18 July 2014


I have insisted a number of times on these Chronicles on the need to generate reliable information about fountain pens. The history of these tools is only half written. Some brands, needless to say, are well known and documented. A few of them, Pelikan, for instance, produce their own books and documenting material. In other cases, pen enthusiasts have written a number of monographies on a particular model or brand. The case of Alfonso Mur and his “The Conklin Legacy” is a remarkable example.

Alfonso Mur's book. Available in fine book stores everywhere... Or maybe not--it is about pens.

But more is needed. The history of pens in a number of countries has not yet been written. Too often, and there are many examples, the approach to these pens is brand-by-brand. However, a historical perspective is more comprehensive and useful. And the reason is clear—a careful description of the technological developments, aesthetic trends, and sociological environment provides the frameset in which to fit, even if approximately, any rarity.

An unknown and yet interesting Surat pen. Made of celluloid, steel nib, bulb filler--and more.

That, of course, is not incompatible with the addition of an appendix on relevant brands and models, even though that implied some failure in the general text. We should never forget, and this is why the historical overview is fundamental, that the number of pen brands tends to infinite, and for every well-documented pen there are tens (if not hundreds) of them basically unknown.

My thanks to Mr. Paul Bloch.

Super T Gester 40 – Sailor Yama-dori

Bruno Taut
Nakano, July 16th 2014
etiquetas: Pelikan, Conklin, libro, Surat


Paul Bloch said...

First, thank you for acknowledging our shared interest in meaningful historical data about writing instrument manufacture. It has been my observation that, wherever collecting and commerce intersect, money usually wins out. Too many "collectors" are well-acquainted with those brands they trade in, and care not at all about the thousands of other pen-producing companies. Their focus also tends to be on their own back yards as well, as if the rest of the world didn't exist, or that anything which has happened in the last 50 years is not meaningful, or that anything other than a vintage FOUNTAIN pen is unimportant. Your choice of a Surat (India?) pen to illustrate is a good one; that is a market about which very little information ever appears, other than "for sale" offerings.

Bruno Taut said...

Thanks for passing by and commenting, Mr. Paul Bloch.

However, I am afraid I fall into the category of those well acquainted with those "backyard" pens. I do care, though, about the rest.

Surat, as I explained on the following Chronicle, was a Japanese brand.



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