News: M805 Raden Royal Platinum

Pelikan M805 Raden Royal PlatinumOver the past few years, Pelikan has begun to more consistently bring us new limited edition Raden releases.  It should come as no surprise then that a Raden model would be in the works for this year, a year in which the company is celebrating a historic anniversary.  What does one give as a gift for a 180th anniversary?  While there aren’t any well established customs for such an occasion, something in platinum seems a fitting choice.  Perhaps that is why Pelikan has chosen to give us the M805 Raden Royal Platinum.  For those new to the hobby, pens done in a Raden style employ a traditional Japanese art whereby finely ground abalone is embedded or glued onto laquer-coated surfaces.  The result is an inlay that shines with a rainbow of colors when struck by light.  This year’s release will make a worthy addition to the models that preceded it.  These include the Kyokko & Gekko (2005), Moonlight (2011), Sunlight (2013), Starlight (2014), Sunrise (2016), and Royal Gold (2017).  It would seem that the Royal Platinum is the kindred spirit to last year’s Royal Gold.  The design and finish appear to be the same with one in silver tones and the other in gold.  I suspect that many owners of the Royal Gold will be clamoring to add this one as a companion piece.

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No White After Labor Day: How The M6xx Makes That A Hard Rule To Abide

Pelikan M600 Tortoiseshell White, M600 Pink, M600 Turquoise-White, and M605 White TransparentI don’t think that it’s too much of a stretch to say that, at least in the United States,  most people have heard the old saying about wearing white after labor day.  It has been a big no-no in fashion circles since sometime around the early to mid-twentieth century.  Nobody knows for sure how this piece of fashion etiquette came about let alone became ingrained into the mainstream collective.  One practical theory contends that, since people used to dress more formally, white was simply cooler in the summer months.  When the fall rains came, the color became impractical as it soiled easily with mud and debris.  While this theory sounds logical, that in and of itself may be why many scholars discount it.  The rules of fashion seldom seem to follow any logic.  A more salacious and compelling explanation may lie in the habits of America’s well to do who frequently escaped the doldrums of the city in the summer months.  That escape included leaving behind the more drab palette of the city which included opting for lighter clothing instead.  White linen suits became the unofficial uniform of the upper crust of society.  Labor Day, celebrated on the first Monday in September, has long marked the unofficial end of summer and was when the elite class would stow their whites and return to city life.  By mid-century, a clash between old money and new money was brewing as the middle class expanded and people became more upwardly mobile.  Old money elites looking to keep their social fabric from fraying would shun those not in the know.  Arbitrary rules, including not wearing white after Labor Day, allowed high society to protect their standing and identify the less savvy newer members of the upper class.  Whichever reasoning you may ascribe to, this old “rule” has largely fallen out of favor and many fashion icons have shown that white can indeed be worn year round.  That is a darn good thing too because Pelikan has graced the M6xx line with more white pens in recent history than ever before and I for one would hate to have to lock them away for half of the year due to some fashion snobbery.  Read on for a look at how Pelikan has made white pens chic again.

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News: M205 Olivine Special Edition Demonstrator

Pelikan M205 Olivine Fountain Pen and InkIt had been widely anticipated that we would once again see an M2xx release mirroring this years Ink of the Year though doubts had started to grow. For the past three years, announcements have come anywhere from late June to early July but always on a fairly consistent timeline.  It now being early August, you can imagine the angst this has generated.  Fret no more because today we have been given a glimpse of the upcoming M205 Olivine Special Edition Demonstrator as previewed by the Instagram account of H&S KIRTASİYE.  The Olivine will join past special editions including the M200 Smoky Quartz (2017), M205 Aquamarine (2016), and M205 Amethyst (2015).  Last years M200 was a departure from the prior releases and it appears that Pelikan has once again returned to the M205 trim style which is characterized by chromium plated furniture that has a silver appearance.  Details remain sparse and I’m sure that we will learn  more in short order.  I would imagine that pre-orders will be available from your preferred retailer in the coming weeks and I would expect this one to be available sometime around mid September.

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Pelikan Made Taylorix Pens

Pelikan and Taylorix branded 100N, 130 Ibis, and 140s

Pelikans beside their Taylorix cousins

It is not uncommon for a company to enter into an agreement for the manufacture of goods meant to be sold and distributed by another business.  These products are frequently meant to target a different market segment than the manufacturer’s usual wares.   As far as fountain pen production is concerned, often times these pens are not tied to the original manufacturer by way of their usual branding.  Despite the absence of those tell tale markings, the pen’s designs are not radically altered from that of a company’s standard production models and can be readily identified.  The Taylorix company is an example of one such business that purchased a large number of pens from multiple manufacturers upon which they placed their own branding starting sometime in the 1930s.  Today, I would like to focus on those Taylorix branded pens produced by Pelikan in the post-war period.  Aside from the surviving pens themselves, very little information is know about these models.  Pelikan’s archives contain little in the way of details and Taylorix is no longer in business.  What we do know is that, for the most part, the Taylorix pens made by Pelikan included the 100N, 130 Ibis, and 140 produced sometime in the 1950s.  In a more unusual twist, there has even been an MK10 or two seen with the Taylorix branding, indicating a relationship between the two companies persisted into the 1960s.  Read on to learn what we know about these unique Pelikan manufactured pens.

