The company has come a long way since it was founded in 1946 as Japan Stationery Limited in Tokyo, by the late former chairman, Yokio Horie, who made it his mission to develop crayons and pastels that would help people express their creativity. Mr Horie succeeded in combining crayons and pastels to produce his first product for sale in 1951, followed by the Pentel Pencil in 1960.
In 1963 Pentel came to the attention of the world when it launched the Sign Pen, an acrylic-fibre pen that revolutionised the way we write and made headlines when it was spotted at a trade fair in the United States and subsequently fell into the hands of President Lyndon B. Johnson. The Sign Pen was even adopted as the official writing instrument of NASA and went into space with a Gemini mission in 1966. To date, more than two billion Sign Pens have been sold around the world.
In 1971 the company changed its name to Pentel Co. Ltd. Reflecting the close connection between painting pastels and pens and the word 'tell', as in communicating and expressing.
1972 saw the launch of another iconic product, the green barrelled Ball Pentel rollerball. With its cushioned ball tip and water-based ink this pen inspired the development of future, everyday writing instruments. Over the coming years the rollerball became the cool pen to have in every pencil case, studio or office. An archive photo even shows Her Majesty the Queen marking her race card with the famous pen.
The future of writing...
it is estimated that, today, in the region of two-thirds of the writing instruments technology in everyday use around the world has been inspired by Pentel innovation
The mission to produce products offering superior performance continues and the most important of late has been EnerGel. Unlike conventional gel pens, which provide strong, vivid colour but often slow drying time EnerGel ink dries quickly, making it suitable for left-handed writers as well as right. Those who are left-handed often comment that regular gel ink smudges as their hand moves across the page, leaving messy ink splodges on hands and paper. Thanks to EnerGel's quick drying formula this problem is virtually eradicated on most everyday writing paper.
Superior by design
The Maxiflo Dry Wipe Marker has vivid liquid ink sharp, for vibrant lines, but its key feature is its push-button ink replenishment system. Normally if a cap has been left off a dry wipe marker for a few hours the tip will have dried out. But, with Maxiflo the tip can be recharged with fresh ink by putting the cap on the end of the barrel and pushing the end button.
The most recent example of true innovation is the Orenz mechanical pencil which features unique lead protection technology. Unlike other mechanical pencils once the Orenz pencil is prepared it's only necessary thereafter and press the end button once to advance the lead. The lead does not protrude below the sleeve and as the pencil is used the sleeve gradually retracts into the barrel until all the lead is finished. During use the end button doesn't have to be pressed again, making Orenz truly a 'one-click' pencil. The family includes a 0.2mm lead size, the world's finst diameter mechanical pencil.
Looking to the future Pentel continues to focus on its mission to develop and deliver user0friendly writing instruments that enable people all over the world to experience the joy of creative expression.