The Japanese origins of the Sailor ink pen in wood
Fountain pens in Japan came to be around the 1900’s. Brushes made way for metal nibs. The Sailor Pen Company has been making fountain pens in Hiroshima, Japan since 1911.
The origin of this cute name is unclear. Mr Kyugoro Sakata supposedly had been shown a fountain pen by a British sailor. He was quite impressed with the fountain pen that he decided to make it his business and named the company ‘Sailor’ in honor of that chance meeting. But it might also just be related to the nearby naval base from which he took the name depending on the source of information… Since 1968, the Sailor Pen Company is known for the ink pen in wood. Some are richly decorated by Maki-E designs. Others just celebrate the beauty of the material itself.
The exclusivity of the Sailor ink pen in wood
Sailor Pen makes still today some of the world’s most exclusive pens. This exclusivity comes from their choice of fine materials and decorations using traditional Japanese techniques, like Maki-E lacquer. But like most companies they also have the everyday range. Here is a modern specimen, an ink pen in character (crane in red Fuji), model Sailor Profit Maki-E which is a true japan import. This pen ranges in the 300-400 £ range.
Their more upscale pens are at a premium. The value of these pens lies -as with most pens- in the nib. Sailor nibs are unparalleled. The nibs are 21 carat gold, yes but they are all designed by Nagahara. This Master Nib Designer has been a nib specialist for over 60 years. Mr. Nagahara and his son Yukio personally oversee the design of the Sailor nibs. He revived an ‘Naginata-Togi’ (Japanese long sword) nib, a long last tradition. A request from a calligraphy artist in Japan started Mr. Nagahara to further focus his attention on the nib. Nobuyoshi Nagahara, in his eighties and retired from Sailor Pen but his son Yukio took his place.
But besides the Maki-E and the nibs, the reason why I love this company, is that the ink pen in wood is just so beautiful.
The Sailor Precious Wood series
Like I said, since the sixties it has set them apart from other pen companies. The Sailor ink Pen ‘Chizusugi’ uses a precious wood from a Japanese pine ‘Sugu’, a cedar pine that grows in the snow mountains. ‘Chizu’ refers to a small town in Tottori, Japan, quite known for its wood production. The cedarwood as you can see is beautiful light colored highlighting the natural wood grain. I like this color, it is not too dark and not too light, perfect for an ink pen in wood.
But the ‘Precious Wood Series’ has all the wood types one can imagine. It is like choosing your wooden floor. From very dark to very light : they have Black Persimmon, Brierwood, Kokutan (ebony), Tagayasan (ironwood), Chizusugi (cedarwood), chestnut, and Japanese quince. The surface is treated to prevent discoloration and staining.
The ink pen in wood has a 14k single-tone nib, and is available in Extra Fine, Fine, Medium-Fine, Medium, Broad, Music (most Western music nibs are double slit, this music nib has one slit : very wet-flowing, stubby, thus easy for whole- and half notes), and Zoom (for calligraphers, western or Japanese, it replaces a brush in the sense the broadness changes with the angel with which one writes). 14k nibs can be customized at request. Stub, Cursive Italic, or Left Oblique, or just added flex are part of the options.
Since an ink pen in wood is made form natural materials, no two pens are the same. And obviously they are made in and imported from Japan. They are definitely more part of your wardrobe than of office supplies. Simply exquisite.
You can find more information, reviews and the price of this ink pen in wood, here.