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Maker: Pilot.

There’s a lot of investigatory weight being held up by this one image (which was lifted from a blog well worth reading).

When the long/short or pocket pen was introduced in 1963, Pilot was strangely slow to introduce the pattern, not getting in on the action until five years later with the Elite. They were, however, a little quicker to move in that direction than Waterman was with the shift to celluloid bodies a generation earlier. While they did eventually join the crown in producing pens with really long sections and nearly vestigial barrels, they first tried making a pen which had more or less normal anatomy but yet had the same small in the pocket/long in the hand effect.

The Short (the name is assumed from a single 1968 advertising calendar) is in almost all respects a perfectly normal pen; the usual proportions when open, with the a relatively short section unscrewing to allow the replacement of a cartridge. When the cap is on, though, the pen is about the same size as a Sheaffer Tuckaway, which is very wee indeed.

This is accomplished by having two barrels, with the plastic one telescoping inside the steel. When closing the pen, the inner end of the plastic barrel bottoms out before the cap is fully engaged, providing pressure to lodge the ring at the joint in a quite positive set of clutch-fingers in the cap. When opening, this firm grip is sufficient to draw the barrel out to its outer stop before the cap is freed, so when everything is working properly, the deployment of the extra length is automatic and slightly like a magic trick. When capped, it presents mostly steel to the outside world, so it is a sturdy enough little pen.

The look of the pen will certainly not be to all tastes, especially the not-quite-red version I’ve got. Most reports I’ve found suggest that the writing qualities of my example are typical– smooth, wet, and only slightly springy, very similar to a modern Lamy 2000.

Production Run: c. 1966 – c. 1968, based on an extremely unscientific survey of a few people on a forum looking at their date-codes.

Cost When New:  No idea. Comparing it to other roughly contemporary pens of similar trim, it was probably somewhere between ¥1,500 and ¥3,000, but this is a pure guess.

Size: 11.6 cm long capped, 14.8 cm posted, 12.2 uncapped (at full extension; a strange person might try using it compressed, 10.6 cm).

Point: 14K gold.

Body: Polystyrene and steel.

FillerCartridge, capacity approx. 0.8ml.

Pilot Short, in the unshortened configuration, ready to write..

The short form of the Short, ready to tuck away (nudge nudge) in a pocket.

I say, how can that cap possibly fit that pen without mashing the point?

Oh, I say! The section sucks into the barrel! How unexpected! (this is me giving away the magic trick)


If you are relying on the preceding information to win a bet or impress a teacher, you should read the site’s scholarly caveat. Remember, this is the internet, and it’s full of bad information.

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