Start on June 14th 11 a.m JST

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Why reviving Japanese vintage fountain pens?


Japanese fountain pen has a long history dated back to hundreds of years ago. And obviously enough, there have been a considerable number of fountain pen types that have been made and passed throughout the generations. However, around 50 to 80 years ago when everything was still manual, and technology wasn't advanced enough to popularize all the information of these many kinds of fountain pens, that were only known by those who own them. Even now, we can find very little information about those vintage fountain pens on the Internet.  Meeting in person with old Japanese fountain pen collectors and nib masters from Osaka, Kyoto, etc., we have been able to lay our hands on a variety of vintage fountain pens that have never been seen before. 

Revive Japanese Vintage Fountain Pen is a project that we carried out in collaboration with a group of Japanese fountain pen collectors and nib masters in Japan who have been working with fountain pens for decades. This is probably the last fountain pen project of their life and its mission is to keep fountain pens alive and preserve fountain pens that might bring priceless values to the fountain pen network. And to make that dream come true, today we are finding new owners for those fountain pens, who will willingly take a good care of it and pass it to the next generation.

What creates values for these fountain pens?

1. These fountain pens are already more than 60 years old. As long as a human life, they been through many ups and downs of the society. No matter they were used for personal or public occasions, these pens are pieces of history and connect us to what happened in the past. Values of a vintage fountain pen aren't made only by its phenomenal materials but also the story behind.

2. Materials that were used to make these fountain pens are durable and special materials such as Japanese ebonite or Kyoto celluloid or fuubou (material for airplane's windshield) which help these pens survive through decades or even more. The beauty of these materials even develop over a long time. If it is not a vintage fountain pen, we won't be able to see these beautiful change in a fountain pen.

3. The nib and mechanism are also the two components which make a Japanese vintage fountain pen extraordinary. Japanese vintage nibs write wetly with a rich ink flow and the flexibility is highly enhanced through a hand-grinding process. Filling mechanisms of these pens may function in the same way with current models but they are something that cannot be found these days and experiencing it will let you know how fountain pen has been developed and why Japanese vintage fountain can live through decades without showing a decline in writing performance.

Japanese Vintage Pen Materials

Three main materials that we have found in the vintage fountain pen collection of 40-50 years ago are ebonite, celluloid and windshield. Not only durable but these materials are believed to give a warm and comfortable feeling for handwriting.

Japanese Ebonite

Ebonite is a warm and durable material that has been used on fountain pens since the beginning days of the fountain pen era. What makes it different from other materials is the feel in the hand rather than the look. It gives a warm, soft and therefore comfortable feeling for daily writing. The durability of ebonite makes ebonite fountain pens live through ages without being degraded.

Kyoto Celluloid

After World War II, celluloid was still popular but the rise of plastic soon resulted in a decline of celluloid which is more expensive and harder to produce. Celluloid fountain pens then became less popular and hard to find. Our vintage celluloid fountain pens are what have been left since that time. They were made from Kyoto celluloid which is known as the most excellent celluloid material from Japan. The complex patterns seen on these celluloid fountain pens represents main styles of Japanese fountain pens in 40, 50 years ago.

Japanese Fuubou (material for airplane windshield)

Fuubou (風防) is a material that is used in making windshields for airplanes. In the 1940s, when this material was first used to make fountain pens in Japan, it quickly gained the popularity and love of many fountain pen lover. However, due to high cost and unavailability of this material, these fountain pens are no longer produced. The beauty of fuubou material is developed over a long time, texture of the original pen does not fade away but transform into a new beautiful shade which is hardly found in any other material.

Together with many fountain pens masters and pen artisans from Japan, we are finding new owners for these Japanese vintage fountain pens. They are now more than 60 years old but they can live longer than that as long as there is someone taking a good care of them.

Why restoring vintage pens is a master work?

Repair & Replacement

First, the pen master will inspect the pen overall to see which parts need to be repaired and replaced. Those parts are then repaired to make sure the pen can function normally. The repairing process is applied for pen body and nib. If there is any part that needs to be replaced, only vintage pen parts are used in this case. Since each part of the pen is a piece of history, we try our best to change as few as possible the structure and appearance of the pen.

Polishing & Adjusting

Since these vintage fountain pens have already sat in the box for more than 60 years, some parts need to be polished and filled with oil so the pen can work as normal. The nib and filling mechanism are also carefully checked. We have seen the pen artisans spend a lot of effort on adjusting the tip, adapting the feed and fixing ink tube. The pen itself is a piece of history and the restoration has been a proof of invaluable craftsmanship by skillful pen masters.

Testing

To make sure the fountain pen performs well before passing it to the new owner, the fountain pen and nib masters have spent time to double check writing performance of the pen. All the fountain pens here have been tested to assure the daily writing experience so we believe you can get it with complete confidence.

Japanese Nib with Handmade Ebonite Feed

All of these fountain pen nibs are installed with ebonite feeds that were hand-crafted by the nib masters. Our nib artisans who have worked with fountain pens for their whole life told us from the beginning that, they won't work with plastic feed and the only ones that they use are ebonite feeds. This not only because ebonite feed offers a wetter and smoother ink flow but also because, ebonite makes their fountain pen a complete piece of history!

Size, Shape and Mechanism

These Japanese vintage fountain pens come in a variety of sizes, shapes as well as mechanisms. All of these pens have clip and come in the normal size of a standard Japanese fountain pen which is 140 - 155 mm in length and 10-13 mm in diameter. Filling mechanism is available with vacuum filler, sac filler and converter option. You can check details of size and filling mechanism of each pen in each listing.

Letter from old owner

For each pen, we will attach a letter from its old owner so you might know more about its story and how to take a good care of it.

Writing Sample

Here is a writing sample of a Fine nib by David from Figboot on Pens

Start on June 14th 11 a.m JST

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