27 July 2010


Monthly meting of the Wagner association this past Sunday. As in previous occasions, lots of exciting pens, although the attendance was this time lower, maybe due to the heatwave we now suffer in Tokyo—terrible heat and mortifying humidity.

Mr Niikura, this time, came with a beautiful selection of Pilot pens from the 1920s. Their common characteristic was this security system called hoshiawase (星合せ)—star system.

The box with the sixteen hoshiawase pens Mr. Niikura presented. All of them, eyedroppers.

The story goes that Japanese manufacturers were, in the 1910s and 1920s, obsessed about leaking pens that could stain the valuable kimono of their customers. Sounds certainly charming, but I wonder if that is an element unique to Japanese pen manufacturers. I guess American and European brands were also concerned about the ink stains in the more boring suits and shirts. Boring maybe, but equally valuable to their owners.

Anyway, Japanese companies devised a number of systems to seal the ink deposit of the pen when this was not in use. The hoshiawase system is only one of them. It consists of a section composed by two parts that rotate one with respect to the other. Only when the two red dots are aligned the ink can flow from the deposit to the nib. Misaligned, the ink deposit was sealed and, we assume, it was safe to carry the pen with a minimal risk of staining kimono or shirts.

The stars (red dots) are alignedthe pen is ready to write.

The stars are crossedthe ink is sealed in the deposit and the pen is ready for your pocket.

The pens Mr. Niikura presented showed the evolution of this system. But the chronicles say it was never a good enough to fully confine the ink in its reservoir. Apparently, these pens were discontinued in 1926.

This is the back of the section. Note the two concentric cylinders: they rotate between the two ends, limited only by the small stick attached to the inner cylinder.

The barrel of the pen whose hoshiawase system was depicted before. Note the brand name engraved on the metal.

Regarding the nibs, they had a full gamut of possibilities—from hard nails to fairly flexible.

This was another example of the pens on display.

And this is its nib.

A total of sixteen hoshiawase pen were presented. Impeccable, uninked, with the original price tags—few yen could buy them back in their days. And that raises the question of the purpose and goals of pens and of pen collecting. But that demands a chronicle all for itself.

Suffice to say that I would use one of those pens if I had the chance.

(Sailor 21, black pocket pen – Sailor Brown)

Bruno Taut
(Inagi, July 26 2010)
[labels: Japón, Pilot, evento, soluciones técnicas]


anele said...

Muy curioso el sistema antigoteo. Nunca había oído hablar de él.

Bruno Taut said...

Pero nunca funcionó muy bien. Apenas estuvo ocho años en el mercado. Pero si yo tuviera una en mis manos, seguro que la usaría.

Gracias por el comentario.


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