Showing posts with label marca desconocida. Show all posts
Showing posts with label marca desconocida. Show all posts

16 October 2018

Anonymous Music

My latest acquisition is an anonymous pen with a very non-anonymous nib. And this combination make the whole pen all the more intriguing, and, for some, appealing.

The pen, in essence, is a Japanese eyedropper, made of ebonite with a very discreet maki-e decoration –a "tanzaku" (poem cards) pattern. The clip is of the teardrop shape, just like many Ban-ei pens.

An anonymous pen. Other than the inscriptions on the nib, the only text on it says R14K, and is on the cap ring. The very discreet maki-e --a "tanzaku" pattern-- is not signed.

And this clip, together with the overall shape of the pen and the shape of the section, and even the geometry of the ebonite feed point out at Ban-ei (Sakai Eisuke) as the master mind behind it. However, this idea is nothing but a guess, although this pen is very likely to have been made in the 1960s at Asakusa area in Tokyo.

A Ban-ei pen (top) and the anonymous pen with an interesting nib. Note the similarities in the shape. The Ban-ei pen is larger in all dimensions.

Feeds and sections of the pens on the previous picture: Ban-ei on top, anonymous on bottom. This geometry of the feed was very common in Japan from the 1960s till well into the 1990s on smaller pen makers.

The comes the nib—a beautiful music nib perfectly identifiable as made by nibmeister Kubo Kohei. In fact, the nib inscription NK stands for Nobel Kubo, where Nobel is one of the brands Mr. Kubo created during his career as nib maker. The nib is likely to be a replaced unit, but it could also show the origin of the pen itself. Then, is this a Nobel pen? Many a Nobel pen were anonymous –no brand name was imprinted on the pen--, but ebonite was not a typical material on that brand as Mr. Kubo doesn’t work with the lathe.

The music nib by Kubo Kohei. It is made of steel and is gold plated. The inscriptions read " STANDARD / NK / (JIS mark) / IRIDIUM / < 3 > / NPK ".

All in all, not much we know for certain about this pen, but the nib, and the unpretentious decoration make it most interesting.

These are the dimensions of the pen:

Length closed: 138 mm
Length open: 119 mm
Length posted: 166 mm
Diameter: 13.7 mm
Weight: 16.7 g (dry)
Ink deposit: 2.3 ml

And the search for information continues…

Twsbi Eco with Kubo music nib – Aurora Black

Bruno Taut
Nakano, October 16th 2018
etiquetas: nibmeister Kubo Kohei, maki-e, Ban-ei, Nobel, marca desconocida, plumín, plumín musical

13 April 2016


I have already said that in the area of fountain pens, we can see Japan as a huge laboratory of experiments with filling systems. Sure enough, several systems developed in America and Europe have been implemented by Japanese companies –pistons, lever fillers, plungers --, but there are many others –A-shiki, easy-drinking system, Nakahara-shiki, among others—that have never been attempted beyond these islands.

To the best of my knowledge, the following pen is an example of the latter.

Figure 1. Two of these pens. Brand unknown, but they implement an interesting filling system. The clips carry two different engravings: "NEW FOUNTAIN PEN" on the red unit; "NEW STEAL" (sic) on the greenish grey.

The pen has no clear indication of the manufacturer, but its construction is remarkable in many ways. But first and foremost because of its filling system.

Figure 2. One of the pens almost completely disassembled: the barrel can be detached from the section. But there is a key part not visible on the picture: inside the bulky brass piece, second from the right, there is another smaller piece that moves along this one.

It is a sac-based system, but with a very original way of pressing (without twisting) the sac. The pen tail can rotate a small angle –about 30°-- with respect to the barrel. Then, a number of small pieces transform that into a movement along the pen axis. The final element is a pressing bar pushed in that longitudinal movement.

Figure 3. These pieces transform the rotation of the back knob (the red celluloid piece on the right) into a movement along the axis of the pen. Inside the central piece there is another smaller one whose notch can be seen through the slit. This internal piece is coupled to the external celluloid knob (see Fig. 4). The central piece is screwed to the barrel.

Figure 4. This is the piece from which the whole filling mechanism is operated. It rotates with respect to the barrel while driving the small piece described on the Figure 3.

Figure 5. On this figure, the whole filling mechanism is assembled outside the barrel. Note how the pressing bard if attached to the set of pieces attached to the actual knob.

As is the case with any sac-based system, twisting the rear knob several times is needed to ensure a good filling of the pen. However, the absence of an internal breathing tube, as is the case in many other systems, hinders the full filling of the sac regardless of the number of twisting moves.

The basic benefit of this system is how secure the filling mechanism is inside the pen. Operating it is, thus, easier than a lever filler, for instance. The negative side is the number of parts required to transfer the rotation into a push onto the sac, plus the need of a good coupling among them.

The construction quality of this filling system is very good—all the pieces, save the external layer of the pan tail and the push bar, are made of brass, and the coupling among them, excellent. The drawback is a tail heavy pen, albeit the total weight of the pen is far from exaggerated at about 20 g.

