Showing posts with label España. Show all posts
Showing posts with label España. Show all posts

25 December 2019

RomilloPens. 2007-2018

In 2015 I wrote a report on Romillo pens. Now, four years later, and with the operation stopped it might be worth to revisit some of the pens of this short-lived pen brand based in Madrid, Spain.

It started in 2007, created about 10 models –mostly made of SEM ebonite, made in Germany--, implemented Bock and in-house nibs, and disappeared around 2018 (see note at the end) leaving behind a big mess in terms of unpaid commitments.

The body of work left behind, though, deserves some attention.

The following pictures show some of the models by this company.



From left to right: Nervión, Essential Writer, Sil, Eo, and WiPens Toledo.

From left to right on the previous picture:
– Model Nervión in terracota ebonite. A size 8 Bock nib (18 K) with ebonite feed. Eyedropper. Made in 2011.
– Model Essential Writer in black ebonite. Size 6 Bock nib (18 K), plastic feed. Eyedropper. Made in 2010.



Sil model.

– Model Sil in red ripple ebonite. Size 6 Bock nib (18 K), plastic feed. Eyedropper. Friction-fit cap. Made in 2012.



Model Eo with a size 9 nib.

– Model Eo in blue ripple ebonite with celluloid band. In-house size 9 nib (18 K), ebonite feed. Eyedropper. Made in 2013.



WiPens Toledo. An unsuccessful attempt to create a secondary brand.

– WiPens Toledo. Black ebonite. Size 6 Bock nib (14 K), plastic feed. Cartridge-converter. Made in 2013. This pen was not marketed under the Romillo brand, but as WiPens, an attempt to create a second brand for more inexpensive models.



Starting from the bottom, two Essential, a special version of the Essential with a two tone nib, and an Essential with the in-house flexible nib named K.

This second collective picture shows a collection of pens of the model Essential. From bottom to top:
– The first two are from 2009. They implement size 6 Bock nibs of 18 K gold with plastic feeds. Eyedropper fillers.



A very customized version of the model Essential made in 2015.

– The third is a special model made in 2015. The nib is an in-house size 7 made of 18 K gold. Ebonite feed. Eyedropper.



The in-house K nib. Flexible, but it never worked satisfactorily due, possibly, to an inadequate feed. Essential made in 2012.

– The fourth (on top) is from 2012. It sports an in-house flexible nib named K, made of 18 K gold. Plastic feed. Eyedropper.

Romillo pens were expensive pens, with an average price of EUR 1000. Was that justified by the quality of the product? The pens here shown are very simple in their structure. Being eyedropper pens they had no movable parts or sacs to be adjusted. Internally, though, we see that all the threads (save in the case of the much more inexpensive WiPens Toledo) are made of brass, and there are elastic seals in the ink deposit to prevent leaks. Were those elements needed or effective?

Were these pens better that, say, most Indian eyedroppers also made of ebonite?

As eyedroppers, both Indian pens and Romillos have the same problem—the tendency to blob ink and ruining the document in progress.

Another problem of several of the Romillo models (Essential, Nervión, Eo) was the basic structure of the pen, with the cap attaching to the section instead of to the barrel. On these pens, uncapping them could result in unscrewing the barrel from the section and opening the ink deposit. This, in an eyedropper pen, is a very serious design flaw.


The cap attaches to the section instead of to the barrel.

Paradoxically, the cheapest of the models produced by the Romillo family –the WiPens Toledo- had solved these problems at the price of making a much more conventional pen.

RomilloPens was, all in all, a short-lived operation that left behind a small bunch –about 450-- units of expensive and attractive pens. Despite their flaws.


My thanks to Croma, Eliperin and ValenSpain; all of them members of Spanish pen community.


NOTE (26/Dec/2019): I have corrected the date of cease of activities of RomilloPens to 2018 after some sources mentioned that they could buy some pens as late as that year. Since late 2015 or early 2016, the Romillo family avoided Spanish customers and focused on foreign markets while continuing fixing and tuning nibs. However, this situation did not last for too long and is currently shut down.


