20 September 2013

Pilot Filling Systems in the 1960s

Armed with the information on the way of dating not just the nibs but the whole pen –even if only during only twenty years—there are a number of observations to be done. One is about the filling systems implemented by Pilot during those critical years.

Let us remember that Platinum had released the first Japanese ink cartridge in 1956, thus opening the path for most Japanese pen companies. At the time (mid to late 1950s), Pilot was using sac-based systems—either the original hose system (also known as quarter switch) or a more traditional aerometric for thinner and smaller pens of the Super series. Later on, already in the 1960s, Pilot created its own ink cartridges while preserving the sac-based systems and even implemented another system—the bellow filler with an accordion sac.

The following chart shows how all these systems coexisted during the 1960s in the Pilot catalog. The data on it are based on my own accounting, and are based on documental evidence. Therefore, they can hardly be final, as there could be earlier and later examples of these systems.

Some notes on the graph:

1. The latest unit I have found of the Hose System was manufactured on September of 1964. Later units of this system could exist.

A Hose System in a Super Ultra 500 from 1959.

2. Few units implemented the Bellows Filler (accordion sac) and therefore it is difficult to establish definitive starting and ending data, which on the graph are set as July 1965 and December 1969. This system seems to have been the last sac-based system implemented by Pilot.

A Pilot Super 500G with a Bellows Filler system.

The Double Spare cartridge.

3. The first Double Spare (DS) cartridge I have seen is associated to a 1963 model of the Capless (C-600MW) dated on April 1964. However, it is safe to assure this ink cartridge existed since, at least, November of 1963, as this was the release date of this model. Earlier pens could also have used this cartridge.

The Single Spare ink cartridge, the current Pilot's standard ink cartridge.

4. The earlier pen implementing the Single Spare or single cartridge (SC) –that is, the ink cartridge currently on production— I have found was manufactured on May 1964.

An interesting conclusion of this chart is the fact that DS and SC were initially marketed almost simultaneously. Consequently, the SC was not the successor of the DS. These two systems coexisted despite their incompatibility for a about six years.

And my text on the Double Spare cartridge was wrong.

Sailor Ballerie pocket pen - Sailor Blue

Bruno Taut
September 13th, 2013
etiquetas: Pilot, soluciones técnicas, cartuchos


Kostas K. said...

Hi, that is great information!
I thought it was established that the SC was the successor of the double spare system, and now we have the discovery that they nearly co-existed. It was a time of experimenting, the 60s.
By the way in a double-spare pen that I own, I use a Sailor cartridge, it fits perfectly!
Thank you for the info and the great blog, you are our man in Japan!

Unknown said...

+1. Amazing bellows filler pic. Just amazing.

Bruno Taut said...

Thanks, Kostas K. and Tony Rex, for passing by and commenting.

I was also surprised by that finding, Kostas K. However, I need to find more pens to narrow down the starting and ending dates of the DS cart, and the start of the SC.
Thanks also for the suggestion on the use of the Sailor cart for those DS pens.

The bellows filler pen had already shown up on these Chronicles: http://estilofilos.blogspot.jp/2011/09/japanese-accordion.html

Thanks again. Cheers,


David W. said...

Bruno, I have a data point for you on the Pilot "single" cartridge system: I own a G300V that has a 1962 date stamp (nib and barrel, though currently the '62 nib and section are mixed with a cap, feed and barrel from an identical pen dated '64) , I can provide images and exact date/factory info if you would like it!

David W. said...

Hmm, I need to revisit these pens to confirm the date stamp on the worn barrel/cap that had the '62 nib in it... I know the '64 nib and barrel matched, but should re-inspect the barrel that had the '62 stamped nib. This in light of the existence of the Super 300G (same nib and cap, with "button" type barrel integrated hose filler), if that variant was made concurrently with the U200 (my U200s are all '61-'63 IIRC), that might make a "leftover" nib from Super 300G production possible in a newer G 300V barrel D:

David W. said...

Alright, pens checked... The 1964 nib and barrel agree: 9 64 for the nib and EU 30 (Tokyo Sep. 30 1964) on the barrel. However the one with a 9 62 nib has a barrel that either was never imprinted with a Pilot logo and model number, let alone a date stamp *or* got polished/used enough to completely remove a light imprint.

The Super 300G that Ebay seller sakura_zeppelin has listed shows a date stamp of DP 27 (Tokyo Apr. 27 1963) which doesn't really prove anything except that the same cap and nib were used in a variant model before the manufacture of my double dated pen...

So the 1962 data point for Pilot single cartridge is a bit suspect, or at least lacks satisfying proof :(

I also noticed that you didn't mention the U200 style integrated button/hose filler as a seperate category in the filling system overview, do you have any idea how many models ultimately utilized this design?

Bruno Taut said...

David W.,

thanks for passing by and commenting. These discussions, though, would be better through private email to find out what the actual facts are.

I do not mention the U pens because they were short lived and are quite rare. Therefore creating a chart of those is quite difficult. It will take a long time.



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