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Early History of Life/Wing Sung


Tefolim
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From my blog: https://tefolium.blogspot.com/2020/11/early-history-of-chinese-fountain-pen_26.html

Early History of Life/Wing Sung

Chinese collectors know that 永生 Wing Sung was a brand which belonged to a private fountain pen manufacturer. The manufacturer was merged by State-owned Xin Hua Stationery Factory in 1956.
I'd like to introduce the early history of 永生 Life/Wing Sung here.

Before Parker

A staff of Hsin Hwa Book Store named 钮永集Niu Yongji founded a second hand bookstore named 上海舊書商店 Shanghai Old Book Store in 1935. The old book store recruited staffs in August, 1935 and opened officially in 1935.9.7. The store located in Foochow Road, Shanghai next to its father company 新華書局 Hsin Hwa Book Store. Its business scope included with second hand Chinese or foreign books or magazines and stationeries. It had its own book club for newly-weds.
In about 1938, Shanghai Old Book Store moved to No. 197, Henan Road next to the famous Commercial Press and it focused on text books and academic books. Telephone: 90721
Because of invading the copyright of 愛克美洋行/愛美電碼公司 Acme Code Company,  owned by American, 's Codebook, Niu was caught with 石新华 Shi Xinhua, the owner of a press named 文華 Ven Hwa, and finally bailed with Fabi 2000$
In about 1941, 歐亞圖書公司 Eurasia Book Co. Shanghai was founded by Niu and the company was run by 鲁仙慕 Lu Xianmu, the Sales Director. Between May and June, 1941, Eurasia published two books about the war with Pro-communist opinions named 太平洋的暗流與中國 Undercurrents in the Pacific and China and 從巴爾幹到遠東 From Balkan to Far East by 田匀 Tian Yun and 铁寒 Tie Han. The book company located in No. 197, Henan Road, the same as Shanghai Old Book Store. The telephone number was 96895.
After Japanese bombed the Pearl Harbor, the foreign stationeries became hard to get. Niu published ads for seeking foreign stationeries many times before Parker Co. founded.
0.jpg
Undercurrents in the Pacific and China

Parker, the Pen store

In 1944.5.5, 派克公司 Parker Company opened while Shanghai Old Book Store published ads till 1944.5.11. Parker Company located in No. 197, Henan Road. The telephone number was 96895, the same as Eurasia.
Parker focused on stationeries. However, Parker also sold new or second academic books. As it showed, Parker mainly focused on Parker. The first ad about Parker 51 in Chinese was made by Parker in late 1945. And the store was a licensed store for selling Eversharp and one of main distributors of Rockman. By the way, Parker sold other foreign brands like Sheaffer, Waterman, Conklin, Stratford and domestic brands like Wolff, Kin Sin, Chung Hwa, Vans, Doctor, Power and so on.
Parker also pretended itself as the real Parker Pen company and published Warning so that other stationery stores gave up using Parker as name.
Niu was excellent in advertisement. I have read more than 100 ads published by Parker Co. The ads by Niu were relative to current affairs, usually. Sometimes, they focused on the advantage and disadvantage of fountain pen. Some of them were funny. But an ad pretended that it was written by George Safford Parker.
In 1946.6, North Szechuan Road branch was founded. The branch located in No. 1320, North Szechuan Road.
In 1948.1, Shen Bao reported the stationery market by visiting Parker Company. There were four departments under Parker: Checking, Repairing, Lettering and Mail Order. The machine for tipping were imported from the British. The farthest customers were from Southeast Asia.

Life, fountain pen maker

In Yiwen Magazine, 1948, No. 2 (Yearly magazine), 永生Life was mentioned. It name was 永生鋼筆製造廠, lit. Life Fountain Pen Mfg. Life was located in No. 1320, North Szechuan Road, where was Parker's North Szechuan Road branch.
In fact, Life had never produced fountain pen before Shanghai was librated.
Until the communist government solved the labour dispute between Niu's brothers and the staff of Parker (including a Niu's distant relative) in late 1949, Life did not produce fountain pen. 
However, the labour dispute between Niu's brothers and the staff were not solved totally. Niu wanted to revenge. 

The labor dispute:

In 1949.7, staffs asked Niu for raising salary, but Niu refused. He said Parker had deficit, while the accountant 夏世同 Xia Shitong found that Parker had profit. Niu had to raise salary in 1949.9, but he changed Xia's work from accountant to salesman.

