Zebra Co., Ltd. is a Japanese manufacturer of writing instruments. Zebra Pen Corporation (the US subsidiary) was founded in New York in 1982 as an independent wholly-owned company by Zebra Co. Ltd. The company sells a wide range of pens, pencils and highlighters in retail stores, wholesalers and mail order. The Zebra Pen Corporation offers a range of writing instruments including ballpoint pens, gel pens, rollerball pens, ink pens, mechanical pencils and highlighters.
The Zebra brand was adopted in 1914. Legend has it that Mr. Ishikawa, founder of Zebra Co. Ltd., wanted a company name that would be memorable and appropriate for his export activities to other countries. He took an English / Japanese dictionary and, by opening the Japanese style at the back, started with the words “Z”. He stopped at the zebra. After further research, Ishikawa found that zebras are gentle animals with a strong breeding family instinct. It was an important attribute because he wanted to create a business in which employees and customers were part of a family culture. The fact that the zebra looks decorated with large calligraphic features may have also seduced the visual image he was looking for.
Zebra’s range of pens and pencils includes “The Original Pen” F-301 and M-301, which have stainless steel barrels and textured handles. The Jimnie line features bolder ink-filled plastic pens and a correction pen, while the award-winning SaskTwine software has been designed for temperatures down to -50 degrees Celsius. Other product lines include Zazzle Highlighters, Mildliners, Sarasa Retractable Ink Pens, Surari Hybrid Ink Pens, and the Z-Grip Line. In late 2010, Zebra announced the production of the V-301, a stainless steel fountain pen with a cartridge filler system, a silver steel nib and a stainless steel barrel.
Z-Grip pens include the F-301, F-301 Compact, F-401 and F-701. The 301 series is characterized by stainless steel shafts and hardened plastic handles. The 401 has the same stainless steel shaft with a rubber grip. Finally, the flagship pen, the 701 has a knurled handle and is made entirely of stainless steel.
A mechanism employed in the DelGuard system developed by Zebra causes the lead sleeve in a mechanical pencil to extend outward when excessive pressure is applied at an angle. When excessive vertical pressure is applied to the cable, the cable is automatically retracted inwards. Thus, the lead is protected (within certain limits) in both cases. In Japan, versions 0.3 and 0.7 of DelGuard are available at the same time as version 0.5, while in the United States only version 0.5 is available.