This isn’t really a follow up to my 2009 blog post The Kuru Toga – a disappointment, t’s more of a separate blog post – by coincidence I’ve come across a document I want to share.
As consumers we usually see Schmidt as a manufacturer of pen refills, but they actually do manufacture a lot of pens. If you look at their catalogue you can see pen parts that look as if Schmidt is manufacturing pens or parts of pens for big companies like Lamy and Montblanc.
They also seem to invent a lot and are very innovative when it comes to pens, even though very often we don’t see these inventions in mass market products. Just one example, I remember reading about a fountain pen they invented that uses microscopic pumps to transport the ink to the nib.
Well, it looks as if they have also invented something very similar to the Kuru Toga, just that they did this 25 years before Uni / Mitsubishi. You can read more about it in this patent: DE 3641432 C1 , but be warned: Google’s translation of this patent isn’t brilliant.
I assume I can show the image from the patent here (‘fair dealing’), as the patent is available to look at via Google anyway.
2 thoughts on “The Kuru Toga – an old hat?”
Wow, what a discovery! The patent publication refers to a patent from 1906 which uses a clock mechanism (!) to rotate the lead, and one variant of the Schmidt patent uses a magnetic field.
Thank you for your comment.
When I first saw this I started reading the Google translation and somehow got confused, thinking that this Schmidt version is using a clock mechanism – which is interesting but not exciting as it seems overly complicated, i.e. too much effort to use. The real patent does sound remarkably familiar to the Kuru Toga.
I assume Schmidt’s patent either expired or Uni / Mitsubishi improved to so much that they were able to get their own patent.
I am not sure what to think of a magnetic mechanism. I probably didn’t understand it properly and should read it again, but to me the mechanical version sounds more reliable. Makes me think of Schmidt’s fountain pen with a pump which sounds like something that might be expensive to fix if broken (i.e. impossible to fix economically).