WiPens Toledo – Montblanc Irish Green

Bruno Taut
Nakano, December 24th 2019
etiquetas: Romillo, Spain, WiPens

10 February 2015

RomilloPens

The history of fountain pens in Spain is the story of a frustration—a big number of operations that failed to create a sustainable activity. Inoxcrom and, to a much lesser degree, STYB were the only survivors of the more or less glorious days of Spanish pens in the 1950s and 1960s.

However, in recent years, several small pen brands have appeared in Spain to cater the stylophile craving for more artisanal writing tools. Estilográficas Clavijo and Gimena are two examples of them.


Romillo Essential.

The better known of all those new companies is, however, RomilloPens. The Romillo family founded the brand in 2007 and after a couple of years of experiments, the RomilloPens Essential was launched. Since then, about 10 models have been produced. All of them save the latest arrival called The Celluloid Collection, are made of German ebonite.


Two Romillos with Bock nibs in sizes 6 and 8.

Initially, all the nibs were made by Bock –sizes 6 and 8. After some years, in 2012, they started the production of a flexible nib, the K nib. Apparently very flexible, there are reports questioning the ability of the feed to provide the required inkflow. Starting in 2013, RomilloPens makes its own nibs (sizes 7 and 9), albeit feeds are still provided by Bock.

The philosophy of the company is to make pens resembling old models from the 1910s and 1920s using traditional materials and implementing arcane filling systems, although cartridge and converters are an available option for some models. RomilloPens claims all its pens were made by hand—obviously an exaggerated claim as lathe and files are in order to machine the ebonite. However, being made to order allows for a great deal of customization.

The final result is an attractive product with a steep price. In fact, for an average of EUR 1000, many an aficionado might, in fact, prefer a real vintage pen in pristine condition to a newly made pen without the glamour and tradition of a well known name.


The flagship of RomilloPens is the model Nervión. On the image, the version made of terracota ebonite with a size 8 nib by Bock.

This is a risky initiative, and a brave one too. Can the market support it? Time will tell. This luxury market is very competitive; most pen companies have luxury models, and there are some small operations specifically targeting this high-end sector. And at the end,... Montblanc wins.


NOTE ON THE NAMES: The name of the pen brand is, actually, RomilloPens, and is owned by the company Pixeline S. L. Romillo is the name of the founding family. RomilloPens, however, sounds strangely artificial in Spanish (probably in English too) and I tend to use the family name, Romillo, as the brand name.


Romillo Nervión Terracota – Pilot Blue

Bruno Taut
Madrid, November 27th, 2014
etiquetas: España, mercado, RomilloPens, Bock

23 October 2014

Madrid Pen Show 2014

November is the month of the Madrid Pen Show. This year, it reaches its 11th edition and has become one of the greatest pen events in Europe. Indeed a remarkable feat given the lack of manufacturing tradition (of pens, that is) in this city, and the mostly domestic-market-oriented pen industry in Spain in general.

The Madrid Pen Show will be celebrated during three days –from Friday 14th to Sunday 16th— in November at the hotel NH Eurobuilding. The admission fee is EUR 3 per day or EUR 5 for the whole show. Free invitations are available courtesy of the sponsor IguanaSell: visit their shop in Madrid or asked for those via the submission form.




So far there are 68 traders who have confirmed their assistance. They come mostly from Europe, but there are usually traders from the US as well. Some of them are well known in the pen scene in general, and active participants in the pen-show world tour (not that it officially exists as such, but sure there are pen shows every weekend somewhere in Europe or America).

If you happen to attend this pen show feel free to say hello.


Pilot Jumbo size 50 maki-e – Pilot Blue

Bruno Taut
Nakano, October 22nd 2014
etiquetas: Madrid, España, evento

11 September 2014

Casa Hassinger

There was a time when there existed a production of Waterman ink in Spain. And maybe even more than just ink…


A bottle of Waterman ink produced in Barcelona.

A man by the name of Egon Hassinger acquired the license to produce ink from the American company Waterman. And the production was made in Barcelona, as can be read on the bottle. But the activity of the company Casa Hassinger might have included the assembly of Waterman fountain pens for the European market. The company imprinted a small H on clips and nibs to mark those units passing through their hands in Barcelona. Some stylophiles in Spain even suggest that some parts could have been manufactured locally, including the nibs. These could have been manufactured by Damiá Onsés Ginesta, a prolific nibmeister who provided units for mostly any Spanish pen company at one point or another.


