As you likely know by now, this is the fifth anniversary of the Pelikan Hubs event. The excitement is certainly building as we are now just under a month away from the big day. Some of you have been around since its inception while a large swath of those reading have come to the event more recently. Have you ever wondered how it all came about? Questioned whose behind it all? Maybe you’re wondering if this is going to be something to look forward to for years to come? I too had a lot of questions and a few concerns about the event. I e-mailed Juana, a member of the Hubs team in Hannover, who works in the social media department. Quite unexpectedly, that message actually ended up leading to a very pleasant telephone conversation with Pelikan’s Global Marketing Manager of Fine Writing Instruments, Jens, and the rest of his team. They were gracious enough to grant me and The Pelikan’s Perch an exclusive interview. After much thought, I posed a series of twenty questions to the group which you will find below along with their answers. I hope that you find the information interesting and perhaps walk away with a clearer understanding of the event’s purpose and its origins. The text that follows has only been very lightly edited for easier readability due to differences in language but the responses have not been altered in any meaningful way.
The Pelikan’s Perch turns 4 years old today! No longer a toddler, part of me still cannot believe that the site is going strong and continuing to grow year after year. I can only attribute that fact to my love of the brand, the great products Pelikan puts out, and the support of all of you, without which none of this would be possible. My blog was born from a desire to share the knowledge and perspective that I had gained in researching my favorite fountain pens. I wanted to give back to the community that empowered me in my quest and fostered my love for fine writing. All I can do is say thank you. Thank you for reading, for sharing my work, for interacting and contributing to the conversation, and for four great years. To celebrate this anniversary, I have decided to host the first ever contest to grace The Pelikan’s Perch. In trying to decide just what type of prize to offer, I reflected back on my own collection. In doing so I realized that the Pelikan P16 Stola III fountain pen would be well suited for the task at hand and entering for your chance to win one couldn’t be easier. Read on to learn about all of the details.
Over the past four years, I have endeavored to bring you news and unique insights about the Pelikan brand of fountain pens not readily available elsewhere. Personally, it has been a lot of fun researching some of the more esoteric aspects of the company’s products and history. Because there is so much nuance out there, I sometimes lose sight of the fact that many people still don’t fully grasp the fundamentals or overall landscape of Pelikan’s current line-up. I could drone on about the topic but I thought this may be one area where a picture might just be worth a thousand words. To that end, I have devised an infographic, my first, to serve as a reference for the community. It is my hope that this graphic visual representation of information will allow for a quick and clear understanding of some of the differences amongst both Pelikan’s Classic and Souverän lines. The nature of an infographic prevents it from being all-inclusive but I hope that you will find it a good jumping-off point into the brand’s offerings over the last few decades. Click the link below to jump to the visual. You can stop there but feel free to read on as I will endeavor to walk you through some of the panels of information and expound upon their contents as well as provide relevant links to past posts where appropriate.
Over the past few years, Pelikan has begun to more consistently bring us new limited edition Raden releases. It should come as no surprise then that a Raden model would be in the works for this year, a year in which the company is celebrating a historic anniversary. What does one give as a gift for a 180th anniversary? While there aren’t any well established customs for such an occasion, something in platinum seems a fitting choice. Perhaps that is why Pelikan has chosen to give us the M805 Raden Royal Platinum. For those new to the hobby, pens done in a Raden style employ a traditional Japanese art whereby finely ground abalone is embedded or glued onto laquer-coated surfaces. The result is an inlay that shines with a rainbow of colors when struck by light. This year’s release will make a worthy addition to the models that preceded it. These include the Kyokko & Gekko (2005), Moonlight (2011), Sunlight (2013), Starlight (2014), Sunrise (2016), and Royal Gold (2017). It would seem that the Royal Platinum is the kindred spirit to last year’s Royal Gold. The design and finish appear to be the same with one in silver tones and the other in gold. I suspect that many owners of the Royal Gold will be clamoring to add this one as a companion piece.
