Pencil Pot Of The Month – August 2017

Description: A cup as sent out by Pelikan for the Pelikan Hubs 2017

Price: Pelikan didn’t charge for them. Unknown what Pelikan paid

Material: paper

Further information: Pelikan sent these to Hub Masters for the upcoming Pelikan Hubs that take place all over the world on 22th September 2017, at 18:30 local time.

The pencils in this cup are from a soon to be published blog post about ‘baseball pencils’. The fountain pen in this cup is a Pelikan Go, an affordable piston filler that was targeted at school children.


Here’s a little unboxing video of the goodies Pelikan sent.

..and here’s a photo of the Hub Pub and a Pelikan

Tombow and Pelikan 3

I have been wondering for a while why all the supermarkets here in the UK sell t-shirts with ‘brand advertising’ – these days mainly Star Wars, but you can also find other brands, like Coca Cola or Volkswagen – while there are no stationery themed t-shirts.

Well, Uniqlo to the rescue! When I moved to the UK in 2001 you could still see this brand outside London, but in the UK it now it seems to be restricted to very few locations. My wife said that there was an article in The Economist explaining that there UK presence actually has the main aim of improving Uniqlo’s reputation for their Asian  customers.

One of Uniqlo's Pelikan T-shirts

One of Uniqlo’s Pelikan T-shirts

Anyway, they are offering currently Pelikan and Tombow themed t-shirts, you can see them here. Unfortunately the Tombow themed t-shirts didn’t make it to Europe, at least not to the UK or Germany …but the Pelikan t-shirts are available over here.

You can find more Pelikan-themed blog posts in the Pelikan category.

The beautiful M101N tortoiseshell brown 5

I try to keep the number of fountain pen posts low, but I guess every month or so a blog post about fountain pens is ok without diluting the pencil theme of this blog.

There’s one fountain pen I’ve been keen on ever since I first saw it in 2011. Pencil Talk even mentioned it – and I mentioned that Pencil Talk mentioned it ;^) The Pelikan M101N tortoise brown. A reissue of a fountain pen from the 1930s.

I once saw a real one in Papier Pfeiffer (a brick and mortar shop you might remember from this post), but the brown plastic didn’t look so good in the strong light in the shop, but anyway, I was very tempted to buy this pen. There was also an online shop in the UK that sold it for a very good price, lower than what I’ve seen in any other country (it might have been The Writing Desk – I’m not sure), but I somehow thought I can’t justify paying that much, mainly because I already have a tortoise fountain pen, a white M400 you might have seen in several of my previous posts – and I thought having two beautiful fountain pens will mean that I can’t treasure each of them enough.

…but I kept thinking about that beautiful tortoise M101N. There was a M101N that was released after the tortoise brown version:  the Lizard Special Edition, but I didn’t like the look at all – plus the retail price was much more expensive. Rumours have it that there’ll be a red tortoise version soon. I fear it will be even more expensive than the Lizard version.

Recently I got lucky and got a tortoise M101N for a good price from a seller in Japan. I think I paid  more than what I would have paid at the cheap UK online shop back when it was new – but for 2014 it was a good price. I really wasn’t sure whether I should spend that much, but anyway, now it’s done. I might sell some other pens soon to compensate.

The M101N the most beautiful, but also the most expensive fountain pen I own. It’s a shame it’s so expensive. I know they call it resin, but in reality that’s not so different to plastic, is it? What a shame that these pens aren’t mass produced and sold for a cheap price. Pelikan had a go at cheap piston fillers in the past with their Pelikan Go!. Too bad that didn’t work out.

Wouldn’t it be nice if these beautiful pens were easily affordable? Then I’d love them even more, but I guess the less common fountain pens become, the more expensive they’ll become. Ink is also getting more expensive.

This reminds me of a time when this was quite different. The following is from Herbert Rosendorfer’s book Das Messingherz, p. 508. The book was first published 1979.

In a small stationery shop (…) [he] bought a little bottle of ink. It cost one Mark and fifteen Pfennig, despite being the most expensive kind of ink. (…) How do ink manufacturers get rich? [he] thought. A little bottle of the luxurious type is one Mark fifteen Pfennig, and since I’ve been writing I’ve only used up one. Ok, Heinrich Böll wrote more than me, let’s say – if he didn’t use a type writer or a ballpoint pen – that he used up six bottles of ink. No – [he] calculated all the things Heinrich Böll wrote – no: eight. eight times one fifteen. (…) Ten Mark twenty.

Based on purchasing power (see Kaufkraft article ) DM 1.15 in 1979 is about €1.23 today (~$1.70; £1.00) – I guess even when adjusting for purchasing power, ink was still cheaper in the past.

