27 August 2014

Matching (XV)

Which one is the original and which one is the copy? Sometimes the answers are easy, but the context of those copies is always interesting.

Some people, including some Japanese, like to bash Japanese pens on the grounds of not creating original products and, instead, copying well known alleged masterpieces, even though these were not original in the first place.

A selection of balance pens by the big thre Japanese manfacturers. Among them, a couple piston fillers (::1:: and ::2::) and a plunger filler. The rest are cartridge/converter pens.

Some of the nibs of the previous pens. They include several music nibs, a couple of falcon, a fude, some Naginata, a two-fold nib...

Some truth there is in that claim—those Japanese-made balance pens exist because of the success and ubiquity of the Montblanc models. But it is also true that the big three Japanese companies have proved their capability to innovate and have created most original products. And this, in fact, does not make any more innocent of the accusation of plagiarism. Most likely the opposite—cannot these companies implement their nibs and filling systems in original designs? In fact, now and then, they do that

Sailor released this pen on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the company. It sports a cross nib by nibmeister Nagahara.

(More on the matter soon).

My thanks to Mr. Noguchi.

Inoxcrom 77, steel nib – Platinum Black

Bruno Taut
Nakano, August 12th 2014
etiquetas: mercado, Japón, Montblanc, Pilot, Sailor, Platinum

23 August 2014

Jentle 2014

More unpaid and unintentional advertising.

Some weeks ago I spoke of the new release of eight not-so-new ink colors by Sailor. Not-so-new because those eight colors had already been marketed 2010 as seasonal inks in limited editions with big success.

Weeks later, news and rumors in the Net claimed that Sailor had reduced the selection of inks in its catalog. From now on, only three basic colors would be available—black, blue and blue-black—and that there would be some fancy colors at a premium. That would mean, at least, that the basic color line (peach, sky-high, ultramarine, grenade, epinard and apricot) was coming to an end after just three years in the market.

The ink selection in 2011. Taken from Sailor website in 2011.

Now, Sailor has just released a new catalog of fountain pens and accessories after years of the same boring and incomplete edition. The new catalog included, needless to say, the latest releases like the Sigma and the Promenade and the Precious Woods series. And on the page dedicated to consumables we can see that the transition in the ink department is completed. Now, besides the permanent black (kiwa-guro) and blue-black (sei-boku), Sailor makes eleven Jentle inks: the basic three plus the eight re-editions of the 2010 seasonal inks. And the price is the same for all the eleven Jentle inks—JPY 1000 plus tax. So, no variations on this department with respect to the previous colors.

Page of consumables in the new (Summer 2014) catalog of Sailor for fountain pens and high quality writing utensils. Click on the picture for better resolution (too often Blogger is not up to the challenge).

One final reflection—does Sailor have any consistent policy about its inks? The changes in its catalog of the last five years seem quite erratic, especially when compared to Pilot and Platinum. However, those changes could also be understood as an effort to call the attention of all of us. And that Sailor did get.

Super T Gester 40 – Sailor Yama-dori

Bruno Taut
Nakano, Augusr 15th 2014
etiquetas: tinta, mercado, Sailor

20 August 2014


Does anyone read my texts or looking at the pictures is mostly all we do when "reading" a blog, any blog?

Inoxcrom 77, steel nib - Platinum Black

Bruno Taut
Nakano, August 12th 2014
etiquetas: metabitácora

17 August 2014

Pen People

A pen person, Leigh Reyes rightly said, knows better than drinking anything looking like ice tea at a pen meeting. And would use almost anything as a pen holder. A pen person, as well, never misses a street with such a suggestive name as Namiki.

In Chuo-ku, Tokyo.

And wonders what Vanishing Point might mean as a bar, members only, in the sleazy streets of Roppongi (Minato-ku, Tokyo).

In Minato-ku, Tokyo.

Yeah, we are a crazy bunch.

Super T Gester 40 – Sailor Yama-dori

Bruno Taut
Nakano, August 16th 2014
etiquetas: estilofilia, Tokyo

14 August 2014

Matching (XIV)

Which one is the original and which one is the copy?

It is well known that the big three Japanese pen companies keep a close eye on each other, and we can see startling similarities on some of their current products. That, in fact, is not new. The original idea of the pocket pen, for instance, is disputed between Sailor and Platinum —Pilot’s first pocket pen came later, in 1968—, but the final result was by the end of 1960s all three of them –and even some other smaller brands— had their own version of a black and formal looking pocket pen well suited for the Japanese salary man.

From left to right, a Ferme, a Pilot, a Platinum (with damascene decoration, zogan in Japanese, on the section), and a Sailor. All pocket pens in black with golden accents. All four nibs of these pens are made of 18 K gold.

But not only that model was copied. Years later, by the mid 1970s, all big three offered pocket pens made of stainless steel—all clean and lean. Only one of them, however, dared to make an all-steel pen with integrated nib.

From top to bottom, Platinum, Sailor and Pilot pens. The Platinum unit uses a Pt-alloy nib. In other words, a white gold nib. Pilot and Sailor nibs are made of 14 K gold.

Which one is the original and which ones are the copies? Among the three examples shown today, the Platinum is probably the earliest of the lot given its Pt-alloy nib.

Inoxcom 77, steel nib – Platinum Black

Bruno Taut
Nakano, August 12th 2014
etiquetas: Japón, mercado, Platinum, Pilot, Sailor, Ferme

12 August 2014

Bulb Fillers

On the Chronicle describing the Surat pen, I mentioned that the bulb filling system was well known in Japan. That system, let us remember, consists in an ink deposit ended with a flexible rubber sac, and with a breathing tube inside.

From top to bottom, a Worla, a Surat (a Nakahara system, but that is a variation of the bulb system), a Tomei, and a SSS.

Today I am showing some examples from mostly unknown companies: Tomei, Worla, Meizen. The much better known SSS and Sailor also manufactured this filling system. And many others as well, most likely.

A Meizen pen in red urushi. This model was made after 1953, as the nib is marked with the JIS logo. Meizen was a brand active in Tokyo until the late 1950s or early 1960s.

A Sailor bulb filler from the early 1950s.

Albeit there are few, if any, indicators of the age of these pens, it is reasonable, given the construction style, to assume they were made around 1950.

Pilot Vpen – Diamine Graphite

Bruno Taut
Shinjuku, July 23rd 2014
etiquetas: Tomei, Worla, Meizen, SSS, Sailor, Surat, soluciones técnicas.

02 August 2014


The information I offer today is already known—Kabutogi Ginjirô was a remarkable Japanese nibmeister who worked for a number of pen brands, including some of his own. And he was also responsible for the creation of some fake Pelikan nibs.

Today’s example is very significant. It is a wonderful paradox, a blatant contradiction. How could a Pelikan nib be engraved with the Japan Industrial Standards (JIS) mark and the registration number of a Japanese company? 4622 was registered to Kabutogi Ginjirô in connection to its brand Seilon, as we already saw.

A Japan-made Pelikan?

How far are countries willing to go in order to protect the local economy? Nowadays, Japan complains about China’s industry of counterfeit products but, didn’t Japan engage in these same activities back in the 1950s and 1960s?

This JIS-marked Pelikan nib is a stubborn proof.

My thanks to Mr. Sunami.

Inoxcrom 77, steel nib – Platinum Black

Bruno Taut
Nakano, August 1st 2014
etiquetas: Pelikan, Japón, nibmeister Kabutogi Ginjirô, Seilon