31 October 2013


The Fuente meeting in October is a regular event in Tokyo during the last 20 years. It is more of a social than of a trading encounter, and the highlight of it is the final auction on Sunday afternoon.

The social part is easy to understand: we stylophiles love to be around pens and we enjoy showing our treasures to other like ourselves. At this past Fuente meeting I have seen several wonders. This is one of them:

Already in the 1920s, there existed about 500 pen operations in the city of Osaka. Most of them were small family business. Among them was the Etô family, responsible for the brand Vanco, active until the 1950s. Around 1935, Vanco marketed the following pen:

A brown celluloid...

It is a piston filler made of celluloid. The filling mechanism is a telescopic system, made of brass, to increase the capacity of the ink deposit—a well known technical solution in the hands of Montblanc. But this pen is a mostly unknown Vanco.

The Vanco uncapped. Note the piston half way through the ink window.

The nib is made of gold, although it is not imprinted as such. This claim is supported by electric resistivity measurements—gold is about 10 times better conductor than steel.

The gold nib. The inscription reads "WARRANTED / FINE / VANCO / REG. PAT. OFF. / <6> / POINTED / HARDEST Ir."

These are the dimensions of the pen:
  • Length closed: 128 mm
  • Length open: 120 mm
  • Length posted: 157 mm
  • Diameter: 12 mm
  • Weight (dry): 24.4 g

The whole piston can be released from the pen by unscrewing it out of the piston knob.

This pen stands firm on any comparison with many Western pens. The beautiful celluloid, together with this filling system make a wonderful combination. A rare treat in a Japanese pen from the 1930s.

My thanks to Mr. Sugimoto. Please, have a look at his blog with several entries on Vanco pens, and very interesting photographs of the piston mechanism (::1::, ::2::, ::3::, ::4::, ::5::, ::6::, ::7::).

Sailor pocket pen, 18 K nib - Daiso red cartridge

Bruno Taut
Chuo (Tokyo), October 27th, 2013
etiquetas: evento, Vanco, soluciones técnicas, Montblanc

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