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.
Taylorix was a German company founded in Stuttgart in 1921 by Julius Paul Stiegler (1884-1962). Konradin Haußer (1883-1973) joined the firm in 1926 as a second managing partner. The company was actually named after the American economist Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856-1915) who was a mechanical engineer dedicated to improving industrial efficiency. The Taylorix company was focused on developing solutions that simplified and improved upon organization as it related to the billing and accounting practices of businesses. This was a busy space at the time with competition from RUF-Buchhaltung and the LEOMA-Buchhaltung Augsburg accounting companies, to name just a few, who were working on competing solutions. The Taylorix accounting system had originally been developed as a handwritten system that significantly improved the clarity of written entries while reducing the time required for bookkeeping. This system was based on carbon copies which required special carbon copy friendly nibs. As time went on, the company developed several computer solutions and flourished in their market space. The Stiegler & Co. Taylorix office equipment firm (later the Haußer & Co. equipment firm) was an off shoot founded in 1941 for the manufacture of accounting equipment. Another such endeavor, The Stiegler & Co. Taylorix publishing firm, was founded in 1950 and specialized in the publication of teaching and advisory materials. In 1988, Taylorix AG was purchased by majority shareholder Porsche who was attempting to expand into new markets at the time. A world-wide restructuring took place in the sector in 1994 which led Porsche to withdraw from the market. The company was sold to Automatic Data Processing who helmed it until the brand was ultimately dissolved in 1999.
Many manufacturers were contracted by Taylorix to produce pens for their accounting system. These included Geha, Kaweco, Haro, and Pelikan to name a few. Several of Pelikan’s familiar models can be seen with the Taylorix branding. These include the 100N (1937-54), the 130 Ibis (1949-54), the 140 (1952-65), and the MK10 (1967-70). Most of these pens were likely made in the mid-1950s which makes the existence of a Taylorix branded MK10 more of an outlier in this story. These models were generally devoid of any of Pelikan’s usual branding. The cap tops were smooth, the nibs unique, and nowhere on the pen was the Pelikan name found. The barrels were emblazoned with the Taylorix logo as well as a coding system which the company used to denote a pen’s particular characteristics. The knowledge of the meaning behind this code has largely been lost to time with little hope of discovery, especially since Taylorix was dissolved almost 20 years ago. The typical format of this code is as follows; “6 – XY DZ.” Martin Lehmann, one of Pelikan’s great historians and co-author of Pelikan Schreibgeräte, corresponded with the Taylorix company back in 1992 and was informed that the code could be interpreted as follows;
- 6 – An internal designation that denoted the product group. In this case, the 6 refers to a manifold writing instrument (contrast that with product group “7” which denoted files and folders).
- X – Identifies the material of the nib. “J” was reported to correspond to an iridium tipped nib and “G” represented a gold nib. “W” has also been seen but it is unknown what this may stand for though it is not unreasonable to speculate that it may refer to gold-plated stainless steel as it has only been seen on the MK10 models.
- Y – Designates the manufacturer of the pen. “P” stands for Pelikan whereas a “G” seems to have represented either Geha or Pelikan, the reasons for which are not clear.
- DZ – The “D” here stands for durchschreibefeder which was the terminology used for a manifold nib, a specially hardened nib adapted to the increased pressure needed for carbon copies. The letters or numbers that followed the “D” indicated a pen’s nib size, usually an extra fine or fine though there was a bit of variation.
Some of the provided explanation doesn’t quite add up and still leaves questions unanswered but, to date, it is the best that we have to go on. Putting it all together, “6-GP DF” denotes a manifold writing instrument, equipped with a gold nib, produced by Pelikan, with a rigid nib in a fine width. That type of code is most often seen on the 100N. A code of “6-JG DEF” would represent a manifold writing instrument, equipped with an iridium tipped nib, produced by Pelikan (or Geha as determined by the pen’s styling), with a rigid nib in an extra fine width. What is interesting here is that the 100Ns seem most commonly labeled “GP” whereas all of the “JG” labeled pens tend to be 130s or 140s. All of these pens are equipped with 14C-585 gold nibs so the difference in designation is not clear and remains a mystery. Nib sizes that have been encountered on Pelikan made Taylorix pens include; DEF, DF, DOM, D07 (OM), D08 (OF), D09 (OEF), EF, and FM.