A Waterman clip with the Hassinger mark. Picture courtesy of waltonjones.


The Hassinger's Waterman. Picture courtesy of waltonjones.

Casa Hassinger was registered in Barcelona at the address C/ Balmes 75. Egon Hassinger lived in this city between 1915 and 1948, when he passed away. The company was liquidated in 1990.

The bottle of Waterman ink marketed by Hassinger can be seen at the Gaudi’s Casa Milà in Barcelona. This is but one example of local production of ink of some well known brand. The cases of Parker and Pelikan had already been mentioned on these Chronicles.

My thanks to stylophile waltonjones for his pictures of the Hassinger’s Waterman fountain pen.


Pilot Elite pocket pen, manifold nib – Platinum Black

Bruno Taut
Nakano, September 10th 2014
etiquetas: tinta, Waterman, España, Barcelona, nibmeister Onsés Ginesta

11 March 2013

Pelikan in Japan (I)

The star of the season, fountain pen wise, is undoubtedly the newly released Pelikan M800 with tortoise shell finish.

As we know, there is a precedent to this pen—the elusive M800 tortoise-shell released in 1987 in a very limited number of pens. The official story, by Pelikan in the voice of the official archivist Jürgen Dittmer, speaks of this pen as commissioned by some Spanish retailers. Some rumours even mentioned some shop by the name of “galeria”, that could very well be the now defunct department store Galerías Preciados. However, nobody in Spain seems to know anything about this story, and nobody in Spanish speaking fora acknowledged owning one of these pens.


The 1987 Pelikan M800 in brown tortoise shell.

Other voices speak of this 1987 pen as made especially for the Japanese market. I have no solid argument to favor this idea over the previous one, but given the popularity of Pelikan in Japan, I tend to think of this idea as more plausible. Actually, several of this pens can be seen at stylophile meetings in Tokyo. And there is also a previous example of Pelikan pens made thinking of the Japanese market.


A Pelikan 400NN made by Merz & Krell in the 1970s.

The Pelikan model 400, now named as 400NN, was phased out in 1965, and Pelikan then sold the machinery to produce it. But the demand for that model in Japan made Pelikan to commission its production to the company Merz & Krell. This makes the 400NN M&K relatively common in Japan.

But all those arguments provided no evidence, and the mystery of the 1987 Pelikan M800 in brown tortoise shell remains.


Platinum 3776 (2002 model) – Diamine Graphite

Bruno Taut
Machida, March 7th, 2013
etiquetas: Japón, España, Pelikan, Merz and Krell

07 August 2012

The Spanish Connection

Thanks to a fellow stylophile I could access the following instruction booklet. It corresponds to the Pilot Capless model released in spring of 1965, and described on these pages some days ago.

The pen...

The interesting detail of this booklet is that it is written in Spanish. And the obvious question is on which market Pilot was thinking at the time of printing it. Or, where in the Spanish speaking world were these Pilot Capless distributed by the mid 1960s? I do not have any answer. The obvious candidates, in my opinion, were Argentina, Mexico and Spain, and given the vocabulary I would think of Mexico as the final destination. But this is just a guess.


... and its instructions.

Nevertheless, this booklet shows some early attempts to distribute Pilot pens, or at least its Capless model, in less developed markets—the world for Pilot was not just Japan, for obvious reasons, and the US. At the time, mid 1960s, Spanish-speaking markets were dominated by Parker, in competition with some local brands if those existed. Such was the case in Spain.

Around 1960, should we remember now, Platinum pens were present in several European countries, albeit under the name of local brands: Joker in Italy, and Presidente in Spain.

My thanks and appreciation to Mr. Nikos Syrigonakis.

New Clip (Arabian Ford) Jumbo pen – Unknown black ink

Bruno Taut
August 6th, 2012
etiquetas: España, Japón, Presidente, Platinum, Joker, español (idioma), Pilot, Capless, México.

20 July 2012

Scrikss in Spain

Some weeks ago, the author of the blog Write to me Often –Zeynep— spoke of the Turkish brand Scrikss and about the Spanish origin of the brand. She mentioned the lack of reliable records on the history of the brand as well as the contradiction between the Spanish records (Registry of the Intellectual Property) and the claims of the Turkish company. These are my findings related, mostly, to the Spanish history of the company.