What's more, Niu smuggled fountain pens with more than 4 thousand of Parker, Sheaffer and Waterman(tax=80%, worth more than 1400 million old CNY) in 1949.8-1949.9. He also stole taxes from enterprise tax(25%, goods worth more than 10 billion old CNY), sales tax(maybe 11% at that time, goods worth about 30 million old CNY) and stamp duty(maybe 0.4% at that time, goods worth more than 30 million old CNY ). Those were worth about 2.6 billion old CNY, about 114 thousand USD. Niu was impeached for stealing tax by staff 刘新 Liu Xin, 李锦源 Li Jinyuan(Niu's uncle), Xia Shitong and so on. 

During investigation, Niu changed 朱建明 Zhu Jianming, Liu and so on's work to salesman. And he forced intern 汤富 Tang Fu and 丁宗悌 Ding Zongti to accuse Liu and others falsely but failed. He also accused Liu and his uncle by himself, but failed,either.

Finally, staffs(Xia, Zhu, Liu and so on)went back to their work. The worst staff was fired. Not everyone got raised salary. Niu's accusements(several times), dismissing staffs(several times) and closing store(3 times) failed.

After that, Life began to produce fountain pens in 1949.

Niu wanted to revenge. He and his brother, 钮永椿 Niu Yongchun met 陈祥生 Chen Xiangsheng, a former official, to discuss that how to revenge . Chen wrote a letter to threaten Niu, then Niu accuse some of staffs. Niu's uncle Li Jinyuan was chosen, because 张雪痕 Zhang Xuehen,the director of affair in Parker Company thought that the letter seemed to be written by a woman while Niu's aunt was a teacher.

Li was caught mistakenly and lost the job. Many staffs quitted the job, too. Chen Xiangsheng became the director of Life. Later, Li represented his grievances to the government.

The investigation was restart. Chen and Niu's brothers were caught and sentenced to prison in 1951.7. Niu had to be in prison for 2 years. And other crimes made him in prison till 1956, when he was ill.

In1956, Life were merged by Xinhua Stationery Factory.

Chen Xiangsheng seemed to be the Chen Xiangsheng who studied in USSR in 1930s, was director of mint of communist government, member of CPC committee of Shanghai, a betrayer in 1948, and the manager of 解放日報Jiefang Ribao in about 1949.

About Xinhua

Xinhua was founded by Communist Party of China in 1947.10 and registered in 1948 as 商務自來水筆廠CGPF, which seemed to be the short of Commercial Golden Pen Factory. The brand was 企星(wade: Chʻi Hsing, pinyin: Qi Xing)

 

y3.jpg 
Qi Xing made by C.G.P.F
From Penbbs's 霞飞路

 

In 1949, it changed its name into 十月金筆廠 October Golden Pen Factory. Later, it became a part of 新華書店 Xinhua Bookstore and combined with Xinhua Wax Paper Factory, so its name became 新華金筆廠 Xinhua Golden Pen Factory and 新華文具廠 Xinhua Stationery Factory.  In 1956, Xinhua merged with Life.
When Life was exported to Hong Kong, its name was changed into Wing Sung, when there was a brand named 生活 Life made in Japan. the first model for exporting was 570 Wing Sung made in 1956, while the first Parker-51style Life/Wing sung was No. 51 Life. I have a 21.5 mm hooded nib made by Life in 1954, and the first ad of No. 51 Life was in 1955.  

 

y2.png
Life's box
Zuo Xuchu, History of Commodity Packaging Art Design in the ROC Era.
y1.png
No. 51 Life
Guangming Ribao 1955.2.20-4
19580512-%25E5%258F%25B0%25E6%25B9%25BE%25E6%25B0%2591%25E5%25A3%25B0%25E6%2597%25A5%25E6%258A%25A5-Life_Pen_V2%25E7%2594%259F%25E6%25B4%25BB%25E9%2587%2591%25E7%25AC%2594%25E5%25B9%25BF%25E5%2591%258A.png
Japanese fountain pen Life V2
Taiwan Minsheng Ribao, 1958.5.12
Another state-owned fountain pen maker, 大陆 Dah-Loh handed over its Triumph fountain pen line and brands(幸福 Lucky and 光明 Guangming) to Xinhua in 1960.
新华文具厂 Xinhua Stationery Factory changed its name into 新华金笔厂 Xinhua Pen Factory in 1963.
Xinhua Pen Factory became 永生金笔厂 Wing Sung Pen Factory in 1987.
Wing Sung became joint stock company in 1992 and cooperated with Sheaffer, it produced Sheaffer till 2004.
Now, Wing Sung was owned by Hero Industry (not the Hero Group and Hero Pen) and was licenced to different companies.
 
