Acquiring piston filling pens were my initial fountain pen focus. Piston filling pens tend to hold more ink than pens using cartridge converters. What’s not to like about that? The most widely available and moderately priced pens of this kind, “mass-market” if you will, are made by Pelikan.
Pelikan is my first love among fountain pens. The pens are elegant, hard-working, no-nonsense, and wonderful daily writers. It is the character of vintage Pelikans that hold my attention over the more modern pens. In my pen stable is a modern 200 amber demonstrator, and two beautiful 1950’s examples of the Pelikan 400. A surprise about the vintage striated Pelikans is the translucency of the barrel. Their beauty is hard to capture in a photograph. Well, especially for this inconsistent photographer!
The shape of the Pelikan clips represent the bill of the bird. The Pelikan logo consists of a Pelikan and at least one baby chick. The earliest of logos contained four chicks. My amber Pelikan originally had two chicks. The cap had to be replaced and it now sports the modern logo with a single chick, although the nib still sports two.
The nib on the green-striated Pelikan is quite flexible, a pleasant surprise to me in a 1950’s pen. Writing too fast with it, however, can cause a bit of micro drops of ink spraying across the paper. Usually that only happens when I’m signing my name.
The vintage Pelikans require a bit of care when lugging about from coffee shop to coffee shop for writing sessions. I have to ensure the pens stay nib up and don’t get knocked about in order to prevent ink spray in the cap, and consequently ink on my fingers. Generally the vintage Pelikans take short trips or stay at home. The modern amber can be shoved in a jeans pocket to no ill effect.
The modern 200 is the same size as the vintage 400: approximately 121mm in length. Posted the pens are 149mm. The pens weigh approximately 12g inked and uncapped, and 18g posted. The amber 200 is a tad lighter than the vintage 400.
A Non-Definitive Pelikan Reading List (last update 8/26/2010)
- The Pelikan Issue, The Pennant, Summer 2001. This issue is said to have great repair information. I haven’t found a copy of it yet. It’s not even available on the PCA website. If you have a copy to share, please drop me a line!
- Chen, Victor, “Tech Notes”, The Pennant, Spring-Summer 2004, p.45. About Pelikan 100 piston seals.
- Dittmer, Jurgen and Lehmann, Martin, Pelikan Schreibgerate, A.H.F. Dunkmann Gmbh & Co. KG, 2004. English title: Pelikan Writing Instruments 1929-2004. If you’re lucky enough to find and afford it this is the book about Pelikan.
- Keane, Maribeth and Monte, Bonnie, “Pelikan Pen Collector Rick Propas: An Interview with Collectors Weekly,” 6/23/10, CollectorsWeekly.com
- Mamoulides, Jim, “Pelikan M1000 1998-Present,” updated 8/23/03. Penhero.com
- Olson, Nancy, “Pelikan 75 Years of Success,” Stylus Magazine, Dec/Jan 2005, p.26-30. An interview with Helmut Schulte-Frankenfeld about the 75th anniversary fountain pen. Also in this issue is a review of the Pelikan Schreibgerate.
- Olson, Nancy, “A Mark of Distinction,” Stylus Magazine, Dec/Jan 2009. I don’t have the complete article but it is about Pelikan hitting the 170 year mark.
- Propas, Rick “A History of Pelikan,” http://www.thepenquinpen.com. Rick is the foremost Pelikan expert in the U.S.
- Propas, Rick, “Pelikan Through the Years, Part 1,” Stylus Magazine, Oct/Nov 2005, p.40-44.
- Propas, Rick, “Pelikan Through the Years, Part II,” Stylus Magazine, Dec/Jan 2006, p.42-47.
- Propas, Rick, “Pelikan Through the Years, Part III,” Stylus Magazine, Feb/Mar 2006, p.60-64.
- Strohminger, Mel, “Pelikan Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” Stylus Magazine, Dec/Jan 2004, p.84-89.
- Strohminger, Mel, “The Pen for People who Love to Write,” Stylus Magazine, Oct/Nov 2007.
- Werner’s Info-Page Pelikan Pens A detailed site for information about Pelikan fountain pens, including identifiers for vintage models, nibs, logos, and special editions.
- Westerich, Tom, Online Information about Pelikan Repairs. http://www.penboard.de/penpoint
- The Pelikan Guide by Martin Lehmann.
- Pentrace has several articles online.
- Stylophines Online Magazine has several articles about Pelikan fountain pens.
- FPN has a helpful Pelikan subforum.
- Official Pelikan site
- The Penquin Fountain Pens
Search hint: from google.com type (without the quotes) “site:stylophinesonline.com pelikan” or “site:pentrace.net pelikan”