05 January 2015

North Korea (I)

North Korea had already shown up on these Chronicles—at the Pilot’s Pen Station there was an inkwell by the name of GuangMyung made in Pyongyang. That, I said at that time, was only normal as pens and inks were basic writing tools for years. But that left an obvious question open: did North Korea ever made fountain pens?

The answer is yes—there existed a North Korean production of pens.

The first example are some clear copies of one of the most iconic pens of all times—the Parker 51. No surprise on this, as this model has been copied over and over, even today.

Two North Korean copies of the Parker 51.

The black model implements a gold nib. On the cap lip it says "CHULLIMA".

The inscription on the nib reads "천리마 (Chollima) / 12 K".

These North Korean pens are aerometric fillers. One of them implements a steel nib, while the other’s is made of 12 K gold. They seem to have been produced around 1960. They are branded as “Chullima”, albeit the sign on the gold nib –천리마— reads “Chollima”, referring to the mythological horse Chollima, that gave name to the Chollima Movement of economic development in North Korea in 1956.

The red unit is of worse quality.

The nib is not only made of steel, but also shows a poorer construction if compared to the gold unit we saw before. The aerometric system is engraved with a "Made in Korea" sign.

On another Chronicle I will describe other North Korean pens, this time a lot less obvious.

My thanks to Mr. Sunami.

Fit de Bayard 840 – Waterman Blue-black

Bruno Taut
Atami, January 2nd, 2015
labels: Corea del Norte, Parker, Chullima


taotsu said...


Do you know if any of these North Korean pens are purchasable here in Japan? I am a bit worried it might not be legal…

Also, I really love your chronologicals!! Thank you for all the hard work!

Bruno Taut said...

Happy New Year for you too, Taotsu. Thanks for passing by and for commenting on these texts.

I do not think there is anything illegal on having these pens. They are old and probably out of production. Fountain pens are no longer essential for anything.

Those shown on this text were bought in Eastern Europe, but I would not be surprised to find some such pens long forgotten in a flea market in Japan. Keep in mind that there are North Korean nationals living in Japan, and they even have their own university.



taotsu said...

Hi Bruno.
Thank you for the heads up. I am always forgetting to go to flee markets, but that is an interesting idea.
Thank you!

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