As 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.
The 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.
News of two new Pelikan fountain pens in one day can only mean trouble for your wallet or purse. Following closely on the heels of this year’s Maki-e release, the Peacock, we also learn of the next model to come out of Hannover courtesy of Penworld. This one is known as the M815 Metal Striped special edition. The last pen to utilize the M815 nomenclature was the Wall Street limited edition from 1995. Refreshingly, this years model brings something new to the table while still preserving a comfortable familiarity. The M815 is adorned with metal stripes reminiscent of the well established Stresemann pattern. I’d wager that this is one of those releases that we had all hoped for from the company, something commensurate with their 180th anniversary.
There is no better way to start off a new week than with news of a few upcoming releases. First up is Pelikan’s Maki-e Peacock limited edition announced by Fritz-Schimpf earlier today. This 2018 model follows the Spring & Autumn (2016) and the Dragonfly (2017) that came before it. Pelikan’s sales literature (translated from German) relates that the peacock is one of the most beautiful birds on earth due to its exceptionally beautiful, brightly colored feathers. Peacocks have also been known to eat poisonous plants without being affected causing the animal to held in high esteem amongst different cultures and religions since the early days of human history. The peacock has developed as a symbol of happiness because the bird is seen as being able to protect people from hardship and pain. This Maki-e release celebrates all of the above. Built off of the M1000 chassis, the traditional Make-e painting depicts the brightly colored plumage of the peafowl set in sharp contrast against a black background.
It has been five years now since Pelikan discontinued the production of their most interesting nibs. The sizes lost to us include the BB, 3B, OM, OB, OBB, and O3B nibs not to mention the more exotic IB and I variants. If all of those letters amount to alphabet soup for you, you can check out my post explaining Pelikan’s nib designations here. What we have been left with is the staid though faithful line-up of EF, F, M, and B sizes. In many of my posts, I have lamented the lack of character found in today’s nibs. The current philosophy behind Pelikan’s modern stock offerings seems to focus on providing a reliable though unvarying line, good for novices and advanced users alike. This “one-size-fits-all” mentality may suit the market but can leave the advanced user somewhat uninspired. What you get out of the box today is referred to as a round nib which produces the same line width on the cross stroke as it does on the down stroke. Modern nibs are wide and wet thanks to Pelikan’s generous feed but there is little to no character imparted to the writing. Contrast that with the nibs of yesterday, those from Pelikan’s early days through the mid-1960s, which provide a writing experience which I would argue is second to none. While I appreciate the focus on dependability, I do sometimes miss the excitement that a good nib can lend to the writing experience and thereby elevate the text beyond mere words on the page. Another theme that you may have seen me return to time and again is the generous and sometimes blobby amount of tipping material on Pelikan’s modern nibs. What this allows for is a robust canvas for a custom grind. There are many accomplished nib meisters out there, specialists with an expertise in nib adjustments. They can help your nib achieve a sorely missing degree of character and I wanted to highlight for you just what can be done. Now I tend to be a traditionalist and a purist and don’t often favor customizing my nibs but I have opened up to the notion and have been handsomely rewarded. If a reliable, unvarying line suits you just fine, then read no further. If you’re at all curious to learn how you might breathe new life into a boring nib then read on.
With a new Pelikan demonstrator due out in a few weeks, I thought now might be a good time to revisit how to best clean one. The endearing thing about demonstrators is that they put the inner workings of the pen on display, warts and all. Perhaps that is why the demonstrator is such a polarizing model amongst fountain pen enthusiast. No matter what side of the debate you come down on, it’s undeniable that cleaning this type of pen can be a real challenge. You can see every drop of residual ink and even more disturbing, every stain left behind. Thankfully, good pen upkeep can help to avoid this type of permanent staining. In addition to the usual pen maintenance issues that we all face, there is one exceedingly frustrating area on Pelikan demos that is particularly troublesome to clean. That area would be the section which, no matter how much you may rinse or swab, simply won’t come clean. With Pelikan’s demos, there is a little trick to be learned here which can make your cleaning woes a thing of the past. Due to the design, there is a little lip on the inside of the section where the threads are located. The area behind that lip will collect ink as you fill and use your pen. It is not readily noticeable until you try to flush the pen clean. Thankfully, it’s easy to remedy if you know what to do. Read on to learn how to get that residual ink flushed out of the section.
I was recently contacted by John Taylor who, along with his wife Nanci, had the good fortune to tour the Pelikan factory in Voehrum/Peine, Germany during a trip abroad this past January. John and his wife reside on the East Coast of the United States and have only been into pens in a big way for the last year or two. Not having a platform of his own, John asked if I might host a recap of their experience here at The Perch. While I have not entertained a post written by a guest author previously, I thought that it may be of interest to those who, like myself, are unable to make the pilgrimage to Pelikan’s factory. If you do have the means and the opportunity, I will include some pertinent links at the bottom of this post which will help you facilitate a similar visit. Without further ado, I give you John’s write-up. I hope that you enjoy it and please, leave a comment to let us know what you think.
Somewhat unexpectedly, news broke today about Pelikan’s next release for 2018. This one hails from their Classic line-up which is Pelikan’s lower end fountain pen line. Rather than something fresh and unique, Pelikan once again resurrects a model from the past. This time, we are given the Classic M205 Demonstrator Special Edition. The last M205 clear demonstrator was released in 2005 making it a full 13 years old. This is the second time Pelikan has re-issued a clear demonstrator in their Classic line, the last being the gold trimmed M200 released in 2012. This one is due out sometime around mid-May 2018. Pelikan says the following about their new model;
“Our latest special edition Classic 205 Demonstrator with its clear transparent barrel gives a clear view of the black-colored inner parts. It makes the interaction of the sophisticated parts visible while operating the piston mechanism.”
If seeing the innermost workings of your pen, imperfections and all, is your thing, read on to learn all of the details.