Maybe the one and the only - S.K.B. RS-301N Brass Pocket Pen, “Lemmings” 200K+ Special Edition

by Wai Tat Jerry

Dimensions 尺寸資料

Capped 含蓋:12.0 cm

Uncapped 不含蓋:11.1 cm

Posted 套蓋:14.4 cm

Weight 重量資料

Capped 含蓋:38.5 g

Uncapped 不含蓋:25.6 g

Nowadays, apart from the Elite 95S launched by Pilot, pocket pens are hard to find in the first-hand market. However, the design of the pocket pen has not been forgotten. In 2018, S.K.B., a Taiwanese brand of Wen Ming Fountain Pen Mfg. Co., Ltd., released a brand new brass pocket pen: the RS-301N.

 

S.K.B.簡史 The History of S.K.B.

The predecessor of S.K.B. was "Midoriya Stationery", which was owned by Goro Arakawa during the Japanese rule of Taiwan. In 1951, Lu Rong Huo took over the stationery shop and renamed it "Wen Ming Bookstore". In 1955, he changed the company name to "Wen Ming Fountain Pen Mfg. Co., Ltd" and started selling imported fountain pens. He then founded a new brand called "S.K.B", which was the first local fountain pen manufacturing brand in Taiwan. The name of the brand is the acronym of "Smooth", "Knowing", and "Beauty".

The SKB vintage pocket pen has a gold-plated barrel with a green stripe. For the introduction article, please click:按此」。

In 1959, S.K.B. launched their first fountain pen model, the "830". The year after, they released the fountain pen model "22", which was a great success. The "22" fountain pen became a popular gift and fashion accessory. After that,S.K.B. began to develop manufacturing techniques for gold nib production and pen barrel engraving. S.K.B. soon became one of the three major fountain pen manufacturers in Taiwan, alongside Telex and Bismarck.

22型鋼筆的廣告。The advertisement of the S.K.B. 22 fountain pen.
The advertisement of the "22" fountain pen. Retried: https://www.takaobooks.tw/magazine-info.asp?id=372

In the 1970s, Lu Rong Huo sensed the trend of ballpoint pens and gradually stopped the production of fountain pens to focus on the ballpoint pen market. S.K.B. successfully became a giant in producing ballpoint pens. Its "202" secretary-type ballpoint pen, which was first launched in 1973, became an iconic ballpoint pen in Taiwan.

The "202" secretary-type ballpoint pen has been used by almost every Taiwanese person in the last century, and S.K.B. is still producing it today.
Retried: https://www.skb.com.tw/product/631_0-7mm/

 

However, the ballpoint pen market of S.K.B. shrank greatly under the wave of foreign and electronic products after the 1990s. After a difficult transitional period, S.K.B. finally restarted the production of fountain pens in 2012. The RS-301N pocket pen is one of their new products.

 

 

 


 

鋼筆開箱及導賞 Unboxing of the pen

In April 2018, S.K.B. released their new brass pocket fountain pen: the RS-301N. The one shown in this article is a special edition for one of the biggest fountain pen Facebook groups, "The Fountain-Pen Lemmings Brigade" in Taiwan, (Link:鋼筆旅鼠本部連) celebrating their achievement of over 200,000 members. It is limited to 500 pieces.

 

The pencase is made of raw wood and has a paper wrap. The Chinese name of S.K.B., "Wen Ming Hang", is engraved on the top right-hand corner of the pen case.

 

Inside the pen case, we can see an owner's manual printed on kraft paper and also the RS-301N pocket pen. This special edition pen set comes with a nib removal tool and an extra pen nib.

 

The markings on the grip of the RS-301N Lemmings special edition are, from left to right, the short form of the Facebook group name: "Lemmings", Chinese words "Jiang Hun", which means "the soul of the craftsman", and the limited edition number of the pen.

The limited edition number of my RS-301N is "030", which looks somehow like an excited or kissy face. XD

 

There is a small hole on the back of the pen grip for checking whether a converter or cartridge is installed inside.

 

The most fascinating thing about this pen is its brass body. As far as I can see, this is the first brass Japanese-style pocket pen. Almost every part of the pen is made of brass, even the complimentary converter is covered with brass. The unique color of brass is perfectly coupled with the nostalgic and simple appearance of the RS-301N. However, due to a special coating, the body of the pen is basically unable to be naturally oxidized. It may not meet everyone's expectations for brass pens.

Theanatomy of the RS-301N. It is worth noting that the components inside the section and the nib removal tool do not have a special coating on the surface, so their color looks different and they will eventually oxidize.

 

However, the brass body of the pen causes a small problem: it is overweight. Even without the cap, the pen weighs 25 grams (to put it into perspective, the Platinum 3776 Century is only 20 grams). It is back-heavy when posted. I personally prefer not posting the cap as it feels much more comfortable in my hand without it, but it is somehow a loss of the special characteristic of a pocket pen, which is available to be short or long.

 

Unlike most Japanese pocket pens from the 1960s to the 80s, the RS-301N uses a click-type closing mechanism on the cap. This type of cap closing mechanism and its heavy weight always reminds me of another "heavyweight" fountain pen: the rOtring 600.

 

The RS-301N has an old-style hooded steel nib. The Lemmings special edition pen set comes with one Fine nib and one Medium nib, and I could use the nib removal tool to exchange them.

 

 

 


 

“Kano”之名的誤會 The misconception of the name “Kano”

When I was looking for information on the RS-301N, I saw some pen-friends call it "Kano". However, in fact, this is a misconception.

