27 September 2018

Nakabayashi Again

The name Nakabayashi is not new on these Chronicles. It is a Japanese company making stationeries and office supplies, and some months ago entered the market of fountain pen inks through a collaboration with Sailor.

Now, Nakabayashi is back on the spotlight with another line of inks—Taccia inks. And these inks deserve some comments.


Taccia inks, by Nakabayashi.

First are the news of Nakabayashi becoming the primary owner of Taccia pens since last April. At that time, Itoya of America handed its share to Nakabayashi.

The second issue if about the actual maker of these new inks. As I said before, the first Nakabayashi inks –those themed after ukiyo-e colors—had been made by Sailor, and being a recent development (June-July of 2018), it was reasonable to assume that the connection between Nakabayashi and Sailor continued.


No news from Sailor on the label.

But that is not the case, and Taccia inks are made by Nakabayashi itself. Then, will there be new batches –new revolutions- in the ukiyo-e line of inks? Who will make them?


13 new colors: kuro, tsuchi, cha, daidai, aka, momo, ebi, murasaki, ao, aoguro, sora, midori, uguisu.


Aoguro. Blue-black.

The Taccia inks are a collection of 13 colors with Japanese names. The inkwells contain 40 ml of ink and cost JPY 1000 (plus taxes). That means JPY 25/ml of ink.

Not an inexpensive ink, but a lot more economical than most Sailor inks, including those made for Nakabayashi.

Is Taccia becoming finally Japanese?


Montblanc 149 – Pelikan Black

Bruno Taut
Nakano, September 27th, 2018
etiquetas: Nakabayashi, Taccia, tinta, Itoya, Sailor, mercado

20 September 2018

1937 Plunger Fillers

Plunger fillers arrived in Japan by the beginning f the 20th century by the hand of Onoto, one of the first brands imported in this country.

The idea of the plunger filler was quickly copied by a number of local companies, as we have already seen on these pages (::1::). Pilot named this filling mechanism as System P (P-shiki), and implemented it in the 1920s.


Two plunger fillers from 1937.

The two pens on display today are a bit more modern. Both are Pilot, implement plunger fillers, and were made in 1937.

The reddish pen is made of ebonite and semitransparent celluloid . The nib is a size 6 made of 14 K gold with no indication of the point. The manufacturing date on the converse side reads 1.37: January of 1937.


Ebonite and celluloid. Size 6 nib.

The second pen is made of black ebonite. Its nib is a size 3, made of 14 K gold, and labeled as “manifold”. The manufacturing date is 4.37: April of 1937. This manifold point is one of the options described on the booklet included in the box. The others described on it are posting, stenographer, coarse, falcon, and oblique.


Classic black torpedo in ebonite.


Size 3 nib, manifold point.

Both pens are very similar in dimensions despite the differences in the nib size. In fact, the size 6 nib is associated to the smaller pen.

Red pen, #6 nib Black pen, #3 nib
Length_closed 133 136
Length_open 117 119
Length_posted 165 168
Diameter 13.6 13.7
Weight (g, dry) 17.9 17.2
Nib size 6 3


Both nibs, side by side. On the left, the size 6 attached to the red pen. The inscription: "WARRANTED / 'PILOT'/ 14 K / MADE IN JAPAN / -< 6 >- / POINTED / HARDEST / IRIDIUM". On the right, the size 3 nib of the black pen: "MANIFOLD / WARRANTED / 'PILOT'/ 14 K / MADE IN JAPAN / -< 3 >- / POINTED / HARDEST / IRIDIUM".


The manufacturing dates as engraved on the nibs: 1.37 and 4.37 (upside down).

On both pens, the tail knobs show the feature Pilot used to identify their plunger fillers―a row of short parallel lines near the base. This detail is, in actual terms, a very safe way to identify this filling system on (early) Pilot pens given the vulnerability of this mechanism. A non-working plunger could be mistaken as a Japanese eyedropper (inki-dome). Both systems are often in need to service, particularly when those pens had been found in the wild (like in a pen show).


The tail knobs of Pilot's plunger fillers carry that line close to the barrel. The inscriptions are the same on both pens: " 'PILOT / THE NAMIKI (N logo) MFG. CO. LTD. / MADE IN JAPAN ".

Finally, it might be worth to remember that from 1938 on, the restrictions on the use of gold in Japan became strict (albeit with some exceptions) . Therefore, these two pens from 1937 with gold nibs are some of the latest such pens from before the War.


Pelikan M800 Kodaishu – Sailor Red Brown

Bruno Taut
Nakano, September 18th, 2018
etiquetas: Pilot

08 September 2018

Procyon

The newest pen in the Japanese market is the Platinum Procyon, released in July 2018.

Not so long ago I spoke about the latest trends in the pen market. One of them was the Chinese avalanche of interesting pens at very reasonable prices. My contention was then that entry and mid level pen by Western and Japanese makers were at risk should Chinese makers create a reliable distribution network.

The Platinum Procyon could be seen as reaction of the Japanese company to those Chinese moves. It is a well made, no-frills, and sturdy pen.


The Platinum Procyon.

In essence, it is a cartridge-converter pen, with a wingflow nib made of steel with two nib points --F and M. All the threads on the pen are metallic: cap to barrel, and barrel to section. The section is semi-transparent, but no ink is visible through it. The cap implements the “slip and seal” mechanism patented by platinum to keep the ink fresh while the pen is stored without use.


The semi-transparent section and the metallic threads. A well made pen.
On the nib, the inscription is very simple: "(P logo) / F". Or M...

But the selling point of this pen is the ability to ink it –when using a converter— with a much smaller amount of ink than Most other pens. To do so, the Procyon feed has a small hole through which the ink circulates on its way to the converter. This system is not particularly new, but neither it is a common feature.


The wingflow nib, and the feed with a hole for an easier filling.
On the cap lip, two inscriptions. On one side "PROCYON"; on the other, "PLATINUM / MADE IN JAPAN".

These are the dimensions of the Platinum Procyon:

Length closed: 137 mm
Length open: 119 mm
Length posted: 155 mm
Diameter: 13 mm
Weight: 27.9 (inked)
Ink deposit: 1.1 ml (cartridge) / 0.6 ml (converter)


"Slip and seal", easy filling, JPY 5000 (plus tax).


Five different colors; two possible nibs.

All in all, the Procyon is an interesting newcomer to the Japanese pen scene. It might be a reaction of Platinum to the Chinese changes in the pen industry of just another move in the very competitive Japanese market.

Its price in Japan is JPY 5000, plus taxes.


Montblanc 149 – Platinum Black

Bruno Taut
Nakano, September 2018
etiquetas: Platinum, mercado, soluciones técnicas