31 July 2018

Tokyo International Pen Show 2018

Despite the active pen community existing in Tokyo, this big city lacks an international pen event. Sure there are small fairs (::1::, ::2::, plus the pen fair in Maruzen-Nihonbashi) in Spring attended by some foreign aficionados, but those fairs are basically Japanese in their scope.

Some initiatives were tried in the past with irregular success. The Sapporo Pen Show in 2013 was a one-time thing. Kobe’s Pen Show is now a regular event in November. And Tokyo never got that lucky despite several attempts.

But now, the Tokyo International Pen Show —TIPS— seems to gain the necessary momentum. Pen maker Eboya and stationer BunguBox are the organizers.

The event will be celebrated on September 29th (from 13:00 to 17:00) and 30th (from 10:00 to 16:00) at the Taito Municipal Industry and Trade Center –Taito Hall— on the seventh floor. The entry fee will be JPY 500 per day.

There exist, right now, a list of traders/exhibitors. Most of them are Japanese, and the international representation lies on just five brave traders from Singapore, Taiwan, Switzerland, and France (2).

May the TIPS be successful, for Tokyo deserves a truly international pen show.

Platinum Preppy – Platinum Blue Black

Bruno Taut
Nakano, July 31st 2018
etiquetas: Tokyo, Japón. mercado, evento

25 July 2018

More Sailor Inks: Nakabayashi

The ink business seems very attractive… even to companies with no interests in the fountain pen world.

Such is the case of Nakabayashi, a Japanese company producing stationeries and office supplies. And the closest to a fountain pen it has is a set of notebooks with a decent paper—and no pen, although there is a link to Taccia pens on its website in Japanese. But ink business might be too good to ignore and Nakabayashi searched the company of Sailor to produce its own line.

The five brand-new inks by Sailor... or by Nakabayashi.

So far, these Nakabayashi-Sailor inks follow a very Japanese argument—colors from ukiyo-e engravings by Hokusai and Hiroshige. The first batch of colors is named “Blue Revolution” and suggest that there might be more revolutions in the future. Well, more colors.

The first revolution was blue. Can we be sure thse colors could not be found in the market before?

The “Blue Revolution” is formed by five colors named as “konjô”, “konpeki”, “ai-iro”, “tetsukon” and “koiai”. They come in 50 ml bottles and the boxes are decorated with reproductions of popular engravings by the above-mention artists.

The ink bottle resembles the new presentation of regular (black, blue and blue-black) Sailor inks, but the aspect ratio is different. Photo courtesy of TinJapan.

The price in JPY 2700 plus tax. This means JPY 54/ml, which is in between the Shikiori line of inks at JPY 50/ml and the Ink Studio series at JPY 60/ml.

Many actors involved in the this operation: Nakabayashi, Sailor, a "stationery sommelier" by the name of Hiroshi Isuzu, and a color supervisor named Hide Matsumoto.

Am interesting feature of these Nakabayashi inks is that they are not associated to a particular shop –with a limited distribution—but to a whole company whose distribution network spans over the whole country and beyond. We might need to wait, though, to see where these inks might become available.

In any event, these moves are showing that the ink market is still attractive. Will it ever become saturated? Only at that time prices will go down.

My thanks to FPN member and friend TinJapan.

Platinum Preppy – Platinum Blue-black

Bruno Taut
Nakano, July 24th 2018
etiquetas: tinta, Sailor, Nakabayashi, mercado

23 July 2018

A Correction

Yes, a correction to a previous mistake.

On a recent Chronicle I mentioned that a pen decorated by Mr. Iwase had its body made by lathe master Yasuaki Momose. Well that is not correct.

As I have mentioned previously, Mr. Iwase perform his trade on two types of pens. On one hand he uses Western pens, mostly Pelikan and Montblanc, as canvases for his decorative overlays.

A Montblanc 149 and a Pelikan M1000 decorated by Mr. Iwase.

The other activity is more complex: Mr. Iwase gets old –and unfinished— pen bodies, finds the right nib and feed for them, and decorates it with raden (shells) and urushi. And most of those old pens had been made by Mr. Momose, the old master now retired.

The body of this pen is the work of Mr. Yasuaki Momose.

But not all of them. The case of the pen described on May 22nd 2018, the pen body belonged to an old batch of unfinished Yotsubishi pens, made by the company Ishi Shoten.

Let the mistake be corrected.

Kubo-Yotsubishi-Iwase – Platinum Black

Bruno Taut
Nakano, July 22nd 2018
etiquetas: Iwase, Yotsubishi, metabitácora, Momose Yasuaki, urushi, raden

14 July 2018

Nib Sizes, Feed Diameters

Few elements in a pen are really standardized. Each maker created –still creates– many of the components and they only had to match the other parts of the pen without any regard to other manufacturers.

