Showing posts with label libro. Show all posts
Showing posts with label libro. Show all posts

18 July 2014


I have insisted a number of times on these Chronicles on the need to generate reliable information about fountain pens. The history of these tools is only half written. Some brands, needless to say, are well known and documented. A few of them, Pelikan, for instance, produce their own books and documenting material. In other cases, pen enthusiasts have written a number of monographies on a particular model or brand. The case of Alfonso Mur and his “The Conklin Legacy” is a remarkable example.

Alfonso Mur's book. Available in fine book stores everywhere... Or maybe not--it is about pens.

But more is needed. The history of pens in a number of countries has not yet been written. Too often, and there are many examples, the approach to these pens is brand-by-brand. However, a historical perspective is more comprehensive and useful. And the reason is clear—a careful description of the technological developments, aesthetic trends, and sociological environment provides the frameset in which to fit, even if approximately, any rarity.

An unknown and yet interesting Surat pen. Made of celluloid, steel nib, bulb filler--and more.

That, of course, is not incompatible with the addition of an appendix on relevant brands and models, even though that implied some failure in the general text. We should never forget, and this is why the historical overview is fundamental, that the number of pen brands tends to infinite, and for every well-documented pen there are tens (if not hundreds) of them basically unknown.

My thanks to Mr. Paul Bloch.

Super T Gester 40 – Sailor Yama-dori

Bruno Taut
Nakano, July 16th 2014
etiquetas: Pelikan, Conklin, libro, Surat

15 October 2013


Some weeks ago I included the picture of an ad by Pilot on pens marketed in 1978. It was perfect to illustrate the pen under analysis –a Custom Grandee with a music nib. But the ad also displayed another pen—the all-steel Pilot Murex. But although marketed on the same year, their fates have been very different.

The Pilot ad from 1978.

The Custom Grandee was intended as a more luxurious product. It implemented a 14 K gold nib and there were seven different nib points available, including a three-tined music nib. The price was JPY 7000.

On the other hand, the Pilot Murex was more of a rarity—an all-steel pen with nib and section integrated in the same piece of steel. It followed the path lead by the Parker T1 and, more successfully, the Pilot Myu 701. The Murex had only two very rigid nib points—F and M. Its price was JPY 5000.

Now, thirty five years later, we pay a lot more attention to the rarity than to the luxurious functionality. And I am no innocent at this game as I wrote about the Murex a lot earlier than about the Custom Grandee, and when I finally described the later I did so by focusing my attention on another rarity, the unusual music nib.

The Parker 51 must be included in any book on the history of pens, and many a collector will have it,. However, the collector will pay attention to that very scarce color or variation that in actual terms is mostly irrelevant.

Collecting, this shows, deals more with the unusual than with history; more with the rarity than with the well-proven technical characteristics. And only a handful of true icons appeared on both lists: those made by collectors and by historians.

And this also shows that a history of pens written by a die-hard collector might be very biased towards those rarities that very few could have.

Pilot Capless CS-200RW – Platinum Black

Bruno Taut
Shinjuku, October 13th, 2013
etiquetas: Pilot, mercado, libro, estilofilia, Parker

10 July 2012

Coming Soon

The long awaited book Fountain Pens of Japan, by Andreas LAMBROU and Masamichi SUNAMI, is expected to be released in time for the incoming pen show of Washington DC (August 9 to 12). The authors intend to attend the event.

The reason for the delay in the publication lies in a number of problems related to the color rendition at the time of printing.

Pilot Short pen – Sailor Doyô

Bruno Taut
July 6th, 2012
etiquetas: libro, Japón, evento

14 December 2011


When writing about Japan in English or Spanish soon one encounters a linguistic problem—that of the transliteration of Japanese words into alphabet. And this is an important issue as we, non-Japanese, need a consistent way of writing those, otherwise, mostly incomprehensible terms and names.

The most common set of rules for these transcriptions, or in Japanese terms, to write in Romaji, is the so called Hepburn Romanization, after James Curtis Hepburn, who proposed his system by the end of the nineteen century. The problem arises when Japanese native speakers are not really familiar with it. Needless to say, they do not need any transliteration in their daily life, and Romaji is not seriously covered at school. However, sooner or later, many a Japanese will have to write something in alphabet —a name, an address…— and mistakes are in order. The first type of mistakes is to follow the writing of the Japanese syllabaries. The second is to make the pronunciation of the written word in alphabet close to the Japanese sound when read by an (American) English speaker.

