Showing posts with label soluciones técnicas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label soluciones técnicas. Show all posts

11 March 2020

S System

Early Pilot pens, in those first 10 or 15 years of the brand, employed a number of filling systems. On these pages we have seen a number of them—the very early inner tube system (naikan shiki), safety pens, star system (hoshiawase), lateral lever (teko shiki), plunger, Japanese eyedropper (inki-dome shiki)... Some of those, of course, were more successful than others, and survived beyond those early days.

However, the usual literature does not mention the very simple eyedropper system, an eyedropper without any shut-off valve, just like Waterman and Parker (and others) used at the turn of the twentieth century. And that is why the following pen is so interesting.


A mid 1920s Pilot.

The pen is in immaculate condition. It even sports the original sticker showing the price –JPY 4.50-- and the nib point –細, F. It seems like it had never seen any ink, although a letter from the technical service of Pilot suggests that there had been some issue with the pen.


JPY 4.50, F nib point (細).

The instruction sheet calls its filling system S or standard type. And the instructions also warn the user that ink drops on the nib (or on the paper!) are indicative of having little ink in the deposit—a typical problem of eyedropper pens even nowadays.


A Western eyedropper, or the S System.


Signed by Pilot Technical Service, without date. The owner had sent the pen because of some ink leak. The response suggests that the only problem was a small amount of ink in the deposit. The letter assured, finally, the pen had been thoroughly checked for optimal performance. Somehow ironic...

The color of the ebonite is also very interesting. Its very uniform brown color, inside and outside, suggests an original non-black ebonite. In fact, we know of some Pilot (or Dunhill Namiki) pens of the time with a similar color.


Early 1930s Dunhill Namiki. Photo courtesy of Mr. A. Mur.

This is a small pen. It implements a size 1 nib made of 14 k gold . These are its dimensions:

Length closed: 122 mm
Length open: 113 mm
Length posted: 155 mm
Diameter: 9.5 mm
Weight: 7.3 g (dry)
Ink deposit: ~ 0.6 ml


On the barrel: '"PILOT / NAMIKI MFG. CO. / MADE IN JAPAN'. And the lifebuoy encircling an N.


Size 1 Pilot nib: "14Kt GOLD / "PILOT" / 1 / MADE IN / JAPAN". Mid 1920s.

All in all, an interesting pen that shows a number of uncommon features in a Pilot from mid 1920s—a regular Western eyedropper (S system in Pilot terms) and an unusual ebonite color.

And on another text we will revisit the filling systems Pilot used in those early years of the company.


My thanks to Antolin2.0, A. Mur, Poplicola-san and TinJapan.


Sailor FL Black Luster – Sailor Black

Bruno Taut
Nakano, March 11th, 2020
etiquetas: Pilot, soluciones técnicas

20 September 2019

Japanese Eyedropper Today (II). Opus 88 Koloro

In 2016, Eboya stopped the production of Japanese eyedropper pens. These pens were always more expensive that the equivalent versions with cartridge/converter or with button filler systems—the Japanese eyedroppers were between JPY 59000 and JPY 83000, plus taxes. But despite these prices, these pens were the cheapest eyedropper in the market. The next step was –still is— the size 50 Namiki Urushi at JPY 148000.


An old Eboya with Japanese Eyedropper.

On this scenario, the Opus 88 Koloro made its appearance in 2017.


The Opus 88 Koloro in its package.

The company Opus 88 –Jin Gi industrial Company— has been in the market since 1977. But from 1988 on its main business  was the production of OEM pens for other companies, Danitrio and Taccia among them. In the local market of Taiwan, Opus 88 sold some over-run of those OEM pens under its own brand.

Then, the Koloro model showed up in the foreign market in 2017. Its combination of an affordable price –in the range of EUR 100-- and an unusual filling system called the attention of many in the West. As I explained in the previous text, it is not that the Japanese eyedropper system was new at all, but its availability was very limited and expensive.


Nowadays, the Koloro is a family of pens that come in two nib sizes—size 5 and size 6, both by JoWo. The nibs are made of steel –no gold option--, and the feeds are made of plastic. The nib size conditions the overall dimensions of the pen. But in all cases, the filling system is the Japanese eyedropper.


