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

2 comments:

Nikos said...

Very useful post! You are totally right to say that often these pens get confused with the eyedropper ones. I have 5 of these Pilot plungers in need of restoration. Two have the celluloid section, the others are black ebonite with urushi. The largest is a flat top one with a size 8 nib.
Thank you very much for your research and contributions to the community!

Bruno Taut said...

Thanks, Nikos, for your very nice words. I am happy to be of use.

Now, you make me drool with the description of your pens...

Cheers,

BT

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