Showing posts with label Parker. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Parker. 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

06 February 2017


There is no such a thing as a fake maki-e pen, I said in the past, provided the maki-e was actually there. On such pens, what matters most is the decoration, and the pen becomes secondary. Such might be the case of the pen on display today.

An anonymous and interesting pen.

Nothing do I know about the pen itself and I can only describe it. It resembles of a Parker 51 (and to some English Duofolds from the 1950s), with which it shares the clip. The filling system is aerometric. The material of the body is ebonite.

There are three inscriptions on the pen, but none of them says anything about its origin. On the cap lit it just says “R14K”. On the pressing plate inside the barrel, the inscriptions reads “SPECIAL / TUBE CASE”. Finally, on the nib, “14 KT GOLD / “WARRANTED” / 4 / TOKYO”.

There existed several operations in Japan in the 1940s and 1950s with the name Tokyo on it, but this nib inscription might only mean where this pen had been made.

The Parker clip and the "matsuba" decoration.

Overall, this is a well made pen, but this detail might be almost irrelevant when compared to the decoration. It is a very discreet and understated pattern of short red lines over a black background. Its name is "matsuba"--pine tree twigs. This decorative tecnique doe snot have any specific name, but it is included in the group of simple techniques “kawari-nuri”. In actual terms, this seems to be more of a drawing with urushiurushi-e— than a real full fledged sprinkled maki-e. The decoration on this pen is not signed.

The inscription on the nib says "14KT.GOLD / "WARRANTED"/ 4 / TOKYO".

Given the overall style of the pen, it is reasonable to date in the mid 1950s, when copies of the best seller Parker 51 were common in Japan.

These are the dimensions of this anonymous pen:

Length closed: 132 mm
Length open: 118 mm
Length posted: 156 mm
Diameter: 13.6 mm
Weight: 17.3 g (dry)
Ink deposit: 0.8 ml

Oaso “Safari” – Pilot Iroshizuku Yama-budo

Bruno Taut
Nakano, February 2nd 2017
etiquetas: maki-e, Parker

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

05 June 2016

Duet Nib

Vanco was a brand of pens that has already showed up on these Chronicles. The Vanco pen on display at that time was a celluloid pen from the 1930s that implemented a telescopic piston as filling system. That alone proved a technical ability matched by very few companies of the time. However, there is very little information in the Internet about these pens. And the book of reference on Japanese pens –Fountain Pens of Japan, by A. Lambrou and M. Sunami (2012)— mentions Vanco briefly on four occasions, but does not provide any detailed information nor includes any picture of them.

The Vanco pen I am presenting today is a postwar unit. It is, in fact, a much simpler model than the piston filler I mentioned before, but it is nonetheless interesting for several reasons.

The sticker on the cap reads "DUET". That on the barrel, "VANCO / ¥500". On the barrel, the inscription says 'THE / "VANCO" / HIGH CLASS PEN'. On the clip, "VANCO".

The instruction sheet starts by declaring that all Vanco pens are certified by the ministry of Industry and are stamped by the JIS mark. Then, it describes the different filling systems. On the bottom right corner we find the addresses of the company: Osaka, Tokyo, and Fukuoka.

The pen is in mint condition, in its original box, and the set includes the instruction sheet. As we can see, at the time –mid 1950s--, Vanco manufactured four different filling systems: the V-type (option A), a lever filler (B), a bulb filler (C), and a Japanese eyedropper (D). The V type seems to be a sort of twist filler, but the text only speaks about the pen being transparent and how the Vanco filling system is of great capacity and prevents ink leakage due to the body heat. Anyway, the pen in question today implements a bulb filler mechanism.

The cap carries a sticker with the word “DUET” on it. This refers to the very special nib this pen sports. In essence, the nib is just a gold plated unit made of steel, but a closer look shows a very careful point cut. The iridium was conformed to be used also upside down, with the feed facing up.

The Vanco "Duet" nib. Note the shape of the nib point.

