Pelikan was officially founded in 1838 but did not produce its first fountain pen until 1929. The first pens to roll off of the assembly line came without a model number and were known only as the Pelikan fountain pen, presumably since they were the company’s only such product. It wasn’t until 1931 and after a few small revisions that it would come to be known as the model 100. Armed with a removable nib assembly and an industry leading differential piston filling mechanism, that first model would go on to set a bar of excellence for generations to come. This year marks the 90th anniversary of Pelikan’s foray into fountain pen production. There have been hundreds of different models produced in that span of time and the company has just added a new limited edition to its catalog, this time to commemorate those 90 years of pen making history. The Herzstück 1929 pays homage to the company’s first fountain pens without being a direct copy. It stands out as unique in Pelikan’s catalog, incorporating features from several historic models. Coupled with updates for the modern age, this new addition is not your great grandfather’s fountain pen. The name of this limited edition suggests just how important this design has been to the company as Herzstück can be roughly translated to mean core or heart. The last time that we saw such a commemorative model was in 2004 when the M1075 was debuted to honor 75 years of pen production. That model was ultra-limited to just 75 copies. The Herzstück has been produced as an edition of 462 pieces, a number that was derived from the last three digits of the company’s original patent, which will serve to make it somewhat more widely available than its predecessor. How does this retro inspired fountain pen stack up today? Read on to find out.
It seems like forever ago that we got our first glimpse of Pelikan’s 2019 line-up. News of the Herzstück 1929 limited edition and Edelstein Star Ruby broke in late December. January came and went with the much anticipated announcement of the M1005 Stresemann. Most recently, February brought news of the M101N Grey-Blue. Despite the regular flow of new releases out of Hannover, we have only seen the Star Ruby ink materialize which went on sale earlier this month. The fountain pens have yet to turn up. A few were pushed back slightly from their originally announced release dates and another has seen a more significant delay for what have been unclear reasons. If you recall, the M1005 was due in mid-February, the M101N Grey-Blue sometime in March, and the 1929 by late March. Rumors have been floated as to the reasons for the hold up of the M1005, some suggesting that there was an issue with the plating on the nibs. I reached out to Pelikan to specifically address these issues and was able to get a little clarity on what we can expect in terms of upcoming release dates. Pelikan also took the opportunity to debunk some of the recent rumors going around about their products.
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.