Pelikan Hub Bremen

After recently moving from the UK to Germany, this year I was involved in the Pelikan Hub Bremen, rather than the Preston Hub that used to be my home hub.

The Pelikan Hub took place in a Greek restaurant in the North of Bremen. The location was chosen as it was close to public transport and also offered a big car park.

Some numbers linked this Hub: Unfortunately, three of the participants who signed up didn’t take part. There were also another three people who didn’t sign up but wanted to come along. In the end, however, they couldn’t make it. That left us with five participants which means that this was probably one of the smallest Hubs…

Despite the small number of participants I enjoyed the Hub very much. I wonder how long other Hubs went on for. This one lasted around four hours.

Thanks to Pelikan the participants got bottles of the ink of the year, nice notebooks and postcards.

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LAMY 2000 – Set / DEMAG

This is a guest post by Sebastian Becker:

Almost unimaginable today, but: Yes, there was a time when employees spent their entire working lives, from training to retirement, with just one employer. A time when companies lasted and sometimes outlasted whole generations. Corporations and conglomerates with which people associated a degree of identification that went beyond the purely professional.

There is no doubt that Duisburg DEMAG was one of these companies, which lasted from 1910 to 1973, with roots going back to 1819. DEMAG – a name that still means something to many people on the Rhine and Ruhr.

Those who had been associated with such a company for a long time were given a gift, a token of appreciation, on their work anniversary – after 25 and 40 years with the company – in addition to an extra month’s salary.

A famous example of this is SIEMENS; to this day, a very high-quality wristwatch from a German manufacturer is given to mark the anniversary: the Ludwig from NOMOS in the corresponding SIEMENS edition (one of the few companies in the present day that still has such long ties).

What is the exception today was the rule in post-war West Germany: high-quality gifts on anniversaries.

Recently, while walking through a flea market in Duisburg, I discovered just such an anniversary present: a beautiful, originally packaged, actually never used LAMY 2000 gift set, consisting of a piston fountain pen and a biro, both engraved with the DEMAG logo.My father spent his working life in the ThyssenKrupp Group. I remember that when I was a child – the 1990s! – writing instruments, often from LAMY, and also pocket knives (Victorinox) were often given away in a professional context. Whole drawers were filled with LAMY pens and miniature pocket knives. These “normal” promotional gifts often had an equivalent value of € 5.00-10.00; something like a LAMY 2000 was only given on very special occasions.

Back to the flea market in question: The seller himself was not the youngest – but too young to have worked at DEMAG himself. An heirloom from his father? Probably. Written on the box in sharpie: Black fountain pen, black biros” – the beautiful set, it ended up in some cupboard, a drawer, maybe even in the attic, as soon as it was received. A package with obvious contents, after all, the writing instruments are clearly pictured on it, and yet the previous owner felt called upon to note the contents again in full.

In the cupboard, in the drawer or in the attic, this box must have lain for decades until it was sold to me. Why were the writing instruments never used? Perhaps they were “too bad” (although one might argue that it was too bad just NOT to use them). Or maybe they were simply not appreciated and only “archived” because that was the way official gifts were made at that time.

DEMAG existed until 1973, after which some former subsidiaries continued to bear the name – but it is unlikely that the gift was made after 1973. The iconic LAMY 2000, designed by Gerd A. Müller, came onto the market in 1966. The guarantee on the nib until the year 2000 is noted in the set .

Also based on the old LAMY branding, I assume that this beauty falls exactly into that period – i.e. 1966-1973. A wonderful set. And – in more ways than one – a piece of German history.

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Staedtler x Star Wars

Merchandise from TV series and movies is all around us and is also pretty common in the stationery world, but a lot of the licensed stationery doesn’t actually show the manufacturer and quality is sometimes dubious.

In the Eighties and Nineties Staedtler used to produce quite a lot of licensed pencils with designs linked to TV series and movies. Most of these were unbranded, i.e. as a consumer you weren’t able to see these were actually made by Staedtler. It seems that this is down to the fact that in most cases Staedtler didn’t purchase the licence but produced the pencils according the customer specifications. This seems to be still common: the manufacturer is not the licence holder which might also explain the poor quality of a lot of licensed stationery as the company holding the licence might just get the cheapest factory to produce the pencils as the products get bought because of the licensed characters, not because of the quality.

I had a big collection of licensed pencils made in Staedtler’s Pontyclun factory in Wales but decided to let them find a new home as I just have too many pencils.

The printing on the pencils included some globally well known trademarks, like Lion King and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but also a lot of UK specific brands that are not well known outside the UK and Ireland, e.g. Beano and David the Gnome. To my surprise one type of pencil was particularly popular, the MASK pencil, based on an animation from the mid-Eighties. Even though I watched a lot of children animations in the mid-Eighties I was not familiar with this series and rather surprised by the popularity. The same is true for another series I wasn’t familiar with and that seemed to be very popular: Bravestarr.

The collector who took these pencils made me aware of Star Wars stationery that Staedtler used to produce and that I want to share with you today.

Image © “Star Wars Spanish Stuff”
Image © “Star Wars Spanish Stuff”

You can find the original information and more at Star Wars Spanish Stuff.

Thanks to Eberhard Rüdel and Andrea Plässer for additional information used in this blog post.

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