Showing posts with label Presidente. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Presidente. Show all posts

24 June 2020

Reliable Information.

Some years ago I wrote about a nominally Spanish pen brand by the name of Presidente. Then, a fellow stylophile in Greece contacted me apropos of a similar pen sold in the Greek market under the name Joker.

A fruitful conversation ensued, and we reached to a couple of tentative conclusions:
– Joker was presumably a Greek company, or based in Greece, as opposed to being Italian, as its advertisement in Greece had suggested.
Hifra, another brand marketing similar pens, was likely to be South African.

From top to bottom, a Joker, a Hifra, and a Presidente. But all of them are, actually, Platinum.

Now, how sure can we be of those conclusions? We can safely say that Presidente was Spanish because there are records fo such a brand registered in Madrid, Spain, in 1959; but we do not know of similar registries in Greece or in South Africa.

However, we have other information—Joker as a brand seems unknown outside Greece and, interestingly enough, in Italy, while there was some Joker ink in Greece as well. Hifra, on its side, seemed like a domestic name in some South African texts. Therefore, in absence of contradicting information I feel that those conclusions were reasonable.

Joker ink, in Greece. Photo by Kostas K.

The problem here is to decide which sources are reliable. And that in a field where most of us are aficionados with no pay, with other obligations, and with not many resources to do any research.

So, who is reliable and who is not?

We are not living in an academic environment and we do not have peer-reviewed journals to publish our findings. Consequently we must rely on the good or bad name each of us created along the years through our contributions to the community. And the rest is up to the receiver.

Some weeks ago, my friend Inky.Rocks published a video on the ink Pilot Blue-black, about which I had spoken on these pages. Inky.Rocks pointed out that this ink is water resistant by reacting with the cellulose in the paper. This claim was challenged on Reddit, and that was good. The problem was that the challenger did not offer any alternative to the behavior of the Pilot ink, nor any reason why Noodler's should be the only maker with cellulose-reacting inks.

What vintage do you prefer for your Blue-black?

Pilot Blue-black ink is water resistant. That I can prove. The sample was one full minute under running water. Some dyes were removed from the iron-gall inks. The modern formulation, cellulose reacting, is remarkably resistant to water.

At the end of the day, the facts are that Pilot Blue-black is a water resistant ink without being iron-gall or pigmented. And that a former Pilot worker, well respected in the Japanese pen community, explained the change in the formulation of the Pilot Blue-black ink in the 1990s to whoever wanted to listen.

Are those arguments conclusive? Certainly not. But they are better than nothing.

And that is why critical sense is so important.

Pilot Capless LS – Pilot Iroshizuku Yama-budo

Bruno Taut
Nakano, June 23rd, 2020
etiquetas: tinta, Presidente, Pilot, Joker, Hifra, Pilot, metabitácora, Platinum

27 March 2014

From the Box

Some time ago I spoke about the obscure brand Hifra. Thanks to fellow stylophile Kostas K we could guess it was a South African operation. However, many of the pens labeled as Hifra were, in actual terms, Platinums from 1950s and 1960s, much in the fashion of brands Presidente (Spain) and Joker (Greece), as was shown on these Chronicles.

Later on, another stylophile from Japan –Mr. Sugimoto, aka Papershowed a couple of brand new, new old stock, Hifra pens with their boxes. Those are the very same pens I am showing now.

Those boxes include some all-too brief manuals that say nothing relevant to the origin of the brand.

Hifra model 4421. Actually, a Platinum Honest.

The pens are well-known Platinums with 10-Years nibs made of steel. Both models –Hifra 4420 and Hifra 4421— implement aerometric filling systems.

Hifra model 4420. Note the unusual Hifra logo on the right hand side of the box.

However, the logo engraved on the barrel is the common globe with letters F and H.

It might be worth to remember that the usual logo of Hifra was remarkably similar to that of Platinum in the 1950s and up to 1968 (or so): a globe with the letters F and H in it instead of the S and N of Shun-ichi Nakata of the Platinum’s. But on the box of pen model 4420 there is a completely different design even though the pen barrel is engraved with the traditional globe.

In the search for information, reading the pen and its associated information is key, but too often there is not much to read… In this case, not even an address to locate the company.

My thanks to Kostas K and to Mr. Sugimoto.

Waterman CF – Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Brown

Bruno Taut
Nakano, March 26th, 2014
etiquetas: Hifra, Platinum, Presidente, Joker

16 October 2012

South African

This text is the final result of a collaboration of stylophiles in several countries: Eduardo Alcalde, Elena Kouvaris, Kostas Kouvaris, and myself, Bruno Taut.

To any reader of these Chronicles the story is already well known, almost trite. Sometime in the late 1950s or early 1960s some Platinum pens, barely disguising their Japanese origin, were sold in Europe under the name of some local company—Presidente in Spain and Joker in Italy (most likely) were reported on these texts. Were those the only cases? Not at all.

