My recent exploration of the less commonly encountered Pelikan 300 gave me occasion to pull my 140 and 400 out of the pen cabinet. Looking over those two models made me realize that both were equally deserving of their own post so consider this the second installment of a three-part series looking at some of Pelikan’s finest work from the 1950s and 60s. Today we will focus on the 140, the direct successor to the Ibis 130 (1949-54). First introduced in 1952, the 140 came in a plethora of colors, many of which are not often seen today. The 140 was also a platform adapted to unique purposes and sold by other manufacturers without Pelikan’s branding so there is a lot of variety to be found out there. Production officially ran from April of 1952 through July of 1965 and many small changes occurred to the line over that time, particularly early on in the run. These changes can help to date earlier pens and I will endeavor to highlight most of them below. Read on to learn all about this iconic model.
In Greek mythology, the Chimera was a fire-breathing female monster with a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a serpent’s tail. She was the sibling of Cerberus the three-headed hound of Hades and the Hydra, a serpentine water monster. In ancient times, merely sighting the Chimera was an omen for disaster. Today, we use the term to refer to anything made of disparate parts. Pelikan produced a chimera of sorts back in the 1950s though nothing as monstrous as the beast of ancient mythology. The pen that I’m alluding to is the Pelikan 300 which holds a unique spot in the company’s catalog. It was made for export only and positioned in the market between the 140 and 400. It enjoyed a production run of just five years spanning June of 1953 through November of 1957. As such, these are not commonly encountered on the secondary market today. The 300 came in just two colors, a black/green striped version and an all black striped model though an all burgundy variant, possibly a prototype, is known to exist as well. When discussing the 300, it is important to keep in mind that it has no relation to the M300 Souverän which didn’t debut until 1998. Due to a paucity of information out there, I thought that the 300 might be well suited to a post of its own.
Those of us in the U.S.A. awoke this morning to news of yet another forthcoming release from Pelikan. The company is once again going retro with the introduction of a new model in the M101N series. Perhaps it is no coincidence that such a pen is being brought to light during the 90th anniversary of Pelikan’s first foray into fountain pens. The newest M101N on the block has been dubbed the Grey-Blue and it will become the fifth pen in a line that takes its inspiration from the historic models of the 30s and 40s. To date, the Grey-Blue has been preceded by the Tortoiseshell Brown (2011), Lizard (2012), Tortoiseshell Red (2014), and Bright Red (2017). Whereas the first three models listed emulated some of the more popular vintage finishes, the Grey-Blue will join the Bright Red in blazing its own trail as a fresh take on an old design. Pelikan’s promotional materials state; “The grey and blue color and pattern is reminiscent of the original historical model of the 1930s,” but I do not recall any historic 101N ever having come in this color scheme. If you cannot wait to get your hands on this one, be thankful February is a short month as these are due to make their way to market sometime in March.
Rumors of the M1005 Stresemann began early last year and it was widely expected that we would see it hit the market sometime in late 2018. The year came and went without such an announcement suggesting that the release had been pushed back with a new estimated arrival set for the first quarter of 2019. The wait is now over as word of the upcoming M1005 Stresemann finally broke today from the Netherlands courtesy of our friends at Appelboom. This new model will join the M805 (2015) and the M405 (2016) in the same finish. The M1005 will be the largest model to sport the anthracite stripes and is a welcome addition to a line that hasn’t seen a refresh in some time. The last M10xx model not host to an ultra limited Maki-e or Raden finish was the M1005 black released seven years ago in 2013. In case you’re new to the blog or brand and may be unaware of the origins of the Stresemann finish, allow me to explain from where the designation derives. The former foreign minister of the Weimar Republic and Nobel prize recipient, Gustav Stresemann (1879-1929), had a proclivity for wearing suits with thin stripes which became something of a defining trait. After a time, people started drawing parallels between Pelikan’s now well-known striped pattern and the Stresemann look resulting in the nick-name that has persisted to this day.
Barring any further unforeseen news breaking over the next few weeks, this will likely be my last post of the year as we gear up for the Christmas and New Years holidays. I thought that it would be useful to look back at what 2018 has brought us and maybe try to prognosticate a little of what 2019 might hold in store. Pelikan has already given us a peek into some of what lies ahead. There was a lot of buzz and excitement going into this year in particular. After all, it’s not every day that a company turns 180 years old. Over the past five to six years, Pelikan has really ramped up their annual number of new releases and this year was no exception with ten new birds joining the catalogue. While I was personally left somewhat underwhelmed, there were more than a few gems to be had amongst the lot. Of course the year wasn’t just about new pens. We were given Edelstein Olivine as the Ink of the Year and Garnet was resurrected to live on in the standard Edelstein line up. Many of us were also fortunate enough to be able to take part in Pelikan’s largest gathering of pen enthusiasts to date for their 2018 Hubs event. While we had a lot of good come out of 2018, we were all left a little cold when Pelikan increased the prices of their EF nibs across the globe. Read on for a recap of all of the year’s highs and lows as well as some thoughts on what’s to come.
As the embers of 2018’s excitement begin to slowly fade with the year’s close, Pelikan rekindles a sense of anticipation for next year by giving us a small taste of what’s to come. News broke yesterday of the limited edition Herzstück 1929 which pays homage to the origins of Pelikan’s fountain pen production some 90 years ago. Today, reports of the 2019 Edelstein Ink of the Year have surfaced. With the introduction of Star Ruby, the palette appears to have swung from a shade of green to more reddish hues. This will be the sixteenth gemstone inspired color to grace the line-up. The forthcoming Star Ruby will join the likes of Turmaline, Amber, Garnet, Amethyst, Aquamarine, Smoky Quartz, and Olivine as the eighth Ink of the Year. Unlike last year’s Olivine, this one was not a fan chosen shade. While details are just emerging, we can expect availability sometime in March of 2019.
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.
A brand is often a company’s greatest asset. Frequently more than just a logo, tagline, or ad campaign, a brand is the sum total of the consumer’s experiences and interactions with it. Brands are fueled by a purpose and nurtured by the emotional attachment that they cultivate with their target audience. They are the vehicle by which a company defines itself, allowing it to differentiate its products and services from those of its competitors. Brand names can have a significant impact on the consumer’s perceived quality of a product, an item’s price, or even someone’s intention to purchase. The rise of global branding has transformed the marketing industry over the past century. While many brands have been able to successfully conform to a variety of cultures and their values, the discipline is littered with examples where that wasn’t the case. In a field complicated by cultural factors, the diversity of languages, and nationalism, adapting a brand name to the language of the target market can mean the difference between success and failure but the choice is not always so clear-cut. Linguistic and cultural assessments are key when entering a new market and this is something that Pelikan wrestled with in the first half of the twentieth century.