Saturday, May 6, 2023

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 489

We don't often get back-to-back reviews of pens made by an obscure licensee of a popular pen brand, but here's another one! Like Christopher's Pilot 'Custom Korea' fountain pen (reviewed three days ago), my Pilot 'Scholar' fountain pen was also made in Korea by the South Korean Pilot Company, under license from the Pilot Corporation in Japan.

(all photos by Maja ~ please click on images to enlarge)

I got my Pilot 'Scholar' fountain pen second-hand on eBay from my pen friend Kevin (eBay username: c.c.bexley), who lives just outside of Chicago. Kevin (who has discerning taste when it comes to writing instruments) gave me a greater appreciation of well-made mechanical pencils and grey inks after we started trading emails several years ago :) We kind of lost touch over the years, but when I saw that he was selling this pen on eBay, I immediately put in a bid for it and subsequently won the auction (the Maruman Mnemosyne --I always forget how to spell it 😉-- notebook in the photo was purchased from Laywine's).

The pen is made of a very glossy black resin (plastic) with gold-coloured (plated?) metal trim. It's a classy-looking fountain pen and it's in excellent condition--no scratches or blemishes that I can see! I'm not sure when it was made, but other 'Scholar' pens were made in the 1970s. There is also a version of the 'Scholar' model with a guilloché pattern, but mine has no pattern engraved on it.

Based on my own measurements, it's 15.9 cm long posted, 14.9 cm capped, and 12.5 cm uncapped (from nib tip to barrel end). The pen has a friction-fit cap-closing mechanism (ie. it's a snap-on cap) that posts very deeply and securely.

According to my digital scale, the total weight of the 'Scholar' is 15.5 grams empty and 20.2 grams with its converter in place. It's comfortable to use unposted, but when I use it posted, it's very well-balanced and comfortable to hold (especially with its long section as I'm a "high-gripper").

And here's a closeup of that marvelous (and large) Pilot "fingernail" nib ...

Unlike Christopher's Korean-made Pilot 'Custom Korea' pen, my 'Scholar' pen has a gold-plated nib and is stamped/engraved "PILOT MADE IN KOREA SUPER QUALITY" below its breather hole. The nib width isn't marked but I'd say it's probably an Asian Fine/Western Extra-Fine. The nib has some tooth, but after a quick fingernail (HA!) adjustment, it wrote a bit smoother. Keep in mind, though, that the nib doesn't have a lot of tipping material, so it will never write as smoothly as a well-tuned broad nib, for example. Oh, and despite its elongated appearance, the nib has no flex.

The pen came with the much-sought-after larger version of the Pilot CON-20 squeeze converter (which, apparently, only came with Korean-made Pilot pens). The converter holds a lot of ink and adds a nice bit of heft to the pen. I checked and the pen accepts Pilot's well-known proprietary ink cartridges, too.

(photo of the underside of the pen's nib - please ignore the dust particles ;)

There's a Reddit post here showing the component parts of a similar Pilot nib. The nibs have little tabs that grip the feed but the nib is also GLUED in place, so I wouldn't recommend taking it apart unless absolutely necessary.

A quick photo of the cap (which has PILOT engraved---vertically-- on it)... Note the triple cap bands, a contrast to the double cap bands found on a lot of Pilot's gold-nibbed fountain pen models.

Above: my Pilot 'Scholar' (left) with my Pilot 'Custom '74' (made by the Pilot Corporation of Japan)

Aside from their cap bands and cap-closure designs (the 'Custom 74' has a screw-on cap), they could be identical twins. Under their caps, the difference is obvious---the 'Scholar' has a gold-plated inlaid nib, whereas the Japanese-made 'Custom 74' sports an open 14K gold nib. Both pens are the same length when capped, uncapped and posted.

All in all, I'm very happy with my Pilot 'Scholar' fountain pen... and I love its inlaid nib. It brings back happy memories of a visit to the Pilot Pen Station (Pilot's --now closed, I believe-- pen museum) in Tokyo where I saw several vintage Pilot models with similar "fingernail" style nibs.

For more info on the South Korean Pilot Company, check out this interesting article. Many thanks to Kevin for selling me this cool fountain pen!

(~Blog post by Maja~)

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