Review: Pelikan’s Epoch P36x (2004-2007)

Pelikan Epoch P360, P361, P362, P363, and P364

My ongoing work as a physician on the front lines of this pandemic and the demands that the most recent COVID-19 surge placed upon me sapped my will, leaving me with precious little time and even less energy for other tasks. Now that we are at the tail end of the Omicron variant’s destructive toll, I’d like to turn my attention back to the blog, seeking some solace in the pen community, and diving back into my passion for Pelikan’s pens. I thought it only fitting to kick the year off with an absolutely Epoch post. If my little play on words was lost on you, allow me to introduce you to Pelikan’s Epoch (2004-2007). First released in 2004, the Epoch spanned five different models covering a total of eight unique finishes in its short production run of just three years. Every one of the fountain pens is a patronen-füllhalter or cartridge pen that has a unique cartridge tray, the same design that would later be utilized with the P3100 Ductus that launched during the Epoch’s final year, marking the Epoch line as a progenitor of sorts for the Ductus. Like most of Pelikan’s cartridge pens, each tray can accommodate one large or two small international cartridges imparting an ink capacity somewhere around 1.5mL. What the tray does not easily accommodate is a cartridge/converter. The Epoch’s design was named a reddot award winner in 2004. The company’s promotional literature described the Epoch as a symbiosis of tradition and modernity, a design that transcended its era, and technology ahead of its time. The marketing hype lays it on a little thick, but I think that there is more than enough here worth exploring. This post will focus on the line’s fountain pens but it should be noted that the Epoch was available as a pencil (D), rollerball (R), and ballpoint (K) in the same form factor. We’ll tackle each of the five models head on and then look at the octet as a whole, dissecting out their strengths and weaknesses. Whether you are already well acquainted with the line-up or are seeing them for the first time, there is plenty to learn about the various models.

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How The New M205 DUO Stacks Up To Its Predecessors

Pelikan M205 DUO Neon Yellow Highlighter

The M205 DUO was originally introduced in 2010 as part of the Classic line, taking the novel approach of combining a fountain pen with a highlighter. The Pelikan brand was no stranger to either product, but this was the first time that they sought to integrate the two. The concept was well received, and the design went on to win several awards the following year (ISPA Award at Paperworld, the IF Product Design Award, and the Red Dot Award). Equipped with a double broad nib (BB), the pen could be used to highlight pertinent text but also to annotate the margins. It was a serviceable if not perfect solution to an issue faced by many students and scholars. If nothing else, the sustainability and positive ecological impact of the pen was a major focal point, perhaps even more germane today than it was eleven years ago. The first entry in the series was a yellow demonstrator followed a few years later, in 2013, by a neon green model. Each pen came with a special ink in a matching, fluorescent shade specially formulated for the DUO. Fast forward to 2021 and we have a new release in the series. Rather than a straight re-hash of a past product, this one is a new model featuring some different design elements as well as a different shade of fluorescent yellow. Instead of one of my traditional reviews, I thought that it would be more constructive to take a closer look at just what separates the current offering from past releases. Read on to discover all of the highlights that this one brings to the paper.

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News: Edelstein Ink of the Year 2022 – Apatite

Pelikan Edelstein Ink of the Year 2022 Apatite

It is hard to believe that 2021 is just two weeks away from drawing to its close. Not only is another disjointed and surreal year ending but it seems like the long shadow of the coronavirus pandemic will carry well into 2022. To counteract the doldrums of the pandemic, many have sought refuge and solace in this hobby of ours.  Something that always brightens my spirits, whether I’m buying or not, is news of a new product release from a favorite brand. Thanks to the good people over at Federalist Pens, we now have fresh news of the first new product of 2022. Coming hot on the heels of this year’s M200 Golden Beryl is word of the next Edelstein Ink of the Year release.  The 2022 special edition ink will be called Apatite, the nineteenth gemstone inspired ink to grace the Edelstein line and the eleventh special edition Ink of the Year. It will join the likes of Turmaline (2012), Amber (2013), Garnet (2014), Amethyst (2015), Aquamarine (2016), Smoky Quartz (2017), Olivine (2018), Star Ruby (2019), Moonstone (2020), and Golden Beryl (2021). These special edition inks are generally produced for just one year therefore availability will only be while supplies last.  At the moment, Apatite is anticipated to have a March 2022 release date giving us another reason to look forward to the spring.