Opus 88 Koloro. Made in the Republic of China. German nib (JoWo). Plastic feed.

Opus 88 could make these pens even more attractive by using in-house nibs or, at lest, nibs locally made. The implementation of ebonite feeds –and there are makers producing them-- would also increase the appeal of the pen. However, these two drawbacks are common to many pen companies.


The Koloro with an ebonite feed by Flexible Nib Factory.

These are the dimensions of the Opus 88 Koloro demonstrator of size 6:

Length closed: 148 mm
Length open: 136 mm
Length posted: this pen does not post.
Diamter: 16.4 nn
Weight: 30 g (inked)
Ink deposit: about 3 ml

In conclusion, this pen is an attractive product –well made, affordable, original— that fills a gap in the pen scene. And that is more than most other companies offer nowadays.


Parker 51 (Inky.Rock's) – De Atramentis Beethoven

Bruno Taut
Nakano, September 2019
etiquetas: soluciones técnicas, Eboya, Opus 88, mercado, JoWo, Taiwan

13 September 2019

Japanese Eyedropper Today (I)

The so-called Japanese eyedropper system –inki-dome shiki (インキ止め式) in Japanese— was in fact invented by Onoto in the beginning of the 20th century. Those Onoto reached Japan imported by Maruzen and the system –an eyedropper with a shut-off valve— clicked among the locals. The final result was that this system was copied and reproduced by most Japanese pen makers along its history up to today.


An Onoto with the shut-off valve system. Not yet a Japanese eyedropper, I guess.


A Japanese Swan (Nobuo Ito's Swan) with the Japanese eyedropper system.

The inki-dome, however, fell out of favor by the late 1950s when Platinum introduced the ink cartridge and most other makers followed the example. Only minor makers –I am thinking of Sakai Eisuke's operations— kept the system alive till the 1980s.


A Sakai Eisuke's pen made in collaboration with Kabutogi Ginjiro (::1::). Possibly from the 1960s.

In 1985, Pilot commissioned lathe master Sakai the creation of a prototype based on the style of the Pilot pens from the early 1930s, The result was what later became the Pilot (and Namiki) size 50 Urushi, and it implements the Japanese eyedropper system.


The Pilot Urushi in size 50--a modern Japanese eyedropper. This pen is incorrectly named by many as Namiki Emperor, but the Emperor model is decorated with maki-e techniques according to the Namiki catalog.

But who else followed? Not much.

Eboya used the system for some years (::2::, ::3::), but its production relied in the know-how of lathe master Kanesaki Noritoshi. Eboya's boss, Mr. Endo, has announced the new production of Eboya pens with this system, but there are no final dates for their release.


An old Eboya (2013) from the Kanesaki time. It implements the Japanese eyedropper system. At that time, the brand name was still Nebotek.

More recently, as of 2018, the sort-lived Iwase Seisakusho also marketed some pens with the Japanese eyedropper system. These were either old incomplete pen bodies by Ishi Shoten (owner of the brand Yotsubishi) or new pen bodies made by lathe master Momose. But Iwase Seisakusho had a very brief life and very few units of it made to the market.


An Iwase Seisakusho based on a body by Momose Yasuaki.

From California, Danitrio makes some models with Japanese eyedropper. These are usually expensive models with urushi or maki-e decoration.


Some Danitrio pens as exposed at Itoya Ginza (Tokyo) in 2010. Photo courtesy of Moskva.

Finally, a surprising actor is the Taiwanese brand Opus 88 (Jin Gi Industrial Co.). But these Japanese eyedroppers deserve a Chronicle on their own.


The Opus 88 Koloro. A surprising new actor in the Japanese eyedropper business.



Opus 88 Koloro – De Atramentis Beethoven

Bruno Taut
Nakano, September 12th 2019
etiquetas: soluciones técnicas, Pilot, Eboya, Danitrio, Iwase Seisakusho, Opus 88, mercado, Onoto, Japón, mercado, Kanesaki, Sakai Eisuke, Momose Yasuaki

08 September 2018

Procyon

The newest pen in the Japanese market is the Platinum Procyon, released in July 2018.

Not so long ago I spoke about the latest trends in the pen market. One of them was the Chinese avalanche of interesting pens at very reasonable prices. My contention was then that entry and mid level pen by Western and Japanese makers were at risk should Chinese makers create a reliable distribution network.

