Günther Wagner’s Black Horse: A History Of The Rap-Pen

Günther Wagner's Rappen Fountain Pen

Günther Wagner launched the Transparent Fountain Pen under the Pelikan marque in 1929, a brand that he had trademarked some 51 years earlier. That piston filling fountain pen subsequently underwent several small revisions in a relatively short period of time, revisions that ultimately culminated into what we know today as the model 100, so named in 1931. Following its introduction, the model 100 represented Pelikan’s flagship fountain pen product. In the business world, it is common practice for manufacturers to target different market segments with alternate versions of a product. This strategy allows companies to reach a larger number of potential customers. Market segments might be targeted based on demographics such as age, sex, and income. Alternatively, they can be based on geography or focus on consumer versus commercial variations of a product or service. Perhaps you have seen examples of businesses selling a lower-priced product targeting the less affluent with marketing that stresses cost, value, and affordability. That same company may also offer a higher-end version of the product which might have more embellishments or some particularly attractive packaging thereby raising the price. Consumers who are more well off are frequently willing to pay an extra sum for those additional features and benefits. The products don’t even have to vary that much as marketing can frequently convince those with the cash that the higher priced brand/product is of a better quality, regardless of whether or not that is truly the case. Günther Wagner was no stranger to this practice as his company owned several brands, each geared towards appealing to a different group of consumers, predominantly based on income. While the 100 was the work horse of the Pelikan line targeting a largely middle-class population, the 110, 111, T111, and 112 were manufactured as higher end variations of the same product in an effort to appeal to the more upscale market. An effort to target the opposite end of that spectrum is how we came to meet the Rappen brand of fountain pen in 1932, Günther Wagner’s lower tier offering, priced as a more affordable alternative to the Pelikan model 100. The Rappen was able to be produced with lower production cost while maintaining quality workmanship and distinguished itself significantly from the company’s flagship models. Read on to learn how the Rappen came to serve lower end markets for well over a decade.

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News: M605 Green-White Special Edition

Pelikan M605 Green-White Fountain Pen

For those that have found the M205 Petrol-Marbled to be too small and the M1000 Maki-e Seven Treasures to be too large and expensive, Pelikan now brings a third option to the table for 2021. Today broke with news of the forthcoming M605 Green-White fountain pen. This mid-size model keeps with Pelikan’s trend, predominantly over the past five years, of bringing brighter barrel colors with white resin accents to the M6xx line. Starting with the M600 Tortoiseshell White in 2012, we have since seen the M600 Pink (2015), M605 White Transparent (2017), M600 Turquoise-White (2018), and M600 Violet-White (2019). This time we get an eye-catching shade of green arranged in stripes made of cellulose acetate accented by white resin and palladium plated furniture. If we’ve learned anything recently, it is that pre-release photos can be deceiving but there appears to be a lot to like here. If this one looks like a nice addition for your flock, it is expected to be available at retailers worldwide starting in July of this year. This will be a special edition therefore will only be available while supplies last.

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Review: M205 Petrol-Marbled (2021)

Pelikan M205 Petrol Marbled Fountain Pen

The subject of today’s review is the new Pelikan M205 Petrol-Marbled, a model that has already managed to generate a bit of controversy despite its relatively brief existence. First announced in March of this year, the M205 began shipping to consumers in late April. Right around that time, Pelikan released an apology when it came to light that the pre-release photos did not properly depict the actual product being shipped. The pen was initially shown with a chromium plated cap ring (technically the clipschraube/clip screw or crown cap nut) but, as it turns out, the actual product sports an un-plated, black plastic ring. A minor detail to be sure but one that affects the overall look of the pen in a rather meaningful way. Pelikan passed this off as a simple oversight but not everyone has taken that explanation at face value. Controversy aside, the Petrol-Marbled joins an expanding line of marbled finishes, predominantly found on the company’s Classic line of pens, though this is only the second M205 to flaunt a marbled finish. The first was the M205 Blue Marbled from 2016. Other, more recent entries in that style include the re-introduced M200 Green Marbled (2015), the M200 Brown Marbled (2017), and the M200 Gold Marbled (2019). The marbling of the Petrol’s finish has a dark but lively feel to it and really plays well with the light though there are inconsistencies that will mar the pen for some. It’s also hard to look at the Petrol-Marbled and not be reminded of 2017’s M805 Ocean Swirl which sports a similar color scheme, all-be-it, in a different pattern. The M205 Petrol-Marbled may well have enough going for it in the looks department to be able to rise above any small controversy over some trim. Read on to learn if it might be a good fit for you or if this is one you should sit out for the time being.

