Showing posts with label Hero. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hero. Show all posts

26 April 2018

Back to China. II. Integral Nibs

Integral nibs --those made out of the same piece of metal of the section—are rare in the history of pens. Only Parker –models T1 and 50 (Falcon)-, and Pilot –models Myu, M90 and Murex— made to the history books with them.

A collection of integrated nibs by all the makers whoever made them--Pilot, Parker, and Hero.

But the Chinese company Here, under brand names Hero and Paidi, also manufactured some examples, as I reported on these Chronicles (::1::, ::2::). And commentator Tefolium, of the blog "Brown Rice" (茶米(デ—ビ—)ノブログ), added some valuable information to my texts:

The three Paidi Century pens.

Hero 849.

Hero 850.

The Paidi Century pens were made around 2003 at the Jiangyin Craft Factory/Paidi Group of the Shanghai Hero Pen Company. The same company also produced pens with similar integrated nibs branded as Hero (models 849 and 850).

My thanks to Tefolium.

Montblanc 149 – Tomikei Blue

Bruno Taut
Nakano, April 4th 2018
etiquetas: Hero, Pilot, Parker, China

19 December 2016

Family Portait (VII). Integrated Nibs

There is an obvious missing pen on the picture. In fact, the missing pen is the one which started the whole trend—the Parker T1 made in titanium. But for the rest, they are basically all that there is to integrated nibs. From top, clockwise:

-- Pilot M90 (M nib). Manufacturing date, 2009
-- Pilot Murex, black (for man). M nib. Made in 1980.
-- Pilot Murex red (for woman). F nib. Made in 1978.
-- Parker 50, falcon, in brown. Ca. 1980.
-- Hero 849. 1980s.
-- Parker 50, falcon, flighter. Ca. 1980.
-- Pilot Myu with black strips, M nib. Manufacturing date not declared. 1970s.
-- Pilot Myu, plain steel, F nib. Made in 1977.

A detail both interesting and surprising is how the nib points (the iridium) were cut. In this regard, the presumably sophisticated American pen really falls behind the Japanese and Chinese counterparts.

The nib of the Hero 849 was also implemented in the model 850, and in several other branded as Paidi Century. These nibs are all identical.

Platinum 3776 (1978) – Platinum Black

Bruno Taut
Nakano, September 20th, 2016
etiquetas: Hero, Parker, Pilot, plumín

25 February 2016

Matching (XX). Lanbitou 757

Some years ago (::1::, ::2::), the Chinese Shanghai Hero Pen Company surprised the fountain pen community by launching an unabashed copy of the very popular model Lamy Safari. That Hero model, the 359, opened the gates for other Chinese companies to follow suit. The Jinhao 599A is one of those.

However, both Jinghao and Hero models show some very clear differences with respect to the original Lamy Safari: clip and nib for the Jinhao, barrel and cap top for the Hero, were the more evident distinctions.

The Lanbitou 757.

The Lanbitou 757 seems to be even more faithful to the Lamy Safari. Nibs are interchangeable, barrels match both in shape and in size… The external differences are limited to the inner cap –black plastic on the Lanbitou, shiny metal on the Lamy--, and the engraving on the barrel.

Lamy Vista (Safari demonstrator) and Lanbitou 757, side by side. Can you spot the differences?

A closer inspection shows that the materials of these demonstrator versions are different, and the feeds also follow separate ways. But most parts are interchangeable between Lamy’s and Lanbitou’s pens.

The feeds are different: one slit for the Lanbitou, two for the Lamy.

Nibs can be swapped.

The plastics are different.

Both cap tops carry the emblematic cross of Safari fountain pens.

The writing quality of the Lanbitou is more than acceptable. It has a reliable flow that is up to the challenge of much broader nibs than that provided with the pen. This original nib is on the dry side, but could easily be tuned to make it wetter. It is not labeled in any way, but I guess it corresponds to an F point. As I implied before, the pen accepts Lamy nibs without any problem.

Lamy nibs are richer in ink than the Lambitou one, but this is nothing can could be changed easily. Note how the feed is able to provide the ink for all of the points.

