News 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.
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.
It 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.
With a new Pelikan demonstrator due out in a few weeks, I thought now might be a good time to revisit how to best clean one. The endearing thing about demonstrators is that they put the inner workings of the pen on display, warts and all. Perhaps that is why the demonstrator is such a polarizing model amongst fountain pen enthusiast. No matter what side of the debate you come down on, it’s undeniable that cleaning this type of pen can be a real challenge. You can see every drop of residual ink and even more disturbing, every stain left behind. Thankfully, good pen upkeep can help to avoid this type of permanent staining. In addition to the usual pen maintenance issues that we all face, there is one exceedingly frustrating area on Pelikan demos that is particularly troublesome to clean. That area would be the section which, no matter how much you may rinse or swab, simply won’t come clean. With Pelikan’s demos, there is a little trick to be learned here which can make your cleaning woes a thing of the past. Due to the design, there is a little lip on the inside of the section where the threads are located. The area behind that lip will collect ink as you fill and use your pen. It is not readily noticeable until you try to flush the pen clean. Thankfully, it’s easy to remedy if you know what to do. Read on to learn how to get that residual ink flushed out of the section.
I was recently contacted by John Taylor who, along with his wife Nanci, had the good fortune to tour the Pelikan factory in Voehrum/Peine, Germany during a trip abroad this past January. John and his wife reside on the East Coast of the United States and have only been into pens in a big way for the last year or two. Not having a platform of his own, John asked if I might host a recap of their experience here at The Perch. While I have not entertained a post written by a guest author previously, I thought that it may be of interest to those who, like myself, are unable to make the pilgrimage to Pelikan’s factory. If you do have the means and the opportunity, I will include some pertinent links at the bottom of this post which will help you facilitate a similar visit. Without further ado, I give you John’s write-up. I hope that you enjoy it and please, leave a comment to let us know what you think.
Somewhat unexpectedly, news broke today about Pelikan’s next release for 2018. This one hails from their Classic line-up which is Pelikan’s lower end fountain pen line. Rather than something fresh and unique, Pelikan once again resurrects a model from the past. This time, we are given the Classic M205 Demonstrator Special Edition. The last M205 clear demonstrator was released in 2005 making it a full 13 years old. This is the second time Pelikan has re-issued a clear demonstrator in their Classic line, the last being the gold trimmed M200 released in 2012. This one is due out sometime around mid-May 2018. Pelikan says the following about their new model;
“Our latest special edition Classic 205 Demonstrator with its clear transparent barrel gives a clear view of the black-colored inner parts. It makes the interaction of the sophisticated parts visible while operating the piston mechanism.”
If seeing the innermost workings of your pen, imperfections and all, is your thing, read on to learn all of the details.
As you likely know by now, 2018 marks Pelikan’s officially recognized 180th anniversary. It is no surprise that such a significant event in the company’s history brought about a limited edition release to mark the occasion, the Spirit of 1838. Love it or hate it, the Spirit of 1838 continues a tradition of limited edition anniversary pens. In the past, we’ve seen commemorative releases for Pelikan’s 150th, 170th, and 175th anniversaries. The year 1988 marked Pelikan’s sesquicentennial or 150 year anniversary. That occasion was commemorated with the release of the M750 and M760 Jubilee pens. These two models, now 30 years old, are done in a silver or gold electroplated barleycorn pattern with 24 carat gold-plated accents. The production run was not limited to the anniversary year and reportedly ran from 1988-1995. Earlier pieces were engraved with “Pelikan W.-Germany 1838-1988” on their cap bands whereas models from later on in the production run had the dates omitted. I’ve written about these two pieces previously in my post Pelikan’s M700 Series where you can find more information about the entire M7xx series. What you may not realize is that these two pens weren’t the only contenders for the job of the Jubilee model. Today I will introduce you to the two M730 prototypes and their matching ballpoints which were considered but ultimately never put into production.
The chemist Carl Hornemann founded a paint and ink company near Hanover, Germany in 1832. This would serve as the foundation for what we know today as Pelikan. The date of the company’s official founding is regarded as April 28th, 1838 because that was the occasion of their very first price list. All of the company’s anniversaries are based off of that date meaning that 2018 marks the 180th anniversary of the brand. To honor the affair, Pelikan is releasing a very limited edition fountain pen called the Spirit of 1838. We get our first glimpse of this new model thanks to the German retailer Fritz-Schimpf. You may recall similar releases in the past such as the M750 and M760 which honored the 150th anniversary in 1988. We also saw the M101N Jubilee Pen in 2013 which was a run of just 238 pens marking the company’s 175th anniversary. Now the Spirit of 1838 follows a similar vein, being released in an edition of just 180 pens.