Now, writing upside down with a fountain pen (“reverse writing” some call it) is often possible; after all, the ink is right there in between the tines. However, very rarely is the nib polished for that way of writing and this results in an unpleasant experience. So, the Vanco Duet nib is, if only by this, very interesting and unusual. Years later, in 1966, Sheaffer launched the model Stylist with a “two way” nib that was later copied by Parker and Platinum.

Writing sample of the "Duet" nib in both regular and reverse writing. The reverse writing is more pleasant--if only, it is juicier. The paper is from a Tsubame notebook with lines at 55°.

But Vanco, in its early experiment, went further away—the nib points cut on this nib are radically different: an extra fine for regular writing and a (juicy) medium or broad for reverse use. It is hard not to think of Sailor Concord nibs, either on the Cross (double nib) or on the inverted fude (::1::, ::2::) configurations. However, Vanco accomplished this dual writing with a more elegant strategy—Vanco simply cut the nib point like a careful and skilled sculptor would do. And there was no need to bend or to overlap nibs.

Feed and nib of the Vanco pen. The inscription reads "VANCO / DUET / (JIS mark) / SUPER / (2)".

The converse side of the nib carries an additional inscription: "(unknown logo) / BEST / 672". I do not know what it means.

The pen is on the small size:
Length closed: 131 mm
Length open: 116 mm
Length posted: 152 mm
Diameter: 12.7 mm
Weight: 14.8 g (dry)
Ink deposit: 0.6 ml

All this shows how Vanco, that somehow obscure pencil and pen maker from Osaka, deserves more attention than what it currently receives.

Platinum pocket pen 18 K, Yamada Seisakusho – Diamine Graphite

Bruno Taut
Nakano, June 5th 2016
etiquetas: Vanco, Sailor, Platinum, Parker, Sheaffer, plumín, soluciones técnicas

Post Scriptum: This text you just read is the 500th Chronicle in this blog. 500 texts over a little over than six years… Not all of them are worth to read, but I have tried to provide information and, now and then, some food for thought. Now I wanted to thank all who took some time to read these pages and those who took the effort of writing comments and providing some feedback. To all of you, thank you very much.

03 February 2016

Matching (XVIII). Chuanren 3323

The Pilot Petit-1 is already well known on these Chronicles (::1::, ::2::, ::3::). Over three generations of this model, we have seen several modifications, but in essence it has remained the same: a cartridge-only pen, steel nib only available in F, colorful plastic bodies… The nib, might be worth to remember, is shared with that of the disposable Vpen, and therefore it is easy and cheap to have a Petit-1 with an M point. The feeds of both Petit-1 and Vpen carry a wick connecting nib and ink deposit. Some argue that this wick makes the trick for such reliable and ink-ready pens even after days or weeks of inactivity.

The third generation of Pilot's Petit-1 fountain pens.

All that for JPY 200 (USD 1.65 at the time of writing), plus taxes. The main drawback for this pen might be the limited distribution outside Japan.

Then we have a Chinese version—the Chuanren 3323 Student Pen, manufactured by Zhejiang Chuanren Pen Co. in Lishui (Zhejiang province in PR China).

Four decorations for one pen, the Chuanren 3323 Student Pen.

The similarities between the Chuanren and the Pilot are startling, as can be seen on the pictures. But there are also some differences. The Chinese pen is about 2 cm longer than the Japanese one. This extra length allows for the use of an ink converter.

From top to bottom, the Chuanren 3323, the 3rd generation, the 2nd generation, and the 1st generation of the Pilot Petit-1.

Chuanren 3323 and 2nd generation Pilot Petit-1, side by side.

The Chuanren 3323 Student Pen, disassembled.

The nib, as is the case with the Pilot Petit-1, slids off the feed. And the feed does not have any wick in the ink channel.

In fact, the Chuanren 3323 comes with converter and, in principle, there might be no need for a cartridge. However, the converter shows a number of flaws: great interaction with the ink, and limited pumping power. Short Parker cartridges are a clear alternative.

