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Elite

Maker: Pilot.

This format of pen is known as a long/short, something that was developed in Japan in the 1960s in what one assumes is a response to a shortage of material to make shirt pockets out of.  When posted, the extremely long section and cap combine to form a pen more than long enough for easy use, as seen in the portrait below, while when capped there is such a tiny stub of barrel showing that even the most wizened, atrophied shirt pocket could easily contain it.  The pattern is seen in many Japanese pens of a certain age, some rather down-scale from this one, others the sort of thing that pen enthusiasts dream of owning.

Production Run: 1968 – c. 1980; the first is based on a reliable but single source, the latter is a miserable, almost unfounded guess.  I will happily accept correction, if you’ve got actual data. Update: Pilot has restarted production of this model; I wasn’t paying quite enough attention to say exactly when, but if not in 2014 then in the latter part of 2013.

Cost When New: A known Japanese production model from 1976 shows a sticker of ¥3,000. In 1970, that would be the equivalent of about $10.00 (for modern value, try this calculator). If it were available for export, the price would likely be higher outside Japan; the cost of living was radically lower in Japan then, to the point that it was viewed much as China is now as a source of cheaply made but relatively advanced consumer goods. The restarted Elite 95S costs ¥10,000.

Size: 12.1 cm long capped, 14.7 cm posted, 10.7 cm uncapped (not that one would use it that way).

Point: My example is semi-hooded, which obscures markings, and I haven’t satisfied myself whether it’s steel or gold. 14k points are certainly known (that ’76 model mentioned above certainly had one), and are the standard in current production.

Body: Polystyrene.

Filler: Cartridge, the capacity of which I don’t know; it’s not the same as current Pilot cartridges.  Has a very specific screw-in converter, capacity 0.6 ml.

Pilot Elite – a very comfortable length when posted. This is probably Korean production, as a more typical example shows more point than this

It’s very compact when closed

 

 

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