31 July 2015

Early Cross Nib

Nagahara’s double and triple (and even quadruple) nibs are, arguably, the most interesting development in fountain pens in recent years. But, how recent is that development?

Sailor started marketing cross nibs (2-fold nibs) by the late 1990s. Most of them, as is the case now, were made over open nibs—those present on the current line of Profit/1911 and ProGear line of Sailor pens. But there were also some cross nibs made over the old style finger-shape nib present in the Sailor catalog since the early 1970s.

The only engraving on the pen, other than on the nib, is on the cap lip and simply reads "Sailor".

Such is the case of the following pen. It is a luxury desk pen of the Precious Wood (Mei Boku, 銘木) series. The oversized cap, with no clip, posts securely on the barrel and provides with the usual extra length of desk pens. The four-tined nib ensures a rich flow and a thick line for the typical purpose of these pens—to sign. It is made of 21 K gold. The filling system is by proprietary cartridges and converters.

These are the pen dimensions:

Length closed: 163 mm
Length open: 124 mm
Length posted: 182 mm
Diameter: 15 mm
Weight: 33.0 g

Three different Cross nibs. The one on top is a Cross Concord (with Emperor, the overfeed) with the current nib engraving. The nib on the bottom left is a regular Cross nib with the previous engraving. The nib of the Precious Wood desk pen is on the bottom right. Its engraving only says "21 K / Sailor".

The point of the desk pen is significantly smaller than that of the current Cross nib (bottom left on the previous picture, albeit with the old engraving).

This pen was made in early 2000s.

My thanks to Mr. Demboku and to Wagner member Yoppee!

Pilot Custom 823 – Montblanc White Forest

Bruno Taut
Nakano, July 29th, 2015
etiquetas: Sailor, plumín, nibmeister Nagahara

24 July 2015

Pilot Capless - 1984 - FCN-500R and variations


As was described on the more extended introduction to this model, this evolution of the CN-400BS was released in 1984 (some sources speak of 1981, though). This model is commonly known as the “faceted” Capless (usually as Pilot) or Vanishing Point (usually as Namiki). It was made in a number of colors and included some limited editions.

Two faceted Pilot Capless in green and black.

Pairs of Pilot-Namiki Capless-Vanishing Point in different colors. The clips are engraved as either Pilot or Namiki. My thanks to Mr. Capless.


Codes. FCN-500R, FCB-800R-B, FC-1MR-B. All these codes belong basically to the same pen, the last two being of the all-black models. The different numbers in the codes show the price of each variation. This model is made of aluminum and plastic in a number of colors.
Original_price. FCN-500R: JPY 5000 (1984-1998)
FCB-800R-B: JPY 8000 (1989)
FC-1MR-B: JPY 10000 (1999)
Production_years. 1984-1999. Possibly longer.
Nib_unit. Type VII, variations a and b. Gold 14 K and steel, all in golden color. 18_K gold nibs were made after 1998 for the following model FC-15SR.
Filling_system Single spare cartridge. CON-20 and CON-50 can be used.
Opening_system. “Knock system” (push button).

The all-black model in matte finish. Photo courtesy of Antolin.


FCN-500R & variations
Length closed 137 mm
Length open 134 mm
Diameter 11.8 mm
Weight 17.6 g

Nib unit:

Type VII, variations a (common to the previous model CN-400BS from 1973) and b. In 14 K gold and in steel, both with golden finish. 18 K gold nibs available from 1998.

This nib unit uses single spare cartridges and converters CON-20 and CON-50.

Variations a (top) and b (bottom) of the type VII of Capless nibs. Variation a is present on the previous model from 1973, but can be used on the FCN-500R of 1984.

Additional information:

Nibs are engraved with the production place and date, but not so the bodies.

Testing unit of a Namiki Vanishing Point for a shop. My thanks to Mr. Capless.

My thanks to Mr Capless and to Foro de Estilográficas member Antolin.

Back to the "Pilot Capless - 50 years" page.

Bruno Taut
Nakano, July 2015
etiquetas: Pilot, Capless

20 July 2015

Early Pilot Nibs. III. Size 1

Size 1 nibs by Pilot are not that different in size to those of size 0. Here we can see the dimensions of two size-1 units:

Manufacturing date .Oct 1955. .Nov 1937.
Length (mm) 21.7 22.7
Width (mm) 5.3 5.8
Feed diameter (mm) 5.0 5.0
Weight (g) 0.2 - 0.3 0.3
Dimensions of two Pilot nibs of size 1.

