Pelikan’s 100N Gray Marbled with Nickel Furniture

Pelikan 100N Gray Marbled with Nickel TrimPelikan introduced the model 100N in March of 1937.  The “N” stands for new but rather than replace the model 100 that preceded it, the 100N was produced concurrently, initially just for the export market.  It was designed as Pelikan’s response to a trend towards larger pens being produced by other manufacturers.  The 100 was, by design, a smaller pen when capped  and a very comfortably sized pen with excellent balance when posted.  By 1938, the 100N was offered for sale in Germany as a way to celebrate the company’s 100th anniversary.  Somewhat bigger than the 100 and with a larger ink capacity, the 100N continued to employ Pelikan’s differential piston mechanism.  Production was constrained by war time rationing which limited the available building materials such as gold and cork.  Shortly after its introduction, palladium and later chromium-nickel steel had to be substituted in place of gold for the nib.  Around 1942, black plastic synthetic seals were first employed as a replacement for cork.  Production was completely interrupted in 1944 due to the war and did not resume again until the factory reopened in 1947.  The 100N saw several small iterations of design over its production, some of these better characterized than others.  The earliest models had a strong resemblance to the 100 and some even sport the 4 chick logo on the cap top which was being phased out at the time of launch.  Other variations such as the Danzig (Poland) produced models and the Emegê pens (Portugal) also stand out and are full topics in and of themselves.

 

Pelikan 14C-585 Script Nibs in Fine from the 100N fountain pen

Left: 14C-585 gold nibs in a common style found on the 100N. Right: Ebonite feeds with three longitudinal fins. Note the chip in the center fin of the right most one consistent with the fragility of ebonite over time

 

Pelikan 100N early and late sections

Compare the earlier model on the left with a step in the section below the threads against the later model on the right with a straight section

The 100N was available in colors such as green, black, gray, tortoiseshell, and lizard.  The green is by far the most commonly encountered with either the drop clip and two narrow cap bands or the fluted clip and single fluted cap band.  What you encounter much less frequently is the gray colored binde which enjoyed a production run of 1938-1951.  These were found in either a grau marmoriert, a.k.a. gray marbled (gray with black marbling) or gray pearl (less dramatic in appearance, lacking the black marbling) pattern.  Sometimes, the more common green bindes that haven’t worn well over the years have faded and can be mistaken for gray though that is usually easily discerned when examined closely.  The gray binde can be found with gold-plated furniture but it is even more rarely encountered with nickel furniture.  Pelikan Schreibgeräte confirms that models with white trim exist though the reference is probably for models like the 101N Lizard.  The furniture of these 100Ns are likely made from nickel silver (also referred to as German silver or Alpacca), a term that refers to a white alloy containing copper, zinc, and nickel.  While the term includes the word silver, the metal is actually a less expensive silver substitute, devoid of any precious metals.  The 100Ns with nickel furniture have not been well documented and no literature from Pelikan is available to determine at what point in production they may have been offered.  Price lists and catalogs are silent on the matter.  I have encountered both early and late examples of models done in that style and I wanted to detail and share these less often encountered birds with you.

 

Pelikan 100N Gray and Green marbled bindes

A comparison between 100Ns with gray and green marbled bindes. Note the yellowing of the gray binde on the left

 