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News: Pelikan Hubs 2018 By The Numbers

With the closing of the registration period (extended an extra week due to high demand), we now have a pretty good sense of Pelikan’s Hub locations for 2018 as well as the number of registrations at each location.  The analysis that follows is derived from data taken from Pelikan’s Hubs page (as of 7/23/18 at 9:00pm EST) and should not be taken as absolute since it is subject to some fluctuation between now and the big event.  Still, it gives us a significant insight into how this fifth anniversary event is shaping up.  Most of the cities that participated last year are again included in this year’s festivities with at least two dozen new cities added to the roster, a roughly 23% increase.  The Hubs event continues the steady trend in annual growth that we’ve seen year after year.  Each year has been larger than the one before with more countries, more cities, and more people participating.  For 2017, Pelikan reported that there were 145 individual Hubs spread across 43 countries with 3600 registered participants.  Based on the currently available data, this year’s event will span 178 cities spread out amongst 44 countries with over 4700 participants.  Thus far, that represents roughly a 31% increase in attendance over last year and an astounding 425% increase since the inaugural year.  Whereas events were few and far between the first year, the access that fans now have to a local Hub has grown exponentially.  The United States is again host to the largest number of registrations with Canada, Australia, Taiwan, and Germany rounding out the top 5.  This year’s gathering is set to take place on Friday, September 21, 2018 at 6:30pm local time with Pelikan expected to release additional details about the event as we get closer to the date.  If you cannot attend this year’s event, you can easily follow along with the world-wide festivities via the hashtag #pelikanhubs on the various social media sites.  To further synthesize the data, I’ve developed a series of maps and graphs to help depict the information.  Read on to see what cities are involved and to learn about how your location stacks up with some of the others.

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Review: M815 Metal Striped (2018)

Pelikan M815 Metal Striped Fountain PenThe M815 Metal Striped special edition was announced in May and began shipping in late June of this year.  It is the first M8xx release during the company’s 180th anniversary which makes the stakes seem just a little bit higher.  This is not the first Pelikan pen to be labeled an M815 though.  That honor fell to the Wall Street limited edition from 1995.  While the two pens share little in common, it is nice to see Pelikan taking a new approach in tackling what is by now a familiar theme.  The current M815 marries Pelikan’s high quality resin with palladium-plated stripes made from brass.  The overall effect is a sophisticated elevation of their typical striped “Stresemann” design which enjoys a long and prestigious heritage.  The brass added to this model gives it more heft than your typical M8xx, a boon for those who like a heavier pen.  While not an exact analogy, you can think of it in terms of cramming an M1000’s weight into an M800’s body.  One thing that detractors will likely be quick to point out, and rightly so, is that this model seems to have a lot in common with the M805 Stresemann from 2015.  Let’s take a closer look and see if the M815 has enough going for it to stand on its own merits and separate itself from the pack.

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Meet The 7 Clear Demonstrators of Pelikan’s Classic Line

Pelikan M2xx Clear DemosAs far as demonstrator fountain pens go, the clear variants are perhaps the purest because they allow the most unobscured visualization of a pen’s inner workings.  With this year’s release of the re-issued M205 Clear Demonstrator, I thought that it was an opportune time to look back at Pelikan’s clear M2xx models and to highlight some of the differences between each.  To date, there have been seven clear demos released in Pelikan’s lower tier Classic line, not including the very similarly styled M481 demo.  These models are characterized by a less ostentatious trim than the Souverän series as well as a slightly less refined finish.  The upside is that you get a great pen for substantially less money than what a Souverän might cost.  While I was working on this article, my wife somewhat incredulously remarked, “You have seven of the same pen?!”  While that may seem to be the case upon first glance, each pen has a unique variation or two that sets it apart and allows for proper identification (though that explanation somehow did not mollify my wife).  Clear demonstrators draw both appreciation and ire for facilitating an unobstructed view of the piston mechanism as well as the ink chamber.  Each fill with a different colored ink can serve to change the pen’s look, keeping the writing experience fresh and exciting.  The trade-off, of course, is that without proper pen maintenance, those colors can persist long after a pen is emptied.  While staining is a real possibility with any demonstrator, it can be all the more apparent in one of the clear demo variants.  Still, proper pen care makes this a relatively small issue and one that shouldn’t bar you from enjoying such a great pen.  

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News: Pelikan Hubs 2018

Pelikan Hubs 2018 BannerThe 2018 Pelikan Hubs event has been anticipated by fans across the globe ever since last year’s highly successful gathering.  With just a little over three months to go, Pelikan has officially opened up registration.  This year hits a milestone as it marks the fifth anniversary of this pen and ink centric happening.  The Hubs event has shown consistent growth over the past four years with 2017 coming in as the biggest year to date, a record that’s very likely to be bested once again.  You may recall that there were 145 individual Hub locations spread across 43 countries with 3600 registered participants last year.  That represents roughly a 38% increase over the attendance for 2016.  If you are reading about this for the first time and wondering what the heck a Pelikan Hub event is, let me enlighten you.  The Pelikan Hubs is a fan driven gathering of Pelikan aficionados from across the globe who meet on the same local date and time.  With no specified agenda, anything goes meaning no two hubs are quite alike.  Throughout all of this, Pelikan acts in a supporting role, providing the necessary organization and a few supplies, allowing the hub master and their attendees to free form an evening of festivities.  For those who cannot attend, the various locations can be followed on social media via the hashtag #pelikanhubs.  My local Philadelphia hub has always been a good time, attended by a growing and diverse group of fans.  You can read about my past adventures here (2017), here (2016), and here (2015). One thing for certain is that there is usually no shortage of Pelikan eye candy.  With a minimum of five people required to constitute a Hub, locations get selected based on a registered pool of online applicants.  During the sign up process, you can nominate your city for inclusion if it is not already listed.  Hub locations will be finalized sometime around July 9th.  Once the participating cities are chosen, a Hub master is selected, by special application, to act as your local point of contact and organizer.  It is the Hub master who designates a centrally located meeting place and distributes some Pelikan swag to all of the registered guest in attendance.  Read on for all of the details for this years Hub.

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