The M800 Stilo “Laser”: A Rare & Intriguing Italian Bird

Pelikan M800 Stilo Laser

When the fictional character Ransom “Ranse” Stoddard (James Stewart), a revered US Senator, reveals the truth about his origins to newspaper editor Maxwell Scott (Carleton Young), Mr. Scott utters one of the most resonant lines in all of cinema, proclaiming; “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” This line comes at the end of acclaimed director John Ford’s western The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962). Pelikan’s catalog is full of models that have a somewhat unusual provenance, their origins obscured just like those of Jimmy Stewart’s character. Perhaps few models have been surrounded by as much palace intrigue as the M800 Stilo “Laser.” Heard of it? I’m not surprised if you haven’t. The “Laser” has largely fallen into obscurity in the intervening decades since its launch, the details behind its genesis largely forgotten to time. As such, it’s hard to tease out where the facts end, and the fiction begins. In the spirit of the romanticized American West, I will endeavor to present you the legend of the Stilo “Laser” sprinkled with as much fact as we know. Read on to learn about this model’s unique design and history.

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News: M205 DUO Highlighter Makes A Comeback

Pelikan M205 DUO Highlighter Yellow

Thinking back to the good old days of 2010, many of you may recall the birth of the Classic yellow M205 DUO Highlighter. This was a special edition product which merged a fountain pen with a highlighter, hence the name DUO. In essence, you could highlight text with the double broad nib using a special ink but also jot notes at the same time. In 2011, the design went on to win several awards including the ISPA Award at Paperworld, the IF Product Design Award, and the Red Dot Award. The DUO came packaged in an attractive gift box that included a bottle of yellow highlighter ink. In 2013, a green version was released based on the same premise. The product’s accolades derived from taking two long held standard-bearers of the analog world and combining them in an innovative way. The end result was a reusable product that cut waste making for a pen that reportedly sold quite well in markets like Germany thanks to its reduced ecological impact. It seems that Pelikan has decided to resurrect this model but in a distinctly different hue. This past Thursday, notice of a new M205 DUO highlighter quietly dropped thanks to Fritz Schimpf and Pen Chalet. Expected to be available sometime in mid to late October, the new DUO looks to have a more neon appearance than its predecessor. Read on as I attempt to highlight all of the pertinent details surrounding this new model.

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Treasures In The Attic: A Time Capsule Rediscovered

Pelikan 100 caps

I imagine that most of us have experienced a fortunate stroke of serendipity at one time or another in our lives. Perhaps it was one major occurrence or a series of small serendipities along the meandering course of life. Sometimes, we may inadvertently stumble upon a long lost treasure, or we might discover something wholly unexpected and new to us. Maybe you can envision finding something unique and wonderful in the course of a home renovation? Such was the case in March of this year for one unsuspecting couple in North Macedonia. It’s not hard to picture what must have been a look of utter surprise on their faces when they chanced upon a cache of over 300 pens hidden in the attic of an old house that they were in the process of renovating. Not being diehard pen enthusiasts themselves, perhaps they were not struck quite as speechless as many of us would have been. How such a vintage horde of writing instruments came to be forgotten for so many decades is unclear. What is known is that within the couple’s lineage is a former retailer of both pens and watches who was in business around the time of World War II. Now deceased, it is his home that the couple came to inherit and have subsequently taken to the task of remodeling, leading to this most wonderful discovery. We can only presume that at some point, perhaps as a consequence of the post-war fall out, that the shopkeeper stashed the pens away in his attic where they would subsequently lay forgotten for nearly 80 years. What does one do when confronted with a unique and historic trove of writing instruments such as this? The couple in this scenario turned to Dragan Chichikj of ProtoPens, formerly known as UberPens, a retailer with several decades of expertise under his belt. Read on to learn what became of such a rare discovery.

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The German Federal Minister For Labor And Social Affairs Visits Pelikan’s Vöhrum Factory

Pelikan Group Logo

Back in July, I brought you news of some rather significant strife occurring within the walls of Pelikan’s Vöhrum factory, the production facility where the company manufactures its fine writing instruments. Workers at the plant, a force numbering approximately 230 strong, had staged a public demonstration in order to protest and bring awareness to several perceived injustices. Christmas bonuses not yet paid in full and June’s wages being delayed contributed to tensions boiling over. Imagine that scenario playing out in an environment where employees have already given up five days of vacation and 15% of their collective wages in a bid to keep their jobs. Concerns had also previously been put forth about a lack of investment in the plant itself. Of course, none of this news made much of a splash outside of the local papers but the post here exposed the issues to a larger audience and generated a lot of conversation about the health of the factory and the future of Pelikan’s fine writing division, not only on this blog but on many of the pen forums as well. I have frequently been asked for updates on the situation and have continued to monitor the news out of Germany. There hasn’t been much to report until now. If you recall from my original post, works council chairman Walter Dettmer had called upon Hubertus Heil (SPD), Federal Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, to get involved in the dispute. A trip to the Peine-Vöhrum plant was scheduled for mid-August and occurred as planned just a few weeks ago. Thanks to some local reporting, I can update you with some of the goings on at that meeting.