Earlier, pre-war models with the gray marbled barrel would have started production in 1938.  These would have included a cork piston seal until around late 1942 when a black plastic seal was first employed.  The earliest examples may have included hard rubber components but most of these have elements derived from celluloid.  The cap tops are etched and most often depict the two chick Pelikan logo first adopted in 1938.  If not faded, the etchings on the cap should be filled with a white paint as is the case with all of the gray models.  The tear drop clip and double cap bands that comprise the furniture are done in a nickel alloy.  In this example, the barrel and ink window are a dark amber and the cap has two breather holes.  Those models produced until 1949 had an edged grip section with a step below the threads allowing them to be easily identified.  This model would invariably come equipped with an ebonite feed married to a wide variety of nibs which could all be correct depending on the period of production.  These would include palladium (PD), chromium nickel (CN), and 14 karat.  The cap has been known to display a variety of inscriptions (at least four different ones), the more commonly encountered ones being “Pelikan PATENT Pelikan PATENT” and, later, “Pelikan D.R.P. Pelikan D.R.P.”  D.R.P. stands for Deutsche Reich Patent (or Deutsches Reichpatent) and was placed on patented items through the early post-war period as old stock continued to be used until exhausted.  The earlier 100Ns have a length of 4.73 inches when capped, a diameter of 0.47 inches, a weight of 0.51 ounces, and an ink capacity of approximately 1.75mL.  Interestingly, there is an indentation on the piston knob which serves to facilitate securing the spindle to the blind cap via a metal pin.

 

Pelikan 100N Gray Marbled w/ Nickel Trim capped

100N Gray Marbled with nickel furniture, early model (1938-42)

 

Later, post-war models in this finish have also been seen.  These lack the step at the section which is smooth indicating production from 1949 until the discontinuation of the gray binde in 1951.  The piston seals would only be composed of synthetic materials by this point.  There would be no hard rubber components in this post-war period and most of these later barrels were made from acrylic.  The caps and piston knobs are done in celluloid and the two chick logo persists with the etchings again filled with white paint.  The piston knob has a knurled band to provide decoration and grip which is a bit more pronounced than on the earlier models.  This example also has two vent holes in the cap and the lip of the piston knob is stamped with the pen’s nib size.  The same nickel alloy furniture is found as in the earlier models and the ink window here is green.  The nibs would still have ebonite feeds but gold was again available as of 1949 though usage of the chromium-nickel steel nibs continued for a few more years so either might be found.  The caps had similar inscriptions as detailed above and the dimensions were also roughly the same though the later models were a touch longer at 4.80 inches when capped.

 

Pelikan 100N Gray Marbled w/ Nickel Trim capped

100N Gray Marbled with nickel furniture, later model (1949-51)

 

Pelikan 100N Gray Marbled fountain pens

Again note the differences in the earlier model (top) compared with the later model (bottom)

 

Both of these pens are excellent writers and my examples shown here each have 14 karat nibs in a fine width.  The lines are indeed fine and the nibs have a nice bit of spring which makes writing with them a joy. 

Writing sample from a Pelikan 100N

 

If you haven’t explored the world of Pelikan’s more vintage offerings, you’re missing out.  The nibs of yesteryear far exceed those available today.  While you can’t go wrong with most any 100N, if you ever happen to come across a gray marbled variant with nickel furniture, don’t hesitate to snatch it up if the price is right.  You won’t be disappointed.

Click on any of the pictures below to enlarge
Pelikan 100N Gray Marbled fountain pens with nickel trim

From left to right: Later production model dating 1949-51 and earlier model dating 1938-42

 

Pelikan 100N Gray Marbled Caps and Cap Tops

Caps for the gray marbled 100Ns were filled in with white paint. The furniture is done in a nickel alloy and lacks precious metals despite its silver appearance.  The cap of the later model is just a touch longer

 

Pelikan 100N Gray Marbled bindes and piston knobs

Left: A close up look at the gray marbled bindes. The older one on the left has yellowed somewhat over time. Right: Piston knobs of the 100N. The older model (left) has a somewhat less pronounced knurled ring. Note the indentations for the metal pin (red arrow heads)

 

Pelikan Auch 200 pencil and 100N fountain pen in Gray/Nickel shown with original packaging

Auch Pelikan 200 pencil and 100N fountain pen in Gray/Nickel shown with the original packaging. Photo courtesy of Christof of FPN (c_m_z, auf Flickr https://goo.gl/h5U3M7)

 