Behind the first mistake lays the inconsistency of writing certain sounds –mostly long o and most diphthongs (Yôon, 拗音). This is the reason why we see the name of the founder of the Japanese brand Swan written as Itou instead of Itô.

The second type of mistake --to help English native speakers to pronounce Japanese more correctly—accounts for spelling Ohto (大戸), a Japanese pen brand and a common family name—instead of Oto or Ôto, although this case creates no problem as the commercial name is well known and is not subject to different spellings.

At the end, the basic problem is one of consistency. Consistency both within any given text as well as with respect to other texts. Andreas Lambrou’s Fountain Pens of the World (1995) is an example of the opposite. The founder of Swan in Japan is spelled both as Itou and as Ito; SSS’s founder is both Asahirou and Asahiro Hosonuma; workshop or works (製作所) is randomly written as seisakusyo and as seisakusho; to name just a few examples.

I hope these problems were absent in the incoming Fountain Pens of Japan, by A. Lambrou and Masamichi Sunami. This book is bound to become a basic reference on Japanese fountain pens, and everything would be easier with good foundations.

(Pilot Prera, eyedropper – Senator Regent Royal Blue)

Bruno Taut
December 13th, 2011
[labels: japonés (idioma), libro, Japón]

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)

21 October 2010


In some few weeks –from the 13th to the 15 of November—the 2010 Madrid Pen Show will take place. This will be the seventh edition of an increasingly interesting and important event. There will be, the organizers say, more than 40 traders from France, Germany, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, UK, US, and, of course, Spain.

They also announce the presence of authors Jonathan Steinberg, and Andreas Lambrou. The latter, well known as the creator of Fountain Pens of the World (1995), is in the process of publishing the long awaited Fountain Pens of Japan (2010) in collaboration with Masamichi Sunami. A brief preview of the book is currently online.

The book Fountain Pens of the World is certainly a reference for most stylophiles. It aims at being comprehensive and if we could only have a book, this one could be it. But the more I use it, the higher my disappointment is.

Cover of Lambrou's Fountain Pens of the World (1995).

This book has the virtue of including a large number of pictures of pens, but there are many very significant pens that are not depicted at all. At the same time, pens from some periods are almost absent. Such is the case of Japanese pens between 1930 and 1960.

Picture of page 372 of Lambrou's Fountain Pens of the World together with one of the pens depicted on it--a Pilot Custom 74. On that picture, there are three Pilot Custom 74, and five Custom 67, just in case one single picture were not enough to identify any of those pens.

The inclusion of pictures of pen prototypes is also, in my opinion, a mistake. Those pictures belong to monographies on brands or on specific models, but not to reference books stylophiles check in search of basic information.

Another problem is the general lack of details –either pictures or technical information— on pen nibs. The technical notes are mostly limited to filling systems and construction materials.

More disappointing is the lack of consistency among the different chapters. What seems important on some of them is almost unnoticed on the rest. The book seems to be written by several hands with little coordination among them.

Little can be said about the new book, the long awaited Fountain Pens of Japan. Long awaited because, first, its publication had been announced for quite some time, and, second, because there is very little information in English about Japanese pens.

Table of contents of the book Fountain Pens of Japan (2010), by Lambrou and Sunami.

However, the preview showed some negative details. A most significant one is the inclusion of pictures of one-of-a-kind pens made for one of the authors. Beautiful as they might be, those pens hardly offer any relevant information for the collector as he will never be able to put his hands on any of those.

Picture taken from page 128 of Lambrou and Sunami's book. These eyedropper pens are customizations made for Masa Sunami: "Masa customized Onoto style pens in attractive colors, made from 1950s old stock material, ED, 1985."

It is my contention that general books should be informative for the collector. That means they should contain relevant information. Prototypes, one-on-a-kind customizations could, at most, become footnotes to the general text. The author, most likely a collector as well, should refrain his craving to show his collection, no matter how impressive it might be.

In conclusion, Lambrou’s Fountain Pens of the World in interesting, but disappointing. Too much information of little interest is included on it while some other is sadly missing.

(Pilot Elite Isaac Newton – Pilot Blue Black)

Bruno Taut
(Tokyo, October 20th, 2010)
[labels: libro, Japón, evento]