the Paidi is a self-filling pen.

This is a self-filling pen with an aerometric system.

My thanks to Mr. Mizukushi and Mr. Sunami.


Pilot Capless FCN-500R – Montblanc Racing Green

Bruno Taut
Shinjuku, January 19th, 2016
etiquetas: Hero, Parker, Pilot

Friday, January 8, 2016

Housecleaning

Some housecleaning on recent posts:

-- I changed the out-of-focus pictures of the Chronicle “Combo”. Sometimes, life gives you a second chance and I could take more pics of that very special pen.


-- I have re-written the Chronicle formerly named “Polish Star”. Some of the details I included were not that clear and I felt the need to make some corrections. However, the main point of that text was the technical solution offered in that pen and not the particular origin of the brand.



Gama “The Wand" (my name) – Montblanc White Forest

Bruno Taut
Nakano, January 7th, 2016
etiquetas: Pilot, Astra. metabitácora
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