03 October 2012

Double Spare

In 1956, Platinum marketed the model Honest 60. This pen was the first ever cartridge-converter pen in Japan and, therefore, saying good-bye to ink bottles implied the development and marketing of ink cartridges—the Honest cartridge.

Two double spare cartridges, connected. They can easily be detached from the central piece.

Pilot reacted to this innovation with its own line of cartridges. It was called “double-spare”--two independent ink cartridges held together by a plastic central piece. The merit of this system, Pilot claimed at the time, was that the user would hardly ever run out of ink—not even in the most difficult situation. Once the working cartridge was empty, plug the spare one in, and, back home, replace the former. Smart, but it is not that inconvenient to carry some spare cartridges in your pocket, especially during those critical situations.

A 1963 Capless, first Capless model, with the "double-spare" cartridge.

The system was short lived. It might have started around 1962, and in 1968 it was phased out. But a number of pens, of interesting pens, were produced during those years. Among them, all the Capless models up to 1968. Finding these “double-spare” cartridges is now very difficult, either used or new, and the modern solution is to use the CON-W converter, still included in Pilot’s catalog and available at some shops in Japan.

Pilot converter CON-W.

However, the most interesting feature of these cartridges is that they provide an easy way to date some Pilot pens—any double-spare belongs to this 1962-1968 period. And any pen with the “single-spare” cartridge –such was the initial name of the current cartridge design by Pilot— is from a later date.

CORRECTION (2013/09/20): There are double-spare pens up to, at least, 1969. And the single spare cartridge appears in the market as early as in 1964, if not earlier. Please, check the Chronicle Pilot Filling Systems in the 1960s.

Bruno Taut
Shinjuku, October 2nd, 2012
labels: Pilot, Platinum, soluciones técnicas, Japón, conversor

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