29 November 2014

The Pen Addict

Some weeks ago, Brad Dowdy of The Pen Addict contacted me to participate on his series “Three Questions with…” Needless to say, I was delighted and tried to reply as soon as possible despite my impending trip to Spain. And that shows on my poorly elaborated answers.

They were published on November 22nd. But you might also want to explore Dowdy’s immense blog full of interesting information.

Thanks, Brad!

Romillo Nervión Terracota – Pilot Blue

Bruno Taut
Madrid, November 26th 2014
etiquetas: metabitácora

27 November 2014

Madrid Pen Show 2014

The 11th edition of the Madrid Pen Show was celebrated on the weekend of November 14th to 16th, and I am bound to report on it. But that is no easy task, as mostly all that there is to say had already been written on these Chronicles.

Year after year, the pen show is the big celebration of stylophiles in Spain, and even more than that, as some foreign residents also attended the event. Therefore, this is a major social gathering for many of us, a meeting point for people you only know by name or by alias on a number of pen fora or through email. And then, face to face, a lot more information is actually exchanged.

The conversation often moves onto the dining table, where pens and paper are spread our easily.

Sarj Minhas is well known in Madrid.

The commercial aspect is obviously important, but a pen show is rarely the place to find unexpected bargains. Pen traders do know their job and what they are selling, and they are also aware of the typical customer at those events—we are there because we value pens, and we would pay a lot more that the average person on the street. In fact, we know we are quite foolish when we pay more than, say, EUR 10 for a writing tool. And that is a common mistake among newcomers to a pen show—“pens are not cheap”, they say. Of course not, albeit there might be exceptions buried in the myriad of pens on display.

The space in between tables was scarce at times. That seems to be solved for the 2015 edition, when over 500 sq. meters will be available.

Gary Lehrer, David Nishimura and Carlos Sánchez-Álamo. Among others, of course.

A visitor and a trader. Rick Propas and Jim Marshall. Photo courtesy of Foro de Estilográficas member Antolín.

A third leg in a pen show is the didactic one. Some events do this very well by organizing seminars and workshops. Madrid Pen Show fails at that, but by no means the learning aspect is absent. Both traders and visitors are often well versed on pens and they are willing to share their knowledge. That comes very easily, and it is indeed a pity not to take benefit of this well-informed crowd.

Jonathan Steinberg, Darek Sot, David Nishimura--all of them trading pens.

Luiz Leite and Rick Propas.

Pens, pens, pens...

Figure-wise, the Madrid Pen Show congregated about 1200 visitors and 67 traders over thee days. For the next edition (November 13 to 15, 2015) there will be a maximum of 72 traders on a larger lounge of over 500 square meters. The Madrid Pen Show is now the largest event of its kind in Europe.

Jim Marshall attending some customers. Photo courtesy of Antolín.

My thanks to Foro de Estilograficas member and friend Antolin.

Romillo Nervión Terracota – Pilot Blue

Bruno Taut
Madrid, November 25th 2014
etiquetas: Madrid, mercado, evento, estilofilia

25 November 2014

Changes in Madrid

Some interesting changes in the pen scene in Madrid have taken place recently.

Álvaro Romillo’s brick and mortar shop, “Club de Estilográficas de España”, is now closed. However, his plethora of online business related to pens remain active. That includes the manufacture and distribution of his brand RomilloPens.

On the other hand, two other shops have open in the past months:

-- IguanaSell, a well-known online business, is now also a physical shop at Madrid’s Barrio de Salamanca. It is devoted to watches and pens, and it only sells new goods. IguanaSell, might be worth to note, is the sole distributor of Nakaya in Spain. Its address is as follows:

C. Núñez de Balboa 90
28006 Madrid
Phone: 914 415 041

Open Monday to Saturday, 11:00-14:00 and 17:00-20:00

-- Miestilografica.com is the most recent arrival. New pens, and a good selection of inks. This is its address:

C. Bretón de los Herreros 52
28003 Madrid
Phone: 913 995 670

Open Monday to Friday, 10:00-14:00 and 17:00-20:00. Saturday, 10:00-14:00.

This information is now included on the page of Madrid pen shops.

Platinum Pocket Pen, music nib – Nakajim Sumire-iro

Bruno Taut
Madrid, November 23rd, 2014. Corrected on December 3rd, 2014.
labels: Madrid, mercado

11 November 2014

Kilot 53R

At the time of speaking of Kilot pens I left aside the detailed description of one of the examples of this brand. Nothing else, though, can I add about the pen operation behind it and my only source of information is the pen itself.

This red Kilot pen is an obvious copy of the well-known Pilot 53R—a very classic look, plastic parts, golden-looking nib… However, for the filling system, the Kilot opted for the easier aerometric over the lever filler or the eyedropper chosen by Pilot.

The Kilot in between two Pilot 53R.

The Kilot nib is made of steel, but is gold plated. It does not show the JIS mark, although it is engraved with its own logo, remarkably similar to that of Pilot.

The Kilot nib --on the red pen-- compared to a "manifold" nib of a Pilot 53R-T. The Pilot nib is, on this case, made of 14 K gold. Other than that, these two nibs are very similar. The engraving on the Kilot pen reads "KILOT / MADE IN JAPAN / HARDGILT / -<3>-".

The “kikuza” clip, also engraved with the brand name, is another point in common with the pilot original, albeit this clip design was also used by some other brands, and not only by Pilot.

The "kikuza" (chrysanthemum) clip.

The barrel is also signed: “KILOT / THE KILOT PEN (K logo) MFG. CO. LTD. / MADE IN JAPAN”. That inscription is again a copy of the Pilot inscription in many a pen of the time—just change the K for a P, and everything would look like the original pen.

Again, the Kilot pen is in between two Pilot 53R models. The inscriptions on all three of them are basically the same, with a K instead of a P for the Kilot. The logo of the Kilot is a K encircled by a hexagon.

In view of all this, we can conclude this pen was a very intentional copy of one of the successful pens of the time, by the end of 1950s. But despite being a copy, this is a correct pen, and keeps on being perfectly usable after all these years. All the parts fit well and do not show any obvious problem.

These are its dimensions:
  • Length closed: 122 mm
  • Length open: 108 mm
  • Lendth posted: 142 mm
  • Diameter: 13 mm
  • Weight: 13.1 g (dry)
  • Ink deposit: 0.8 ml

This Kilot pen poses an interesting question (once again)--is it a dishonest copy or the K, of Kilot, instead of the P, Pilot, is enough to redeem it?

Platinum pocket pen, Pt alloy nib – Platinum Black

Bruno Taut
Nakano, October 3rd, 2014
etiquetas: Pilot, Kilot