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August 30, 2005

World's Finest–Writing Ball Point Pen — 'The tip is so small you can write words on a grain of rice'

P_ubsb18z08

It's the UniBall Signo Bit 0.18mm pen from Mitsubishi.

There's a pen war on Japan, in case you didn't know, to produce the pen with the finest point.

Pilot came out with one having a ball diameter of 0.3mm in 1994.

Now comes this new player with a point twice the width of a human hair.

The pen required the invention of a special friction–reducing ink.

Mitsubishi has sold 4 million of the pens, which come in eight colors, for $1.75 apiece in Japan.

Olijm

They cost $25 for a set of all eight colors here.

[via Tony McNicol and Wired magazine]

August 30, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink


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Comments

I just bought a 3-pack on ebay for $3.50 (+$4 ship.). It seems there are a few lingering offers for them. I actually bought mine from a random japanese woman who must have picked up on our desire to get our hands on these pens.

Posted by: noah | Oct 3, 2006 7:58:46 PM

I'm fascinated about how these pens and tips are manufactured to such stringent tolerances - are there any details (preferably step by step} available of the manufacturing process? appreciate a link.

thanks much

Posted by: Nari | Feb 8, 2006 3:01:30 AM

Beverly, it's pretty much worth it IMO. After all, I've tried and tried but cannot find the pens available for purchase anywhere else. Plus the company has to import it all from Japan. It's not like they are purposely 'marking up' the prices ridiculously to scam our money. The Jetpens administration and service are extremely reputable and beyond any other internet service I have ever experienced. Keep in mind, it is obviously much cheaper to buy them in Japan, but for most of us who are unable to, this is the only alternative. The company cannot possibly offer them for the same price as sold in Japan and make the smallest bit of profit.

Posted by: Vicki | Sep 4, 2005 3:06:05 PM

"Mitsubishi has sold 4 million of the pens, which come in eight colors, for $1.75 apiece in Japan."

Yet, I see the offer for a set of 8 for $25.00.

Hmmm... If I do the math $1.75 x 8 = $14.00

Talk about a little markup. Does this company sell gasoline too!

Posted by: Chuck | Sep 1, 2005 5:47:19 PM

Well, finally. I've been itching to transfer all my documents to grains of rice.
Personally, I'm working hard to produce the pen with the broadest point.
And WHOSE four hairs? I could floss my teeth or sew on a button with four of mine. Part Yeti or something.

Posted by: Beverly | Aug 30, 2005 1:18:48 PM

"twice the width of two human hairs"...hmmm...why not "the width of four human hairs"?

Just wondering :-).
RR

Posted by: rachel | Aug 30, 2005 11:42:01 AM

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