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Contest: WIN A Copy Of “Pelikan Limited and Special Editions 1993-2020”

September 1st came and went without much fanfare, but it was a rather notable day for me as it marked the seventh anniversary of the official launch of The Pelikan’s Perch blog. When I started this endeavor back in 2014, I never thought that it would grow into what it has become today. I was simply a guy who wanted to share my enthusiasm for the Pelikan brand with the community at large. The warmth of the response from my fellow enthusiasts continues to amaze and sustain me. I’ve gotten to interact with and help countless budding fountain pen enthusiasts along the way as well as contribute to broadening the knowledge base surrounding the brand. The Perch has always been my refuge, my outlet to relieve the stresses imposed by a very demanding day job, made all the worse since the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic. While I can no longer publish quite as often as I did in previous years due to the increased demands placed upon my free time, I do hope that you have continued to find the site informative and enriching. I have always striven to bring you the latest developments surrounding the Pelikan brand in a timely manner and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Everywhere we turn these days, there seems to be new tragedy vying for our attention. It is easy to get disheartened by the current state of global affairs. With seemingly little to celebrate these days, I wanted to take a moment and reflect upon the last year and thank new and old readers alike for their ongoing support.  I have appreciated the interactions from within the comments section of the blog as well as via e-mail because it is precisely that level of engagement that makes this labor of love so worthwhile.  It remains my goal to shore up the foundations of Pelikan knowledge and break new ground where I’m able.  I plan to continue to forbid advertising, refuse solicitation, and not accept gifted products of any type for review thereby allowing me to bring you as clean and bias free an experience as possible since there is nothing more important to me than the integrity of the blog.  As such, contests are far and few in between here at The Perch but the last few years have seen very successful giveaways in honor of the blog’s birthday which is my way of thanking you for your support. This year will be no different and I would like to present you with The Perch’s fourth annual anniversary giveaway.  Rather than a pen as has been the custom of year’s past, I have decided to gift one lucky reader a whole book full of them. I have secured a brand new copy of Michael Silbermann’s recent book, Pelikan Limited and Special Editions 1993-2020, that I offer up to the community with sincerest thanks. Read on to discover all of the details about how you might enter for a chance to win.

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News: Pelikan’s Art Collection Brought To Life

Pelikan Advertising Posters

Pelikan is a brand whose longevity now spans nearly two centuries. In that time, there have been significant revisions to the company’s branding as well as a prodigious amount of advertising materials created. In that cause, famous artists have been employed including the likes of O.H.W. Hadank, Wilhelm Wagenfeld, El Lissitzky, and Kurt Schwitters. A lot of the advertising created around the brand and its products are truly works of art. The archives are full of such posters, many of which you may have come across in the past. These have served as inspiration for product packaging and were the subject of 2013’s book The Brand by Detmar Schäfer. By way of recent example, the Iconic Blue M120 from 2018 featured a poster advertising Pelikan’s watercolors designed in 1899 by Käthchen Münzer which was originally submitted as part of a sponsored poster competition, something Pelikan did fairly frequently at the dawn of the twentieth century. It seems that the company would now like to highlight some of those pieces that reside in the archive but, before doing so, they have an idea they’d like to run up the flagpole. Read on for all of the details including how you might participate in bringing a future pen to market.

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News: Pelikan Hubs 2021 Cancelled

The global coronavirus pandemic has now been raging for well over a year with no clear end in sight. There have already been almost 211 million cases reported across the globe with 4,413,638 lives lost. The death toll will likely continue to grow as long as vaccinations lag and the delta variant rampages. It’s easy to get lost in the numbers as they are an inconvenient barrier for our desire to return to some sense of normalcy. It’s important to resist becoming numb to the carnage, a global death toll slightly larger than the entire population of Los Angeles, California. I have been at the bedside for hundreds of these people, watching their health deteriorate despite maximal medical therapy until their lives were felled by the ravages of the virus. With the global situation far from under control, it should come as no surprise then that Pelikan announced via their newsletter today that Pelikan Hubs 2021 would indeed be cancelled. Long suspected to be a foregone conclusion at this point, it is nice to finally have an official statement from the company about the state of the Hubs event. I commend Pelikan’s decision, even if it was the only responsible choice they could make. While these are sad times, there is reason to have hope for a brighter future. Despite the 2020 and 2021 events having been necessarily cancelled, Pelikan began their notice with a statement tinged with optimism, a commitment to not letting the Hubs become a casualty of the pandemic.

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News: M1000 Raden White Ray

M1000 Raden White Ray Fountain Pen

Pelikan International’s 2020 Annual Report provided a forecast regarding what we should expect this year out of Hannover, and it has been spot on thus far. Tucked away on page 13 was the statement, “For 2021, we will continue the tradition of reinventing the popular designs with new materials and colours, though we plan to concentrate on less product launches as we cautiously move forward in the market.” It is already August and all we’ve seen come to market thus far has been the M205 Petrol-Marbled, M1000 Maki-e Seven Treasures, and the M605 Green-White. In 2019, prior to the pandemic, we already had nine new models by this point in the year and seven the year before that. Not only is the company sticking with a strategy of fewer releases, they are also embracing the rehash of popular designs with new colors. Late last evening, vendors broke news of the next release due out. This time we have the M1000 Raden White Ray, a re-imagining of 2020’s Green Ray, which is just the latest addition to a growing line of limited edition Raden releases. It will join the likes of past M1xxx Raden models which includes the Moonlight (2011), Sunlight (2013), Starlight (2014), Sunrise (2016), and Green Ray (2020). For those that don’t know, Raden is a traditional Japanese art form used to embellish lacquer ware and woodwork. Small pieces of shimmering abalone shell are utilized in the creation of unique, handcrafted designs. A Urushi lacquer is applied to the barrel and cap before strips of abalone shell are laid down after which a final layer of lacquer is applied to seal everything in place.  Each pen is signed by the artist and hand numbered using the Maki-e technique. Just like the Green Ray, this will be a limited edition run of only 400 pieces worldwide. Availability is anticipated for some time in September 2021.

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