31 October 2021

Anonymous 6-bu

The problem with anonymous pens is that not much you can say about them. You can describe it, guess its age,... and not much more.

An anonymous 6-bu.

So, this is an oversize balance pen made of ebonite and coated with urushi. The nib is made of gold plated steel. It is a generic nib and is not imprinted with any recognizable brand name: “WARRANTED / SPECIAL / IRIDIUM / PEN”. 

The anonymous nib.

The filling system is the Japanese eyedropper.

These are its dimensions:

Length closed: 151 mm
Length open: 135 mm
Length posted: 185 mm
Cap diameter : 21 mm
Barrel diameter: 18 mm
Weight: 40.0 (dry)
Ink deposit: 5.2 ml

The barrel diameter –18 mm-- characterizes this pen as a 6-bu (6-分), where bu is a Japanese traditional unit of length equivalent to 3 mm. (In previous texts I kept saying that this was a 5-bu pen. I have corrected those mistakes. 5-bu pens do exist though, but this is not one of them).

This type of pens –jumbos between 12-bu (36 mm) and 5-bu (15 mm)- are relatively common in Japan, where you can find them in flea markets and antique fairs. Most of the times they are anonymous, as is the case now.

Four balance pens in the same fashion as the anonymous one I am describing today. These, however, are less anonymous --they are Ban-ei-- although you might need to know how to look at them to find out who made them.

A 12-bu pen together with a very normal Pilot Super from late 1950s.

And not much else can I say. Its construction quality and some of its elements –clip, feed-- point at a pen made in the 1950s or early 1960s. Its quality is certainly better than what we can find the myriad of pens made in the early post-war years, which are also common finds in flea markets.

The pen condition, however, was far from perfect—some rust on the nib, some scratches, a faulty back seal... But replacing that seal was enough to discover a very pleasant writer... for a ridiculous price.

The Piiton, unknown model – Unknown blue-black ink

Bruno Taut
Nakano, October 2021
etiquetas: Japón, marca desconocida


Saltire Turquoise said...

Excellent find!

Bruno Taut said...

Thanks, Saltire!


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