Nib made on November of 1937. "WARRANTED / "PILOT" / 14 K / MADE IN JAPAN / -<1>- / HARDEST / IRIDIUM".

Nib made on October of 1955. "WARRANTED / PILOT / 14 K / -<1>- / MADE IN / JAPAN".

There are some obvious differences between these two units made 18 years apart. And the feed diameter seems even smaller than that of the size 0 nib described some days ago.

The engravings of these two nibs are very similar, but this detail changes with the manufacturing date, as we will see along this series of texts

Parker 51 – Nagasawa Bokkô

Bruno Taut
Nakano, July 19th, 2015
etiquetas: Pilot, plumín

17 July 2015

Early Pilot Nibs. II. Size 0

Among early –pre-1955—Pilot nibs, size 0 seems to be the smallest of them. I have only seen it made of 14 K gold.

These are its dimensions, but these data should not be taken very strictly—manufacturing processes, quality controls were not as they are today, and some variations over these measurements should be expected:
  • Length: 20.6 mm
  • Width (shoulders): 5.2 mm
  • Weight: 0.25 g
  • Feed diameter: 5.1 mm

This particular nib was manufactured on February of 1935. The engraving reads “WARRANTED / “PILOT” / 14 K / MADE IN / JAPAN / -<0>- / HARDEST / IRIDIUM”.

Pilot Custom 823 – Montblanc White Forest

Bruno Taut
Chuo, July 10th, 2015
etiquetas: Pilot, plumín

13 July 2015

Early Pilot Nibs. I. Introduction

Few things are standard in the world of fountain pens. Each pen brand seems to create its small world with its own systems of names and measurements. A very clear example of this lack of standards is the way pen makers number their nibs. Many aficionados as well as traders simplify the wide gamut of Bock nibs as being of sizes 5, 6 or 8, which are, in actual terms, the diameters of their corresponding feeds. But those numbers have little to do with Pilot’s –to name just one company— nibs labeled as 3, 5, 10, 15, 20 and 50. Sailor and Platinum, on their side, do not even bother to number their nibs nowadays.

A Bock nib, with a 6 mm feed, on an Eboya pen (formerly Nebotek).

Sailor nibs in three different sizes.

Four modern Pilot nibs in size 15.

In the early days of Pilot, the numbering system was very different: from 0 to 8, with the possible exception of 7, plus 20 and 50. Now, do those numbers mean anything?

With this text I am starting a new series of Chronicles aiming at describing all these nibs, and to analyze whether those numbers really meant anything. This is, needless to say, a work in progress.

Four Pilot nibs from the 1920s. They are labeled as sizes 1 and 3.

One additional note: The title speaks of “early” nibs. By that I mean all those nibs that followed a more or les consistent system of numeration. This came to an end with the implementation of the Super model in 1955. Up to that year, the vast majority of Pilot pens sported open nibs (i. e, showing the feed as well) labeled with what seemed to be a normalized numbering. Therefore, “early” means, more or less, before 1955. And implicit on this classification is the hope that those standards were maintained over all those years.

This series is a joint effort of some pen enthusiasts who offered their assistance to compile all the information. Their names are N. Syrigonakis and A. Zúñiga.

Platinum pocket pen, black stripes – Platinum Black

Bruno Taut
Chuo, June 13th, 2015
etiquetas: plumín, Pilot, Bock, Sailor, Platinum, Eboya

06 July 2015

Sailor in Osaka

The following pen is a limited edition. It is a Professional Gear Realo made, needless to say, by Sailor, but it is not a regular Sailor pen. This model in matte black and red was commissioned by a group of pen users from Osaka organized as the YY Pen Club.

An unusual and very limited Professional Gear Realo.

Some more surprises on the nib...

And there are more variations beyond the unique –so to speak— coloring of the pen: the nib is not engraved with any sign save with the gold purity –18 K gold— and the nib point. 18 K is not the usual gold grade implemented by Sailor on its pens (save in the case of the ultra-thin Chalana), but we have already seen 18 K Sailor nibs on Davidoff’s pens.

Unmarked nib, save for the gold purity and the point width.

A very interesting detail here is how keen Sailor is to make limited editions for whoever demanded it. It seems that the basic order is of just 10 pens. On this particular case, YY Pen Club ordered 30 units, not numbered. Its distribution is only done through that club of pen users. In that regard, this is not so much of a limited as it is a commemorative pen for a private organization.

My thanks to Mr. Sunami.

Sailor pocket pen, quasi inlaid nib – Montblanc Racing Green

Bruno Taut
Nakano, July 5th, 2015
etiquetas: Sailor, mercado