The Hifra 4421, open. The text on the barrel reads "'HIFRA' / TRADE (FH logo) MARK / REG 85809 / 4421".

Hifra is a rather obscure pen brand. Not much is known and the few questions on its origin published in Internet fora produced assorted answers including Spain and Israel. However, South Africa seems to be the source of most Hifra pens for sale online. Some quotes in South African texts (Teachers and memories; The training of a good stenographer, on p. 18 of the document) also point out at pens of this brand as common domestic objects for some time. Therefore, in absence of definitive proofs of its origin, I will settle on the idea that Hifra was a South African pen brand.

Hifra 4421 (top) and Platinum Honest (bottom), disassembled. The engraving on the Hifra's nib reads "HIGHGRADE / SUPERIOR / IDEAL / PEN".

Detail of section and nib of the Hifra 4421. The Platinum logo can be seen on the cap jewel.

But, were Hifra pens made in South Africa? Some of the models, as seen online, have a very different origin—they are Platinum pens and were made in Japan.

Such is the case of Hifra’s model 4421. It is in fact a Platinum Honest with aerometric filling system and steel nib, albeit with some minor variations with the original Japanese pen. The cap on the South African pen keeps the Platinum globle logo (SN stands for Shun-ichi Nakata, founder of Platinum in 1919). The barrel is engraved with the name Hifra and with a variation of the globe logo: instead of S and N, the letters encircled are now F and H. The nib and the feed are identical to those of some Platinum and Presidente models.

From top left to bottom right, Presidente, Hifra 4421 and Platinum Honest. All are aerometric fillers. The size and position of the Platinum logos are different in all these three pens, but their internal structures are the same.

These are the Hifra 4421 dimensions:
Diameter: 10.5 mm.
Length closed: 135 mm.
Length open: 122 mm.
Length posted: 150 mm.
Weight (dry): 15.1 g.

Nothing is really known about these Platinum in disguise. Platinum exported pens to some South American markets in the late 1940s, but those were, in essence, copies of the Wahl-Eversharp model Skyline. President, was, on the other hand, the name Platinum used for its export models thus avoiding confusion with English brand Platignum. But that is basically all we know.

The search for more missing Platinum continues.

Pilot E, manifold nib, quarter-switch filler – Pilot Blue-black

October 2012
labels: Sudáfrica, Hifra, Presidente, Joker, Platinum

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.

14 May 2012

10 Years

War restrictions in Japan in the 1930s and 1940s severely reduced the availability of some metals for the pen industry. As a result, most (if not all) nibs at the time were made of steel. These are the shiro” nibs that have already shown up on these chronicles.

After the war, the availability of gold was slowly increasing and some luxury pens were equipped with nibs made of this noble metal. However, many a company played the trick of confusion between gold plated and actual solid gold nibs. The official response came from the almighty Ministry of Industry (actually, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, MITI): The Industrial Standardization Law was enacted in 1949 and by 1954 the Japan Industrial Standards, JIS, logo imprinted on nibs guaranteed the material out of which they were made.

Platinum (Platinum Sangyo Co. Ltd. at the time), on its side, created the 10 year guaranteed nib in 1953 after perfecting the manufacturing process. Let us remember now that the main argument for the use of gold over steel is the much higher resistance to corrosion of the noble metal.

Platinum Honest 60, on the left, and Presidente pens, on the right, disassembled.

On the left, the Platinum Honest 60 nib. On the right, that of the Presidente. Both are identical "10 Years" nibs save for the obvious gold plating of the later.

On these chronicles, paradoxically, the first encounter with a 10 year nib by the hand of
the nominally Spanish pen Presidente. Of course, we now know that it was a variation of the Platinum Honest, whose nib, we could also see, was also engraved with the "10 years" sign. But these are not the only examples. 10-year nibs were made in a number of shapes and sizes, and these are some examples.

These nibs belong to an aerometric Honest (left), to a copy of the Parker 51 (center) and to an oversized luxury lever filler (right).

From left to right on the previous picture:
--Nail shaped nib for an aerometric Honest pen.
--Hooded nib. The pen is basically a copy of the Parker 51.
--Big size 20 open nib. It belongs to a luxury lever-filler pen.

These are the pens of the previous nibs. From top to bottom, the oversizez lever filler with the size 20 nib, the copy of the Parker 51, and the aerometric Honest pen.

Platinum 10 Years, copy of Parker 51 – Sailor Sei-boku

Bruno Taut
May 13th, 2012
etiquetas: Platinum, Presidente, Japón, plumín

05 May 2012


We encountered the Platinum Honest 60 pen at the time of understanding the Japanese origins of two apparently European brands: the Italian Joker 60 and the Spanish Presidente. The Platinum Honest 60, let us remember now, was the first cartridge-converter (C-C) pen ever marketed in Japan. That was in 1956. In previous years, some sources said, there existed some self-filling Honest pen models.

