Tag Archives: Pilot

Pilot Scholar E

The Scholar E is a marvel for Pilot fans. It combines features from a few Pilot Japanese models and then some.

The pen has the torpedo size and shape of the Custom 74 (and the Custom 67 before it) but with a different cap band and – most notably – guilloche-like chasing on the black plastic.


Under the cap, the pen sports a large inlaid nib – a distinctive design that debuted on the Pilot Elite series of pens, and is available these days only in 18K gold on expensive offerings like the Silvern series or last year’s Elite 95 reissue. This is a steel nib though, just gold-plated.


The squeeze-filler on the pen is unique too. It looks like a larger CON-20 (Pilot’s current production squeeze converter) and it screws into the section housing. The filler is easily unscrewed but the section lacks a piercer for cartridges. The sac is clear plastic – probably vinyl.

The Scholar E was (is?) made in Korea, apparently by a licensee of Pilot that is still in business according to Bruno Taut. The pen can’t be imported into Japan it seems.

Maybe I’ve been spoilt by other pens, but I paid about US$50 for this Pilot Scholar E and I think the weight and materials are just about OK for this price point. Cosmetically, the cap and barrel are a different material and shade of black from the captop and barrel end. The chasing is interesting but cut shallowly. The gold-plating on the nib has flaws too. The plastic for barrel and cap feels a bit too light. The ends unscrew easily as well.

The nib is stiff as a nail. Not scratchy but also not as smooth as a Japan-made steel Pilot nib e.g. on the Prera. And on my pen ink seeps out from the back of the nib. No serious leaking or blobbing, but I do need to be careful not to put my fingers there when I write.

In all, a budget-priced curiosity or treat for Pilot fans.


Capped length: 14.4 cm
Uncapped length: 13.6 cm


Switching Pilot steel nibs — a BB italic on a Prera

Bought a Prera recently so that I could switch its nib with a BB italic from a Pilot Plumix that wasn’t seeing much use. This turned out to be simpler than I’d expected.

Grasp the nib and feed between thumb and forefinger and pull straight out. Don’t twist. The feed and nib will emerge together.

The Plumix first:

(Note the different ends on the feeds from the Plumix and the Prera. The Plumix is a bit different from other Pilot pens as it takes international cartridges instead of Pilot’s proprietary ones.)

Then the Prera:

The nib is shaped so that it’ll fit in only 1 position on the feed. I switched the nibs, then pushed nib and feed back into the section.

Voila! With the BB nib the Prera is even cuter 🙂

New Page – Translation of Japanese pen feature

In 2009 I translated a feature for John Mottishaw of Nibs.com — a special report from MONO Magazine. It provides an introduction to Japanese pens, pen manufacturers, individual craftsmen and writeups on select pens from each maker.

The translated text has been available on Mottishaw’s website for a while – http://www.nibs.com/JapaneseMonoArticle.html — together with scans of the original feature.

I’ve added a new page to my blog with the translated text, formatted such that, I hope, it’ll be more conducive to reading. Please look at the top of the screen to see the new page, or you can click here.

Hope you enjoy reading it, and feel free to leave comments and questions 🙂

Vintage Pilot pen (circa 1940) and a glimpse at a dark past




As you can see from the pictures this vintage Pilot eyedropper isn’t in good condition. The once-translucent barrel has ambered so badly that I can’t tell what colour it used to be. There’s also a line that spirals around the barrel, like a toilet roll tube. Perhaps the celluloid was originally a strip that had been rolled into a spiral to form the barrel?

The cap, though retaining more of its translucence, is ambered and cracked. The plastic resembles algae in dirty water ;p It’s a mismatch with the barrel too.


I was curious about the pen’s origins and type of nib. Thanks to Ron Dutcher (Kamakura Pens) and Stan (Ryojusen Pens), I’ve been able to date the pen to around 1940.

– The nib is a Pilot stenographer nib, as indicated by the rectangular breather hole.

– The date code stamped at the back of the nib — 2.40 — indicates it was made in 1940.

– The barrel was most likely made between 1936 and early 1938. It has the “Pilot Pen Mfg…” imprint with the “N” inside the logo.

– The sword clip was made between 1935 and 1954

To illustrate their points Ron and Stan also provided images of advertising cards from Pilot.

Courtesy of Kamakura Pens
Courtesy of Kamakura Pens
Courtesy of Ryojusen Pens
Courtesy of Ryojusen Pens

Stan’s card led to another curious diversion down darker paths.The “2600” refers to the 2600th year since Emperor Jimmu, descendant of the Sun Goddess Amaterasu, supposedly founded the Yamato dynasty from which the current Japanese imperial family claims an uninterrupted line of descent. This was identified with 1940 in the Gregorian calendar, and that year saw special rituals and events to commemorate this event.

One such event was the unveiling of the Hakkō ichiu tower. Situated at the site of where Jimmu’s palace was supposed to have stood, the tower was the architectural embodiment of the Japanese regime’s expansionist ambitions, fueled by militarist-nationalist beliefs of the Japanese being a divine, superior race via the imperial family.

I was surprised to learn that the tower still stands today in Miyazaki prefecture, even retaining its carved calligraphy of the imperialist slogan Hakkō ichiu. It’s now disingenuously named the “Peace Tower”.