I don’t think that it’s too much of a stretch to say that, at least in the United States, most people have heard the old saying about wearing white after labor day. It has been a big no-no in fashion circles since sometime around the early to mid-twentieth century. Nobody knows for sure how this piece of fashion etiquette came about let alone became ingrained into the mainstream collective. One practical theory contends that, since people used to dress more formally, white was simply cooler in the summer months. When the fall rains came, the color became impractical as it soiled easily with mud and debris. While this theory sounds logical, that in and of itself may be why many scholars discount it. The rules of fashion seldom seem to follow any logic. A more salacious and compelling explanation may lie in the habits of America’s well to do who frequently escaped the doldrums of the city in the summer months. That escape included leaving behind the more drab palette of the city which included opting for lighter clothing instead. White linen suits became the unofficial uniform of the upper crust of society. Labor Day, celebrated on the first Monday in September, has long marked the unofficial end of summer and was when the elite class would stow their whites and return to city life. By mid-century, a clash between old money and new money was brewing as the middle class expanded and people became more upwardly mobile. Old money elites looking to keep their social fabric from fraying would shun those not in the know. Arbitrary rules, including not wearing white after Labor Day, allowed high society to protect their standing and identify the less savvy newer members of the upper class. Whichever reasoning you may ascribe to, this old “rule” has largely fallen out of favor and many fashion icons have shown that white can indeed be worn year round. That is a darn good thing too because Pelikan has graced the M6xx line with more white pens in recent history than ever before and I for one would hate to have to lock them away for half of the year due to some fashion snobbery. Read on for a look at how Pelikan has made white pens chic again.
It had been widely anticipated that we would once again see an M2xx release mirroring this years Ink of the Year though doubts had started to grow. For the past three years, announcements have come anywhere from late June to early July but always on a fairly consistent timeline. It now being early August, you can imagine the angst this has generated. Fret no more because today we have been given a glimpse of the upcoming M205 Olivine Special Edition Demonstrator as previewed by the Instagram account of H&S KIRTASİYE. The Olivine will join past special editions including the M200 Smoky Quartz (2017), M205 Aquamarine (2016), and M205 Amethyst (2015). Last years M200 was a departure from the prior releases and it appears that Pelikan has once again returned to the M205 trim style which is characterized by chromium plated furniture that has a silver appearance. Details remain sparse and I’m sure that we will learn more in short order. I would imagine that pre-orders will be available from your preferred retailer in the coming weeks and I would expect this one to be available sometime around mid September.
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.
With the closing of the registration period (extended an extra week due to high demand), we now have a pretty good sense of Pelikan’s Hub locations for 2018 as well as the number of registrations at each location. The analysis that follows is derived from data taken from Pelikan’s Hubs page (as of 7/23/18 at 9:00pm EST) and should not be taken as absolute since it is subject to some fluctuation between now and the big event. Still, it gives us a significant insight into how this fifth anniversary event is shaping up. Most of the cities that participated last year are again included in this year’s festivities with at least two dozen new cities added to the roster, a roughly 23% increase. The Hubs event continues the steady trend in annual growth that we’ve seen year after year. Each year has been larger than the one before with more countries, more cities, and more people participating. For 2017, Pelikan reported that there were 145 individual Hubs spread across 43 countries with 3600 registered participants. Based on the currently available data, this year’s event will span 178 cities spread out amongst 44 countries with over 4700 participants. Thus far, that represents roughly a 31% increase in attendance over last year and an astounding 425% increase since the inaugural year. Whereas events were few and far between the first year, the access that fans now have to a local Hub has grown exponentially. The United States is again host to the largest number of registrations with Canada, Australia, Taiwan, and Germany rounding out the top 5. This year’s gathering is set to take place on Friday, September 21, 2018 at 6:30pm local time with Pelikan expected to release additional details about the event as we get closer to the date. If you cannot attend this year’s event, you can easily follow along with the world-wide festivities via the hashtag #pelikanhubs on the various social media sites. To further synthesize the data, I’ve developed a series of maps and graphs to help depict the information. Read on to see what cities are involved and to learn about how your location stacks up with some of the others.