The Platinum Honest. The sticker says, in katakana, "puratina (Platinum) / Y400 / onesutopen (Honest Pen)". The barrel is engraved with a similar script, but in alphabet: "PLATINUM / (Platinum logo) / HONEST PEN".

Such is the pen on display today—a Platinum Honest (no figure) with an aerometric filling system. This pen is remarkably similar to the first Presidente pen described on these Chronicles. Same grey color for the body, same gold plated steel nib, same barrel and section. The basic difference is on the cap jewel—on the Presidente, the jewel had the old Platinum logo engraved; on this Honest the logo is engraved on the clip, just by the black top jewel.

The Platinum logo, on this pen, is not engraved on the jewel but on the clip.

The nib is a "10 year" made of steel. These nibs will be the topic of another Chronicle.

Close up of the nib. The inscription reads "PLATINUM / 10 YEARS / (Platinum logo) / (JIS logo) - 5". The Presidente's nib inscription was the same save for the last number: a 11.

These are the dimensions of the Platinum Honest and of the first Presidente:

.................................Honest Pen............Presidente
Length closed:............. 132 mm..............134 mm.
Length open:.................118 mm..............123 mm.
Length posted:..............145 mm..............150 mm.
Diameter:.........................10 mm................10 mm.
Weight (dry):.....................14.0 g.................14.5 g.

The Honest pen, disassembled.

The instructions to fill the pen are in English: "PLATINUM HONEST PEN / TO FILL INK. PRESS SPRING BAR / FIVE TIMES. USE PLATINUM INK".

This Honest pen, with no numbers, is an earlier model than the cartridge-converter Honest 60, and it is obvious origin of the European pens Joker and Presidente (and eventually a German Senator following the same pattern, if my information is correct). The Presidente brand was registered in Madrid in 1959, years later than the launching of the Honest 60 in 1956. What we still do not know is whether these aerometric fillers were phased out in Japan because they were considered obsolete after the C-C version had been released. If so, those European Platinum were a good way to get rid of those old pens.

(Pilot Super, accordion fillerSailor Jentle 土用, Doyô)

Bruno Taut
May 1-5th, 2012
[labels: Platinum, Presidente, Joker, Senator]

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]

31 December 2011


Let us remember now that all the Presidente pens I have seen were aerometric fillers. And they were based on the first cartridge pens ever made in Japan—the Platinum Honest 60 and its later evolution the Honest 66.

Two Presidentes.

Platinum Honest 66, on the back, and Honest 60 on the front.

How do those filling structures compare?

On the top, a Platinum Honest 60 with its Honest cartridge. On the bottom a Presidente with the squeezer removed from the section.

A further step in disassembling the pens. Again, the Platinum pen on the top, and the self-filling Presidente on the bottom.

The answer is both easy and revealing. On two of the Presidente pens, the squeezer device can easily be removed from the pen, and, inside, the breathing tube remains attached to the feed. The interesting detail is that these squeezers could work as converters on the Platinum Honest 60 and 66 pens. On these, the breathing tube is much shorter and is covered by the nipple where the cartridge is attached. This makes perfect sense—this tube is never strong enough to open the cartridge. Its shorter length, however, makes the filling system less efficient. On the opposite direction, the Platinum Honest cartridge could be used on the Presidentes if the breathing tube were removed, which is not difficult to do.

On the left, the Platinum Honest cartridge; on the right, the squeezer of one of the Presidente pens.

All this illustrates the logical evolution of filling systems. Some sources (Ron Dutcher, Kamakura Pens) speak of a bulb filler Platinum Honest in 1955. However, in view of the similarities among the Presidentes and Honest pens, I think of the Spanish brand pens as the early self-filling versions of the Japanese models.

(Athena Basic Line – Sailor Yama-dori)

Bruno Taut
December 31st, 2011
[etiquetas: Presidente, Platinum, conversor, soluciones técnicas]

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]

30 November 2011


Information adds value to pens. Knowing who made that obscure pen and under which circumstances do indeed increase the interest and the appeal of that otherwise unremarkable tool. That is why writing on unknown pens might raise their value and why working on the history of pens, Japanese or Spanish or Greek, might be a good investment.

The two pens made by Súper T: a green Olimpia and a blue Gester.

How many people outside Spain do know about Súper T or about Regia pens? And those are some of the finest brands ever made in Spain. Being in oblivion does not help anyone.

[Pilot Vpen – Sailor Tokiwa-matsu]

Bruno Taut
November 19th, 2011
(etiquetas: libros, estilofilia, Súper T, Presidente)