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Pentel Co., Ltd.
FormerlyJapan Stationery Co., Ltd. (1946–71)
TypePrivate K.K.
IndustryStationery (primary)
Founded1946; 77 years ago (1946)[1]
FounderYukio Horie[2](President 1946–2010)[3]
Area served
Key people
Hiroyuki Ono (President and CEO)
ProductsWriting implements, art materials, office products, electronic devices and production equipment
Number of employees
773 (March 2012)

Pentel Co., Ltd. (ぺんてる株式会社, Penteru Kabushiki Gaisha) is a privately-held Japanese manufacturing company of stationery products. The name comes from one of their first widely known products and is a portmanteau of the English words pen and pastel.[5][6] Pentel is also the inventor of non-permanent marker technology. Most Pentel products are manufactured in Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Mexico, and France.

The company is regarded as the inventor of the fibre-tipped (felt-tip) pen in 1963.[7] Nowadays, Pentel produces a wide range of products that include writing implements, art materials and office goods.


The company was founded in 1946 as "Japan Stationery Limited" (Nihonbungu Kabushiki Gaisha) in Tokyo by Yokio Horie, with the purpose of manufacturing crayons and pastels. The first products for sale were released in 1951, followed by pencils in 1960.[2]

In 1963 Pentel launched the "Sign Pen", a fibre-type pen that was used by then President of the United States Lyndon B. Johnson, who bought a dozen of them to sign photographs, apart from being adopted as the official writing instrument of NASA and going into space with a Gemini mission in 1966.[8] Demand for a Sign Pen was so extraordinary that the Tokyo factories could not supply all requests.[8] The Sign Pen was one of Pentel's most successful products with more than two billion units sold.[2]

In 1971 the company changed its name to "Pentel Co. Ltd." and one year later, the green rollerball pen with water-based ink, was launched.[2] Horie remained as President of the company until his death in 2010.[7]

In the 2010s, Pentel launched the "Pocket Brush",[9][10] a fudepen that used replaceable waterproof[11] ink cartridges, like fountain pens (and unlike conventional brush pens, which are more like marker pens.)

Brush pens (designed and recommended for calligraphy) have also gained popularity among comic book artists, who choose them to ink their works instead of dip pens or traditional brushes. One of those artists using Pentel was Neal Adams.[12]



Product lines include Sharp Kerry, Feel-It, 'Sharp P200 series, Graph 1000, Graphgear (500, 800 and 1000), Graphlet, Sharplet, Smash, Stein, Orenz, OrenzNero (mechanical pencils or "sharps"); Ain and Hi-Polymer (mechanical pencil leads, erasers); Energel (gel ink pens); Vicuna (hybrid ink ballpoint pen); Pentel Pen (permanent marker), and Sign Pen (fine tip marker).

Range of products manufactured by Pentel includes:[13]

RSVP pens
Type Products
Writing implements Rollerball pens, gel pens, ballpoint pens, mechanical pencils, fountain pens, marker pens, highlighters, brush pens, refills
Art materials Oil pastels, crayons, watercolors
Office supplies Erasers, correction fluids, correction tapes, glues

Other products[edit]

Pentel produces and sells electronic devices and production equipment in addition to stationery.

  • Electronic equipment – Touch panel, digitizer (liquid crystal pen tablet), touch switch, electronic pen (airpen)
  • Production equipment – for industrial robots, industrial automatic assembly machines, precision dies for injection molding, precision hand presses
  • OEM supply (OEM Division) – Cosmetic parts, stationery, office supplies, medical equipment


  1. ^ "Pentel Corporate Report" Archived 2021-01-27 at the Wayback Machine, Pentel Corporation, January 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d "Pentel celebrates 70 years of success". Archived from the original on 2016-12-22. Retrieved 2019-11-28.
  3. ^ "Pentel Japanese site corporate information". Archived from the original on May 14, 2011.
  4. ^ "Pentel international locations".
  5. ^ 「ぺんてる」の社名の由来とは? Archived 2021-04-18 at the Wayback Machine Pentel Co., Ltd. history. Retrieved October 9, 2015.
  6. ^ "Chi siamo | Pentel Italia SpA".
  7. ^ a b History of pen and writing instruments[permanent dead link] About Inventors site. Retrieved March 11, 2007.
  8. ^ a b History of the Pentel Sign Pen Archived 2021-04-10 at the Wayback Machine on Pen Cult website
  9. ^ "Pentel Pocket Brush features". Archived from the original on 2010-09-26. Retrieved 2011-05-24.
  10. ^ Pentel brush Archived 2014-05-16 at the Wayback Machine on Cult Pens website
  11. ^ Review: Pentel Pocket Brush Pen Archived 2021-04-10 at the Wayback Machine by Teoh Yi Chie, December 28, 2014
  12. ^ Larry Hama interview in Comic Book Resources Archived 2009-06-07 at the Wayback Machine June 3, 2009
  13. ^ Pentel catalog Archived 2010-09-26 at the Wayback Machine on Pentel of America, Ltd. (archived), Sep 21, 2010

External links[edit]