This brand, Scrikss, was first registered in Barcelona in 1959 by Luis Gispert Miró for his company Industrial Gispert [NEBOT 2009]. The name, some say, was inspired by the Catalan word for to write: escriure [SCRIKSS 2012]. During these years, besides producing pens, the company also supplied nibs to, at least, the Spanish pen company Soffer. In 1963, the brand name and the machinery were sold to Estilográficas Jabalina [NEBOT 2009]. Juan Navarro Sánchez had founded this company in 1948 [SAM DIVERSA 2012] or 1949 [NEBOT 2009] (application filed in November 1947 [RODRÍGUEZ 2003]) as a one man operation to repair fountain pens in Albacete, Spain.

Two Scrikss pens made in Barcelona. Photographs by Mr. Alberto Linares.

It seems, however, that Jabalina barely used the name of Scrikss for its fountain pens. On the picture we can see a transitional model: box and pressing plate of the filling system are labeled as Jabalina, while the cap still holds the name of Scrikss. Although some accounts exist [RODRÍGUEZ 2003] of some initial production of pens in the early 1950s, it is reasonable to think that the main production of pens started with the acquisition of this machinery in 1963.

A transitional Scrikss-Jabalina model--both brand names coexist on the pen. Photographs by Mr. Eduardo Alcalde.

A Jabalina pen made in Albacete. Photograph by Mr. Alberto Linares.

At some point during the 1960s (maybe in 1963), the brand name Scrikss was sold to a Turkish entrepreneur, eventually with the intervention of the Swiss company Mowe SA. [SCRIKSS 2012]. Was Jabalina just interested on the machinery and then sold the brand rights right after acquiring them?


Jabalina, actually, continued producing pens and sometime either in the 1950s [SAM DIVERSA 2012] or in the 1980s [MOLINA 2005] it changed its name to STYB (its model Compact has already shown up on these chronicles), as it is known nowadays.

On the Turkish side, the company was established in Istanbul and started the development of products with the initial support of Spanish technicians (reference). It produces pens mostly for the domestic market while acting as importer of Cross in Turkey. Its website also mentions Pelikan as imported by this company, but some other records claimed this was not the case for the past years.

On the picture we can see the model 17, the first fountain pen made by Scrikss in Turkey in 1966, and still on the online catalog of the company. This model 17 has an uncanny similarity to the Súper T Olimpia released in Spain in 1961.

Turkish Scrikss model 17. This model dates from 1966.

My thanks to Alberto Linares, Eduardo Alcalde and Zeynep; all friends in the unreal realm of fountain pens.


REFERENCES:

MOLINA 2005. Carlos MOLINA. “Styb: tinta líquida para cien millones de bolígrafos”. Cinco Días. August 26, 2005.
NEBOT 2009. Pedro NEBOT. La estilográfica española. November 2009.
RODRÍGUEZ 2003. Juan Carlos RODRÍGUEZ. “La increíble historia del boli ‘Made in Albacete’”. El Mundo. España. November 2, 2003.
SAM DIVERSA 2012. Sam Diversa Corporation. Website. http://www.sanchez-muliterno.com/samdiversa/industrial.html . Retrieved July 2012.
SCRIKSS 2012. Scrikss Turkey website. http://www.scrikss.com.tr/History. Retrieved July 2012.


Montblanc 221 – Wagner 2012 ink, red-black

Bruno Taut
May-July 2012
etiquetas: Scrikss España, STYB, Scrikss Turquía, Jabalina, España, Turquía

18 January 2012

Family Portrait (III)

The following pictures might very well summarize the connection between these pens from East and West… or might them all be Eastern pens. Joker, Presidente, Platinum... all made by Nakaya Seisakusho.

Two Platinum, one Joker, three Presidentes.

Their nibs...

I will note that the unit I have of the Platinum Honest 66 is in very bad condition. It even lacks the original nib and is not usable! So, I am on the hunt for a unit in better shape.

...and their caps.

My thanks to my friend Kostas K.