The Platinum Procyon could be seen as reaction of the Japanese company to those Chinese moves. It is a well made, no-frills, and sturdy pen.


The Platinum Procyon.

In essence, it is a cartridge-converter pen, with a wingflow nib made of steel with two nib points --F and M. All the threads on the pen are metallic: cap to barrel, and barrel to section. The section is semi-transparent, but no ink is visible through it. The cap implements the “slip and seal” mechanism patented by platinum to keep the ink fresh while the pen is stored without use.


The semi-transparent section and the metallic threads. A well made pen.
On the nib, the inscription is very simple: "(P logo) / F". Or M...

But the selling point of this pen is the ability to ink it –when using a converter— with a much smaller amount of ink than Most other pens. To do so, the Procyon feed has a small hole through which the ink circulates on its way to the converter. This system is not particularly new, but neither it is a common feature.


The wingflow nib, and the feed with a hole for an easier filling.
On the cap lip, two inscriptions. On one side "PROCYON"; on the other, "PLATINUM / MADE IN JAPAN".

These are the dimensions of the Platinum Procyon:

Length closed: 137 mm
Length open: 119 mm
Length posted: 155 mm
Diameter: 13 mm
Weight: 27.9 (inked)
Ink deposit: 1.1 ml (cartridge) / 0.6 ml (converter)


"Slip and seal", easy filling, JPY 5000 (plus tax).


Five different colors; two possible nibs.

All in all, the Procyon is an interesting newcomer to the Japanese pen scene. It might be a reaction of Platinum to the Chinese changes in the pen industry of just another move in the very competitive Japanese market.

Its price in Japan is JPY 5000, plus taxes.


Montblanc 149 – Platinum Black

Bruno Taut
Nakano, September 2018
etiquetas: Platinum, mercado, soluciones técnicas

18 June 2018

Pilot 65

The Pilot 65 –or Custom 65 as some called it—is a model I have mentioned a lot on these pages, but I have never described it in detail. Given its relevance to understand modern Pilot pens it is about time to review it.

The 65 was the first (::1::, ::2::, ::3::) of those anniversary pens that later became a regular model, albeit with some minor differences.


The Pilot 65. Standard Pilot ball clip with "PiLOT" engraved on it.

So, in the year 65 of the Pilot era, 1983, Pilot launched a limited edition of 6500 pens –6460 in black, 20 in red and 20 in blue— in the well-known balance shape that many insist in associating to Montblanc. Pilot’s argument is that it follows the style of some Pilot models produced in the 1920s and 1930s, which is undeniably true.


On the cap band, the number 65 and the unit number. This was a limited edition of 6500 units.

The Pilot 65 is made of plastic with a barleycorn finish, with a wide golden cap band with an intricate decoration. The nib is made of 14 K gold and its size is not marked—this was the first of the future Custom models with a whole new set of nibs. But in actual terms, the 65’s nib corresponded to a current size 10.


The 14 K gold nib. The inscription: "PILOT / 14K-585 / < M > / (JIS):, plus the manufacturing date.

What is more interesting on this pen is the filling system—a captive CON-70 converter. Captive, I say, because it is built in the gripping section of the pen. This is, in fact, the first version of what later would become the CON-70 converter.


The captive CON-70 before this converter existed as such.

These are the dimensions of the Pilot 65 together with those of the Custom 67 and Custom 74, the natural evolutions of this anniversary pen:

Pilot 65 Custom 67 Custom 74
Length closed (mm) 140 142 143
Length open (mm) 126 125 126
Lenth posted (mm) 159 160 159
Diameter (mm) 13.5 14.0 14.6
Weight (g) 17.9 18.3 22.5

The Pilot 65, with its 6500 units, is now a well-sought after collectible pen. And that seems to be the fate of anniversary pens.


My thanks to Mr. NK.


Parker 50 – Sailor Tomikei Blue

Bruno Taut
Nakano, May 15th 2018
labels: Pilot, soluciones técnicas, conversor

30 May 2018

Carving

The title of this Chronicle could be a trite “yet another filling system”, for we have seen how fertile Japan has been on this field. But few truly innovative systems have survived that one model that oh-so-briefly put the system in the market. After all, cartridges and converters are truly handy and user friendly. Consequently, most of those systems are mere anecdotes. At times, though, anecdotes offer some interesting information.