 

The word "Kano" originally came from the "Kano BaseballTeam", which was a Taiwanese baseball team established in 1928. In 1931, they qualified to represent Taiwan island and claimed second place in the Japanese High School Baseball Championship at Koshien Stadium, Japan. In 2014, their passionate story was made into the movie "KANO".

The advertisement of the movie "KANO". Photo from: https://char.tw/blog/post/40861117

 

As for why the name "Kano" has a relationship with S.K.B., the truth is that S.K.B. once cooperated with the production company of the film "KANO" and launched the RS-301 Kano pocket ballpoint pen series. The appearance of Kano and RS-301N is quite similar, making some people misunderstand that RS-301N is a member of the Kano family.

The Kano pocket ballpoint pen has already been discontinued. Photo from: https://www.skb.com.tw/product/683_kano-x-skbi/
The normal version of Kano, the RS-301, is still in production. It comes in four colors: burgundy, black, blue, and green.Photo from: https://shop.skb.com.tw/精品文具/原子筆?product_id=49
Colorful version of the RS-301 ballpoint pen. Photo from: https://shop.skb.com.tw/精品文具/原子筆?product_id=50

 


 

結語 Conclusion

S.K.B. still continues to produce the RS-301N pocket pen, making it a new choice, other than the Pilot Elite 95S (Full article:百樂的Elite 95S), for new fountain pen users. As a big fan of pocket pens, I'm glad to hear that more pen manufacturers are reproducing pocket pens. Unfortunately, the RS-301N does not seem to have much visibility and discussion. I personally think that this pen is totally worth its price. If you like brass or want to experience a Japanese pocket pen, I highly recommend getting one foryourself on S.K.B.'s official website.

余維達 Jerry Yu

2021.03.08

 

 

——————–

Author's Note: I received this pen back in 2018 and had been meaning to write an introduction to it, but it ended up being delayed for two whole years. Now, as I am about to graduate from college, I hurriedly want to make use of my remaining time to complete this article.

It's been almost two years since I've properly updated my articles. In this article, I've made a few new attempts. Not only is it my first time introducing a Taiwanese brand and modern production pocket pen, but I've also added elements of reviews and guidance. Previously, I tried to maintain the impartiality of the "Pocket Pen Chronicles," but now I want to enhance the readability of the article, making it easier for beginners to get into by adding personal evaluations and other elements. What do you guys think?

Another new attempt is translation. I've always wanted to create bilingual articles, and I've added English translations to some of my old articles. As an English novice, translation is the most time-consuming aspect. It took me several nights just to look up specialized terms. And as I translated, I kept modifying the original draft and adding new information, which delayed the completion date. Despite my best efforts, I believe the finished product is still riddled with errors and grammatical mistakes. I hope my readers can forgive me.

During these two years, I've acquired many interesting short pens, and I hope to improve my update frequency and introduce them one by one toeveryone.



References:

  1. Eric:〈那些年 我們一起用過的文具〉,《SKB》,Retried:
  2. https://www.skb.com.tw/news-article/那些年-我們一起用過的文具/
  3. Mr.森:〈【療文具】1931 KANO精神內含,台灣加油!〉,《滿腦子文具》,Retried:http://skb53586656.pixnet.net/blog/post/221057278?fbclid=IwAR34DGfAt2vneq4lmgbdSZCAnoYp-lm9Bh02E5HA-Hpo7ukhtShMSHjJaK0
  4. 王文卿、陳朝樑、常君毅、鄭智元、錢文照:〈盧榮火先生訪談錄(文明鋼筆)〉,《台灣文具史(人物專訪篇)》,Retried: http://www.tasi.org/history/history_01/page_005.htm
  5. 作者不詳:〈SKBi文創系列:2014 KANO 復刻袖珍精品筆〉,《SKB》,Retried:https://www.skb.com.tw/product/683_kano-x-skbi/
  6. 作者不詳:〈關於我們〉,《SKB》,Retried: https://www.skb.com.tw/about-us/
  7. 吳雨潔:〈台灣第一支鋼筆,你知道在哪裡誕生嗎?文明鋼筆的老店新生〉,《天下雜誌》,Retried:https://www.cw.com.tw/article/article.action?id=5087694
  8. 林侑青:〈「台灣人要有一隻自己的筆!」 SKB文明鋼筆,找回書寫的力量〉,《美麗佳人》,Retried:https://www.marieclaire.com.tw/lifestyle/issue/28233?atcr=27e700
  9. 張婷臻:〈完美霸氣!和近藤教練一樣「魔鬼」的KANO精品筆〉,《Fanily》,Retried:https://www.fanily.tw/archives/16119
  10. 陳承璋:〈7元秘書筆跳級2千元市場 SKB扭轉瀕倒危機〉,《商周雜誌》,Retried:https://www.businessweekly.com.tw/magazine/Article_mag_page.aspx?id=7000944
  11. 潘弘輝:〈SKB,燦爛的一頁!——文明鋼筆股份有限公司〉,《滿腦子文具》,Retried:https://skb53586656.pixnet.net/blog/post/302321901-skb,燦爛的一頁!—文明鋼筆股份有限公司
  12. 謝一麟:〈SKB文明鋼筆——以高雄為家,寫高雄人故事的筆〉,《三餘書店》,Retried:https://www.takaobooks.tw/magazine-info.asp?id=372
  13. 闕小豪:〈《KANO》三個嘉義榮耀,一次滿足〉,Retried: https://char.tw/blog/post/40861117

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