Pelikan Wanderlust 15

Wanderlust Box

The Wanderlust box arrived, still sealed

You might have noticed that I’m trying hard not to have too many fountain pen related blog posts here on Bleistift. One of the reasons why the pencil theme and the name of the blog (the German word for pencil) were chosen was because it feels as if there are orders of magnitude more blogs and resources about fountain pens on the web than there are about the humble pencil. This time, however, I can’t resist focussing on inks and fountain pens …because I have received Pelikan’s Wanderlust ink.

Wanderlust ink in Preston

The Wanderlust ink bottle in Preston

For the Wanderlust project an ink bottle1 is travelling around the world I was lucky enough to keep it for a few days while it was on it’s way from from Asia, through Europe, to South America. Before arriving in England it travelled from Malaysia to Singapore toIndonesia to the Philippines to Australia to Israel to the Azores to Spain to Belgium to Luxembourg to the Netherlands.

Wanderlust Route

The Wanderlust route so far

Looking at the twelve letters written by previous participants, I was admiring the different writing styles, as well as the different kinds of paper that were being used. I was surprised to see that many participants share common attributes and could identify with many of them. Other participants were roughly my age and work-wise from many were from a similar background: there were many participants in academia or with an engineering background. Also: half of the participants don’t live in the country they were born in.

The twelve Wanderlust letters so far

The twelve Wanderlust letters so far

When I first heard about the Wanderlust project I thought the ink in this box would be an ink created especially for this project. It turned out that the ink in the box was a standard ink from Pelikan’s Edelstein range. My box did contain their Topaz ink, but earlier participants on my route had a different ink in their box.

The Wanderlust ink bottle

The Wanderlust ink bottle

My Wanderlust letter

My Wanderlust letter

I did plan to use my favourite fountain pen, a white tortoiseshell M4002, but when I read the letters from the previous participants, which included nice postcards from Granada and an olive branch from Israel I thought I should also theme my letter according to my country. I wrote on British paper (Imperial Parchment, White Wove, made in Scotland and recently bought on offer in Tafford Centre’s Pen Shop) and used a Pelikan 100N fountain pen, which as far as I can tell has been produced for the British market in the 1930s or 1940s. It features a G.W. (Günther Wagner, the plant manager who took over Pelikan in the 1870s) stamped nib3.

Granada Drawing

Details on some of the envelopes

Granada Drawing

Click to admire fine details


One of the reasons why I love Pelikan fountain pens is their performance. They always start (unlike all my Cross fountain pens), they don’t skip, I never got my hand dirty because of ink in the cap (unlike my Noodlers and TWSBI fountain pens) and even if they even been unused for many months they don’t dry out or have problems starting (unlike my Cross, Noodlers, Hero  fountain pens – some of them don’t even survive a few days of non-use without drying out too much to start easily). The only other fountain pen brand I know that performs well in all these areas is Lamy.

The GW nib used to write my letter

The GW nib used to write my letter

The only shame is that Pelikan doesn’t make flexible nibs any more4. If you want one you need to get an old and flexible nib or get a nib custom ground one. Pelikan started a nib grinding service recently, but unfortunately they don’t do flex nibs.

The Wanderlust box will now make its way to South America. I hope the next participants enjoy it as much as I did.

New sticker: Preston's coat of arms

New sticker: Preston’s coat of arms

New sticker: Lancashire and Loriot

New sticker: Lancashire and Loriot

  1. Actually, there are three ink bottles, travelling at the same time but on different routes. []
  2. Recently fixed free of charge by Pelikan after the piston came out, like all previous issues I had with other pens over the years. Their service is really excellent. []
  3. which is so rare that it wasn’t even featured on Ruettinger-web where you can normally find information about all things Pelikan. I’m quite proud that a photo of my nib is now featured on Ruettinger-web. []
  4. Some of their recent nibs are however slightly flexible, as shown in this blog post from nearly exactly one year ago. []

Pelikan Wall Calendar

What a nice surprise when I came home yesterday: I got Pelikan’s huge wall calender for 2014.

October's pen and the calendar sheet on the left (image © Pelikan)

October’s pen and the calendar sheet on the left (image © Pelikan)

You get one for posting a photo on Pelikan’s Facebook page (for more details follow the link at the end of this blog post). I think there are still lots of calendars left. They have 500 to give away, but when I had a look at the submitted pictures this morning there were less than 100. If you want1 one of these calendars go to this page.

  1. You don’t need a Facebook account to take part, my wife took part and she doesn’t have a Facebook account – but you might need someone with a Facebook account to access the page, I’m not sure about that. []