The Carving pen. On the barrel there is an engraving: "CARVING / MADE IN TOKYO".
Dimensions of the pen: length closed: 138 mm; length open: 124 mm; length posted: 154 mm; diameter: 10 mm; weight: 12.6 g.

Nothing do I know about the brand “Carving”. However, the shape of this particular model, and the geometry of the nib point out at the 1960s as the production time.


A gold plated stainless steel nib. The engraving is simple: "CARVING / JIS ". The geometry is similar to some nibs made by Pilot and Sailor during the 1950s and 1960s.


Inside, something that looks like a cartridge. The inscription reads "カービンオーツマン61 / 吸入もできるスペアー" (Carving ôtsuman 61 / inhalation spare).

Its filling system also suggests an intermediate time between the 1950s and 1980s—it is an interesting middle point between two known systems. The first of them is the pulsated piston Pilot named as A-shiki (system A) in the late 1940s. The second, obviously by now, is the CON-70 converter, also by Pilot, currently on production.

On the first system –A-shiki–, the whole pumping action is driven from the tail, and a sliding sheath in the internal rod acts as stopper preventing the ink from going out on the downward movement of the system.


The system A on a Pilot from late 1940s.

The CON-70 acts in a similar fashion. Now the sealing valve is a rubber part that moves quite freely along the metallic rod in the central axis of the converter. And the basic difference with the system A is the spring that retracts the piston automatically. Well, and the fact that the CON-70, as a converter, can be detached from the pen.


A built-in CON-70 in a Pilot Custom (no additional number) from 1985. This filling system was also implemented on the Pilot Custom 65 (1983).

The “Carving” system implemented on the Carving pen works on the same principles: a pumping system and a closing valve. But now the pumping mechanism is a type of a sac, although on this case it is more of a plastic cartridge with some flexibility. The valve, on its side, moves freely inside the bladder, and seals it –partially— when pressing it. Carving called this “inhalation spare” and it makes some sense as the whole mechanism can be detached from the pen and could easily be replaced. I ignore, however, if the company marketed spare filling systems or had designed (and sold) more traditional –nominally disposable— cartridges.


The de-facto converter. The internal stopper is visible through the cracked plastic. The durability of this device is an obvious concern.

The fact that this “Carving” system was trivially detachable is, in itself, very interesting. First, because it shows that the time of the self-filling systems was ending and yielding its way to the disposable cartridge. Second, and more relevant here, because Pilot implemented the early versions of the later called CON-70 as built-in, non-removable filling systems on a couple of models in the early 1980s. In this regard, the Carving pen was well ahead of its time.

But it is also a small anecdote in the history of Japanese pens.

My thanks to Mr. Sugimoto.


Minka Saturn – Diamine China Blue

Bruno Taut
Nakano, May 2018
labels: Pilot, Carving, soluciones técnicas, conversor

29 March 2018

The Sapphire and the Maki-e

Spring is always a fertile time in the pen scene in Japan. Spring is the season of the biggest pen events in Tokyo where oftentimes pen makers show their new releases. That was the case, for instance, of the new line if Sailor inks recently mentioned on these Chronicles.

At the event named “Fountain Pens of the World” at Mitsukoshi Department Store in Nihonbashi (Tokyo), a new pen brand showed its creations. Its name is Kemma, and it is the brainchild of Mr Tadao Abe, of Yuzawa (in Akita, Japan), and is part of the Akita Grind Industry.


Two Kemma pens and the cap of a third one. As seen at the "Fountain Pens of the World Festival" organized by Mitsukoshi.

The fundamental originality of Kemma’s pens is their non-metallic nibs. They are, actually, made of sapphire (patent US 2017/01366803 A1), and they do not have a slit. The ink is delivered through a V-groove carved in the sapphire.


The sapphire nib.


On the left, an unfinished sapphire nib--unpolished and not grinded. On the right, a finished nib.

As for the rest, the feed is made of ABS plastic, and the filling system is a simple cartridge-converter. The body is metallic, albeit the external decoration hides it. And the final result is a hefty pen.

And very expensive too.


