Last updated
Tombow Pencil Co.,Ltd.
Native name
Type Private KK
Industry Stationery
Founded1913;108 years ago (1913) [1]
FounderHarunosuke Ogawa [1]
Area served
Key people
Akihiro Ogawa ( President and CEO )
Products Writing implements, office supplies
    • Mono
    • Pit
    • Zoom
    • Ipoo!
    • Yo-i [2]
Number of employees
397 (as of June, 2015)
Footnotes /references

Tombow Pencil Co.,Ltd. (株式会社トンボ鉛筆, Kabushiki-gaisha Tonbo Enpitsu) is a private Japanese manufacturing company of stationery products. The company was founded in 1913 as Messrs "Tombow" and has since grown into an international business. Based in Tokyo with 397 employees. [3]


Tombow also has two overseas production facilities in Thailand and Vietnam. Tombow Thailand is the first overseas factory of Tombow with 425 employees (as of December 2007) and 6,480 square meters building area.


The company was established in 1913, when Harunosuke Ogawa opened a shop in Asakusa, with the name "Harunosuke Ogawa Pencil". One year later, the Mason brand of pencil was released. That was followed by other products, named "Stick", "Submarine" (1915), "Kaiman Roro", and "Cabinet" (in 1916). [1]

The dragonfly figure ("Tombow" in Japanese – トンボ) was registered by the company as trademark for its pencils in 1927. During the following years, Tombow continued launching new lines of pencils. In December 1939, Harunosuke Ogawa Shoten incorporated as two companies, Tombow Pencil Manufacturing Co., Ltd. (manufacturing) and Tombow Pencil Trade Co. Ltd. (sales). The company launched an eraser manufactured by fats and oils without using rubber. [1]

In 1946, the company added pencil sharpeners to its catalog of products. In 1954, the company relocated the headquarters from Taitō to Nihonbashi in Chūō, Tokyo, with expansion of business. Four years later, the first ballpoint pens and markers were released, which consolidated Tombow as a manufacturer of all types of writing implements. In 1962, the company released an electric pen sharpener. In November 1968, the Tombow pencil head office was moved to Kita, Tokyo, where it still remains. [1]

The Tombow Ballpen Co., division, was established in 1973. The company established its first European location in 1980, in Cologne, Germany, the "Tombow Pen & Pencil GmbH". International operations expanded to the United States (1983 in Westlake Village, California), Thailand (1990 in Bangkok), Vietnam (2003), China (2011). [1]


Tombow produces and markets a wide range of products, marketed through its own name and/or other brands. [2] Tombow's product line includes the "dual brush", a type of marker pen with a brush-shaped tip that provides different sizes of strokes, depending on angle and pressure. It has a water-based ink and brush is made of nylon bristles. [4] It was inspired on traditional ink brushes and inksticks used in Japanese calligraphy.

Current products line includes: [5] [6]

Writing instruments Pencils, colored pencils, ballpoint pens, mechanical pencils, markers, highlighters, refills
Art materials Crayons
Office supplies Erasers, correction tapes, adhesives, glue tape, glue sticks



Mono eraser Tombow MONO.jpg
Mono eraser

The "Mono" (from the Greek "monos", translated to "special" or "only") brand was introduced in 1963, initially for a line of pencils. Nowadays, Mono brand comprises different pencils, irasers, mechanical pencils, and correction tapes. [7] [5] [8]


The Pit brand was introduced in 1971 to name Tombow's glue sticks. In 1980, the first Pit liquid glue was launched to market. The last product of the Pit line to be introduced was the glue tape, in 1997. [9]


Zoom was born as a ballpoint pen and mechanical pencil brand in 1986. [10] The Zoom 414 pen, designed by Kazunori Katami, won the Red Dot design award in 2007. [11] It combines a ballpoint pen, a mechanical pencil, a highlighter and an eraser in one slim design.

Other brands of the group are Yo-i and ippo!, with products designed for children.[ citation needed ]

Related Research Articles

Ballpoint pen

A ballpoint pen, also known as a biro or ball pen, is a pen that dispenses ink over a metal ball at its point, i.e. over a "ball point". The metal commonly used is steel, brass, or tungsten carbide. The design was conceived and developed as a cleaner and more reliable alternative to dip pens and fountain pens, and it is now the world's most-used writing instrument; millions are manufactured and sold daily. It has influenced art and graphic design and spawned an artwork genre.

Pen Writing and drawing implement using liquid or paste ink

A pen is a common writing instrument used to apply ink to a surface, usually paper, for writing or drawing. Historically, reed pens, quill pens, and dip pens were used, with a nib dipped in ink. Ruling pens allow precise adjustment of line width, and still find a few specialized uses, but technical pens such as the Rapidograph are more commonly used. Modern types include ballpoint, rollerball, fountain and felt or ceramic tip pens.


An eraser is an article of stationery that is used for removing marks from paper or skin. Erasers have a rubbery consistency and come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Some pencils have an eraser on one end. Less expensive erasers are made from synthetic rubber and synthetic soy-based gum, but more expensive or specialized erasers are made from vinyl, plastic, or gum-like materials.

