04 July 2011


2500 pen ventures at any given time anywhere are a huge number. But that is what Andreas Lambrou and Masa Sunami say about the post Second World War pen scene in Japan. Many of them simply assembled pens out of pre-bought parts and did not last long in the market. But nonetheless, the number of Japanese companies registered in texts and websites remains big. Most of them are minor and their pens are hard to find in the market, not to mention that too often their quality do not justify any effort in finding them. But some do find their way to your hands…

Not much can be found about the pen brand Center. Ron Dutcher, from Kamakura Pens, says that it was based in Osaka, either from the 1930s or from right after the war, and closed down by the mid 1950s. On the other hand, the Fountain Pen Network list of Japanese pen manufacturers speaks of this brand as owned by the company Sanwa Kogyo Co. Ltd. from Tokyo. It produced, the FPN link says, some celluloid pens in the 1950s.

The Center 61.

Today’s pen is a cheap model labeled as Center 61 on the barrel in bright pink celluloid. The nib is of the nail type, with the feed totally covered by the section. It is a semi flex, most likely made of steel. The filling system is aerometric. The dimensions are as follows:

Diameter: 10 mm.
Length capped: 127 mm.
Length uncapped: 116 mm.
Length posted: 140 mm.
Weight: 14.4 g (empty).
Cap weight: 5.0 g.
Ink deposit: 0.6 ml.

My best estimation is that this pen dates back from the late 1950s given its similarities with some Pilot Super models of that time.

Obviously, not all Japanese pens show good taste. This one is certainly kebai.

(Kaweco Sport – Diamine Amazing Amethyst)

Bruno Taut
July 4, 2011
[labels: Center, Japón]

Note added on May 7th, 2013: The company Sanwa Kogyo still exists, but is is (and was) based in Nara, not in Tokyo. More information, on this other Chronicle: More Center.

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