Monday, November 7, 2011

Le Pen by Marvy Japan

Over 30 years ago Marvy Uchida introduced this long, sleek plastic barrel pen with a micro-fine tip and dye-based ink that adds some pop to the color. My favorite was the purple, but all the pen colors were beautiful and I was hooked. I think part of the attraction was the name, Le Pen--as if it came straight from Paris even though the barrel is clearly marked Japan. Another part of the attraction was the clean design of the pen itself, just a slim round barrel and blunt-cut cap so unlike the BIC ballpoints we used for work, school, and home.

Although I see these all the time at various stationery store, I hadn't thought to get one until a burgundy Le Pen showed up in last month's Lost Crates shipment. And it's just as I remembered it--the tip seems a bit porous and flexible, more like a sponge than a nail, and the line width looks wider than the claimed 0.3mm. I will definitely have to do a line match up to see where this Le Pen fits on the width scale, but for now it seems more like a 0.5mm or 0.7mm and that may preclude it from really fine line work.

But Le Pen retains its smooth writing style, and just has a great hand feel. The burgundy color seems very red, not as brown as some in that shade. The indented barrel end and very tight click-fit cap, as well as the indented silver clip, add to the overall attractiveness of the design. I remember now that it was one of my favorite pens, and I'll be looking for more to add to my collection.


  1. Thank you so much for that first sentence - I KNEW I'd seen these years ago, and yet I thought perhaps I was imagining things. I remember using these and loving the design. :D

  2. Lol! I seem to recall they came out around my sophomore or junior year of high school which would be 1975 or so. I think I read the US subsidiary was founded around 1973. I do remember how taken I was when I first saw these.

  3. Try fabric and craft stores for this neat pup of a pen. My sister gets these at a place called Jo Ann Fabrics. (I think there's an arts 'n' crafts use for the Le Pen.) I've only bought one, and, yep, it's likeable.


  4. They're even sold at Michaels (the craft store) and Papyrus. I love them for the colors, but I find the barrel uncomfortable though, especially when the pen starts to dry out. But that could be because I use them all the time for writing!