Figure 6. Steel nib, ebonite feed. The inscription on the nib: "SMOOTH / POSTING / 4 / HARDEST / IRIDIUM / PEN.140".

The pen itself is made of celluloid, and several colors were available. The clip carried different inscriptions –NEW FOUNTAIN PEN and NEW STEAL (sic)--, and can hardly be considered as brand names. Nibs are made of steel, gold plated.

These are their dimensions:
Length closed: 121 mm
Length open: 110 mm
Length posted: 143 mm
Diameter: 11.5 mm
Weight: 20.5 g (dry, no sac)

These are, most likely, postwar pens, but the filling system can be found in some Platon (Nakayama Taiyôdô) pens in the 1930s.

My thanks to Mr. Mochizuki.

Pelikan M800 – Tomiya Tomikei Blue (by Sailor)

Bruno Taut
Nakano, April 13th, 2016
etiquetas: Platon, soluciones técnicas, marca desconocida

10 May 2013

Ultra (IV)

Kabutogi Ginjirô (兜木銀次郎) is no alien to these Chronicles. His presence in the pen industry in Japan seemed to be more of a reliable supporting actor than playing a leading role. His nibs were either inconspicuous, almost anonymous, or passed as copies of some other designs.

The following inlaid nib belongs to the second category:

The pen carries no name other that a very generic “Super De Luxe” imprinted on the cap lip. But it certainly follows the style of the Pilot Super Ultra 500 of Shigeki Chiba, and does it beautifully. This time, contrary to most non-Pilot Ultra models, the nib is truly inlaid and extends itself along the section and fully around it.

The imprint on the nib read "Steady / K14 / JIS logo / 4622". 4622 is the JIS registry number of Kabutogi's pen operation Seilon.

It is engraved with one of the pen brands associated to Kabutogi –Steady— together with the JIS registry number 4622. This belonged, as well, to Kabutogi Ginjirô, but in connection to another pen brand: Seilon.

The pen uses Platinum-proprietary cartridges which were a de-facto standard in Japan by the late 1950s and 1960s (see the Chronicle on Mitaka). Platinum, may we remember, had been the first Japanese company to produce ink cartridges.

Some units of this pen were manufactured for the department store Daimaru.

These are the dimensions of this pen:
Length capped: 145 mm
Length open: 131 mm
Length posted: 164 mm
Diameter: 11 mm
Weight (dry): 13.7 g

My thanks to Mr. Furuya.

Platinum 3776 (1978 model) – Platinum Blue-black

Bruno Taut
Machida, May 17th, 2013
etiquetas: Steady, Seilon, nibmeister Kabutogi Ginjirô, Platinum, Pilot, marca desconocida, plumín

19 September 2012

Size Matters (II)

I have already spoken about jumbo pens on these Chronicles. Big as they are, their purpose was different from those luxurious pens like the Pilot hoshiawase with a size-8 nib recently described. Their main argument, we are told, was to ease the grip of those with arthritis or similar affections in their hands. And, in fact, few of these oversized pens implemented gold nibs.

The pen, uncapped. The shut-off valve is half open, as can be seen on the tail of the pen.

I wonder, though, if at that time –1930s and 1940s— there were real demographic arguments in Japan to justify this type of pen. That would be true in nowadays Japan, a country where more than 20% of the population is over the age of 65 years, and increasing--, but these are not the days of fountain pens but of cell-phones and touch-screens, although these senior citizens might not feel at ease dealing with digital technology.

The clip is the only place where there is a brand engraving. However, it only means that the clip had been produced by the company Fukunaka Seisakusho.

Anyway, jumbo pens are out there and deserve some attention from all of us fond of Japanese pens. If only, because of its historical relevance.

The exposed part of the nib is 25 mm long. The feed is made of ebonite.

Fukunaka Seisakusho produced pens between 1913 and the 1940s under a number of names —Horse Face, Ford, Arabian— as well as parts for other manufacturers who labeled their pens with their own brands. The Fukunaka’s clips were branded, as well, with a number of names: Everclip, New Clip, Perfect. And New Clip is the only band stamped on this pen, on its clip. The nib is engraved with a generic description: “Special / Iridium / Pen”. None of that provides real information on the actual manufacturer of this pen. As about the production date, the more elaborated feed might indicate a later product from the 1940s or even later, using remaining parts from Fukunaka Seisakusho.

The pen section, from the back. The conic shape is the seat for the shut-off valve.

The pen, in summary, is a eyedropper with shut-off valve. The ink deposit is in accordance with the size of the pen—over 8 ml. The nib is a generic steel unit, gold plated, cut as a medium stub in what most likely was an after market modification. It is nicely wet and pleasant to use. But it is also a slow starter due, probably, to the absence of inner cap and to the interruption of the connection with the ink deposit –by closing the shut-off valve— when the pen is not in use.

A thick pen is, undoubtedly, easier to grip than a thin one. Now, is this a friendly and comfortable pen to use? It is heavy, over 50 g, and its center of mass is a bit high up at around 80 mm from the nib tip, unposted. This later fact is not very different from many other pens (especially if posted), but few are as heavy as this one.

