14 October 2021


I wrote about the Pilot Short many years ago, at the beginning of these Chronicles, and it might be worth to back to this pen with more information.

Sailor released the Mini model –Sailor's idea of a pocket pen— in 1963, and Platinum followed, or copied, the idea soon afterwards. Pilot, on its side, waited til the end of 1968 to join the ranks, but in the meantime an original approach to a compact and expandable pen was attempted—the Pilot Short.

That was in 1966, and the idea was a telescopic pen—a pen whose body could become longer for the comfort of the user. To accomplish that idea, the lower end of the barrel, made of plastic, slides inside the metallic overlay of the pen. And to complete the trick, the barrel tail has the right diameter for a secure posting of the cap, thus making the pen even longer and easing a comfortable grip.

The telescopic mechanism makes the pen 15 mm longer.

As for the rest, these pens sport semi-hooded nibs made of 14 K gold, although some on variations the gold grade is hidden inside the section. The nib point is not stated on the nib engraving. The filing system is by cartridges (standard “simple spare”) and converters (CON-20, CON-40, CON-50).

Nib and feed. On this example, the gold grade is not shown when the nib is in place in the pen.

The variations of these pens were mostly related to the external appearance: plain or checkered steel, checkered gold plated, and an aluminum alloy named Alumite by Pilot. Most of them are flat-tops –”vest” style in Pilot vocabulary--, but there is a couple of rounded-end models—balance. Prices ranged between JPY 1500 and JPY 4000.

Chronologically, the last model of the Short model was, paradoxically, non extendable. It shared the external dimensions of the balance model (SB-200SS) when closed, but when open nothing would slide in or out of the barrel. This model –SB-100MS— was cheaper: JPY 1000.

SB-200SS (top), and SB-100MS (bottom). The later does not become longer.

The Pilot Short was discontinued in 1968, and soon afterwards the first Pilot pocket hit the market.

It is hard to asses whether the Pilot Short was a success or not. The short time in the market says it was not. However, this pen is easy to find in flea markets and in pen events, which points at it being a popular pen with many units produced and sold.

Anonymous 6-bu jumbo pen – Kobe Ginza Sepia Gold

Bruno Taut
October 13th, 2021
etiquetas: Pilot


Trevor said...

Another family of pens of which I did not know much. Thank you for these informative pieces. Much appreciated.

Papish said...

The telescopic possibility is interesting. Are there any other examples of this technique in the japanese market?

I really like the zogan decoration. Minimal but elegant.

Thank you for sharing beauty and knowledge.

AS said...

your posts are always highly appreciated

Bruno Taut said...

Thank you all for your comments.

Responding Papish's question, I do not know of any other telescopic pen in Japan. Vanco used telescopic pistons at some point, though. Outside Japan, though, the Rotring/Parker Esprit was a telescopic pen.



Saltire Turquoise said...

Can you tell us more about the Anonymous 5-bu jumbo pen?

Bruno Taut said...

Thanks, Saltire. I will write something about that pen.



Post a Comment

Your comments are welcome and appreciated.