02 July 2011


On the previous chronicle I mentioned that the pen company SSS could not survive the tough competition in the Japanese market after the Second World War. Japanese pen collector Masa Sunami and Andreas Lambrou speak of over 2500 small ventures producing pens in Japan by the late 1940s. This number decreased quickly due to competition –the survival of the fittest— and to the control induced by the Japanese Ministry of Industry through the implementation of the Japan Industrial Standards (JIS) in 1952.

The JIS logo, prior to 2008. Image taken from the Wikipedia.

A size 1 nib by Meizen, in steel, with the JIS logo. This pen dates back from the late 1950s.

A Platinum pen from 1970. This nib is made of 18 K white gold.

The visible effect on pens was the new logo that from 1954 was imprinted on pen nibs to guarantee the material out of which they were made. Until that moment, a number of companies advertised theirs as golden when they were merely gold plated. Adopting the logo was, apparently, not compulsory, but Pilot adopted promptly thus pushing other brands to follow suit. However, some brands were reluctant to imprint the logo. With time, its use has decayed and in modern pens is no longer present.

A size 2 nib by Morison, made of steel. It belongs to a lever filler hard rubber pen.

This is the nib of a Pilot R, a popular pen in production for a long time. The JIS logo dates the pen in the late 1950s.

A nice side effect, fifty years later, is that the logo provides an argument to date the pen—any nib with that logo was certainly manufactured after 1954.

(Pilot V pen, F nib – Diamine Teal)

Bruno Taut
June 29, 2011
[labels: Japón]

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