Celebrating 100 Years of Pilot Japan
Pilot Pen Japan celebrates 100th Anniversary of its founding since 1918 with the launch of four pen designs to commemorate this important milestone. Indeed, 100 years is a very long time for many corporate Japan, not to mention to companies in Singapore.
Since the end of the Second World War, Japan had emerged from rumbles and flourished with its tenacious workforce to create one of the strongest brand of quality to almost everything from service, products and cosmetics, just to name a few.
Let’s have a look what kind of pens Pilot Japan made in its early years through some of these very interesting vintage post cards featuring the pens of that time.
In style with pens made in the 1920s, many of such BCHR pens were made with lever fillers. In the background, the majestic Mount Fuji was commonly featured to illustrate the luxury and high quality attached to a fountain pen. The fountain pen was known as “The Ten Thousand Years Pen” 萬年筆 （kanji form: 万年笔) even till today. It was meant probably to last for 10,000 years.
In another vintage advertisement (Showa 23 Years) featuring another Pilot fountain pen, a new motif was used and this time the mast and sails of a sailing ship. And in another poster dated Showa 13 years, an ocean liner in the background. It was probably the lifestyle of those time for the wealthy to use such an exclusive Pilot fountain pen.
It is not coincidental that this year’s Pilot 100th Anniversary collection, two important motifs were used on the pen design. The Emperor Mount Fuji made in limited edition of 100 pieces features the majestic Mount Fuji again in rankaku egg shells and the entire pen decorated in togidashi maki-e , taka maki-e and jim makie. The other motif being chosen is the Japanese style ship, The Meiji Maru.
The significance of the ship motif, not known to many, is that the founders Masao Wada and Ryosuke Namiki were both sailors before they started The Namiki Manufacturing Company. The Meiji Maru, a Japanese style sailing ship, is depicted on the pen barrel in high relief lacquer against a dark blue lacquer background; which is rare in lacquer making techniques.
Capturing the design essence of Pilot’s 100 years of journey is so important that it has taken the company more than 2 years of planning and resources allocation and mobilizing more than 15 artists to create the Shichi-fukujin 七福神 (The Japanese Seven Gods of Good Fortune).
Back to appreciating the vintage post cards, you will find the relaxing lifestyle featured together with the Pilot fountain pens, showing that writing with a fountain pen was then very much a lifestyle instrument.
It is also interesting to discover in the last post card that Singapore was already one of four main out posts of Pilot Pens in 1930s (Showa 5 Years) besides New York, London and Shanghai.