(Pilot Myu 701 – Pilot blue, cartridge)

Bruno Taut
January 16th, 2011
[labels: Presidente, Joker, Platinum, Japón, España]

01 December 2011

More Spanish Platinum

Doroteo Pérez y Pérez, as we already know, registered the brand Presidente in Madrid in 1959. And we also know of the actual Japanese origin of, at least, one Presidente pen model, which was closely related to the first Japanese cartridge-converter pen—the Platinum Honest 60 from 1956. Now two more Presidente models have reached my hands and more questions could be answered.

A Platinum Honest 66, on top, and two Presidentes.

These two pens are, again, Platinum. However, this time the Presidente signs are more clear than in the first model, in which the Spanish name (PRESIDENTE / Registrada) was only present as a subtle engraving on the barrel. Now, on these, the brand name is engraved on the nib, on the cap lip and on the filling plate, as well as on the barrel. The original Japanese brand remains on the nib and on the cap jewel, like if the Platinum logo were also the logo of the Spanish brand.

The Presidente nib, engraved with the Spanish name. This time, the nib is not sealed with the JIS logo of the Japanese Ministry of Industry.

Actually, these pens seem more related to the Platinum 66 model, from 1960. And, as was the case with the previous Presidente with respect to the 1956 Honest 60, the Spanish pens are thinner and shorter than the Japanese original.

The metal plate of the aerometric filling system is engraved in Spanish, albeit with some mistakes: "PRESIDENTE / PARA LLENAR TINTA APRETAR / EL CARTUCHO CUATRO TIEMPOS".

Again, these Presidentes are aerometric fillers as opposed to the more advance cartridge-converter system of the Platinum Honest 60 and 66. This is a perfect logical decision—the Honest 60 cartridge had been released in Japan just in 1956 and it would not reach Europe in a long while.

These caps belong to one Joker 60, two Platinum Honest pens, and three Presidentes.

In conclusion, these two Presidentes are in fact Platinum pens. The metamorphosis to become Spanish out of a Japanese pen is now more thorough, but it did not erase its original genoma completely. In this regard, these pens resemble the case of the Italian Joker 60.

These are the dimensions of the Presidente pens:

Black cap Presidente:
Diameter: 10.5 mm
Length capped: 135 mm.
Length open: 116 mm.
Length posted: 147 mm.
Weight: 11.6 g.

Golden cap Presidente:
Diameter: 10 mm
Length capped: 130 mm.
Length open: 115 mm.
Length posted: 140 mm.
Weight: 12.9 g.

And these, those of the Platinum Honest 66:
Diameter: 12 mm
Length capped: 140 mm.
Length open: 123 mm.
Length posted: 147 mm.
Weight: 11.0 g.

However interesting all this might be, the most relevant conclusion is related to the entrepreneurial activity of Doroteo Pérez y Pérez. Now we see that this man did something else than just buying a batch of old Platinum pens, engraving their barrels and selling them as Presidente. On the contrary, he did negotiate with the Japanese company and changed the engraving on nibs and caps to make the pens more Spanish. Nonetheless, those Presidente pens never lost the Platinum signature, and never the Spanish brand became popular or even known.


(Pilot Petit-1 second generation – Pilot Light Green)

Bruno Taut
November 28th, 2011
[etiquetas: Platinum, Presidente, España, Japón, Joker]

29 July 2011

Reliquias

Per l'Olga.

La gente no debería festejar el paso del tiempo,
aunque siempre sea noble el obstinarse en celebrar el triunfo del enemigo.
Pedro ZARRALUKI. El responsable de las ranas. 1990.

En este año 2011 se cumple el 50 aniversario del modelo Olimpia de la empresa Súper T. Normalmente, éstas son fechas para celebrar y para descorchar una botella de buen cava. Sin embargo, el panorama estilográfico español, y aun europeo, no invita al optimismo.

Súper T Olimpia.

Tres compañías producen hoy plumas estilográficas en España. La más evidente es Inoxcrom. Su situación económica es mala y eso se nota en los productos que proporcionan prestigio pero no dinero. Su catálogo de plumas apenas ha cambiado en los últimos años y esta división parece ir a la deriva, sin una estrategia comercial clara. No obstante, sigue presente en bastantes comercios en Madrid y, presumiblemente, en España.

