Showing posts with label Center. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Center. Show all posts

07 May 2013

More Center

Japanese pens are a lot more than maki-e and urushi, and a lot more than Pilot, Platinum and Sailor. Hundreds of pen operations struggled in the domestic market during the post-war years. Then, two political decisions changed the landscape—the first was the implementation of the Japan Industrial Standards (JIS). Although it was not obligatory for the brands to adopt those norms, the JIS mark became visible on the nibs of the major companies. That mark ensured that the nib material was as declared, thus preventing the easy fraud of passing as solid gold those nibs that were just gold plated.

The second measure was the liberalization of the Japanese market to foreign–made pens in 1964. And according to Lambrou and Sunami (Fountain Pens of Japan. 2012. ISBN: 978-0-9571230-0), several hundreds of million of Chinese-made pens were sold in Japan on the following years, which seem like an awful lot of pens given the population of Japan: between 90 and 100 million people along the 1960s.

In any event, this foreign competition drove many Japanese pen operations out of the business and focused their activity in other products. That was the case, for instance, of the Sanwa Kôgyô Co. Ltd., owner of the brand Center. The company, based in Nara, is still active and on its website it mentions year 1964 and the endpoint to its pen production, started in 1932, due to the liberalization of the Japanese pen market.

Therefore, the model Center 61 was certainly produced before that year of 1964.

Sailor white pocket pen, 14 K gold nib – Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Brown

谷村あいる & Bruno Taut
March-April, 2013
etiquetas: Japón, mercado, Center

04 July 2011


2500 pen ventures at any given time anywhere are a huge number. But that is what Andreas Lambrou and Masa Sunami say about the post Second World War pen scene in Japan. Many of them simply assembled pens out of pre-bought parts and did not last long in the market. But nonetheless, the number of Japanese companies registered in texts and websites remains big. Most of them are minor and their pens are hard to find in the market, not to mention that too often their quality do not justify any effort in finding them. But some do find their way to your hands…

Not much can be found about the pen brand Center. Ron Dutcher, from Kamakura Pens, says that it was based in Osaka, either from the 1930s or from right after the war, and closed down by the mid 1950s. On the other hand, the Fountain Pen Network list of Japanese pen manufacturers speaks of this brand as owned by the company Sanwa Kogyo Co. Ltd. from Tokyo. It produced, the FPN link says, some celluloid pens in the 1950s.

The Center 61.

Today’s pen is a cheap model labeled as Center 61 on the barrel in bright pink celluloid. The nib is of the nail type, with the feed totally covered by the section. It is a semi flex, most likely made of steel. The filling system is aerometric. The dimensions are as follows:

Diameter: 10 mm.
Length capped: 127 mm.
Length uncapped: 116 mm.
Length posted: 140 mm.
Weight: 14.4 g (empty).
Cap weight: 5.0 g.
Ink deposit: 0.6 ml.

My best estimation is that this pen dates back from the late 1950s given its similarities with some Pilot Super models of that time.

Obviously, not all Japanese pens show good taste. This one is certainly kebai.

(Kaweco Sport – Diamine Amazing Amethyst)

Bruno Taut
July 4, 2011
[labels: Center, Japón]

Note added on May 7th, 2013: The company Sanwa Kogyo still exists, but it is (and was) based in Nara, not in Tokyo. More information, on this other Chronicle: More Center.