30 March 2023

The Marzullo Collection

“A maior casa de canetas-tinteiros da America do Sul”. The largest shop of fountain pens in South America—that was the claim of Casa Marzullo in the early 1940s.

Published in A Noite, August 1944.

Might that be right or just a marketing slogan, the fact is that Casa Marzullo was a very prominent stationer in the 1930s in Rio de Janeiro. According to their ads, and there were many of them, Casa Marzullo offered a wide range brands—Sheaffer, Parker, Esterbrook, Pelikan... And Pilot too.

Published in O Jornal, December 1939. Pelikan, Eagle, Sheaffer, ... and Pilot too. Other ads included Montblanc, Esterbrook, and others.

This ad is not specific of Casa Marzullo, although this shop appears among those selling the Pilot 38R on display. Published in O Malho, December 1940.

The Pilot pens we see on those ads, and those by Hachiya Company, are primarily the 38R with “nomikomi-shiki” filling system, “abastecimento magico” in Portuguese. But there is also evidence –although not ads—of high end Pilot pens in Brazil. And those are maki-e decorated pens that somehow ended up in the hands of Casa Marzullo. That is the Marzullo Collection.

The Marzullo Collection.

In all likelihood, these pens were imported by Hachiya, Irmãos e Companhia and passed –or sold— to Casa Marzullo. And they saw the light at the liquidation of the old assets of the stationer.

The set is formed by 10 pens, not all of them complete. Some lack nib and feed, others lack the whole section; a couple of them have their clip damaged or broken. All of them are branded as Pilot, as opposed to those similar pens marketed at the time in the West as Namiki or Dunhill-Namiki.

Their filling systems are “nomikomi-shiki”, albeit these pens lack the internal deposit. This detail is not new on pens from those early 1940s.

A complete section together with nib --size 3-- and feed. The internal deposit is missing.

The pens, or rather their decoration, are signed by some of the heavyweight craftsmen of the Kokkokai: Kõho (光甫), Shõetsu (松悦), Ritsuzan (立山), Shisen (紫川), Shõmi (松美).

Signed by Shõetsu (松悦). Produced by the Namiki Kan, as was the case of all pre-war maki-e pens nade by Pilot-Namiki.

Signed by Shisen (紫川).

Not much else is really known about these pens. Their presence in Brazil is surprising enough, and opens up the possibility of finding other maki-e pens in this and in neighboring countries.

The Marzullo Collection is now in the hands of a Brazilian stylophile.

Pilot Custom 74, Yamada Seisakusho – Diamine Teal

March 28th, 2023
labels: Brasil, Pilot, maki-e

24 March 2023

The Hachiya Brothers

The country of Brazil has already shown up on these Chronicles. Pilot built its first manufacturing plant in this country in 1954, and since then pens and inks an other products have supplied the local market.

But the history of Pilot in Brazil started some years before that 1954.

Undated ad of Hachiya e Irmãos.

The migration of Japanese people to the Americas started by the end of 1800s with the end of the “closed country” policy of Japan. First they went to Hawaii and North America, but the 1908 gentleman's agreement between Japan the US redirected those migrating movements to Latin America. As a result, Brazil became the home to the largest number of descendants of Japanese in the world.

Almanak Laemmert, 1915. Reference of the company Hachiya e Irmão, located in the street Theophilo Ottoni 99.

The first member of the Hachiya (蜂谷) family to arrive in Brazil was Gosuke Hachiya in 1907. By 1910 the Hachiya company was founded to import Japanese products –chinaware from Nagoya, celluloid goods from Osaka--, and to export semi-precious stones from Brazil.

Undated ad of Franklin pens signed by Hachiya, Irmãos e Companhia.

And by 1938, the Hachiya, Irmãos e Companhia (Hachiya, Brothers and Co.) started offering fountain pens. The first mention is about a brand called Franklin, a name used by Pilot for export pens in those years. And in March of 1939 Hachiya the ads were about Pilot pens directly.

Among them we can see the well known 38R with the easy-drinking –nomikomi— filling system, dubbed in Portuguese as “abastecimento magico”.

Vida domestica, 1939. Ad of Pilot pens: duravel, bonita, mais barata. Durable, beautiful, inexpensive!

O Cruzeiro, 1940.

All this came to an end in December of 1941 with the Pearl Harbor attack and the beginning of the war between Japan and the US.

Hachiya Irmãos tried to re-structure the company to avoid the confiscation of assets. That, in fact, took place four months later—in March of 1942 the Brazilian government ordered the confiscation of all goods owned by German, Italian and Japanese citizens.

Hachiya Irmãos was effectively dissolved in March of 1944.

So this is, in summary, the short history of Pilot in Brazil before the War. And in another text we will speak about some of the pens from that period found in Brazil.

Lamy Al-Star – Lamy Blue

March 24th, 2023
labels: Brasil, Pilot