Auch Pelikan 200 pencil and 100N fountain pen in Gray/Nickel

Auch Pelikan 200 pencil and 100N fountain pen in Gray/Nickel. This set will be part of a new permanent exhibition of the Museum für Gestaltung (Museum of Design) in Zürich. Photo courtesy of Christof of FPN (c_m_z, auf Flickr https://goo.gl/h5U3M7)

 

 


 

Year                                                                      
100N Milestones
March 25, 1937
The 100N is launched for sale in the export market.
March 15, 1938
The 100N is launched for sale in the domestic, German marketplace.
May 16, 1938
Palladium nibs marked PD are first employed.
October 11, 1939
The Chromium Nickel nibs marked CN are first employed.
October 29, 1942
Cork seals are replaced with a black, synthetic material.
1949
The edged sections with the step are replaced with smooth sections.
July 4, 1949
The 100N is again available with 14 karat gold nibs.
January 16, 1953
The collar is redesigned with a special notch to allow for removal via a special tool/key.
April 22, 1953
The Chromium Nickel nib is discontinued and no longer available.
November 27, 1953
The black synthetic seal is replaced with a white/transparent one.
January 20, 1954
The 100N is officially discontinued.

 

References:

  1. “The Online Pelikan-Guide.” Lehman, Martin. (2012, July 18).  Retrieved from http://www.pelikan-guide.com/index.html
  2. “Pelikan 100N Piston Filler.” Rothemel, Dominic. (2017, October 12).  Retrieved from https://www.pelikan-collectibles.com/en/Pelikan/Models/Historic-Pens/100N/index.html
  3. “A History of Pelikan.” Propas, Rick (2003).  Retrieved from http://www.thepenguinpen.com/pelikan/pelikan_history.jsp
  4. “Pelikan Model 100N.” Rüttinger, Werner (2017, September 25).  Retrieved from http://www.ruettinger-web.de/e-pelikan-modell-100n.html
  5. Dittmer, Jürgen and Lehmann, Martin.  “Pelikan Schreibgeräte Writing Instruments 1929-1997.”  1998.  ISBN-13: 978-3909485888
  6. Dittmer, Jürgen and Lehmann, Martin.  “Pelikan Schreibgeräte Writing Instruments 1929-2004.”  2004.  ASIN: B004G8HQY0
  7. Many thanks for the insight shared with me by the well known Pelikan collector Christof over at FPN whose photos can be found above

 

12 responses

  1. Josh, thanks for a fascinating review of a precious old pen. I know I can count on The Pelikan’s Perch anytime I need to figure out a date of production for a Pelikan.

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    • A re-introduction of the gray marbled M200 would be awesome. I’m hopeful that we’ll see one in the future given the recent spate of marbled releases and re-releases in the M2xx line.

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  2. Hi Joshua – I always enjoy reading your posts which are both informative and useful on a practical level (your How To section of your web site). I admit to wondering about any company in Germany during the Second World War and the years preceding it as to a firm’s complicity in the war. Usually there is a dearth of information for this period. Of course one cannot hold the present day Pelikan firm responsible for supporting the reign of terror during the period of 1933-45. With all due respect to Pelikan enthusiasts of which I count myself one, I’m not sure I would feel comfortable purchasing a pen from this period. I will of course continue to read your posts about new products and other topics of interest. I hope that Pelikan produces an olive transparent pen in 2018 to complement the Ink of the Year 2018. I look forward to reading future posts as I remain grateful for your efforts. Sincerely, Ken

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    • Thank you for the kind words about my site Ken, they’re much appreciated. A surprising number of some of the most respected brands out there were involved with the Nazis in some capacity. Hard to say how much, if any, complicity that Pelikan had with the Third Reich in the lead up to the war. My opinion is that any connection, while potentially unsettling, should not be held against a company or their employees today. It’s important to never forget the past lest we are doomed to repeat it, but that past should not be saddled on the shoulders of today’s firms who clearly don’t embody any of those misguided ideals. I think that is consistent with your views and I respect your decision not to pursue pens from that controversial time period. The olive transparent M2xx should be coming out in the summer. I would anticipate an announcement around June/July.

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