Kaweco


Kaweco’s Perkeo 6

Sebastian Gutberlet, image from my blog post about the Kaweco factory tour

Recently I have contacted Sebastian Gutberlet to find out more about the Kaweco Perkeo. All I knew is that there used to be a Kaweco fountain pen with that name in the (early?) 20th century.

Just a reminder, Sebastian is the son of Michael Gutberlet, the man who revived Kaweco. The main intention of asking Sebastian about the Perkeo was to collect some more information for the Stationery Wiki – because I couldn’t find much information on the web, but then I thought: why not turn it into a blog post.

Thanks to Sebastian Gutberlet for this image

It’s been a long time coming

It came as quite a surprise to find out that this new Perkeo has been in the making for a very long time. Sebastian’s grandfather Horst Gutberlet ((Michael Gutberlet’s father)) actually developed the new Perkeo’s precursor in 1997. The prototype was resting in Michael Gurberlet’s desk for many years before now being finalised and released.

I’ve mentioned more than once that when I went to school you had to use a fountain pen, at least in Bavaria where I’m originally from. I’m not sure about the current pen situation in schools there, but my guess would be that on the continent there are (still) many schools where pupils write with fountain pens. The grip zone is supposed to help the pupil with holding the pen the right way. As a beginner’s fountain pen the Perkeo is probably aimed at these pupils (..but that doesn’t mean we adults can’t have fun with this pen, too).

It will be available in four colour combinations and according to Sebastian Gutberlet the Perkeo will be released in Juni or July the latest.

Thanks to Sebastian Gutberlet for this image

 


I’d like to thank Sebastian Gutberlet for answering my questions and providing pictures for this blog post.


Repairs & Alterations – All On Liberal Terms 2


The weather was really nice this weekend and since there was something we had to do in Manchester anyway we decided to spend the afternoon in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. Fred Aldous, mentioned in the past, is also located in the Northern Quarter.


One of the shops I discovered and I haven’t been to before is the Dedstock General Store. It’s a gem of a store selling a nice choice of wares for it’s size, including stationery, items for shaving (including Mühle blades), enamel items and other things.


The owner was just working on a sewing machine. He said he was mending things, but it looked like a much bigger operation (the word upcycling and hundred year old garments spring to mind).


In terms of stationery there were Dux and Gedess sharpeners, Kaweco and Mindori pens and accessories, the Blackwing remake and Calepino notebooks. Items priced above £50 were stored behind the counter (no photo, sorry).

Repairs & Alterations – All On Liberal Terms

I’m happy I came across this unusual store and will visit again next time I’m in the Northern Quarter.


Visiting Kaweco in Nuremberg 4

End of last year I had the opportunity to get a tour of Kaweco’s premises in Nuremberg, lead by none other than Sebastian Gutberlet himself. He is the son of Michael Gutberlet – the man who brought Kaweco back in the 1990s.

Sebastian Gutberlet

Kaweco did offer a tour of their premises at the time the Insights X trade fair was on, but back then I didn’t have the time to take this offer up.

The museum contains many pens from Kaweco’s past

 

..as well as more modern items from Kaweco’s recent history

 

The offices and the factory are actually just next to Nuremberg’s convention centre. They will soon house a shop and a museum, too.

Old Kaweco pens in the museum

 

Old machines in the museum

As you might know, Kaweco used to be based in Heidelberg (where Lamy is), but since Michael Gutberlet brought it back to life in the 1990s it is based in Nuremberg (where Staedtler and many other stationery manufacturers are).

..and old materials that were used to make pens

 

Sebastian demonstrating how the old machines worked

The factory visit was actually supposed to take place a few days earlier, but illness meant that our family’s trip to Germany was delayed. Luckily we were able to rebook the ferry. Kaweco was happy to accommodate, but as the tour now took place on 23rd December, with December 24th being kind of the most important Christmas day around here, there were no workers in the factory assembling pens and I couldn’t see (or film) the machines in action.

No workers that day, so I didn’t see the machines being used by professionals

Parts for assembling pens

That was a shame, I would have loved to see how fast workers are assembling Kaweco pens. At least I’ve seen this type of machine in action before ..when Kaweco let visitors assemble their own pens at Insights X.

Sebastian Gutberlet wasn’t the only Sebastian in the room….

In case you wonder: the plastic parts for the pens aren’t made at this location. They are designed by Kaweco but outsourced as you’d need a lot of expenditure for machines etc if you’d want to make all the parts yourself. The parts are however all coming back to Nuremberg to be assembled here. Depending on how big the batch or order is the pens can also be engraved here.

