20 August 2017

Pattern, Made in Japan

The history of fountain pens is mostly written by the major brands. However, on the side there have always been a bunch of small companies struggling for a place in the market with a number of arguments. We have seen some of those pens on these pages on these pages—Vanco, Surat, Mitaka, Capless Kogyosho, Sakai Eisuke, etc… Little we know about most of them, but some are interesting on their own merits.

"Pattern". Made in Japan.

Nothing we know, indeed, about this particular brand: “Pattern”. This particular model is made of celluloid and employs the well-known Japanese eyedropper system. The body is perfectly engraved with the company and brand names: “PATTERN” / THE FURUTA (logo) MFG. CO. LTD. / MADE IN JAPAN.

A Japanese eyedropper pen made of celluloid.


The nib, made of steel, is also engraved: WARRANTED / KOKUJU / IRIDIUM / POINT / -<3>-. It is questionable, though, whether it is the original unit of this pen. The feed, on its side, shows the typical shape found on pre-war pens. All in all, albeit with many reservations, indicated a production date around 1940.

WARRANTED / KOKUJU / IRIDIUM / POINT / -<3>-. A replacement or the original nib? I would say the first...

These are the dimensions of the pen:
Length closed: 127 mm.
Length open: 115 mm.
Length posted: 157
Diameter: 13 mm
Weight: 18.0 g (dry)

The flat feed.

But what matters here is the existence of a well-made pen of an unknown brand. Sometimes it pays off to look for unknown and anonymous pens at flea markets and similar places. There are interesting surprises out there even though, like in this case, further research was needed.

Pilot Capless 1998 – Pilot Iroshizuku Ku-jaku

Bruno Taut
Nakano, August 13th 2017
etiquetas: Pattern, Japón

14 August 2017

Pilot Custom 743 with Oblique Nibs

Contrary to how it used to be in Germany –but not anymore!—, oblique nibs are a rarity in Japan. Sure enough they exist, and I have shown an example of those in a Pilot Custom 67 on these Chronicles, but they are conspicuously absent from today’s catalogs of the Japanese makers. This absence is all the more striking given the very wide variety of nib points offered on those same catalogs. Some of them are truly exotic -–two and three folded nibs, multiple tines, bent up and down, etc.--, but none of them is slanted, none of them is oblique.

Well, that is the usual situation, but there are exceptions now and then, but they do not make it to the general catalog.

Recently (August 2017), at stationery Itoya in Ginza, three oblique nib points were on display. They are size 15 nibs made by Pilot, and were implemented on the model Custom 743.

Three Custom 743 with unusual nibs ready to be tested. The two pens on the background implement more usual nibs: posting and falcon.

The following table summarizes the characteristics of the nibs.

The (left) OB nib named as L3.

Two of them are left oblique, with cut at angles of 20 and 30 degrees, labeled as L2 and L3 respectively. The third nib is a right oblique at an angle of 20 degrees (R2). The imprint on the nibs shows the original nib out of which the special point as cut: two B nibs and one FM. The results can be seen on the written sample: the L3 --an OFM nib-- draws a finer line than the other two, which are OB nibs.

Writing sample of the three oblique nibs made by Pilot.

The (left) OFM nib (L2), on both sides.

The (right) OB nib (R2), on both sides.

These nibs are a limited release offered by Itoya. They are available while stocks last. There are no differences in the price of the Custom 743 implementing these oblique nibs—JPY 30000, plus tax.

So, there exist some oblique nibs in Japan! In small numbers, with almost clandestine distribution… but they exist.

Pilot Custom 823 – Pilot Iroshizuku Ku-jaku

Bruno Taut
Nakano, August 9th 2017
etiquetas: Pilot, plumín, Itoya

07 August 2017


Over seven years of writing… I struggle to provide accurate and reliable information. Sometimes, of course, I have made mistakes and I have tried to mend them with additional texts and notes.

However, what is beyond my reach is how readers understand what I had written. I will mention two examples, often repeated:

-- Years ago I wrote about how it was possible to exchange the nib of a Twsbi Diamond 530 —Twsbi’s first model— with a size 5 nib by Pilot.

A Twsbi Diamond 530 with a size 5 music nib by Pilot. There is an obvious color mismatch between the trim of the [pen and the nib.

Another example, this time with an M point of a Pilot's size 5 nib. Other nibs are possible: Sailor, Pelikan,...

I think my words were very precise: Twsbi Diamond 530 and size 5 Pilot nib. But both in written –on some fora—and through conversations, some people have complained about the problems they had faced. Well, the whole problem was that they were using other nibs and, more often, other pens—the Diamond 540, for instance. But I had said nothing about the Diamond 540!

-- The second example is about the Pilot’s size 10 “falcon” (FA) nib. I published several texts on the deficient performance of that nib—size 10 “falcon” (FA) nib (::1::, ::2::, ::3::). Then, several people replied that they had had no problem with the “falcon” nib… in size 15! Actually, I had also said that I had had no problem with the the size 15 falcon nib on the Pilot Custom 743 (::1::, ::2::). Some others insisted in mixing up the falcon nib with the Falcon (Elabo in Japan) model by Pilot.

Pilot's "falcon" (FA) nibs on sizes 10 and 15. These "falcon" have nothing to do with the Falcon model (Elabo in Japan).

I am well aware, though, of how much louder those who misread the texts are. These people do need to raise the voice on their different experiences, whereas those who read correctly usually keep silent or, at most, write a “thank you” comment.

Much worse is someone taking a picture from the blog—and that is unavoidable— but unable to read what those pictures say. These people, at least, show that the mistake were theirs and not mine. And I am innocent.

This nib is, obviously, a Pilot. Not yet a Namiki.

The conclusion of all this is obvious—I am responsible for what I write, but not for what others read.

Romillo Nervión – Sailor Iron-blue (original ink)

Bruno Taut
Nakano, August 2nd 2017
etiquetas: Pilot, Twsbi, metabitácora