Pelikan launched their “Seven Wonders of the World” series back in 2004 with the intent of designing seven pens, each as an homage to their respective ‘Wonder.’ These models represent some of the more interesting and artistic designs ever put out by the company, even if they are not always the most practical. Many different lists of wonders have been compiled over the ages. Pelikan appears to be riffing off of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World first put forth by Philo of Byzantium. Other writers on the topic include the historian Herodotus, the scholar Callimachus of Cyrene, and Antipater of Sidon. These lists chronicled “must see” attractions for Hellenic tourists, much like our guidebooks might do today. Like all but one of the described wonders, much of their ancient writings have not survived the ages except as references in other works. Classically, the Seven Wonders were; The Great Pyramid of Giza (2004), The Colossus of Rhodes (2005), The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus (2006), The Lighthouse of Alexandria (2007), The Hanging Gardens of Babylon (2009), The Statue of Zeus at Olympia (2016), and The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. In modern times, only the Great Pyramid of Giza still exists. To date, Pelikan has released five out of seven pens in the series (actual release dates noted above in parentheses) leaving us awaiting Zeus and the Mausoleum. It has been seven years since we were given the Hanging Gardens of Babylon leading some to question whether we would see the series finished. Today, several European vendors have given us a glimpse at the penultimate release in the series, The Statue of Zeus.
September 16th has come and gone, leaving in its wake a lot of the excitement that culminated in the third annual Pelikan Hubs event. Rather than post my thoughts immediately, I wanted to take some time and let it breathe. The third annual Pelikan Hubs took place in at least 109 cities spread across 37 countries with roughly 2600 fans registered to attend. Just as last year’s event showed tremendous growth over the inaugural year, Hubs 2016 has demonstrated that the event continues to pick up momentum. This year marked the second consecutive time that I was chosen as the Hub master for the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA location. Thankfully, the Pope remained in Rome this year which helped to avoid much of the traffic nightmare that occurred during last year’s hub. Site selection remains a challenge for Hub masters worldwide. As you might imagine, it is difficult to find a suitable location that can accommodate an event of this size, be centrally located, have good lighting, not be too loud, and be available gratis. I also like to ensure attendees a chance at food and beverage since the event occurs during the dinner hour. With those parameters in mind, I set out on an extensive search of the city and had quite a few misses which took us right down to the wire. Ultimately, I found an amazing establishment that was gracious enough to host our party free of charge. This year’s Philadelphia Hub went down at Cooperage Wine and Whiskey bar located in the historic Curtis Center in the Washington Square neighborhood. Cooperage bills itself as combining southern bistro fare with an eclectic list of wine and whiskey from around the world. The restaurant is very welcoming and has a great feeling of warmth about it. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the food menu is excellent as well. The establishment boast over 90 different kinds of whiskey available. The good people at Cooperage provided us a great area in which to hold our event and I can’t recommend them highly enough if you’re looking for a venue for your next function.
Today’s post comes to you from an altitude of 32,900 feet at speeds of 500+ mph. It isn’t often that I fly but, when I do, I always feel very comfortable taking my Pelikans along. I understand that this can be a topic of concern for fountain pen aficionados as stories of in-flight inky disasters abound. I thought that a post about flying with a Pelikan (as well as just about any other piston filled fountain pen) would be timely. The good news is that air travel with fountain pens can essentially be worry free if you adhere to a few general principles.
One of Pelikan’s defining features is the iconic beak clip which has been around since the end of the second World War. If you have ever had occasion to look at the underside of a post-1997 production Souverän clip, you might have noticed a single word conspicuously struck into the material; “metal.” This can be found on the M/R/K/D 3xx, 4xx, 6xx, 8xx, and 10xx models. While the meaning behind the stamp may appear enigmatic at first, the truth of the matter is actually rather simple. Rest assured, this does not indicate a forgery of any kind. While Pelikan offers no official statement to explain this, the supposed meaning is well documented, particularly amongst those who work with precious metals and the hallmarks that go along with them. Across the world’s markets, there are regulations governing how precious and plated base metals are identified. When there is a base metal that is manufactured or processed to simulate the appearance of precious metal and whose alloy contains less than a specified karat fineness, the law mandates that a marking shall be applied to acknowledge the presence of a base metal. Different regions may vary in the fineness of gold that stipulates such a marking. The statue is that whenever practical, the word ‘metal’ or the name of the metal should be struck on the base metal part(s).