All in all, this Lanbitou 757 is nothing else than a knockoff of the Lamy Safari, and all the arguments exposed to finally absolve Hero of any legal infringement do apply here as well. Very few legal grounds could Lamy find to protect a design from 1980.

The question, then, is a different one—is it worth to copy an inexpensive good as the Lamy Safari or the Pilot Petit-1? Let the market speak.

My thanks to Mr. Mizukushi.

Lanbitou 757 with Lamy 1.1 nib – Pilot Iroshizuku Yu-yake

Bruno Taut
Nakano; February 25th, 2016
etiquetas: Lamy, Hero, Lanbitou, Jinghao, mercado

20 January 2016

Matching (XVII). Paidi Century

It might be time to revive this old series of Chronicles on originals and copies and inspirations and homage. In a sense, all I had to say on these issues had already been said, but some recent encounters show new and different models for the copies. Now, the originals seem to be Japanese, and this is interesting in itself.

The following pen is a Paidi “Century 1”. Paidi is just one of the brand names of the well known Shanghai Hero Pen Company.

Paidi "Century 1".

Under the rather colorful body, an interesting nib emerges—an integral steel nib in the fashion of the Pilot Murex/Myu and the Parker T1/Falcon.

The integrated nib.

The Paidi Century 1 (bottom) together with other well known integrated nibs.

Can we speak of copies? This Chinese pen dates from the 1990s and therefore showed up in the market years later than the American and Japanese counterparts. At the same time, the variations in shapes and colors among all these pens are clear and hardly any confusion could exist in the eyes of the consumer. But is this enough to speak of different pens instead of plagiarism? The answer might depend on the side of the border you were in.

From the top, clockwise, Parker Falcon, Pilot Murex, Paidi Century 1.

From the top, clockwise, Parker Falcon, Pilot Murex, Paidi Century 1.

This is the model Century 1, and there are other variations—the Century 5, and the Century oversize with a screw on cap. The same nib was also implemented on some models marketed as Hero.

These are the dimensions of this pen:
Length closed: 135 mm
Length open: 113.5 mm
Length posted: 141 mm
Diameter: 10.0 mm
Weight: 19.5 g
Ink deposit: 1.0 ml

Pilot and Parker rely on cartridges and converters for these models. Only the Paidi is a self-filling pen.

This is a self-filling pen with an aerometric system.

My thanks to Mr. Mizukushi and Mr. Sunami.

Pilot Capless FCN-500R – Montblanc Racing Green

Bruno Taut
Shinjuku, January 19th, 2016
etiquetas: Hero, Parker, Pilot

09 December 2015

Sri Lanka

Just a short travel note today. Some months ago I traveled to Sri Lanka, where I did some stylographic scouting.

I went there thinking I was going to find Indian pens, mostly ebonite eyedroppers. After all, Sri Lanka and India are close neighbors with a history of commercial ties. And on top of that, Sri Lanka has never had any production of fountain pens.

What I found was very different: no Indian pens in sight, but Chinese ones made by Hero. Model 336 was often the only fountain pen available at specialized shops. Its price was LKR 150 in Colombo and between LKR 200 and LKR 250 in Jaffna. Hero ink was also available for a mere LKR 50 per 62 ml ink bottle.

Hero ink at a shop in Colombo. Their price was LKR 50 per bottle (62 ml).

My stylographic shopping.

The exception to this Hero rule was the occasional Pakistan-made Dollar pen model 707. This is a very light piston filler with a steel nib. This nib is not even tipped, and the writing point is made out of bending the nib itself. All in all, the Dollar 717 is a very basic pen and its price does indeed reflect this: LKR 70 (in Colombo).

The Dollar 717. Its price in Sri Lanka, LKR 70. Less than EUR 0.50.

These findings show something we all know—the rapid expansion of China all around the World. Chinese capital for Colombo Port City and Chinese pens for the Sri Lankan market obey to the same principle.

(At the time of publishing this text the equivalence between Sri Lanka Rupee and Euro is LKR 100 = EUR 0.60).