The nib, made of steel, is a smooth F point with a decent flow. The feed follows the traditional pattern—an ink channel without any wick, as opposed to the scheme of the Pilot Petit-1 feed.

Writing sample of the Chuanren 3323. Regular flow for a neutral --neither very dry or very wet-- nib. But the feed is really full of ink, as can be seen on the following picture.

The inked feed. The B engraved on the feed has nothing to do with the nib point. Probably, it refers to the feed and pen color.

And inked Chuanren. The ink sticks to the walls of the converter defying gravity.

The construction quality of the Chinese pen is mediocre and is significantly worse than that of the Petit-1. Cap and body of the Chuanren are never properly aligned when the pen is capped, for instance. Plus, the cap cracked after a couple of days of use, and the nib and feed can be extracted from the section all too easily.

This picture shows two of the issue of this Chinese pen: the cracked cap and the misaligned cap and barrel when the pen is closed.

These are the dimensions of the Chuanren 3323 and the Pilot Petit-1, 3rd generation:

.Chuanren 3323.

Pilot Petit-1
.3rd generation.

Length closed (mm) 127 108
Length open (mm) 113 94
Length posted (mm) 148 132
Barrel Diameter (mm) 13 14
Weight, dry (g) 9.5 9.6
The weights are dry with either an empty converter (Chuanren) or an empty cartridge (Pilot).

As the Pilot pen does, the Chuanren pens come in different colors, and the company often changes the overall looks through variations on the pen graphics.

The typical price of the Chuanren 3323 is around USD 1.75 (JPY 210 at the time of writing), which poses an interesting question: Is it worth to copy an inexpensive model? Sure enough, the Chinese pen offers some advantages over the Pilot Petit-1; but, is that enough to create any economic profit out of a two-dollar knockoff pen? Can the Chuanren 3323 attract the buyers of the Petit-1?

My thanks to Mr. Sunami and to Mr. Mizukushi.

Chuanren 3323 Student Pen – Wagner 2008 ink (Sailor)

Bruno Taut
Nakano, February 2nd, 2016
etiquetas: Pilot, Chuanren, Parker, 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

23 April 2015

Mandarin Yellow

For better or worse, the modern icon in fountain pens is the Montblanc Meisterstück model. Therefore, that style –balance shape with a number of rings on the body—is imitated by many pen companies. In some distant past, the model was different—the Parker 51 at some point, and, before that, the flat-top Duofold.

Japan is not different, and a number of copies of all those models have appeared on these Chronicles: The Eiko, a Platinum 10 Years, modern torpedo models… to name just a few.

In 1929, Pilot released a desk pen in bright yellow color. The base, Masa Sunami shows in the book Fountain Pens of Japan (A. LAMBROU and M. SUNAMI. ISBN 978-0-9571723-0-2), is equally yellow and includes a calendar. The pen itself is impressive enough on its own merits—bright yellow with black section and tail--truly inspired in the well known Duofold Mandarin Yellow by Parker.

The barrel is engraved: "PILOT" / US PAT (Namiki N logo) * 1600293 / PILOT PEN MFG CO LTD. The asterisk (*) means that there might have been some character in there, but it is now unreadable. The patent deserves some reflections by itself.

This Pilot, however, is a lever filler and implements a relatively small nib—a size 3 made of 14 K gold with a very appropriate, dare I say, posting point.

The noble side of the nib. The inscription reads "POST / 14 K GOLD / PILOT / 3".

These are its dimensions:
  • Length (open): 185 mm
  • Diameter: 9 mm
  • Weight (dry): 13.8 g

Typical flat feed of the Pilot pens of the time.

This particular unit was made in 1929 according to the imprint on the nib.

My thanks to Mr. Mochizuki and Mr. Sunami.

Romillo Essential Black – Parker Quink Blue

Bruno Taut
Shinjuku, April 20th, 2015
etiquetas: Pilot, Parker, Japón