Pelikan pens

poster for Pelikan artist colors
by Julius Diaz

tour this exhibit

or, view individual pen images:

1950s Pelikan 140

1980s Pelikan 120 set

1980s Pelikan M800

1997 Pelikan Level

Andreas Lambrou notes that the the little fella above (seen in a very fine Art Nouveau advertising poster) was one of the first modern registered trademarks. It was inspired by the family coat of arms of Gunther Wagner, a chemist who joined a firm of paint makers and purchased the firm outright in 1871.

The company had success in import and export markets selling a variety of paints, inks, drafting equipment, and stationery items, but it wasn't until 1929 that the first general-purpose self-filling Pelikan pen, the model 100, made its appearance. The 100 had a number of advanced features, including celluloid construction, an ink-view section, and a patented twist filler that required no sac (using the pen barrel itself as a reservoir, protected against leakage by cork seals on the piston). The model 100 was unmistakably German in it's conservative style and color, and Pelikan's number series pens have changed only gradually in appearance up to the present day. Pelikan has recently issued a very faithful reproduction of the model 100, called the "1931".

After the second world war came the pelican-beak clip and the striped barrels for which Pelikan is famous (with their big black caps over "pinstriped" barrels looking like a morning coat over formal trousers, classic Pelikans became known as "Stresemanns", a swipe at the conservatively togged German politician). It still requires more than a casual glance to distinguish pre-war and post-war models.

Pelikan has always been a full-line pen maker, and currently offers entire ranges of student pens such as the Level. At the same time, they have also continued to offer high-priced prestige pens and limited editions. They've also stayed involved in the ink, paint, and office supply business that formed their original base, which perhaps gives them the corporate foundation to pursue a full line of pens. In spite of (or, maybe perversely because of) being "number two" among German penmakers, Pelikan enjoys a very solid reputation for quality and performance among pen fans.


This file last posted on:
2005-Jan-20 17:50:26 CST
MCMVIII, the red network