Pilot Vpen – Pilot Blue

Bruno Taut
Nakano, October 10th, 2015
etiquetas: Sri Lanka, China, India, Pakistan, Dollar, tinta, Hero

28 November 2011

Matching (XI). Unas Reflexiones

Tanto definir lo que es una copia como poder distinguirla del original son tareas arduas. Así lo demuestran tanto los procesos legales como los esfuerzos académicos de estudio de las cuestiones relacionadas con la propiedad intelectual. Y al mismo tiempo, las conclusiones –legales y académicas— son a menudo contradictorias, lo que en nada ayuda a resolver estas cuestiones.

Este bolso, ¿es una copia o es un "homenaje" a una marca francesa? No lleva ni marca ni logotipo reconocible.

Algunos, ingenuamente, asumen que algo que se parezca al original no llega a ser copia si no lleva la marca del mismo. Nada más alejado de la realidad: hay multitud de casos en los que esos productos que no llevan la marca son confiscados y destruidos por las autoridades. Y ese fue el caso, años atrás, de las Inoxcrom, Sailor, Pilot, etc. de inquietante parecido con las supuestas obras maestras de Montblanc.

En otros casos, la copia lleva todos los logotipos y los nombres del original, pero el juez ha dictaminado (según Antena 3, España, 21 de septiembre de 2011) que nadie en su sano juicio consideraría ese producto como original y que, en consecuencia, no había ni engaño ni delito.

Es decir, que los criterios legales son, cuando menos, confusos y hasta contradictorios. Siempre nos queda el recurso de caer en el positivismo legal de que es copia todo aquello que el juez decida como tal. Pero los criterios aplicados y las sentencias dictadas, tan contradictorias, ofrecen pocas pistas fiables de antemano.

Si además ampliamos nuestro horizonte y miramos lo que sucede en otros países, todo se hace todavía más complicado. Lo que en Gran Bretaña era copia, en Japón era legítimo. A. A. Waterman en Estados Unidos; Swan, Sailor o Pilot en Japón; Inoxcrom, Apolón en España…. todas ellas han copiado modelos, tecnologías y nombres de marcas de éxito. Y es que es la copia, más que el producto original, lo que predomina en el mercado.

Inoxcrom 55 frente a Parker 21. ¿Copia u homenaje?

Tanto el modelo copiado como las razones para la copia han cambiado a lo largo de la historia. Una de las razones era la de adquirir una tecnología. De hecho, todas las revoluciones industriales, salvo la británica, se hicieron con la copia de tecnologías y de productos ya desarrollados en otros países. Luego, las barreras legales, arancelarias y judiciales, han hecho el resto, aunque a veces, como sucedió con la industria estilográfica española, no fuera suficiente para garantizar su éxito. Y así, Inoxcrom copió la Parker 21 con su modelo 55; y Apolón copió la Sheaffer con plumín Triumph. Hoy en día varias compañías chinas
Rainbow, Hero— insisten en copiar viejos modelos de Parker.

Copia de la Sheaffer Balance bajo el nombre de Hawaiian.

Otras copias buscan más la asociación con una imagen de éxito que les proporcione unos beneficios económicos inmediatos. Es el caso de la Hawaiian Balance en celuloide o de la multitud de copias chinas de las Montblanc modernas. O de las numerosas copias de las viejas Duofold de los años 20.

Copia china de una Montblanc Starwalker.

Claro que si la pluma original pierde su función inicial de escribir, hacer la copia resulta más sencillo: basta con simular el aspecto exterior porque el hecho de escribir con ella es muy secundario.

Sailor Profit. ¿Copia u homenaje a la Meisterstück de Montblanc? En este caso, la copia supera al original.

En última instancia, nada está claro en este mundo de las copias. Y a falta de una decisión judicial, nuestras circunstancias personales inclinarán la balanza hacia un lado o hacia otro. Tengamos también en cuenta que las legislaciones y los criterios de los jueces son muchas veces contradictorios.

La paradoja última es que la copia es muchas veces mejor que el original.

(Sailor Ballerie – Sailor Miruai)

Bruno Taut
13 de noviembre de 2011
[etiquetas: mercado, Montblanc, Parker, Hawaiian, Inoxcrom, Apolón, Sailor, Pilot, Swan Japan, A. D. Waterman, Rainbow, Hero]