29 October 2011

Japanese Celluloid

Among the big three Japanese pen companies, only Platinum (and its luxury division Nakaya) manufactures pens made of celluloid nowadays. That was not the case in the past, as we have already seen on these Chronicles. Actually, there has been a number of eyedropper pens made of this material, which is certainly strange given the extreme sensitivity of celluloid to color changes due to ink dyes. And in an eyedropper pen, ink is in direct contact with the plastic material of the barrel. However, this practice was not uncommon during the 1920s and 1930s in Japan and overseas.

Pilot made a number of them, and such is the case of the pen here presented today. It is green and black pen, equipped with a shiro nib, fairly flexible, in size 3. The breathing hole, V-shaped, is quite characteristic of flexible steel nibs in Japanese pens.

"Best in the World, Pilot -<3>-", the engraving says.

As mostly any Japanese eyedropper pen, this one implements a shut-off system operated from the culotte. This pen, though, features an unusual detail—the knob thread in the barrel is made in the inner side instead of being lathed on the exterior, as is usually the case.

This Pilot pen dates from the early to mid 1930s. The logo, engraved on the barrel, shows the N, after the company founder Ryosuke Namiki. It was changed in 1938 to show a P instead of the N coinciding with his retirement, which does not seem the best way to honor his legacy.

The pen is in very good condition. It reached my hands in its original case, which included the instruction sheet. Probably, it has never been inked.

These are its dimensions:
Diameter: 13 mm.

Length capped: 132 mm.
Length open: 120 mm.
Length posted: 167 mm.

Weight (dry): 15.8 g.

(Athena Basic Line – Sailor Yama-dori)

Bruno Taut
October 29th, 2011
[labels: Pilot]

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