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News: Maki-e Seven Treasures Limited Edition

Pelikan Maki-e Seven TreasuresWith the first quarter of 2021 done and dusted, uncertainty remains over just how extensively the pandemic may continue to disrupt Pelikan’s operations, including their timeline of new releases.  The Petrol-Marbled M205 should be landing soon for those eager to get their next Pelikan fix.  If you were hoping for something a bit bigger, just today Pelikan has given us a glimpse of the next Maki-e release coming out of Hannover.  Meet the Maki-e Seven Treasures limited edition, the successor to 2020’s very well received Kingfisher.  Pelikan has this to say of their newest model;

“Seven Treasures are listed in the Buddhist scriptures.  The typical seven treasures are gold, silver, lapis lazuli, crystal, giant clam, coral, and agate.  The seven treasures are expressed on this Pelikan M1000 as auspicious omen motifs by drawing additional  fortunate items.  By this, the Pelikan Maki-e ‘Seven Treasures’ fountain pen is a collection of symbols which are believed to bring good fortune.”

Keeping with past trends, the Seven Treasures is once again built off of Pelikan’s flagship M1000 chassis.  Limited to just 123 pieces worldwide, this newest Maki-e release is anticipated to launch sometime in June 2021.  

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News: M205 Petrol-Marbled Special Edition Announced

Pelikan M205 Petrol-Marbled Fountain PenFor those of you that keep up with Pelikan’s usual cycle of releases, you know that by the end of March in most years, we’ve already had news of two and sometimes up to three new fountain pens.  Sadly, this year, like the one before it, is not like most years.  That unfortunate fact, made evident by the dearth of new releases out of Hannover, is almost certainly attributable to the chaos that the coronavirus pandemic has wrought upon supply chains across the globe.  The drought may be coming to an end however as Atlas Stationers out of Chicago, IL broke news of Pelikan’s next release via their website this evening.  The next pen to market will hail from the company’s Classic line and carry the moniker of M205 Petrol-Marbled.  Petrol is a color scheme that Pelikan has employed with pens from some of their other lines including the Pura, Jazz, and Twist.  Pelikan’s new marbled finish will combine blues and greens in a way that, to me, is reminiscent of the M805 Ocean Swirl from 2017.  Rather than a standard addition to the line-up, this one looks to be a special edition release, intended only as a limited run.  The Petrol-Marbled is reportedly targeted for a mid to late April 2021 ship date.  I would expect most vendors to start taking pre-orders soon.

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How A Pelikan Found Her Song: Center Stage With The Rare And Exotic Music Nib

