Zebra (pen manufacturer)

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Headquarters Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Website www.zebra.co.jp/main/index.html

Zebra Co., Ltd. is a Japanese manufacturer of writing instruments. Zebra Pen Corporation (the American branch) was founded in New York in 1982 as an independent corporation wholly owned by Zebra Co. Ltd. The company sells a wide range of pens, pencils, and highlighters through retail stores, wholesalers and mail order. The Zebra Pen Corporation offers a line of writing instruments that include ball point pens, gel pens, roller ball pens, fountain pens, mechanical pencils and highlighters.

Origin of name[edit]

The Zebra trademark was adopted in 1914. Legend has it that Mr. Ishikawa, founder of Zebra Co. Ltd., wanted a company name that would be memorable and also appropriate for their export business to other countries. He took an English/Japanese dictionary and, opening it Japanese style from the back, started with the "Z" words. He stopped at zebra.[citation needed]

Upon further research, Ishikawa found that zebras are gentle animals with a strong family herding instinct. This was an important attribute, since he wanted to build a business in which employees and customers were all part of a family-like culture. The fact that the zebra looks like it is decorated with large calligraphic pen strokes may have also appealed to the visual image he was seeking.[1]


Zebra's line of pens and pencils include "The Original pen" F-301 and the M-301, which have stainless steel barrels and textured grips. The Jimnie line includes plastic gel-ink pens that are in more vibrant colors as well as a correction pen, while the award-winning Saskatchewpen was designed for use in temperatures down to -50 degrees Celsius. Other product lines include Zazzle highlighters, Sarasa retractable gel-ink pens, and the Z-Grip line.

The Z Grip pens include the F-301, F-301 Compact, F-402, and the F-701. The 301 series is characterized by stainless steel shafts and hardened plastic grips. The 401 has the same stainless steel shaft with a rubber grip. Finally, the flagship pen, the 701 has a knurled grip and is completely stainless steel.

In late 2010 Zebra announced production of the V-301, a stainless steel fountain pen that features a cartridge filling system, silver steel nib and stainless steel barrel.