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Pelikan Fountain Pen, Rollerball, Ball-Point Pens, and Pencils Guide-Review
Pelikan Fountain Pens
Though Pelikan was established as a company in early 19th century, its first fountain pen was launched as late as 1929 – when Waterman, Sheaffer, Parker and Montblanc were already steeped in tough competition between themselves. Pelikan's somewhat unusual design, especially the preference for green – as opposed to Parker's Red Duofold, for instance – gradually earned the company a following, and cemented its place in the hall of fame of fountain pen manufacturers.
Pelikan selection also includes ball-point pens, roller-balls, and mechanical pencils, organized into collections of varying levels of luxury. High-end designs incorporate precious metals (gold, sterling silver, platinum, rhodium) on the body, nibs, and caps, both as decorative and functional components; resin, acrylic, lacquer and other materials appear in the more casual collections.
What distinguishes Pelikan from most brands is its liberal approach to length: whereas most keep the size of all their pens fixed, Pelikan creates several subcollections of differing lengths; for instance, marked by increasing numbers from m300 to m800, each next Souveran model is longer in size.
This important functionality is often overlooked, yet it gives the company an intimate, warm quality – readiness to accommodate the customer.
A German brand, Pelikan poses an interesting and important alternative to Montblanc, another famous German fountain pen and accessories manufacturer. While Montblanc design approach relies largely on luxury – precious metals, diamonds, gemstones, hi-tech materials – aimed at collectors and to be given as gifts as much as to be used as writing instruments, Pelikan emphasize utility and function as their primary concern – though the brand offers several high-end, luxury, and limited edition items as well. In that sense, it's closer to Sheaffer and Parker than Montblanc, or even Waterman.
Color stands out as a quintessential decorative element: very deep, quite dark in tones, and saturated until it's almost black in the shade, it gives the pens a determined mystical quality (some Waterman Phileas models approach this palette). No amount of black resin Montblanc use can lend their fountain pens this rare depth. Tones include deep malachite green, dark blue, (almost purple) and shades or red and yellow, usually mixed with black.
Souveran stands out as Pelikan's most familiar and versatile collection, offering over a dozen of models, each of which is available in several writing systems. Barrels are made from resin, acrylic, and other natural or synthetic materials – always of the highest quality, as the brand insists – and feature 18K gold nibs decorated with engraving and rhodium. Includes classic striped and translucent variations.
Majesty presents a genuine luxury department – relatively small, but made to be counted by the generous sterling silver, platinum plated bodies of the fountain, rollerball, and ball-point pens. The latter in particular is notably smaller in size, and reminds of Sheaffer vintage (tuckaway) items. Ornament relies almost strictly on precious metals, engraving, and diamond additions to the cap.
Ductus collection consists of modern designed (reminiscent of the industrially contoured Parker Vector), casually equipped pens that opt for a classic lacquer coating, yet unusually geometrically shaped (Parker Vector and Jotter again) 18K gold, rhodium plated nibs. An extended section matches only that of Majesty for length – perhaps a small democratic detail by Pelikan.
Toledo enters a decorative-artistic world that will be conquered by the classic and limited editions (descriptions follow). All pens carry a unique Spanish-inspired artwork, painted on sterling silver and gold plated bodies. The busy, complex artwork brings to mind arabesques and other oriental embellishments; yellow, red, green, and dark colors compliment the 18K gold, rhodium enhanced nibs.
Classic Tradition include Series 150, 200, 205, 215, and 250 (all currently in production), which offer simplified design where the barrel and the section almost merge together; stainless steel nib (gold plated) and a range of classic Pelikan colors render the pens both casual and affordable.
Limited and Special Editions contain a broad range of theme-based, artistically made fountain pens, rollerball and ball-point pens; among the themes covered appear references to the seven wonders (Hanging Gardens, Colossus, Pyramids), to cultural and scientific events and processes (Evolution of Script, Calculation of Times), and geographical locations and related phenomena (Mount Everest, Polar Lights, Niagara Falls, Sahara Desert).
Vintage: in our review of Pelikan vintage pens we focus on several models that made a mark in the history of the company as well as the entire industry as whole.