The pen on this picture cost over JPY 1,000,000. The red and white one seen on previous pictures is one of the basic models and costs JPY 300,000, plus tax.

Then, how does it work? The sapphire nib is very rigid and its writing is boring and uncharacteristic. However, its major problem is its tendency to dry up very quickly, and this problem was present in all the testing units. I repeated those tests on a second date with much better results. This suggests that the whole system –nib and feed— had some room for adjustment, but this could only be based on the relative position between nib and feed, and this is a lot less than what could be done to a regular metallic nib.


Writing samples made with several Kemma pens. On this day, one of the pens was adjusted so that it provided a very wet flow and was less prone to drying up. But that was not the case of all of the testing units. My personal experience with most of these pens was that they dried up within seconds after stopped writing. They were not comfortable pens.

Then comes the price of these pens, and Kemma pens are very expensive—starting at JPY 300,000, plus tax. On the other hand, the master company –Akita Grind Industry— tries to add some value to the product by means of some maki-e and urushi-e decoration made in one of the Meccas of these decorative techniques: Wajima, in Ishikawa.


The sapphire and the maki-e.

But, is that all these novelty pens can offer? Are they just canvas for maki-e? The pen indeed writes… albeit a Vpen is more satisfactory at that.

Whether Kemma pens succeed or not will depend, from my point of view, on whether or not they attract the attention of maki-e aficionados. As I have already said on these texts, for those fond of maki-e the pen itself is secondary.


The sapphire nib together with the ABS feed.

Welcome be, though, the innovation of non-metallic nibs that Akita Grind Industry is offering now; but they need further development to compete with the traditional technology of steel and gold nibs.


Lamy Safari – Tomiya Original Ink (Sailor)

Bruno Taut
Nakano, March 28th 2018
etiquetas: Kemma, evento, soluciones técnicas, plumín, maki-e

08 February 2018

Inner Tube System

To the traditional eyedropper way of inking pens, Japanese companies added a mechanism to seal the ink deposit when not in use. A mechanism… or several of them.

The better known of them is the Japanese eyedropper, inki-dome system, although the original invention belonged to Onoto (De la Rue). Another such system is the hoshiawase (star system) invented by Pilot in the early 1920s. But there is more.


A Pilot from around 1920, if not before.

Prior to the system of the stars, Pilot entered the market –as a late comer in the Japanese context— with another system: the naikan shiki (内管式), or inner tube system. This consists of a modified screw –made of ebonite— attached to the section of the pen. By tightening or losing up that screw, the ink flow could be interrupted or open through the internal channels in that screw. The obvious inconvenient was the need to open the pen –the ink deposit— to operate this ink-stained screw. However, this system was effective in sealing the ink deposit.



Pilot developed and marketed this system probably trying to offer a novelty in a market already mature, with two very active pen companies –SSS and Nobuo Ito’s Swan–, and a number of imports from Europe and the US. The naikan shiki was short lived: only a couple of years around 1920.

As for the rest, this eyedropper pen is made of chased ebonite and implements a size 2 nib made of 14 K gold, although it might not be the original nib of this pen. The clip this particular unit sports is a later addition.


On the nib, the inscription says "14 KT GOLD / "PILOT" / < 2 > / MADE IN / JAPAN". However, the style of the inscription is probably too new, thus showing it is a replacement nib. On the text entitled N. M & Co. we can see a similar pen whose nib carries a much simpler engraving.

These are the dimensions of the pen:

Length closed: 139 mm
Length open: 131 mm
Length posted: 179 mm
Diameter: 12 mm
Weight (dry): 17.4 g


On the chased barrel, '"PILOT" / FOUNTAIN PEN / N. M. & Co.'. The company logo is on the left hand side. It shows the well-known lifebuoy encircling an N.


On the barrel end, a mysterious inscription: "P3CH". We had already seen it on another Pilot pen of the time.

Not all innovations work… However, the Japanese industry has never been shy to try different technical solutions on nibs and filling systems.

But short lived systems like this make the day of many a collector.

And on my side, I must add a correction to an old Chronicle.


My thanks to Mr. Sugimoto and Mr. Furuya.


Romillo Nervión – Sailor Blue Iron

Bruno Taut
Nakano, February 7th 2018
etiquetas: Pilot, soluciones técnicas