I will turn to the manufacturer itself for an explanation of the name:
TWSBI’s name stands for the phrase “Hall of Three Cultures” or “San Wen Tong” (三文堂) in Chinese. The character “Wen” translates into language and culture. The phrase “San Wen Tong” also brings to mind the Hall of the Three Rare Treasures created by Emperor Qianlong as a memorial to three great masterpieces of Chinese calligraphy. The initials of the phrase “San Wen Tong” was reversed and thus turned into “TWS”. The last letters “Bi” was added with its literal meaning of “writing instruments” (筆). Thus combining the two segments, creating TWSBI.
TWSBI is a new enterprise, although it grows out of a pre-existing manufacturing concern, Ta Shin Precision, which before turning entirely to writing instruments produced parts for Lego and watches; it may thus be considered to have begun in about 2005, or in the 1960s. In my general history pages, I explain my belief that we are in something of a fountain pen renaissance, and this company seems intent on being one of the great drivers of that rebirth by offering relatively high-quality writing instruments at relatively low costs. Part of this effort is engaging a sizable part of the fountain pen community in generating designs, an approach which I suspect has as high a degree of frustration as success. To date, though, the efforts have proved quite successful, and hopefully sufficiently profitable to carry on in the same vein. The driving force behind this effort is a Jim who is as charged up about fountain pens as I am (if not more so) and in a position to do something positive about it.
The company’s first output was issued under the name “Montessa,” but it was found that this was not available for copyrighting in some jurisdictions. TWSBI was adopted thereafter, and the inversion of the initials mentioned above was taken to render the acronym vaguely pronounceable (as “twizbee”), since SWTBI doesn’t lend itself to that sort of verbal shorthand. While on the topic, I’ll also mention that the company’s logo is not biohazard symbol, but rather a clever triskelion composed of a stylized “wen” charater; the triple nature of it reflects the “san”, too.
I will admit to being highly partizan on the subject of TWSBI. I find what they’re doing extremely laudable, and while I’m sure the general tenor of this site suggests my overall disposition towards pens, I may be counted as an actual fan of TWSBI. Heck, I even “liked” their Facebook page, which is not something I generally even think about.
Some of the items of information I’ve set down here were drawn from an interview with Philip Wang, the US wing’s president and son of the founder, which can be found at the FP Geeks’ site’s interviews section.
Models I’ve examined: