The Legend of Pilot Elite S Pocket Fountain Pen Series
Length capped 含蓋：11.5 cm
Length uncapped 不含蓋：10.1 cm
Length posted 套蓋：14.2 cm
You may have seen or even owned one of those pocket pens which usually have a black and gold body with an “Elite” or simply “E” printed on the cap. Elite S pocket pen did look a bit ordinary, but we should not judge a pen by its appearance. The story of Elite S pocket pen is not ordinary as its appearance…
傳奇的誕生 The Rise of the Legend
1960年代，日本筆廠間競爭激烈。即使是規模數一數二的百樂，亦在1968年陷入了財務危機（有說財務危機的原因之一，是百樂於50至60年代投放了過多資金研發Super系列、Capless等新產品）。就在此危急關頭，百樂推出集其技術之大成的短鋼——Elite S（エリート S），“S”應為“Short”之縮寫。
The 1960s was an age full of opportunities and challenges for pen manufacturer. Pilot, even though it was already one of the biggest pen company in Japan at that time, fell into financial crisis in 1968 (It is said that one of the reasons was that Pilot allocated too much funds to develop new pens like Super and Capless series.) At that critical juncture, Pilot launched out their second and ultimate pocket pen which embodies a range of Pilot pen technologies — Elite S (エリートS). “S” should stand for “Short”.
百樂在某商業電視頻道的支持下大力宣傳，更於1969年請來日本知名藝人大橋巨泉為之拍攝電視廣告。結果，廣告極其成功，Elite S短鋼風靡全國，成為當時慶祝入學或就業的送禮佳品。百樂因而轉危為機，更一躍成為日本鋼筆界真正的“Pilot”。Elite S短鋼不單拯救了百樂，更開創了往後十數年短鋼的黃金時代。
Pilot promoted Elite S pocket pen with the support of a commercial TV channel. In 1969, they found famous Japanese artist Kyosen Ōhashi to make a TV advertisement for Elite S pocket pen. That was a big hit for the entire country. Elite S pocket pen became a popular gift for celebrating school registration and employment. Pilot turned the crises into opportunities. It is said that the Elite S pocket pen was the savior of Pilot and the creator of the golden age of pocket pen.
百樂Elite S 1969年最初的電視廣告。大橋巨泉手握Elite S短鋼，說了一首由5-7-5-7-7五句、共三十一個音節構成的日本詩歌「短歌」（Tanka），然後問了一句「明白了嗎？」，廣告便告結束。但所有人皆無法理解，甚至以為他在即興地說出毫無意義的話。據說大橋還會在其他節目詢問他人是否明白。這令此廣告、尤其是最後一句「ハッパ フミフミ」（Happa FumiFumi，或作「はっぱふみふみ」）風行全國，甚至成為一時的俚語以至Elite S短鋼的暱稱。
The first TV advertisement of Elite S pocket pen in 1969. Kyosen Ōhashi was holding an Elite S pocket pen and reading a “Tanka”, which is a genre of classical Japanese poetry consists five units usually with the following pattern of syllables: 5-7-5-7-7. He then asked: “Got it?” and the advertisement was ended. Audience, however, could understand nothing and even thought that he was saying a string of nonsense syllables extempore. It is said that Kyosen Ōhashi would asked others whether they understand his tanka or not in other shows. It made the advertisement much more popular. The last sentence “Happa fumifumi” (ハッパ フミフミ) even became a popular slang in Japan and also the nickname of the Elite S pocket pen.
Interestingly, someone pointed out that the tanko of Kyosen Ōhashi is not a string of nonsense syllables, but an inspissation of five sentences that introduced the selling point of Elite S pocket pen: “Short in size”, “if you take the cap off”, “and post it on the barrel”, “you could start writing immediately” and “you can write a lot of stuff”. (I’m just a beginner in Japanese. Feel free to correct me if I made a mistake!)
百樂Elite S短鋼較後期的電視廣告，其內容主要為大橋巨泉手握Elite S短鋼創作短歌，斟酌該用「ハッパ フミフミ」還是其他音節，最後還是認為「ハッパ フミフミ」較好，並展示自己手上的18K金尖Elite S。「ハッパ フミフミ」至此已成為流行用語，據說小孩還會到文具店要求買「ハッパ フミフミ」。
The later version of the Elite S pocket pen TV advertisement. Kyosen Ōhashi was writing a tanko and considering to use “Happa fumifumi” or another sentence. Then he figured out “Happa fumifumi” is the best choice and showed the Elite S pocket pen with a 18K-gold nib in his hand. It shows that “Happa fumifumi” at that time had already become a popular slang. It is said that children would go to the stationary store and asked for “Happa fumifumi”.
One fun fact is that the first pocket pen is the Mini launched by Sailor in 1963. Platinum also released their first pocket pen — PK-1000 — in 1964. But the reputation of Elite S is just too good that some people forget Mini and PK-1000 and mistake Elite S as the first pocket pen. (One more fun fact is that the first pocket pen of Pilot is Short, which was released in 1966. Click here for more information. Only Chinese version is available now.)