This is not a pen to carry around. It does not fit in any pocket and few pen cases could accommodate it. So, better reserve it for domestic use.

These are its dimensions:

Length closed: 160 mm.
Length open: 140 mm.
Length posted: 201 mm (but who might want to post this pen?).
Diameter: 26 mm.
Weight (dry): 55.9 g.
Ink deposit: about 8.5 ml.
Center of mass, unposted:     at 78 mm. to the nib end, dry;
                                                       at 80 mm. to the nib end, full.
Platinum pocket pen, stainless steel with black stripes – Platinum black

Bruno Taut
September 19th, 2012
labels: Japón, marca desconocida, New Clip, Fukunaka Seisakusho.

14 July 2011


Jumbo pens were made, we are told, to ease the pen grip, especially for older people with problems in their joints. And those are certainly comfortable pens—provided their weights were not excessive, which can easily be the case when their ink capacity might be in the tens of milliliters. Any pen user knows that thin pens are uncomfortable to use for long writing periods. And this fact probably explains the very limited numbers of very thin pens in the market.

A posted Chalana, from 2009. The diameter in the barrel is just 6.5 mm. The total length, posted, is 137 mm.

The Sailor Chalana, in the market since 1980, is nowadays the obvious reference in this niche. It is a very attractive pen with a feeling of luxury and sophistication. Its 18 K gold nib certainly contributes to it. However, inside it is a cartridge/converter pen with a very limited ink capacity (about 0.2 ml fit in the converter).

The Chalana, disassembled. The feed is very long compared to the nib.

This Flaminaire pen sold, at least, in Spain—and possibly made by Waterman—is certainly thin. It is a cartridge/converter pen with a very smooth steel nib. A well constructed pen.

An ad of Flaminaire pens and lighters from 1981 in Spain. My thanks to Grafopasión member Claudio.

The diameter of this Flaminaire pen is 6.5 mm on the barrel.

I found these pens in Japan, but I cannot say anything about their origin.

A lot more unusual is this non-marked eyedropper pen. Little can be said about it since the only sign on the pen is that on the nib revealing nothing. But this is an interesting pen—well made, with a smooth semi-flex steel nib, and eyedropper. Its main problem is to fill such a narrow and dark barrel. The ink capacity is quite generous —about 1.0 ml— given its size.

The sign on the nib is partially hidden. The first line reads "SPECIA(L)". The second starts with "MAGN".

This pen is a simple eyedropper. It is a good writer whose only problem being too thin for a comfortable grip.

These are its dimensions:
Diameter: 8 mm (cap).
Length capped: 113 mm.
Length uncapped: 99 mm.
Length posted: 128 mm.
Total weight: 4.2 g (empty).
Weight uncapped: 2.2 g (emptyl).
Ink deposit: 1.0 ml.

My thanks to Mr. Alberto Linares and Kinno-san.

(Navy Gold 200 – Pelikan 4001 Royal Blue)

Bruno Taut
July 12, 2011
[labels: Sailor, Flaminaire, marca desconocida]

04 November 2010

Ink Tankers

(This chronicle has been modified and corrected on March 13, 2012).

My first real encounter with jumbo pens was reported on these chronicles. That was a Platinum-Nakaya –the nib said so— eyedropper whose dimensions were about 35 mm in diameter, and 135 mm in length when capped.

Big enough I thought. Thick to ease the stress on the fingers and not overly big. Its ink deposit could store up to 15 ml—enough to write a very long novel. Let’s not forget that 15 ml of ink add 15 g to the weight of the pen—a significant value indeed.

Two jumbo pens together with a Pilot Super 100. The lengths of these three pens, from top to bottom, are 166 mm, 186 mm, and 132 mm.

The nib of the first of the pens on the previous picture compared to the Pilot music nib of the Super 100. The inscription on the Jumbo nibs reads HIGH CLASS / HARDEST IRIDIUM / USA STAYEL / SPECIAL / PEN. I wonder if "stayel" was a misspelling for steel.

Later, though, I have encountered other jumbo pens that dwarfed that Platinum-Nakaya.

One of the pens showing the safety valve.

All three of them are eyedroppers with safety valves to seal the gigantic ink deposits. Their dimensions range between 150 mm for the New Clip (vid infra) and the 180 mm for the bigger in the group. The girth is also generous: between 25 and 32 mm.

This third jumbo pen is branded as "New Clip". Its length, 152 mm.

I did not have the chance to weight them but light they were not. The ink they could store, of course, is an important factor in the weight and in the balance of the pen. The second of the pens could hold up to 35 ml of ink; the New Clip, 20 ml.

The New Clip's nib compared to the Pilot music nib. The engraving on the former says "Special / Iridium /Pen".

New Clip was one of the brands stamped on the clips manufactured by the company Fukunaka Seisakusho in the 1920s and 1930s. This company also produced some maki-e pens in the 1930s. These jumbo pens might date from some time in the 1930s.

With thanks to Mr. Ishikawa.

(Pilot Super 100 with music nib – Parker Blue)

Bruno Taut
(Madrid, November 3rd, 2010)
[labels: marca desconocida, New Clip, Fukunaka Seisakusho, Japón]