The closes one could get to normalization was in the area of nibs, where at some point there was a consensus about their sizes. In that environment, sizes 6 and 8 were quite big; sizes 10 and 12 were huge, rare, expensive and highly desirable.

And half the world away, Japanese pen makers had their own life to live. Sure Pilot numbered their nibs in a similar fashion --from 0 to 8--, but the consistency in the size was far from exemplary. Sailor, on its side, used some crazy numbers—sizes 30, 80, and 200 for some of the nibs that, in actuality, were rather small.

An old Sailor nib labeled as size 30.

Nowadays, Japanese makers are very consistent in the sizing of their nibs, but the naming is very arbitrary.

Pilot, on its more common line of nibs, calls them as 3, 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, 50. These numbers, however, do not mean much.

Platinum has three basic nibs—the 3776 with two and three tines, and the President. There is no indication of size.

Sailor, finally, has three basic sizes called medium, big and superbig.

And in the West, German nibs –third party nibs—tend to follow a more systematic approach. Bock nibs, albeit having their own number, follow a relevant pattern—the diameter of the feed. And the same happens with JoWo nibs: the feed diameter sets the nib size.

So, the question is how all these nibs –Japanese and German—compare. The following tables show the diameters of the feed of some manufacturers:







5 6.0
10 6.2
15 6.4
20 6.5
30 7.6
50 9.0

Pilot and Namiki nibs. From left to right, sizes 5, 10, 15, 20, and 50. Sizes 20 and 50 are implemented currently only on Namiki pens. However, the examples here shown are still Pilot (::1::, ::2::). Missing on the table is size 3. And from the picture, sizes 3 and 30.







3776 old model

music 2-tined nib

3776 new model 6.5

Two 3776 nibs. These are the nibs implemented on Nakaya pens, the "alter ego" of Platinum. On the left, the feed and the nib of the old version of the regular nibs. This feed is still used on the music nibs of Platinum and Nakaya. On the right, the modern nib and feed of the 3776 series of pens and of Nakaya pens save for the cases of music nibs. Missing on the table and on the picture, the President nib.







Medium 5.8
Big 6.4

Sailor nibs and feeds of sizes medium (left) and big. Missing on the picture and on the table, the "super big" size of the "King of Pen" models.







060, 076, 180 5.0
220, 250 6.0
380 8.0







#5 5.0
#6 6.0
#8 8.0

From left to right: Bock model 250 (6.0 mm in diameter), Bock model 380 (8.0 mm), and JoWo nib of size #6. All the feeds on the picture are made of ebonite.

The following pictures show how some of those nibs compare across brands.

Japanese nibs with similar external sizes. From the top left, clockwise: Sailor nib size big, Platinum 3776 Century (current model), Platinum 3776 (previous model), Pilot size 10.

Assorted pens whose nibs are about the size of a size 6 nib. From bottom left, clockwise: Pelikan M800, Clavijo with a JoWo #6, Senator pen with a Bock 250 (6.0 in diameter), Eboya with a Bock 250, Romillo with a Bock 250, Pilot with a size 20 nib, Pilot with a size 15 nib, and a Montblanc 146.

Assorted pens with nibs of about a size 8. From the bottom, clockwise: Romillo with a Bock 380, Eboya with a Bock 380, Montblanc 149, Pelikan M1000, and Sailor King of Pen.

The conclusion is interesting: Japanese follow their own systems and the actual sizes are very different to those of the German manufacturers.

Montblanc 149 – Platinum Black

Bruno Taut
Nakano, July 13th 2018
etiquetas: plumín, Japón, Alemania, Pilot, Platinum, Sailor, Bock, JoWo

07 July 2018

A Collection?

At first, most of us stylophiles, follow the same pattern. At some point we became attracted to fountain pens and started buying and accumulating as many pens as we possibly could.

And then came the typical question seasoned collectors ask:

‘What do you collect?’

The new aficionado has only one realistic answer:

‘Everything I can afford.’

An accumulation...

The question, needless to say, calls the newcomer in a number of ways: be selective, be wise with your resources, be patient… All those things so difficult to watch at first. Only time and experience teach wiser strategies in the art of collecting. But there is one detail seasoned collectors rarely say or do not really think about:

It is not just one collection you can pursuit, but several of them.

A collection. Just a possible collection. Or just one of them.

The discipline of collecting is learnt in an almost unconscious way by becoming aware of the limited resources at our disposal. And soon afterwards we also see that several arguments –several collections— is a way to keep the joy of collecting alive. After all, a strict limit on our collection might transform our hobby into a nightmare.

However, money counts, and money sets the true limits, and money is mostly everything. And collecting is a class activity.

But there is a collection to every budget. Or, even, more than one.

Sailor pocket pen, WG nib – Tomiya Tomikei Blue

Bruno Taut
Nakano, July 7th 2018
etiquetas: estilofilia