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Review: M200 Golden Beryl (2021)

Pelikan M200 Golden Beryl Fountain Pen

On deck today is a review of the fresh faced M205 Golden Beryl special edition fountain pen released last month. I have been excited to get my hands on this one and now am happy to be able to give you a closer look so that you might better judge the pen on its merits. Part of my excitement owes to the fact that we have gotten only a handful of new releases out of Hannover in 2021 when compared with years past which seems to be the new normal as forecasted in the company’s 2020 Annual Report. The exact statement in that text was; “For 2021, we will continue the tradition of reinventing the popular designs with new materials and colours, though we plan to concentrate on less product launches as we cautiously move forward in the market.” The Golden Beryl takes a somewhat different approach than the other thematic releases in the series and the question that it begs is whether or not the new tactic delivers? News of this one didn’t break until October, much later than has traditionally been the case, leading many to question whether or not we would actually see the Golden Beryl come to light. Materialize it did, joining the likes of the M205 Amethyst (2015), M205 Aquamarine (2016), M200 Smoky Quartz (2017), M205 Olivine (2018), M205 Star Ruby (2019), and the M205 Moonstone (2020) as the seventh pen in the now long running series.  Interestingly, it is only the second model of those listed to incorporate gold plated trim, something we last saw on 2017’s Smoky Quartz. All of the models since 2019’s Star Ruby have utilized glitter to impart a shimmering appearance to the translucent material of the barrel and cap. Where the Golden Beryl breaks the mold is in the fact that the barrel itself is not colored in a way reminiscent of the ink that it compliments. This model actually has a clear resin which was admittedly unexpected when the product announcement came. Read on to discover whether or not the gambit was worthwhile.

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News: Pelikan Passion Sessions

Pelikan Sessions 2021 Baner

Pelikan took a new step towards social engagement with its fanbase today in an effort to overcome the disconnect brought about by the unfortunate postponement of their Hubs event for the last two years. It was 2019 when the world was last able to safely gather in fellowship around their passion for pens and the fine writing/drawing community. In today’s announcement, the company says; “We would like to offer all fountain pen fans an opportunity to be surprised by their own creativity.” To that end, Pelikan plans to offer a much more intimate and exclusive venue for sharing such passions. Like many other things that we have become accustomed to over the course of this pandemic, the experience will be a virtual one. A total of four opportunities over two days are to be made available, billed as on-line tutorials, hosted in collaboration with a professional artist. While many of us may think of our pens as best suited for writing, these tutorials look to unleash the more creative side of your nibs, extending their utility to drawing and design, something that you may not have explored previously. To guide that experience, Christiane ten Hoevel, a seasoned artist, has been tapped to lead these workshops. Tickets are limited and sure to go fast. Read on to learn about all of the known details.

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Putting Karats To Paper: The Various Gold Purities Of Pelikan’s Nibs And The Impact On Performance

Pelikan's 12C-500, 14C-585, 18C-750, and 20C-833 nibs

When the Earth began to form sometime around 4.5 billion years ago, molten iron sank to the planet’s center, forming the core. Gold and platinum also migrated to the core leaving the outer layer of the Earth essentially devoid of any precious metals. It is now widely believed that nearly all of the gold content within the Earth’s exterior came from meteorites that bombarded the planet more than 200 million years after its formation. In other words, all of the gold within our beloved nibs is likely extraterrestrial in origin. Of course, not all gold is created equal. We use a karat scale to measure the ratio of gold to other metals or alloys within an item, also known as its fineness. The term karat has the same derivation as carat which is more commonly used for gemstones. Both words originate with the carob bean born from the carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua) which grows in the Mediterranean and has fruit pods that contain multiple seeds. A balance scale used to be the only way to effectively weigh something which meant that a counterbalance of known quantity was necessary, and it was once believed that carob seeds were uniform in size, making them the perfect unit weights. The karat scale that has since emerged ranges from 0 to 24 with 24 karats representing gold in its purest form. In 92 years of fountain pen production, Pelikan has utilized gold with four different degrees of fineness in their nibs; 12C-500, 14C-585, 18C-750, and 20C-833. The number in front of the hyphen refers to the ratio of gold to other metals whereas the second number is the millesimal fineness which denotes the percent of gold in an item. For example, a 12C-500 nib has 50% pure gold whereas the 20C-833 nib has 83.3% pure gold. Does that mean a 20C-833 nib writes differently or is in some way superior to its more impure brethren? Read on to find out.

