Thursday, January 18, 2018

Ôsôji

Japanese people end the year with a traditional clean up of the house--and of the office at times. This is called ôsôji: big clean up. On the way, many forgotten or out of use goods end up in the garbage. But your junk might be someone else’s treasure.


The Wagner “end-of-the-year” bazaar is a mixture of an end of the year party and a small market where to sell all those pens –and accessories you might no longer want. Or at least that was at some time. Nowadays, it has become a small pen show for local traders perfectly comparable in size with the “Pen Trading” (such is the name) event celebrated in Tokyo in Spring, usually by the end of April or beginning of May (::1::, ::2::).


So, this past December 30th, pen aficionados in Tokyo gathered at the end-of-the-year bazaar organized by the Wagner group. Between 150 and 200 visitors, and about 15 traders conformed this event where the commercial activity dominated over any other aspect. Fair enough… save for the exhaustion of the formula: too few traders with small variety and selection of pens for a very active pen community. The paradox is that other events in Tokyo organized by Maruzen (World of Fountain Pens) and by Mitsukoshi (Fountain Pens of the World Festival; ::1::, ::2::, ::3::), both focused on new pens—attract a lot more people and generate a higher economic activity.



Japan seems faithful to its tradition of isolation. The Galápagos syndrome is alive and well in a number of areas in this island nation. It is not easy to pinpoint a single reason to explain such attitude, but Economics might provide some arguments—are there real incentives to open the market to Barbaric influences?

Now, how long can this isolation last?


Romillo Nervión – Sailor Blue Iron

Bruno Taut
Nakano, January 8th 2018
labels: evento, Tokyo, mercado, Japón

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Sailor Double Sided Nib

Double side nibs are not new to this blog. Not so long ago we saw a Vanco pen with a beautiful “duet” nib. On more recent years, several of the Sailor’s “specialty nibs” sport that same feature; that is, the nib points are cut and polished to provide a good writing experience both on the regular and on the inverted (upside down) positions.

Older than the Vanco Duet is the Sailor on display today. Everything on it points out at the 1930s and the production date. The pen is a flat top Japanese eyedropper inspired by the fashion set by the Parker Duofold, as was often the case in Japan at the time. It is mde of ebonite and is coated with urushi lacquer.


There is an inscription on the pen body: "Sailor / Fountain Pens / PAT. O. 116315", together with the logo of the company.

The nib –the real protagonist of this story— is made of 14 K gold and is labeled as size 30. This number does not say much –or anything at all—about its actual size. If fact, it is very modest in dimensions: its total length is 23 mm, perfectly comparable to sizes 2 or 1 nib by Pilot at the time.


The size 30 nib by Sailor.


The beak-shaped point of the lower end of the nib.

Its point is carefully cut. On the lower side –regular writing— the point takes the form of a bird beak with a very thin ending, thus drawing a very fine line. The upper side, on the contrary, is cut as a broad nib. The writing sample shows the final effects of these two points.


Writing sample of the double sided nib by Sailor. The square on the paper is 5x5 mm2.

These are the dimensions of the pen:

Length closed: 135 mm
Length open: 120 mm
Length posted: 168 mm
Diameter: 14.0 mm
Weight (dry): 18.5 g
Ink deposit: 2.4 ml

And these are the dimensions of the nib:

Length: 23.2 mm
Shoulder width: 5.8 mm
Weight: about 0.25 g
Material: 14 K gold


The engraving on the nib reads "14 CRT GOLD / Sailor / REGISTERED / PATENT OFFICE / -30-".


The manufacturing date: 11.4. Probably November of 1934.

The nib is dated on the lower side: 11.4. According to the regular way of dating Sailor pens and nibs, this means that the nib was probably manufactured in November of 1934.

The experimentation with fountain pens in Japan has indeed a long history.


Athena (1950s), lever filler – Pelikan 4001 Royal Blue

Bruno Taut
Nakano, January 5th 2018
labels: Sailor, plumín, Vanco, soluciones técnicas
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