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What is a Ceramic Rollerball?

This article will be a brief survey of the history of the ceramic rollerball pen, with a specific focus on its invention and the part played by the Japanese pen company Ohto.

First released in 1981, the ceramic rollerball pen was an invention of Japanese pen maker Ohto. The pen was called the "Ceramic Roller Pen" Model CB-10F.

The use of a ceramic writing ball has a number of advantages. These include smoothness, consistency, and longevity. The hardness of ceramic means the ball almost never wears out, and the accuracy a ceramic allows means making a ball that is acceptable with a 0.5mm (or smaller) writing tip is possible. Ceramic cannot rust and is typically harder than a diamond, making it an ideal carrier for ink, especially the water-based one found in a rollerball.

Today Ohto's flagship ceramic rollerball product is the C-305 Ceramic rollerball refill. This standard international size refill has a ceramic ball and a brass body. It is 110.6mm long, as per the G2 standard. This sizing makes it cross-compatible with other popular rollerball refills, including the Pelikan 338, Schmidt 5888 and Schmidt 888 Safety Ceramic refill. The C-305 is a Fine sized refill that has a 0.5mm writing tip, but it writes much wetter than that would indicate thanks to the water-based ink.

Ohto Rollerballs

What follows is a list of some of the top Ohto rollerball pens of all time....

Model Tip Type Top Feature
Fude Needle Disposable 1.5mm tip
Eau Conical Refillable Executive styling
Liberty Conical Refillable Luxury pen body
C-305P Refill Conical Refill Ceramic ball

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