Every so often, someone asks how I manage my collection. I thought that it might benefit the community at large to share my solution and do a review of sorts. This will be one of the few post that you find on this site that has nothing to do with Pelikan. When you get your first pen, you have no need for spreadsheets. Often times, it’s not long before you add a second pen and then a third. Before you know it, you have a collection and a desire to keep a better accounting of it. I think that it is important for any collector to have a record of past purchases with detailed accounts of those transactions. We’ve all been in a position of having to figure out the best way to do this. Initially I used Microsoft Word in conjunction with Excel. This was a very workable solution in the early days but as my collection grew, I felt that this method lacked flexibility. It became harder and harder to keep track of the variables that I was interested in and data began to become the enemy rather than an asset. I decided to search the web and see what other solutions might be out there. I didn’t expect to find something geared for the fountain pen enthusiast but was hoping to at least find a solution that could be retrofitted to that purpose. I wanted an option that wasn’t too expensive, provided flexibility, and would allow me to have a bird’s eye view of my collection by being easily searchable. In that quest, I found Recollector, a piece of software designed for the collector of just about anything.
Vendors have finally put to rest speculation over this year’s rumored M400 Tortoiseshell Brown by announcing Pelikan’s plans for a September 2016 release. This has been a much anticipated addition to the line-up and I’m certain supplies aren’t likely to last long. While this announcement had been anticipated since the end of last year, Pelikan continues to show that it can still keep a few secrets. In a surprise move, we were also given news of an M205 Blue Marbled fountain pen for release around the same time. This marks the materialization of nearly all of the models that were expected for 2016 though I presume that the company may have one or two more surprises still in store for us before the year ends.
Pelikan’s announcement of the M120N in January came as somewhat of a surprise. The retro release marked the revival of a popular 1950’s school pen, the predecessor of the Pelikano. Like the original that debuted in 1955, this version keeps the same green-black color scheme and gold-plated stainless steel nib but comes in a larger size and with the added flourish of a unique nib engraving. What was even more surprising than the pen itself was the price tag attached to it. Still, these seem to have found their target audience and I have heard anecdotes that sales have been good. Pelikan expected to very quickly sell out of this special edition release. I couldn’t resist picking one of these up and after thoroughly putting the pen through its paces, I felt that a review was in order. Read on to see how this model stacks up to the original 120 from over 60 years ago.
While a month later than last year, Pelikan has finally announced their 2016 Hubs locations and have begun the process of notifying attendees and the location’s chosen hub masters. Many of the cities listed should be familiar, having hosted past events, but there are several new comers this year as well. A small hiccup resulted in a conspicuously absent London, United Kingdom but this was quickly rectified today. Each year, the Pelikan Hubs project has grown. Pelikan Hubs 2015 included 72 cities spanning 29 countries with approximately 1400 participants, a 56% growth over the event’s first year. Year three proves to be even bigger in scope and participation. While final numbers are subject to change, we are currently looking at 111 cities spanning 38 countries with 2116+ registered participants as of the time of this post. That is a 51% increase in the number of participants over last year. This year’s gathering will take place on September 16, 2016 at 6:30pm local time. Pelikan really stepped up their efforts last year to improve upon the previous hub event so I anticipate some neat things in store for attendees but details have yet to be announced. Even though locations and hub masters have been chosen, online applications will continue to be accepted through July 30th for those interested in participating (a link to register can be found at the bottom of this post). You’d better hurry though as there are only three days left to register at the time of this post. Attendance is by application only so even if you are unsure, I would urge you to submit an online application to secure your place. Please do the same for any friend/spouse/pen loving stranger that you intend to bring with you. For those of you who cannot attend, don’t forget to follow along via the hashtag #pelikanhubs on social media.