Black 100N (2 cap bands): Taylorix 6-GP
This is perhaps one of the most prototypical Pelikan made Taylorix variants that you will encounter. If has the exact same shape and style as a standard 100N but is devoid of any of the standard Pelikan branding. The cap top is smooth and lacks the two chick logo or other engraving. These are black models with green ink windows, two cap bands, and a tear drop clip. The nib reads “Taylorix 585 14 Karat” and the barrel is engraved with the Taylorix logo followed by the standard coding as outlined above.
Black 100N (1 cap band): Taylorix 6-P
This is a rarity in the Taylorix story and its origin is unclear. I suspect this is one of the earlier models made for Taylorix based on the pen’s features though this is supposition on my part. It is a black model with a fluted cap band and tear drop clip. The cap is a standard Pelikan cap with all of the usual engravings, including Pelikan’s logo and name. If you look closely, you can see a step in the section which indicates production before 1949. Rather than the usual 14 karat Taylorix branded nib, this one sports one of Pelikan’s chromium nickel (CN) nibs that was utilized from 1939-49. Even more unusual is that the barrel engraving reads “Taylorix 6-P.” There is no indication of the nib’s characteristics at all on this one and that appears to be how it was intended. All of those features taken together leads me to believe that this may have been one of the first pens to be made under the two company’s partnership. This is supported by an accompanying invoice dated 4/17/1950.
Black 130 Ibis: Taylorix 6-JG
This post-war Ibis 130 retains all of its usual features except for its Pelikan branding. The cap top doesn’t have any engravings and nowhere is the Ibis name found. There is a tear drop clip and a single cap band while the nib is the standard Taylorix branded one. The engraving on the barrel is the full code as outlined above. Ibis pens were also made for the LEOMA-Buchhaltung Augsburg accounting company, a competitor of Taylorix.
Black 140: Taylorix 6-JG
The 140 made for Taylorix differs from Pelikan’s standard offering. These are all black pens with green ink windows and the usual 140 shape. The iconic pelican’s beak clip of the 140 was replaced with a tear drop clip similar to that of the 100N and Ibis. The single cap band lacks any engraving aside from a “+” stamp. There is no logo on the cap top and the nib is engraved “Taylorix 585 14 Karat.” Similar models were also produced for Taylorix’s competitors, the RUF-Buchhaltung accounting company and the LEOMA-Buchhaltung Augsburg accounting company which are clearly indicated as such based on their unique nibs and engravings.
Black MK10: Taylorix 6-WG
Perhaps the most unusual and difficult to explain of the known variants, these are standard black MK10 pens that include Pelikan’s usual cap band engraving. The barrels of these have a more atypical inscription with “Taylorix 6-WG / FM” or “Taylorix 6-WG / EF” having been seen. Since these nibs are made from gold-plated stainless steel, it may be that this is what the “W” indicates. Unlike the linear engraving commonly encountered, the Taylorix logo on these sits atop the coded designation. Chronologically, the MK10 comes from a different time than the other models listed suggesting that Taylorix was still contracting for pens up through the late 1960s.
These have been my findings after an exhaustive bit of research. I hope that you have found this off shoot of Pelikan product history as interesting as I have. Please leave a comment if you have any additional information to add to the Taylorix story or to suggest a correction. Finally, I would like to give a special thanks to Martin Lehmann for his helpful correspondence and willingness to share information as well as to Carlos G. of Goldnibs.com and Tom W. of Penboard.de from whom I acquired several examples of Taylorix models for this article.