05 January 2012

Family Portrait (II)

The Super range of fountain pens was the Pilot’s workhorse between mid 1950s and early 1960s. They arrived to replace the R models —lever fillers— in the market since the end of the war—if not before. Super pens were phased out by the first cartridge-converter pens by Pilot in the early 1960—those using the short-lived double-spare type of cartridges.

A selection of Super pens in black. They were also available in a number of colors.

Most of these pens were equipped with nail-type nibs, albeit there are a couple of exceptions about which I will speak later on. However, the leading characteristic of these pens was the filling system—the quarter-switch device, called “hose system” in Japan. It is composed of a rubber sac covered by a metal sheath inside which there is a pressing plate operated by a small lever located on the top of the sheath. Small Super models, though, could not fit this system inside and implemented a much simpler pressing plate in the fashion of a traditional aerometric device.

The three filling systems on Super pens: accordion (bellows) on the top, quarter-switch on the middle, and the more simple pressure bar on the bottom.

As for the nib materials, in my experience, the vast majority of them were made of 14 K gold. The exceptions were the cheapest models –the Super 50, for instance—, whose nibs were made of gold plated steel. And regarding the points, although most of those available today in the second hand market were rigid Fs, there existed more exciting nibs including flexible falcon and three-tined music nibs.

Four examples of nail-type nibs on Super pens. The first and the third from the left are made of steel.

The exceptions to those characteristics were two pens that I have already described on these chronicles—the accordion filler Super 500G and the Super Ultra 500, which implement inlaid nibs. Actually, the later, as the top of the line model, is a very unique model that deserves a chronicle for itself.

(Pilot Custom 74, music nib – Pilot Iroshizuku Sho-ro)

Bruno Taut
January 3-4th, 2011
[etiquetas: Pilot]


Unknown said...

Hi Bruno! Thanks for the detailed write up on the Pilot converters. I got a vintage Pilot Super 200 from a thrift shop about a month ago. It has the quarter switch mechanism but the rubber sac is missing. I'm wondering if a Con-20 can be used to replace the converter.

I got to make it (partially) work but the ink doesn't flow very well. Hope you can help me because this pen has a really nice flex. Thanks!

Bruno Taut said...

I am sorry for my delay in replying.

You can attach Pilot cartridges to the old Super series, but you have to extract the nipple to whether the sac is attached. Changing the sac, however, is not that difficult.



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