Pelikan Hubs 2018 – Philadelphia: A Recap

Pelikan Hubs 2018 Banner

Another Pelikan Hubs event has come and gone meaning that it’s time for a proper recap.  September 21st was a big day for lovers of fine writing as it marked the fifth installment of Pelikan’s annual gathering.  Word continues to spread about the fun and excitement of the evening as demonstrated by the ever-expanding number of registrations.  This year saw gatherings take place in 181 cities spread across 46 countries with over 4500 registered participants, a roughly 30% increase over the year prior.  Given the gravity of the occasion, Pelikan kindly provided me an opportunity to interview the Hubs team ahead of this year’s event, allowing us a fresh perspective and a small peak behind the curtain.  Not all was smooth sailing this year, perhaps a reflection of some growing pains.  There are reports of Pelikan’s gifts not being delivered to a few of the Hub locations in time for the event.  Other Hubs have reported Olivine ink boxes containing Smoky Quartz, a puzzle that’s beyond me to solve.  While disappointing, I think that it is important to keep things in perspective.  The free gifts are indeed nice but they are by no means what brings the majority of us together so hopefully those Hubs were able to make the best of the situation.  The Hub masters continue to show no shortage of passion and commitment and deserve a lot of kudos for ensuring the success of their local venues.  Many went above and beyond by making or purchasing their own items for attendees to sample and take home.  It is the dedication of the Hub masters that goes a long way to making the event as great as it is.  Their efforts are even more commendable when you look at the ever increasing burden of finding a venue for such large groups without any budget.  It’s that burden which prompted me to relinquish the title of Hub Master this year in Philadelphia, PA, USA.  Frank Limper of Federalist Pens and Paper picked up the mantle and ran a great event.  Our local hub has been held at a variety of locations and this year brought us somewhere new, The Victoria Freehouse Pub.  The venue was cozy, provided good food and drink, and had a nice atmosphere.  Everyone that I spoke with had a great time and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the venue for a future gathering.  The only major blemish on my night was the parking ticket waiting for me when all was said and done (¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ).


The Victoria Freehouse Pub

The Victoria Freehouse Pub


I arrived just after our Hub master at around 6pm.  Attendees quickly started to file in and the turn out was great.  I suspect that this was the biggest showing in Philadelphia to date and certainly a far cry from the four or five of us present at that very first Hub event in 2014.  Many familiar faces were in attendance but also several newcomers were welcomed to the group.  Of course there was no shortage of Pelikan pens to share and enjoy but several other manufacturers were represented as well.  This allowed for some comparing and contrasting of models across brands.  Of course nearly my whole flock was in attendance, spread out amongst two tables.  Perhaps the scariest part of the evening was when my complete collection of M620 Cities series of pens took an inadvertent tumble to the floor.  Thankfully, once my heart started beating again, I was able to verify that they were none the worse off for it.  Thank you Pelikan for breeding some hearty birds.  As always, I thoroughly enjoyed myself and had an amazing time interacting and sharing the knowledge that I’ve accumulated over the years as well as just gossiping about pens, inks, and paper.

Pelikan Hubs 2018 Philadelphia Invitation


Pelikan again provided a set of Edelstein inks for sampling which always makes for a fun addition to the evening.  Frank had several Pelikan pens and inks available for purchase and a couple of birds certainly found a new home that evening.  True to form, Pelikan once gain provided swag for each of the registered attendees.  Each member took home a bottle of Edelstein Olivine ink and a 5th anniversary notepad in addition to a copy of “Passion,” Pelikan’s first edition magazine for handwriting culture.  For the second straight year, Pelikan again included a large flag which served as a banner for the event.  Frank was once again generous enough to offer up a Pelikan P16 Stola III fountain pen as a door prize.  Kate P. was the big winner of the evening after her name was drawn from a hat.

Kate P. - P16 Stola III winner

Left: Frank L. with Kate P., the winner of a P16 Stola III giveaway at this year’s Hub. Right: Some of the swag Pelikan provided this year’s attendees.


