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Pilot Corporation
Founded: 1918
Founder: Ryosuke Namiki
Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan
Key People:
Products: Writing instruments
Website: pilotpen.com

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

It is the largest pen manufacturer in Japan, with competition globally from other pen companies like Japanese Pentel Corporation and American Paper Mate. Pilot has a large number of 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 USA. 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 University of Marine Science and Technology in Japan, left his job to found 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.

Fountain pens[edit]

In 1964, 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.


The following chart contains the Pilot product lines.[3]

Category Range of products
Pens Fountain, ballpoint, rollerball and gel ink pens
Markers Marker pens, highlighters
Pencils Mechanical pencils
Accessories Refills and lead


External links[edit]

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