Pilot (pen company)

Pilot Corporation (株式会社パイロットコーポレーション, Kabushiki Gaisha Pairotto Kōporēshon, TYO: 7846) is a Japanese pen manufacturer based in Tokyo, Japan. It produces writing instruments, stationery and jewelry, but is best known for its pens.[1]

Pilot Corporation
Public (K.K)
Traded asTYO: 7846
Founded1918; 102 years ago (1918)
as Namiki Manufacturing Company
FounderRyosuke Namiki
Area served
ProductsWriting instruments

It is the largest pen manufacturer in Japan, with competition globally from other pen companies like Japanese Pentel Co. and American Paper Mate. Pilot has many subsidiaries throughout the world, including in the Philippines, United Kingdom, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Brazil, South Africa, Germany and France. Most Pilot pens are made in Japan, France and the US. Namiki, Pilot's fountain pens with maki-e lacquering designs, are made in the Hiratsuka factory.


In 1915, Ryōsuke Namiki (並木良輔), a professor from Tokyo Nautical College in Japan, left his job to find a small factory near Tokyo to produce gold pen nibs.[2] In 1916, Namiki expanded his product line and became a full-fledged manufacturer of writing instruments.[2]

The Pilot Pen Corporation was founded by Ryosuke Namiki with Masao Wada (和田正雄) in 1918 under the name of the Namiki Manufacturing Company.[2]

In 1926 it established overseas offices in Malaysia, Singapore, Boston, London and Shanghai. In 1938 the name of the company changed to the Pilot Pen Co., Ltd. It was again renamed in 1950 as the Pilot Ink Company, Ltd. In 1954 a branch was opened in Brazil. From 1972 to 1999 various sub-companies were formed to cover the various branches, and the collective name for these is Pilot Corporation. More recently, Pilot began the BeGreen line—pens and pencils composed of mostly recycled content.

In 2018 Pilot celebrated the company's 100th anniversary with a number of special pages to its website and special edition pens.[3]

Fountain pensEdit

In 1963[4], Pilot Corporation introduced the Capless. Unlike other fountain pens during its time, the Pilot Capless featured a fully retractable nib. The Capless was later reintroduced as the Vanishing Point in 1972. In 2012, the company released the Metropolitan, a popular entry-level fountain pen.

There are a series of higher end pens that bear the name of "Custom" or "Custom Heritage" and a two or three digit number. "Custom" models are cigar-shaped, while "Custom Heritage" models have flat tops and bottoms. The number is based on the year of introduction (from the foundation of the company—the Custom 74 was introduced in 1992) for models with two digits, while the third digit on models with three digits represents a list price when multiplied by ¥10,000.

Pens from Recycled BottlesEdit

Pilot Corporation published some ecological facts about its pens in 2015.[5] The most eco-friendly is the Bottle-2-Pen (B2P) which is made of 90.4% recycled components. [6] PET plastic from bottles are used for much of it, so it is sometimes nicknamed the 'PetPen' or 'PetBall'.


The brand manufactures and commercialises a wide range of products under its own name and other brands, such as Frixion, B2P, Acroball, Pintor, and Begreen.[7]

The following table contains the Pilot product lines in Asia, Europe, and North and South America, as of December 2019:[8]

Category Products
Writing implements Ballpoint, rollerball, gel, needle point and fountain pens, markers, highlighters, mechanical pencils, refills, digital pens
Accessories Erasers, correction fluids

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Chicago Tribune. Patterson, Troy. 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Pilot Pen: History", Pilot website.
  3. ^ "Pilot 100th Anniversay Site". Retrieved 20 August 2019.
  4. ^ Pilot Vanishing Point Unsharpen.com
  5. ^ https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/pilot-pen-offers-alternative-for-trashed-water-bottles-the-worlds-first-pen-made-from-recycled-bottles-300070268.html
  6. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcxWXY1sIn8&feature=youtu.be&t=209
  7. ^ Collections on Pilot Europe
  8. ^ Writing categories

External linksEdit