Inoxcrom 77.

La segunda marca española de plumas –desde un punto de vista histórico— es STYB, antigua Jabalina. Produce tan solo tres modelos de estilográficas y su presencia en el mercado es anecdótica.

STYB Compact.

Finalmente queda la empresa Pixeline como creadora de la marca Romillopens. Son estas plumas artículos de gran lujo, de producción pequeña y artesanal. Se distribuyen tan solo a través de una única tienda física, en Madrid, y, por supuesto, de su página web. Por tanto, las Romillopens no se ven en las tiendas del ramo.


Súper T, por su lado, desapareció en 1976 y sus plumas son ya reliquias en manos de coleccionistas y comerciantes u objetos olvidados en un cajón. Desgraciadamente, me apuro a añadir, porque tanto la Gester como la Olimpia son plumas de buena calidad y de diseño interesante.

Pero ante este panorama, limitarnos a brindar y a darnos palmaditas en la espalda por el cumpleaños de la Olimpia no conduce a nada. ¡Es que ni siquiera podemos exclamar “per molts anys” al brindar!

Por ello quisiera que hubiera alguna iniciativa más atrevida que nos permita mirar al futuro de la estilográfica española con más optimismo. Con objeto de que en algún momento, con motivo de otro aniversario, sí podamos brindar por la larga vida de esa pluma, de esa marca, de esta industria.

(Kaweco Sport transparente – Senator Regent Royal Blue)

Bruno Taut
29 de julio de 2011
[labels: Súper T, Inoxcrom, STYB, Romillopens, España]

10 July 2011

Honest Pen

Past April I spoke about a strange Spanish pen by the name of Presidente. Actually, the only detail speaking of Spain on that pen was the engraved sign on the barrel: “PRESIDENTE / Registrada”. The rest screamed Japan out loud. Well, not just Japan but Platinum.

The Spanish Presidente pen. The brand was registered in Spain by Doroteo Pérez y Pérez in 1959.

The Honest 60 model by Platinum from 1956.

Today’s pen seems to be the actual Platinum relative to that Spanish pen. It is the Platinum Honest 60 pen from 1956.

The Honest 60's inscription on the barrel. Very different to that on the Spanish Presidente.

The top jewel, however, is the same on both pens.

Apparently, this Japanese company released the Honest model in 1955 with a bulb filler (according to Ron Dutcher, of Kamakura Pens). In 1956, the pen was marketed as the Honest 60 with a cartridge/converter system: “Good bye, ink bottle” was the pen’s motto at the time. This pen was, in fact, the first Platinum’s cartridge/converter model. In 1953, the ten year durable nib had been introduced and, therefore, the10 years imprint. The number 60 made reference to the company’s goal to become one of the top ten pen companies by year 1960.

The black pen on the back is the Honest 66 from 1960. On the front, the Honest 60 (1956).

This ad was taken from the Platinum's website. It speaks of the Honest 60, but the pen shown is the later model Honest 66. The date Christmas '60 is correct for the later 66 model.

The Platinum Honest 66 (P66-100) model. A mayor difference with the older 60 model is the smooth barrel on the 66 versus the stepped one on the 60.

In 1959, Platinum realized that goal could not be accomplished and put it off to 1966. And a refurbished Honest pen –the Honest 66 model, code number P66-100— was released.

The Honest 60, disassembled.

The Honest model here shown is the cartridge/converter model from 1956. And this filing system is the basic difference with the aerometric Spanish relative. The rest are mere cosmetic differences. Even the steel nib is engraved in the same way: “PLATINUM / (Company logo) / 10 YEARS / HONEST / (JIS logo) 11”.

The Platinum's Honest 60 steel nib.

Then, how did the aerometric Presidente become Spanish? How did the bulb filler or the cartridge/converter system become aerometric? Was the aerometric some sort of production test for those pens finally sold in Japan? I have no answers for these questions, but at least here we have the obvious relative to that not-so-honest Spanish pen registered by some Doroteo Pérez y Pérez in 1959. And the quest for information continues.

(Navy Gold 200 – Pelikan 4001 Royal Blue)

Bruno Taut
July 9, 2011
[labels: Presidente, Platinum, España, Japón]