The story of the birth of the Pilot brand is a fascinating one. In 1918, Ryosuke Namiki, then a teacher at the Tokyo Merchant Marine School, was dissatisfied with the writing and drawing instruments on the market and sought to improve them for his professional needs… read more
The story of the birth of the Pilot brand is a fascinating one. In 1918, Ryosuke Namiki, then a teacher at the Tokyo Merchant Marine School, was dissatisfied with the writing and drawing instruments on the market and sought to improve them for his professional needs. So he made his first pen nib using gold for the body and osmiridium (an alloy of iridium, osmium, ruthenium, platinum, rhodium and gold) for the tip. It was such a revolution that he created, with his colleague Masao Wada, a nib manufacturing company: the Namiki Manufacturing Company.
Ryosuke Namiki soon began designing fountain pens. In order to protect them from scratches, he patented a process allowing him to apply lacquer to the ebonite barrels. This urushi lacquer comes exclusively from an Asian tree, the Japanese varnish. Applied in many layers (up to 20), it sublimates the fountain pen by giving it an incomparable shine. Ryosuke Namiki travels the world to present his pens and forms a partnership with the British Alfred Dunhill to market them under the brand name Dunhill-Namiki Fountain Pen. In order to develop this art and to magnify his models, Ryosuke Namiki joined Gonroku Matsuda, master lacquerer and famous maki-e artist, in 1930 to found the Kokkokai art school within his company. The maki-e technique (meaning “sprinkled paint”) consists of blowing gold powder onto a previously drawn and still wet pattern on the lacquered piece. This school still exists today and beautiful models are made every day.
In order to cope with the growing market after the war, the founder decided to market less luxurious (unlacquered) pieces under the Pilot brand. In 1963, the first fountain pen without a cap was created: the Capless. The instrument is equipped with a complex precision mechanism that lowers the fountain pen by rotating the barrel. The next version in 1964 allowed the nib to be extended and retracted by pressing a button at the opposite end of the pen. This revolutionary pen is still very successful today, so much so that Pilot has created the Capless LS (Luxury & Silence). This new model is more luxurious and quieter in the action of its mechanism. In addition to the pusher to make the nib go out, it is equipped with a small fin to make it go in.