The Myu was likely an attempt to coat-tail on the novelty of Parker’s T-1, and the fact that the T-1 was profoundly fragile and was withdrawn from production before any serious popular sentiment could develop about it does not seem to have harmed the Myu– indeed, the Pilot probably benefitted from Parker’s quick action in not blackening the reputation of integral-point pens.
This is an all-steel “pocket” pen, a configuration which can be seen in the earlier Elite, and it is exactly the sort of design to appeal to the sort of optimistic futurism which attended the culmination of the space race (as a side note– there was a counterbalancing pessimistic futurism abroad at the same time, best represented by Soylent Green). In the original advertising, Pilot associated the pen with the Greek letter μ (mu), although the reason for this is elusive, whether it is connected to any of the many scientific uses of the letter or was simply a result of some whimsy in Pilot’s marketing office. There appears at least to be no connection to James Churchward’s made-up lost continent.
There are three versions of the pen, although only two are apt to appear. The Myu 701 was the initial smooth-sided version, followed in 1973 by a striped model. In almost all examples of the later type, the stripes are filled with black enamel. A third version without fill is also known to exist, but very few examples have been seen. The striped versions bear a large M on the cap, while the smooth original is so reticent the maker’s name is difficult to spot.
Capped or open, the pen has extremely clean lines, although one can find complaints about difficulty in aligning point to page thanks to the lack of visual and even tactile cues. It is nearly as sturdy as it looks; one should not forget that it is a pen, and can be damaged in all the ways other pens are susceptible to. The example I was able to examine came into my hands because the point had been banged up and needed straightening. There is a three-stud clutch to hold the cap on, which is not extremely positive in its action; there is no loud click or sensation of locking into place, although the cap is held firmly.
As one may expect from a steel integral point, the writing feel is rather on the stiff side. The pen has good balance for writing when the cap is posted; like any “pocket pen”, it is a bit of a misery to try to write with without the cap hanging off the back.
The production codes used by Pilot appear on the underside of the section, near the joint, along with a size indication.
In 2008, Pilot released a limited run almost-copy of the Myu, the M90. It is substantially different in the arrangement of the clutch-studs, has a blue jewel on the cap, and has a more streamlined clip with the name of the model engraved on its shoulder, but reports suggest that the performance is quite similar.
Production Run: 1971 – c. 1980 (the end date isn’t well supported, so don’t insist that it’s right; I don’t).
Cost When New: ¥3,500, which in 1971 was about $10.00, and about $15.00 in 1980. The striped version sold for ¥5,000, which in 1973 was about $19.00 (for modern value, try this calculator). While I give dollar values, remember that the yen was artificially depressed throughout production, so if the pen was exported, it likely cost more outside Japan.
Size: 11.8 cm long capped, 14.2 cm posted, 10.4 cm uncapped.
Point: Integral with the body.
Filler: Cartridge, capacity approx. 0.8ml. Two different converters fit; the CON-20 press-bar type (0.7ml) and the CON-50 piston type (0.5 ml).
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