Theodor Kovacs altered the course of fountain pen history when he designed the differential piston filling mechanism. Prior to his creation, fountain pens were known to have smaller ink capacities and were somewhat cumbersome to use. While not the first piston mechanism to ever grace a fountain pen, it was perhaps one of the best. Patented sometime around 1925, Mr. Kovacs entered into a partnership to see his design put into production. When that relationship fell apart due to financial hardship, he sold his patents to Günther Wagner in 1927. The company would re-patent them under their own name in 1929. Later that year, Günther Wagner introduced its first writing instrument based on the differential piston filling mechanism, the transparent Pelikan fountain pen, initially provided without a model number. Next year will mark the 90th anniversary of that original release. To commemorate such a milestone in the company’s history, Pelikan is set to make available the Herzstück 1929 Limited Edition anticipated sometime around the end of March 2019.
Herzstück can be roughly translated as centerpiece, core, heart, or linchpin. With such a moniker, this pen stands as a testament to just how important those first fountain pens and the tradition that they established are to Pelikan. This Limited Edition model has been designed with an amazing level of detail making it worthy of its ancestors. To start, the black resin cap is topped with an 18K gold dome that depicts the original four chick logo which was first employed on the fountain pens of yesteryear (1929-37). The teardrop clip is engraved with a pelican motif reminiscent of the original 111T Toledo. Rather than a cap band, the words “Herzstück Pelikan” are engraved circumferentially just above the lip of the cap. There is a transparent ink view window set within the black resin body beyond which a golden piston assembly can be visualized. That assembly is engraved “Pat. DE457462” a designation based on the historical patent number. The end of the barrel is capped by an 18K piston knob which is engraved with the edition number. The nib is made from an 18C-750 gold in a medium width and has a unique engraving just for this model that includes the words “90 Years” above the four chick company logo. The pen will come packaged in a unique gift box that includes a specially labeled bottle of 4001 Royal Blue ink. Playing off of the last three digits of the original patent number, this edition will be available in a run of only 462 individually numbered pieces worldwide. It will be of a similar size as the previously released M1o1N models. That means we can anticipate a length of approximately 4.84 inches when capped, 6.22 inches when posted, and with a diameter of 0.47 inches. Unlike those previous models, this one weighs in at a hefty 1.6 ounces which is likely due to the gilded parts and metal piston assembly.
The team at Fritz Schimpf have already had the opportunity to view an actual production piece and they indicate that it is very similar in appearance to the marketing photos. Depending on the vendor, U.S. customers shopping overseas can anticipate paying $2200 to $2400 for the privilege of owning this beauty when the VAT is excluded. If the photos really are to be believed as suggested, then this one is an absolute stunner with its black resin and well placed gold accents. I think rather than a direct copy, this model pays wonderful homage to its heritage. Vendors are taking pre-orders now which I would encourage given the limited availability. With three months until the release date, you have a bit of time to save up for this one. What do you think of the Herzstück 1929?