A rare vintage packing comes with my first Elite S. The following is a brief introduction of the Elite S packing:
紙包裝的正面及背面。The appearance of the outer packing.
The milky white plastic pen box of Elite S. I believe it’s a pretty high-class pen box back in the day.
Inside the pen box we get an Elite S pocket pen, the instructions of the pen and a quality guarantee.
The instructions of the pen, which introduced different types of filling mechanism of old Pilot fountain pens.
Elite S短鋼家族 Elite S Pocket Pen Series
由於Elite S短鋼的熱賣，百樂陸陸續續推出更多Elite筆款，形成一個巨大的家族，例如於1969年便推出了擁有彩色筆桿的Elite S – KaraKara。光論最經典的黑金配色的Elite S短鋼，亦最少出現過三種版本。另外，除了我們熟悉的短鋼款外，Elite家族尚有較不出名的長鋼款，以及原子筆和鉛芯筆等。所以要追查整個Elite S家族到底有多少筆款極為困難。
After the instant success of Elite S, Pilot released a myriad of Elite pocket pens and a massive family was born. Just take the basic black and golden Elite S pocket pen as an example, three different versions were discovered. Not to mention there are unpopular full size fountain pens, ballpoint pen, mechanical pencil, etc. in the Elite family. It makes collecting all of the Elite pen nearly an impossible task.
The following are the Elite pocket pens I had collected, and I will try my best to keep updating the list once I get a new one.
As a fountain pen that embodies a range of Pilot pen technologies, different kinds of nibs were used on the Elite S pocket pen, and 3 of them were the most common: nail-type nib, inlaid nib — that also named as squid in Japan — and a nib that I don’t know its official name so I’ll call it “triangle nib” which come from Chinese. Different materials were used on those nibs, included steel, white gold, 14K gold, 18K gold and even 22K gold.
吸墨器的使用 The Use of Converter
Some people dislike pocket pen because most of the pocket pen could only take the cartridge, elusive vintage converter or hand-make short converter. But Elite S pocket pen and lots of Pilot pocket pen are able to take most of the Pilot converter, expect some long converter like Con-W. It is known that the sac filler, which is even cheaper than Con-20, and Con-40 are suitable for all Pilot pocket pens; Con-20 get a very little change to hit the end of the barrel; Con-50 may not be able to use on a few of them. (Special thanks to Chun-tat Liao for sharing his own experience!)
Elite S短鋼的產量大，定價不高，庫存新品也不難找，加上還有復刻版的Elite 95S，所以應該是最容易入手的短鋼之一。而且Elite系列短鋼可以使用部分百樂現行的吸墨器，較為方便。想要體驗短鋼的樂趣，Elite系列是不錯的選擇。
The Elite S pocket pen should be the easiest pocket pen to find since many old Elite S still remains in the second-hand market, and, not to mention, Pilot is still producing Elite 95S. What is more, lots of converter are suitable for Elite S pocket pen which make it more user-friendly. The Elite S pocket pen would be a good choose if you want to get your first pocket pen.
雖然Elite S的外表平平無奇，但它曾支撐一家筆廠迎難而上，讓我們現在仍得以繼續享受百樂帶給我們的書寫樂趣。可惜，它最終沒有如其他經典筆款般流傳不衰，除了Elite 95S外，Elite系列皆已停產，短鋼的風光日子亦已不復存在。不過，一枝好筆和它的故事，值得我們一再流傳、回味。希望大家能藉此文，更了解你手上那枝看似平平無奇的百樂Elite短鋼的故事。筆者也希望未來能收集到更多Elite短鋼，再與大家分享。
The Elite S pocket pen may seem a bit unobtrusive, but it rescued Pilot, that provide lots of fun in writing to us, from bankruptcy. Elite S series, expect Elite 95S, and the golden age of pocket pen was gone. But we should not forget those great design and its historic story. I hope you guys enjoy this article and get a deeper understanding of your Elite S pocket pen.
At the end, thank you for reading this article that had nearly 2000 words (nearly 4000 combined Chinese).
娛生 Yu Sheng
2017/04/15 (Rewritten on 2019/11/07)
- Bruno Taut. (2018). Corporate Edition. Crónicas Estilográficas. Retrieved from https://estilofilos.blogspot.com/2013/07/elite.html
- PILOT UNIQUE ELITE COLORED FOUNTAIN PEN, CLEAR SECTION：https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/pilot-unique-elite-colored-fountain-117447074
- Glory 昭和CM チャンネル：〈懐かしのCM – パイロット – パイロットエリートS – 1969〉，《Youtube》。https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJovcHh5fVA
- ＴＶ黄金期の「巨泉語録」 はっぱふみふみ、ボイン，産経ニュース。https://www.sankei.com/photo/daily/news/160720/dly1607200022-n1.html
- 陳黎：〈短歌的美與哀愁〉，《印刻文學生活誌》2016 年 7 月，網址：http://faculty.ndhu.edu.tw/~chenli/Qidong_talks.pdf