News: M815 Metal Striped Special Edition

Pelikan M815 Metal StripedNews 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.

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News: Maki-e Peakcock Limited Edition

Pelikan Maki-e Peacock Limited Edition

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.  

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Nib Customization: A Guide to Common Nib Grinds

Array of Pelikan nibs with custom grindsIt 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.

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