Pilot Capless

I’m using my Pilot Capless or Vanishing Point once again.  I’ve had it for a couple of years and loved it when I first tried it.  Then I set it aside for quite a while so that I could try other pens.  Its time has come again!  The idea of a capless pen has been around for a long time.  Caps get lost or broken and it’s a nuisance pulling them off or unscrewing them every time you want to jot down a note.  A pen that you could operate with one hand was something to aim for.  Among others, the British company W.J. May & Co. Ltd. produced the Pento Capless in the 1920s.  It seems that they may have had some success in doing so but the development had been so expensive that the company failed.

Pilot succeeded where others had failed and have been producing their Vanishing Points for many years.  Considering how convenient the Capless is, it’s surprising how little it has disturbed the fountain pen market.  Though Capless pens sell well and are highly regarded, fountain pen buyers still go for pens with caps, whether push-on or screw-on to the same extent as they did before.

There may be a number of explanations for that.  The negative one is that the design of the Vanishing Point may not be to everyone’s taste.  Some have adversely commented on the placing of the clip, which they find uncomfortable.  Also because of the mechanism inside, it’s quite a thick pen.

On the more positive side, buyers continue to appreciate the benefits of the traditionally-shaped pen.  After all, the cap is where much of the decoration of a pen is located – the decorative clip, the cap rings and often nowadays, engraving on the cap ring.  Use of the clutch mechanism obviated the need for unscrewing the cap – just a quick pull and you were ready to write!

Another point is that the fountain pen doesn’t really need to be a convenient writing instrument.  For most people, there are other writing instruments for that.  Those rather odd people, like me, who insist on using a fountain pen, are prepared to put up with a little inconvenience in pursuit of their hobby.

When all that’s said and done, I love my Capless!  It has the finest point of any pen that I use which means there’s a lot of writing between changing cartridges.  The position of the clip ensures that I am holding the pen the right way.  The clip fits neatly between my thumb and forefinger.  I like a fat pen but most of them are also quite long.  I feel that the length of the Capless is just right for me.  My one is burgundy with silver-coloured trim and I like its style.  I believe that if the obnoxious ballpoint had not come along, this would have been the future of the pen.

A final reason for my love of the Capless:  my husband, who is on haemodialysis, writes a blog during his haemo sessions.  His left hand is immobilised by the needles and lines that connect him to the haemo machine so he’s effectively one-handed.  No other pen is as convenient as the Capless in that situation.


4 thoughts on “Pilot Capless

  1. You know how you feel when you’ve got something in your shoe and you can’t get rid of it? Yeah, that’s how I feel about the clip on this pen.

  2. I love the Capless / Vanishing Point too and also wonder why more people aren’t enamoured of it. But you have covered the possible reasons. For me I don’t use mine as often as I could (and I have several of them) because I find the converter limited in ink capacity. The pens I use the most are piston fillers (modern) and eyedroppers (vintage).

    1. Yes, I bought a converter for mine – it didn’t come with one – and I found it to be very unsatisfactory. I use cartridges and keep them when they are empty to refill them. We just have the one which we share between us. I use piston fillers quite a lot and for me the ink capacity is the main reason for doing so. Despite their capacity I don’t really like eyedropper fillers. They lack the technical ingenuity which I admire.

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