Yours truly with the flock

While overall bigger in scope and no longer helmed by myself, I found the event no less enjoyable than past years.  The feedback that I have received has been overwhelmingly positive.  It’s so refreshing to be provided an outlet to meet others who share a passion for fine writing, something most of us seldom get to encounter.  In spite of all of the positives, I’m just not certain what direction the Hubs will ultimately take and how large it might grow before it is no longer sustainable in its current form.  While most people’s experiences have been positive, there were certainly organizational and logistical issues this year which need to be worked out.  Looking head to next year, hopefully Hub masters will be notified of their roles sooner and perhaps the swag can be shipped well in advance of the event.  That way, we might avoid it being delivered the day before as was the case for many or, worse yet, not at all.  We’ll also have to await the feedback on the co-Hub master positions to see if Pelikan continues to embrace those next year.  One final thought that I will leave you with is that I’m continually amazed at the number of people who miss out on the registration period and are left scrambling trying to get an invite after the fact.  This is in spite of the registration period getting a one week extension this year.  Pelikan and the individual Hub masters are overall very accommodating to this wherever possible.  That said, it does put a strain on some venues.  I would encourage anybody who missed out on the registration period to be vigilant next year so that these instances of missed registration become much less frequent.  You can subscribe to this site (via the right hand sidebar) and/or follow me on the various social media outlets so that you will never miss news of these deadlines again.  The Perch strives to keep you up to date on all things Pelikan so that you can stay informed and never miss out.

Thank you once again to Frank for his work organizing the event and to all of the attendees of the Philadelphia Hub for making my night such a delight.  I can’t imagine a better way to end a grueling work week.  I already can’t wait for next year.  If you’ve missed out, you can find photos from the other Hubs around the world on your preferred social media via the hashtag #PelikanHubs and #PelikanHubs2018 or see them aggregated at Walls.IO.


The Victoria Freehouse | 10 South Front Street | Philadelphia, PA 19106 | 215.543.6089

10 responses

  1. Lovely write up, Joshua!

    I had a previous account of the Philadelphia hub from my son and he had a great time there (he was quite taken by your Xuan Wu 🙂 )

    I must say that my heart also stoped for a second when I read that you entire collection of city series took a dive. I’m glad they are alright! It must have been quite the scare.

    I went to the Minneapolis hub and it was great. Hub master Steph Roen and co-hub master Cosima Kafka did a lovely job of finding a nice venue for the event. My wife and I met several people from previous year and some new faces too, we had a lovely time and time flew. I was also very happy to receive a copy of the “180 years of Passion” – I was hoping they would include that one this year.

    We’re already looking forward to next year’s hub!


    • It’s always a pleasure running into your son. Had a good conversation about pens and other things. He did seem particularly taken with the Xuan Wu. Can’t say that I blame him. I think you should have plenty of ideas by now for a nice gift when he graduates. Glad to hear that Minneapolis was a good time as well.


  2. San Francisco HUB had a great time. Really appreciate our HUB Master Arjun Dave taking on organizing the event. Our venue was at the Westfield Shopping Center, downtown Union Square, and the gathering was at the food court. Politely edging/waiting out some customers, we were able to secure a long table in the public seating area. Familiar faces from the past HUBs and many new – all became instant friends who speak the same “language”, share the same “history” … i.e. all things pertaining to Pelikan.:-) It was an exciting event to share the passion of why we all love Pelikan. I brought along 8 Pelikans but I didn’t display them. Partly because I don’t like anyone handling my pens, partly because of the worry that I would drop them to the floor!!! We had kind of a small group for a metropolitan city. I suspect it was because of quite a few competing locations in the bay area. Anyhow, I like to support the San Francisco HUB.

    Joshua, your site has the background color of the ink of the year (olivine). New visitors might wonder if you purposefully match that every year. 🙂 Love your site. Thanks for the wealth of information and the latest news.

    Happy 180th Anniversary, Pelikan.


    • Thanks for sharing your experience with the San Francisco hub. Sounds like a great time. Also, thank you for the kind words about my site. I appreciate you taking the time to read my content.


  3. Pingback: News: Pelikan Hubs 2019 « The Pelikan's Perch

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