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The Many Anniversaries Of Maruzen

Maruzen Booksellers Storefront

The Maruzen Co., Ltd. has long been one of Japan’s leading booksellers. With a core focus on books and other periodicals, the company has cultivated a diverse portfolio that includes stationery, fashion, and information technologies. Founded in 1869 as Maruya Shosha, its success and longevity over the past 152 years is likely due to the forward thinking of founder Yuteki Hayashi. Hayashi’s ambitions were reportedly spurred on by the encouragement of Yukichi Fukuzawa, an educator and founder of Japan’s first private system of elementary and secondary schools, who was a proponent of Westernization. Great change was underway in Japan during the mid-19th century, heralded by the arrival of Commodore Matthew Perry in 1853, an American naval officer in command of the East India Squadron. He played a leading role opening Japan to the West after more than 200 years of isolationist policy under the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate which comprised the military government of Japan during the Edo period from 1603 to 1868. Hayashi saw opportunity brought about by this cultural shift and sought out translated versions of many of the seminal works of the Western world. His relationship with Fukuzawa positioned Maruzen to have a strong presence with educational institutions, a major areas of sales for the company. Maruzen further diversified its product lines throughout the twentieth century and was able to survive the damage inflicted by World War II. Many sources indicate that Maruzen played a major role introducing the fountain pen to Japan, predominantly by importing brands such as Onoto and Waterman from England and the United States. As such, it is hard to overstate the importance of Maruzen’s involvement in bringing this writing technology to the citizens of Japan. Today, the company has a number of stores and international offices to its credit. Of course, I’m not here to regale you about the company’s rich and storied history. As a stationary retailer, Maruzen has had the opportunity to partner with several manufacturers of fine writing instruments over the years in order to celebrate its various milestone anniversaries, beginning sometime around 1989. I’m sure that you have surmised by now that a Pelikan or two may have been a part of some of those past offerings. Read on to learn all about these unique and rarely seen models.

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Unity Day And Pelikan’s “Rebirth Of A New Germany” Commemorative M800

Pelikan New German Birth Commemorative M800

October is a busy month, playing host to a number of international holidays such as Oktoberfest and Halloween to name just a few. It is punctuated by the crisp fall air, a tapestry of fall foliage, and the scent of pumpkin spice. Perhaps less well known globally is that October is also home to German Unity Day, celebrated on the third day of the month. It was 1990 when East and West Germany were reunited after 40 years of division set against the backdrop of the Cold War. The most recognizable symbol of that division was the Berlin Wall, a concrete barrier under armed guard that served as both a physical and ideological barrier from 1961 to 1989. Built by the German Democratic Republic (GDR) and portrayed as protecting the eastern population from fascism in the west, the wall cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany. It became a tale of two Germanys with the West, guided by the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), flourishing under capitalist rule whereas the East languished under Communism, facing regular shortages and a lack of opportunity. Such was the case until political unrest and revolution within several Eastern Bloc countries helped fuel dissent in the East. Faced with increasing pressure due to mounting protest, the communist leadership opened the border between the two states on November 9, 1989. A celebration ensued as crowds of East and West Germans intermingled freely for the first time in decades. This paved the way for German reunification, which went into effect on October 3, 1990, via treaty. To commemorate the occasion, Pelikan released a special edition “Rebirth of a New Germany” Green-Black M800, exclusive to the Japanese market. It’s a model not commonly encountered outside of Japan therefore you may have never seen one before. Read on to find out what, if anything sets this fountain pen apart.

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