Ohto Co., Ltd. is a Japanese manufacturing company of writing implements. The company was established in 1919 as a manufacturer of dyes and ink. In 1949, the company became a pen manufacturer after they manufactured the world's first ball point pen with a chrome ball. This was also Japan's first ballpoint pen.

Pencil case

A pencil case or pencil box is a container used to store pencils. A pencil case can also contain a variety of other stationery such as sharpeners, pens, glue sticks, erasers, scissors, rulers and calculators.


Pentel Co., Ltd. is a privately held Japanese manufacturing company of stationery products. The name is a combination of the English words pen and tell. Pentel is also the inventor of non-permanent marker technology. Most Pentel products are manufactured in Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Mexico, and France.

Paper Mate is a registered division of Sanford L.P., a Newell Brands company that produces writing instruments. Paper Mate's offices are located in Oak Brook, Illinois, along with those of Newell Rubbermaid's other office products divisions.


Staedtler Mars GmbH & Co. KG is a German manufacturing company based in Nuremberg. The firm was founded by J.S. Staedtler in 1835 and produces a large variety of stationery products, such as writing implements, art materials, and office supplies.

Rotring Technical writing and drawing instruments company

Rotring is a former German manufacturing company of technical drawing tools and writing implements. Established in 1928 as a fountain pen manufacturer, Rotring is currently a brand owned by Newell Brands after its acquisition in 1998. The name "Rotring" directly translates to "red ring" which is still placed around the barrel of their pens today. The company's name was changed to Rotring in the early 1970s to match the trademark.

Prismacolor is a brand of professional artists' supplies originated by Berol in 1938, and currently manufactured by Newell Brands. Products in the Prismacolor line are colored and graphite pencils, and soft pastels. Other products include erasers, pencil sharpeners, and cases.

Lamy is a German pen manufacturing company. Josef Lamy, who was a sales representative for Parker Pen in Germany, founded the business in 1930 by purchasing the Orthos pen manufacturer. Lamy was a pioneer in the use of moulded synthetic plastics to make their products.

Pilot (pen company) Japanese pen manufacturer

Pilot Corporation is a Japanese pen manufacturer based in Tokyo, Japan. It produces writing instruments, stationery and jewelry, but is best known for its pens.

Uni-ball and Uni are brands of pens and pencils, made by the Mitsubishi Pencil Company Limited of Japan. The brand was introduced in 1979 as a rollerball pen model, then expanding to the rest of Mitsubishi Pencil products.

Zebra (pen manufacturer)

Zebra Co., Ltd. is a Japanese manufacturer of writing instruments, established in 1914 by Tokumatsu Ishikawa.

Caran d'Ache is a Swiss manufacturing company of art materials and writing instruments. The company, established in 1915, produces a wide range of products including colored pencils, graphite pencils, pastels, fountain pens, ballpoint pens, mechanical pencils, markers, gouache paints, and ink cartridges.

Ballograf AB is a Swedish manufacturer of writing implements. Ballograf manufactures its products from raw materials to finished product in its factory in Västra Frölunda, Gothenburg.


The fudepen (筆ペン), also known as "brush pen", is a cartridges-based writing implement used in East Asian calligraphy; in essence, an ink brush analogue to fountain pen.

The history of school and office products brand Westcott dates back to 1872, when Henry Westcott, together with his two sons Charles and Frank Westcott, started manufacturing wooden furniture used by printers and trellis units in Seneca Falls, New York. The company expanded rapidly and became one of the largest manufacturers of desk and school rulers in the world. Throughout its history it remained in Westcott family hands until it was purchased by Acme Shear Co., which later changed its name to Acme United Corporation.

Speedball is a US manufacturing company of stationery and art products, based in Statesville, North Carolina. The company was originally established as the "C. Howard Hunt Pen Company" in 1899, to manufacture dip pens.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Company History | TOMBOW PENCIL". (in Japanese). Retrieved 2020-01-02.
  2. 1 2 Brands on Tombow website
  3. 1 2 "Company Profile". Tombow Pencil. Retrieved March 29, 2017.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. "Dual Brush Pen Art Marker". Retrieved 2020-01-02.
  5. 1 2 "Products | TOMBOW PENCIL". (in Japanese). Retrieved 2020-01-02.
  6. "トンボ鉛筆総合カタログ2018/2019 | ebook5". Retrieved 2020-01-02.
  7. "MONO | TOMBOW PENCIL". (in Japanese). Retrieved 2020-01-02.
  8. "Tombow Mono: A Comprehensive Guide -". Jet Pens. Retrieved 2018-06-25.
  9. "PiT | TOMBOW PENCIL". (in Japanese). Retrieved 2020-01-02.
  10. "ZOOM | TOMBOW PENCIL". (in Japanese). Retrieved 2020-01-02.
  11. Red Dot store Archived 2012-12-18 at