16 August 2013

Sakai Eisuke and Pilot

The good name of the brand Namiki in the West is rooted in the maki-e and urushi decorated pens of the 1920s and 1930s marketed in England under the name Dunhill-Namiki. They have become mythical pens and their prices in the market are equally unreachable for most stylophiles.

The war in Asia –as Japanese call the initial stages of the Japanese colonial expansion in the 1930s—put an end to those luxury goods and the presence of Japanese pens in the West was severely limited for a number of years. We know now that Platinum exported fountain pens under brand names as 555 and President and that Pilot exported Capless pens to US as early as in 1966, but their actual importance in those foreign markets were never big.

By 1985, Pilot decided to recreate those old pens from the 1920s in order to activate the more profitable market of the high end pens. To do so, the company commissioned Sakai Eisuke (酒井栄助) to create a prototype of a big (jumbo) pen following the old models. Sakai Eisuke, let us remember, was the leader, and lathe master, of the four artisans behind a large number of apparently anonymous eyedropper pens made in the 1970s and 1980s. These pens are now known as Ban-ei pens.

And out of that prototype, Pilot started the production of maki-e and urushi pens ressembling those Dunhill-Namiki from the 1920s. Following we can see one such example: a vermillion (red urushi) jumbo pen with a size 50 nib. This nib has no special decoration other than the plain engraving of its characteristics: made by Pilot in 14 K gold. The filling system, needless to say, is by eyedropper with shut-off valve operated from the tail.

The Pilot-signed clip.

These are its dimensions:
Length closed: 173 mm
Length open: 158 mm
Length posted: 213 mm
Diameter: 20 mm
Weight (dry): 42.7 g

The nib is engraved with the following text: "14 KARAT GOLD / "PILOT" / REGISTERED / PATENT OFFICE / -<50>-".

The feed is also coated with red urushi.

The shut-off valve seat on the section.

Some years later, the pen was rebranded as Namiki. The nib was now made of 18 K gold, and was struck with an image of Mt. Fuji.

My thanks to Mr. Fukuyo

Pilot Vpen – Platinum Black

Bruno Taut
Shinjuku, August 12th, 2013
etiquetas: Pilot, Ban-ei


Unknown said...

This is very informative :-)
I would love me a red vermillion Namiki Emperor pen... soo nice :-)

thank you for the post

plato2012 said...

Absolutely a gorgeous pen to look at.

Bruno Taut said...

Thanks, plato2012 and anonymous.


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