Pelikan introduced their first mechanical pencil to the market on June 26, 1934. The model 200, known as the AUCH-Pelikan, was initially designed to accompany the 100 and, later on, the 100N line of fountain pens. The AUCH-Pelikan continued to be manufactured until October of 1951 with little variation in its design over its 17-year production run. The 1950s would bring a flurry of new mechanical pencils, most designed with an eye towards matching Pelikan’s burgeoning line-up of fountain pens. Pelikan’s focus has always seemed to rest squarely upon their pens with add-ons like mechanical pencils being more of a secondary consideration. That isn’t to say that Pelikan’s mechanical pencils aren’t solid additions to their other writing implements, they absolutely are. In fact, the pencils that they produced were even somewhat ahead of their time when you compare them with other brands. It’s just that the development of their pencil lines has never seemed to be a primary goal. One of the first models to follow on the heels of the AUCH-Pelikan was the 350, first introduced on October 24, 1950. This model changed its looks several times over the course of its production run and is therefore worth exploring in a bit more detail. As far as companion pieces go, the 350 would actually have a few different dancing partners early on in its existence. Care should be taken to not confuse the vintage 350 mechanical pencil that we are discussing here with either the #350 fountain pen made for the Japanese market or the M350 Vermeil fountain pen, two modern models produced in the 1990s. Read on to explore all of the 350’s many forms.Continue reading
Fountain pens rule, ballpoints are cool, and mechanical pencils are an essential tool. In Part 1 of this series, I explored the beginnings of Pelikan’s ballpoint production which proved to be an educational and fun diversion. While Pelikan’s fountain pens remain my preferred writing implement, years of research and experience have opened my eyes to other worlds and the rabbit hole goes deep. Even more diverse than their ballpoints, Pelikan’s vintage mechanical pencils are a force all their own with a nuanced variety that begs exploring. The heresy aside, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, not everything that scribbles has a nib and now it’s time to focus on the mechanical pencil. Today, it is writers, architects, mathematicians, students, and artists who predominantly use these tools but that was not always the case, especially prior to the advent of cheap ballpoints. Of particular interest to me are Pelikan’s vintage offerings that spanned the 1930s through the 1960s though we can certainly look at a few modern styles as well. While Pelikan’s high end mechanical pencils are not nearly as prolific as they once were, likely a sign of the changing times, they still serve a role. This article will act as an introduction to mechanical pencils, but it is only meant to scratch the surface. To follow is what I envision to be a multi-part series of its own, with each article drilling down in as much detail as possible on a few select models of Pelikan’s pencils. This is a journey that I’m ecstatic to be undertaking with you. Once again, it’s time to stow your pens and get the lead out as we explore Pelikan’s catalogue of vintage mechanical pencils.Continue reading
If you are familiar with some of my past articles, you know that I have tried to provide helpful guides regarding certain aspects of fountain pen use and maintenance. One of the fundamentals of pen use is filling and refilling which many of us take for granted. Understandably, this nuance of regular pen operation can be a bit unclear to those new to the hobby. Just how does one go about filling a Pelikan pen? While my personal focus is fountain pens, I’m not without my share of rollerballs, ballpoints, and pencils. On occasion you might purchase or be gifted a certain model as a set. If you don’t use that twist ballpoint very often, you might find yourself stumped when the included cartridge runs dry. To keep you writing worry free, not only will I discuss how to fill a fountain pen, I will also given instructions for rollerballs, ballpoints, and pencils. My focus in this post will be mostly on modern production pens made over the last 35 years but much of this holds true for older models, particularly the piston filling fountain pens as they have retained the same mechanism for generations. The pictorials included in Pelikan’s literature can feel a little like interpreting hieroglyphics and, besides, who reads the instructions anyway (besides me)? If you have any uncertainty as to how to fill your new pen or pencil, read on to learn how to put that writing instrument of yours into action.