Founded in 1911, Sailor Pen is the oldest Japanese pen maker still making pens. Its first fountain pens were classic eyedroppers, even though Watermans and other lever-fill pens were common at the time in Japan. Antique and vintage Sailor eyedropper pens are difficult to find and quite collectible.

As a rule, most pre-World War II Sailors on the market today have flat tops and a logo with the word “Sailor” written in English. During the war, the word was written in Japanese, which helps to date the pens. But that’s about all that’s known of the early Sailors since most of the company’s records were destroyed during the war.

After the war, until the mid-1950s, Sailor introduced a line of pens with colorful celluloid bodies. By now, the company’s logo had reverted back to English. Another popular postwar Sailor is the Parley, with its gold cap and space-age design. Sailors are also known for their nibs, some of which are made of 14 karat gold. Pens with a so-called “Falcon” nib, named for its beak-like shape, are especially prized.

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