How-To: Safely Remove & Replace a Pelikan Nib

M400There are many reasons, some subjective and others objective, as to why Pelikan pens are as popular and lasting as they are.  Undoubtedly, one feature that clearly endears them to novices and enthusiasts alike is the fact that the nibs are interchangeable and, by and large, have been so since the inception of the model 100.  The nib is the business end of the pen and if it is not performing as expected or becomes damaged, even the most beautiful fountain pen in the world is rendered useless.  I previously discussed  these nibs and their ability to be easily exchanged (amongst other attributes) in my post, The Evolution of the Collar, Feed, & Nib.  What’s more, not only are the nibs interchangeable but that this can be accomplished by the end-user and does not require a sometimes lengthy trip back to the manufacturer or a certified dealer, certainly a boon to the user.  These facts combine to allow one pen to take on a significant amount of character as Pelikan’s catalogue of nibs over the years has contained a wide variety of expressive options, not to mention the variety of custom grinds available from third parties today.  Even if you only own one nib, the ability to change nibs can come in quite handy in the event of accidental damage (why is it that all uncapped pens insist on landing nib side down?).  I could continue to expound on the virtues of the interchangeable nib but that is not our purpose today.  Today, I want to review for you exactly how to safely remove and replace a nib because this can be an area of confusion for many and some forethought should be employed prior to attempting.  Rest assured, however, that this is a safe procedure which can be carried out without much difficulty or skill.

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Polystyrene – What is it Good For?

Clear polystyrene collar.  Picture courtesy of jgrasty of FPN; http://goo.gl/xHAqXf

Clear, cracked polystyrene collar. Picture courtesy of jgrasty of FPN; http://goo.gl/xHAqXf

 

ABSOLUTELY NOTHING (at least as far as collars go)!  Welcome to the third and final installment of a series of posts dealing with Pelikan’s nibs.  The first post endeavored to clarify the presumed meaning of the PF and E|N hallmarks while the second detailed some of the steps in the evolution of the collar, feed, and nib over time.  Now you may think that I was overly harsh with my opening statement but allow me to convince you of the truth of that declaration.  Polystyrene’s roots are deeply German in origin.  It’s initial discovery was in 1839 by Eduard Simon but almost one hundred years had to elapse before the substance was formulated as we know it today.  The properties of this material are that it is clear, hard, and (most distressingly) brittle.  It began being mass-produced for various applications in the 1930’s and was prized for being relatively inexpensive to manufacture.

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The Evolution of the Collar, Feed, & Nib

M481 Black NibThis is the second post of what is intended to be a three-part series looking at various aspects of Pelikan’s nibs.  The first post was a discussion of the PF and E|N hallmarked nibs.  This post will explore how Pelikan’s collars, feeds, and nibs have changed over time and will also discuss compatibility across the various models.   I think that these nibs are deserving of this attention because their interchangeability by the user/owner is one of the defining traits across much of Pelikan’s Souverän and Tradition lines which has always been a boon to hobbyists and collectors.  Before proceeding I would like to reaffirm that I am simply an enthusiast and the information presented below is what I have gathered from my years of collecting and should in no way be taken as authoritative or exhaustive.

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The ‘PF’ & ‘E|N’ Nibs Explained

M800 Nibs with PF Hallmark

M800 nibs. From left to right; Unmarked, PF, PF, E|N hallmarks. Picture courtesy of Pjay of FPN; http://goo.gl/6wQm2q

 

Do you have a Pelikan nib that has a small, strange inscription that your other nibs are lacking?  Have you ever wondered what this mark could indicate?  Throughout the years, there has been a lot of discussion over a few of the hallmarks that have graced some of Pelikan’s nibs.  These hallmarks can be found in a few different places on a nib, the most common being on the right, just above the collar (M800’s) but there have also been examples reported with the hallmark being covered by the collar (some M600’s).  These markings are usually encircled by an oval and the two most common are “PF” and “E|N.”  The latter has also been identified as P|N or B|N, likely owing to varying degrees of quality of the impression as well as the microscopic size of the imprint, requiring high magnification to see clearly.  While absolute and definitive evidence may be lacking, I do feel that there is a reasonable and well sourced explanation that adequately explains the genesis of these nib markings.

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Alphabet Soup: Pen & Nib Designations

Alphabet Soup

Alphabet Soup

 

Have you ever wondered what the M in front of your beloved M800 stands for?  Do you have a DEF nib on an old Ibis and think to yourself what does that D stand for?  Read on for a quick breakdown of what Pelikan’s letter designations stand for as gathered from various sources.  Of course, I strived to make sure the following list is as factual as possible but there is always room for error, especially since I have no understanding of the German language.  If you do see an error, please feel free to let me know so that I can make the appropriate correction.  Many of these terms can also be found in the glossary.

 

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