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Variation in Pilot's "named" nibs from the 1960s (script, soft, manifold, etc.)


awa54
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I've noticed that with these nibs, there is usually a characteristic that's consistent within the type, but other parameters are quite variable...

 

For example, all Manifolds are firm, but run from fine-medium to medium broad and one of mine is even close to a medium stub. Script nibs all have a rounded off shape to the tipping, but run from fine to medium and flexibility varies all the way from rigid to quite soft. Then Soft nibs which go from EF to F and just barely "soft" all the way to nearly true full-flex, I also have a Soft with very short tines?!? The only one that's dead consistent (small sample size though) is the Coarse, all three of mine are identical flat-bottomed BBs. Nothing like the 1970s on, where Pilot's tipping profile is consistent in shape and width (within a specified width), even between totally different nib shapes.

 

I wonder if they were sold with the variables defined somehow at the point of purchase, or if it was a case of needing to write with the pen before buying, to be certain it was what you actually wanted?

 

This may well remain a mystery, since I doubt anyone here was buying these pens new in Japan in the 60s.

David-

 

So many restoration projects...

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  • stan

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I've seem much sales literature by numerous firms from the 1920s to present and have not seen any information regarding flexiness of specific types, kinds, and sizes of nibs.

 

Your assessment of what was offered, in general, is correct. I've found some Platinum 18K nibs that were hard as nails and other very flexible. It seems the same for Pilot Super models in the late 1950s/early 1960s. It may have to do with nibs being more fabricated and finished by hand. Don't know the answer.

 

Today we buy many pens by mail so there are fewer opportunities to try pens before purchase. We often rely on others perceptions of the nib. That is, at best, a hit and miss approach.

 

In Japan one is always allowed to try out the pen. I've spent hours in shops checking out endless numbers of pens with no questions asked. The salesperson may have been thinkin this gaijin is nuts or were getting bored out of their minds. I suspect the same approach existing in the 1950s and earlier. You were able to test drive your selection. Try out different makes, models, and nibs. Maybe there were some stores where inexpensive pens were sold that didn't allow the testing. But maybe this wasn't important for everyone. 

stan

Formerly Ryojusen Pens
The oldest and largest buyer and seller of vintage Japanese pens in America.


Member: Pen Collectors of America & Fuente, THE Japanese Pen Collectors Club

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11 minutes ago, stan said:

I've seem much sales literature by numerous firms from the 1920s to present and have not seen any information regarding flexiness of specific types, kinds, and sizes of nibs.

 

Your assessment of what was offered, in general, is correct. I've found some Platinum 18K nibs that were hard as nails and other very flexible. It seems the same for Pilot Super models in the late 1950s/early 1960s. It may have to do with nibs being more fabricated and finished by hand. Don't know the answer.

 

Today we buy many pens by mail so there are fewer opportunities to try pens before purchase. We often rely on others perceptions of the nib. That is, at best, a hit and miss approach.

 

In Japan one is always allowed to try out the pen. I've spent hours in shops checking out endless numbers of pens with no questions asked. The salesperson may have been thinkin this gaijin is nuts or were getting bored out of their minds. I suspect the same approach existing in the 1950s and earlier. You were able to test drive your selection. Try out different makes, models, and nibs. Maybe there were some stores where inexpensive pens were sold that didn't allow the testing. But maybe this wasn't important for everyone. 

 

Hi Stan!

 

I suspect that since these pens were a commodity, rather than a collectible (as they are now), many buyers were content with whatever the nib turned out to be.  Although if there's anywhere that appreciation of the fine details and aesthetics of a pen nib would be considered during even a modest purchase Japan is probably that place.

 

Of all the "named" nibs in my E/Super collection, there's only one or two that are actual duds, the overwhelming majority (dozens) are excellent to exceptional writers and the variation means that despite having a stack of "script" nibs(etc.), there really aren't any true duplicates.

David-

 

So many restoration projects...

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In this post, I've linked a 1960s ad on Yahoo Auctions which gives some nib descriptions from the Elite era, and also uploaded a 1938 leaflet with some more nib descriptions.

 

The Pilot 100th anniversary poster gallery is also a good source of contemporary pen information: https://www.pilot.co.jp/100th/en/gallery/

Here, if you scroll to the 1962 ad for Elites (the one just prior to the 1962 ad for the Pilot 57), there is a similar nib listing of:

 

Extra fine - posting

Fine (soft) - script

Fine (firm) - manifold

Broad -  coarse

 

Also, I hadn't noticed until just now, but this ad confirms my suspicion that E has always stood for 'elite' - the katakana 'エリート'  is just about visible on top of the big E.

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@liubrian

 

Thanks for the link, those vintage ads are pretty amazing, even if I can't read most of them ;) 

 

I actually own a pen that's similar to the first 1938 ad. IIRC the date on the damaged nib that came in it was '36, or maybe that was the identical (size and imprint) replacement that's in it now?

David-

 

So many restoration projects...

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7 hours ago, awa54 said:

@liubrian

 

Thanks for the link, those vintage ads are pretty amazing, even if I can't read most of them ;) 

 

I actually own a pen that's similar to the first 1938 ad. IIRC the date on the damaged nib that came in it was '36, or maybe that was the identical (size and imprint) replacement that's in it now?

 

If we look at the handy 100th anniversary gallery again, balance type (round topped) pens were made as far back as 1932, so 1936 is a plausible date for the nib to be original.

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