11 March 2020

S System

Early Pilot pens, in those first 10 or 15 years of the brand, employed a number of filling systems. On these pages we have seen a number of them—the very early inner tube system (naikan shiki), safety pens, star system (hoshiawase), lateral lever (teko shiki), plunger, Japanese eyedropper (inki-dome shiki)... Some of those, of course, were more successful than others, and survived beyond those early days.

However, the usual literature does not mention the very simple eyedropper system, an eyedropper without any shut-off valve, just like Waterman and Parker (and others) used at the turn of the twentieth century. And that is why the following pen is so interesting.

A mid 1920s Pilot.

The pen is in immaculate condition. It even sports the original sticker showing the price –JPY 4.50-- and the nib point –細, F. It seems like it had never seen any ink, although a letter from the technical service of Pilot suggests that there had been some issue with the pen.

JPY 4.50, F nib point (細).

The instruction sheet calls its filling system S or standard type. And the instructions also warn the user that ink drops on the nib (or on the paper!) are indicative of having little ink in the deposit—a typical problem of eyedropper pens even nowadays.

A Western eyedropper, or the S System.

Signed by Pilot Technical Service, without date. The owner had sent the pen because of some ink leak. The response suggests that the only problem was a small amount of ink in the deposit. The letter assured, finally, the pen had been thoroughly checked for optimal performance. Somehow ironic...

The color of the ebonite is also very interesting. Its very uniform brown color, inside and outside, suggests an original non-black ebonite. In fact, we know of some Pilot (or Dunhill Namiki) pens of the time with a similar color.

Early 1930s Dunhill Namiki. Photo courtesy of Mr. A. Mur.

This is a small pen. It implements a size 1 nib made of 14 k gold . These are its dimensions:

Length closed: 122 mm
Length open: 113 mm
Length posted: 155 mm
Diameter: 9.5 mm
Weight: 7.3 g (dry)
Ink deposit: ~ 0.6 ml

On the barrel: '"PILOT / NAMIKI MFG. CO. / MADE IN JAPAN'. And the lifebuoy encircling an N.

Size 1 Pilot nib: "14Kt GOLD / "PILOT" / 1 / MADE IN / JAPAN". Mid 1920s.

All in all, an interesting pen that shows a number of uncommon features in a Pilot from mid 1920s—a regular Western eyedropper (S system in Pilot terms) and an unusual ebonite color.

And on another text we will revisit the filling systems Pilot used in those early years of the company.

My thanks to Antolin2.0, A. Mur, Poplicola-san and TinJapan.

Sailor FL Black Luster – Sailor Black

Bruno Taut
Nakano, March 11th, 2020
etiquetas: Pilot, soluciones técnicas


Bruno Taut said...

My friend TinJapan tried unsucessfully to publish the following comment:

The color of the pen reminds of old gold urushi with gold flecks. In fact, when I bought it, I thought that it was just that. It was not until later, when I removed the section, that I knew for certain that that was the color of the hard rubber.

Each part is of uniform shade, something I have not seen in any of the faded BHR pens I have or have viewed. I am certain that this is the color it was originally. However, I have never seen nor read about any hard rubber pen or any hard rubber item having this color.

Thanks for doing the research on this.


Bruno Taut said...

Thanks, TinJapan, for your help in making this post.

The color of that ebonite is certainly original, but now we see that was not unique. Indeed a great and interesting pen!



Brian said...

I'm no expert on 1920s printing techniques, but that letter strikes me as something that could not have been drafted and printed just for this particular customer. They must have had a standard form ready to reassure timid eyedropper users that their pens were still working.

Bruno Taut said...

Thanks, Brian. I suspect that too.

The pen really looks unused, which supports this idea.

Thanks for passing by an commenting.


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