In 1924, a common method to create fountain pens was to use ebonite. It is made from a combination of sulphur and rubber. One of the shortcomings of this material, however, was losing its colour and shine over the years. Namiki Co., Limited, now PILOT Corporation, established a special team to address this issue. The team went to the use of lacquer. Their new method was called “lacquered ebonite”.
With this method addressing the deterioration that used to take place with ebonite, the next steps was to paint designs using the lacquer work technique Maki-e on the fountain pens.
By 1925 the company was going forward this this process, and it was the birth of Maki-e fountain pens. Maki-e is a traditional craft where the delicate process of lacquering is repeated over and over. The founders travels to the west to develop a market for their pens. By 1926 an office was opened in London and by 1930 Namiki signed a major contract with Alfred Dunhill to produce high-end pens. This introduced the Maki-e pens to the markets of London, Paris and New York.
In 1931 the artisan group Kokkokai was formed to research, develop and improve the quality of Maki-e fountain pens.