Wing Sung 3 series were license to an unknown company in Wengang Town, Jinxian County, Nanchang
Wing Sung 6 series and Wing Sung 101 were licenced to 上海格林文具有限公司 Shanghai Gelin Stationery Co. Ltd., the second Research Centre of Hero.
Wing Sung 9 series were licenced to 无锡名卓文化用品有限公司 Wuxi Mingzhuo Stationery Co. Ltd.
 
Name: Simplified Chinese and Pinyin
Name of Stores/Factories: depending on the writing system at that time 
Xinhua also used Sin Xua as its romanization before Pinyin. Sin Xua is Latinxua Sinwenz.
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Wow! Thank you for compiling this information. It is very interesting to read of the origins of this now wide spread brand. 

 

A few years ago I was mumbling and speculating that if Chinese pen makers made pens with better quality control and designs then I'd be willing to pay much more than the $1-3 then current price. Now we have the WS699, Moonman 600s and other  really great pens!

"It's funny; in this era of email and voice mail and all those things that I did not even grow up with, a plain old paper letter takes on amazing intimacy."  Elizabeth Kostova

 

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Wow, cool! I've visited to your blog and found other interesting story about chinese pens. Again, in that story I noticed a link to the chinese pen lovers board and found there the discussion about my pens: "Old Guanleming pens identification"

Here is the discussion topic: Penbbs

But all stuff there (as we can guess) is in chinese 😀

I cannot write chinese nor I can read it. The only help I have is Google.Translate. But anyway, there were a lot of info about the Guanleming factory itself, but practically no examples of the pens this factory produced. So sad ☹️

Edited by ZhenyaR
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  • 1 month later...

Oh, Li Qingquan, the one who post it, based on wrong documents.

 

1. The official history is not reliable.

Ning Sihong's memory is not reliable, who was one of the former managers and directors of Rockman.

He mistook a lot things even the the board of directors and when he joined Rockman.

And the official history of Rockman was based on Ning's wrong memory.

 

2. A magazine and a newspaper counterfeited history and antique about Rockman.

The Rockman was 216 Rockman made in 1956 which in the reports was made in 1927 while Rockman Shanghai was founded in 1928.4.

I had accused the journalists for fake news.

 

Rockman manufacturer:

Rockman NewYork (1926-1927, fountain brush)

Rockman Shanghai (1928-1960,fountain pen since 1929)

Kin Sin(1960-1978, It seemed that Rockman became Guanleming during this period)

Hero(1978-?, but I have not found the product, Hero Shanghai)

Changsu Pen Factory(?-?, Hero Changsu. I heard that the Guanleming brand was sold)

Fuzhou Pencil Fatory(Only 1988 for export)

 

I am reorganizing Rockman's history basing on archives now.

 

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On 12/22/2020 at 11:41 PM, ZhenyaR said:

Wow, cool! I've visited to your blog and found other interesting story about chinese pens. Again, in that story I noticed a link to the chinese pen lovers board and found there the discussion about my pens: "Old Guanleming pens identification"

Here is the discussion topic: Penbbs

But all stuff there (as we can guess) is in chinese 😀

I cannot write chinese nor I can read it. The only help I have is Google.Translate. But anyway, there were a lot of info about the Guanleming factory itself, but practically no examples of the pens this factory produced. So sad ☹️

Oh, Li Qingquan, the one who post it, based on wrong documents.

 

1. The official history is not reliable.

Ning Sihong's memory is not reliable, who was one of the former managers and directors of Rockman.

He mistook a lot things even the the board of directors and when he joined Rockman.

And the official history of Rockman was based on Ning's wrong memory.

 

2. A magazine and a newspaper counterfeited history and antique about Rockman.

The Rockman was 216 Rockman made in 1956 which in the reports was made in 1927 while Rockman Shanghai was founded in 1928.4.

I had accused the journalists for fake news.

 

Rockman manufacturer:

Rockman NewYork (1926-1927, fountain brush)

Rockman Shanghai (1928-1960,fountain pen since 1929)

Kin Sin(1960-1978, It seemed that Rockman became Guanleming during this period)

Hero(1978-?, but I have not found the product, Hero Shanghai)

Changsu Pen Factory(?-?, Hero Changsu. I heard that the Guanleming brand was sold)

Fuzhou Pencil Fatory(Only 1988 for export)

 

I am reorganizing Rockman's history basing on archives now.

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