I must implore you at the outset to forgive my jubilation over this post and ask that you indulge my exuberance.  Today we take a look at something special, something not often seen, a rarity even amongst a brand that has created its fair share of unique and uncommon goods over nearly a century of pen making.  What I’m alluding to is the Pelikan music nib or musikfeder in its native tongue.  For some reason, I cannot think of telling the story of how I came across this nib without the soundtrack to Frank Oz’s 1986 big screen adaptation of “Little Shop Of Horrors” running through my mind, specifically set to the tune “Da-Doo.”  With your leave; So there I was, browsing around Yahoo! Auctions in Japan one day and I passed by a bunch of listings where I sometimes find weird and exotic pens ’cause you know that Pelikans are my hobby.  They didn’t have anything unusual there that day so I was just about to, ya know, browse on by, when suddenly, and without warning, there was this strange Tortoiseshell Brown 400NN.  It had a nib like something from another world just, you know, stuck in, among the 140s and M800s.  Thank you for letting me get that out of my system.  The nib was unique indeed.  It had two slits and three tines with the pre-1954 Pelikan lettering below.  I could hardly believe my eyes but was almost certain that I was looking at one of Pelikan’s fabled music nibs.  I had to wait six days for that auction to conclude and fight hard during the last thirty minutes of bidding but, in the end, I prevailed which is great for me and good for you because it allows me to give you an up close and personal look at this seldom seen specialty nib.  Of course, just for a bit of added drama, the pen got lost in the mail for a short time while on its way to me but all’s well that ends well.

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Review: M405 Silver-White (2020)

Pelikan M405 Silver-WhiteWhile we await official news of this year’s upcoming releases, I wanted to take one last look back at a model from last year.  I have already reviewed the M205 Moonstone and the M600 Tortoiseshell Red so this time I will be performing a shakedown of the M405 Silver-White.  Pelikan has embraced the use of white resin over the past several years, predominantly amongst their M6xx models.  This time around, rather than something in a medium size, the company has decided to instead show some love to their M405 line which consists of smaller pens by today’s standards.  The M405 series has only been around since 2002 and the Silver-White is just the fifth pen to grace the line.  It is also the first of its line to incorporate white resin into its design.  The other M405 models are the Black, Blue-Black, Dark Blue, and Stresemann.  Upon first glance, the Silver-White has a very similar appearance to 2017’s M605 White-Transparent.  The major difference between the two are their size and the barrel’s striping.  What makes the M405 Silver-White worth reviewing is the fact that it is not a limited or special edition but rather a release added to the standard line-up meaning that you will have time to pick this one up should it suit your fancy.  The Silver-White is a very solid release but brings nothing new to the table.  Read on to find out if this is the pen that you’ve been waiting for.

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Pelikan’s #350: An Eastern Oddity Of The Classic Line

Pelikan #250 and #350How well do you know Pelikan’s Classic/Traditional line?  Not as well as you might think I’m willing to wager.  Let us review; M100, check.  M150, check.  M200, M205, M215, and M250; check, check, check, and check!  Many of those model lines have since been discontinued but a few still persists and are being expanded to this day, some 35 years after the series’ introduction.  There is another entry into that line-up that is not nearly as well known and easily overlooked, even by the most hardcore of collectors.  Enter the #350.  There is a lot to unpack here so please bear with me.  First, let’s tackle that hashtag or number sign.  Most of Pelikan’s fountain pens have an ‘M’ or a ‘P’ preceding the model number.  These designate either a Mechanik-Füller (piston filling) or Patronen-Füller (cartridge) fountain pen respectively (though exceptions exists).  The ‘#’ was widely used in Japan during the 1980s and 90s for many of Pelikan’s piston filling models sold in that market and is therefore an appropriate regional prefix.  You might recall that I first introduced the concept when detailing the Mitsukoshi #660.  In addition to the unusual prefix, model numbers also sometimes differed.  For instance, the M400 used to retail in Japan as the #500.  Today, the regional sales literature generally adheres to the M/R/K/D prefix scheme and model numbers used elsewhere.  The #350 will be easier to understand when its predecessor, the #250, is considered so I will detail both of those models in this post.  Japan has long been a fertile ground for some of Pelikan’s most interesting releases, models not widely available anywhere else.  The Maruzen Tortoiseshell Brown M600, the Mitsukoshi #660, the East/West reunification commemorative M800, and the Merz & Krell 400NN re-issue were all either exclusive to the Japanese market or came about as a result of that market’s influence.  Read on to learn how the #250 and #350 models fit into Pelikan’s Classic series.

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