More vintage pens from the museum

 

Except housing the machines these premises also include the warehouse, which was busy because annual stocktaking was just taking place.

Hmm, the shelves must be full of stationery goodies

 

Even more goodies. Can I stay overnight?

Even more goodies. Can I stay overnight?

Since we were in Nuremberg anyway and it was just before Christmas we used to opportunity to visit Nuremberg’s Christmas market, probably the most famous one in Germany. By the way, Sebastian’s Ewok hat in the following picture from Nuremberg’s Christmas market that day was handmade by Shangching from East…West…Everywhere.

At Nuremberg's Christmas market

At Nuremberg’s Christmas market

We had a great day visiting Kaweco and Nuremberg. I hope I will have a chance to go back there once the museum and shop are officially open.


Kaweco’s Royal Blue and other blues

When Scribble offered me to send some Kaweco inks for testing I was quite excited.

My wife and I have, between us, a few Kaweco fountain pens and ink cartridges and in 2012 it got even ‘worse’ when Cultpens had an offer where you could get a free Kaweco Twist and Out Cartridge Dispenser, that offer involved buying even more cartridges.

..but  recently I started assuming that the Kaweco inks have some special properties, based this sentence Cultpens had in their description of Kaweco inks:

The colours and character of these inks is very reminiscent of the long-discontinued rotring inks.

..so Scribble’s offer was very much appreciated.

Scribble's sample and my other blues

Scribble’s sample and my other blues

Well, Cultpens has now removed this sentence from their web site, but nevertheless, I was intrigued. What are those colours and characteristics? They’d have to be somehow special to be worth mentioning. I wouldn’t be surprised if neither Rotring nor Kaweco make/made their own inks, so maybe all of these inks are made by a third party, probably a German company, so are these inks maybe even identical?

Luckily I still had some NOS Rotring ink (even unopened) from many years ago. These are pretty hard to come by these days. I only found one on eBay USA and one on eBay in Europe.

I didn’t know what to expect from the Kaweco and Rotring ink, so the whole thing was more exploratory and I didn’t have any hypotheses, mainly because I wasn’t even sure what Rotring’s magic ink properties are supposed to be.

To find out more I thought I compare the Kaweco and the Rotring blue to some other blues. Unfortunately I didn’t have what I would think of as the standard blue, Pelikan’s royal blue, at home. I also didn’t have Lamy’s blue. I guess after writing with these for more than a decade when I was in school I wanted to try some other inks and never stocked up one them again.

For comparison, additional to the Kaweco and Rotring, I picked Diamine’s Blue Velvet (one of the 150 years anniversary ink) and Cartier Blue (or should that be must de Cartier, as written on the ink bottle?).

Blue ink comparison Kaweco Rotring Diamine Cartier

 

Well, I wasn’t disappointed, but as I mentioned, I didn’t have any expectations either. The Kaweco Royal Blue is definitely a different ink than the Rotring Brillant Blue, also called Ultramarine. To be honest, there are so many languages on the box, I am not sure whether Ultramarine is supposed to be the English name for this ink or the ink in another language, but I have seen people call this ink Ultramarine on the web, so it might help identifying this ink.

Blue ink comparison Kaweco Rotring Diamine Cartier

The Kaweco Blue is stronger and less red than the Rotring Brillant Blue. Have a look.

Blue ink comparison Kaweco Rotring Diamine Cartier

The Rotring is the least blue and most red ink in this comparison. It is however still a proper blue ink.

Blue ink comparison Kaweco Rotring Diamine Cartier

The Diamine Blue Velvet is strong and dark and certainly happier and less serious than the Kaweco (oh my, this is getting very subjective now).

Blue ink comparison Kaweco Rotring Diamine Cartier

The Cartier Blue is probably the most reserved and modest of the bunch.

Well – I am still not clear about these properties of the Rotring and the Kaweco that Cultpens hinted at without going into any details.

Maybe some water can help to solve the mystery?

Blue ink comparison Kaweco Rotring Diamine Cartier

No. I’m still not any closer to finding out what these properties are. Well, it doesn’t matter though. They are all nice blues. I wonder which one I should try next in a fountain pen…

By the way, I used a dip pen with a Brause No 361 nib (Shangching calls this nib the blue pumpkin), to make it easier to control ink cross contamination. This results in much more ink being out on the paper than with your average fountain pen.


Kaweco at Insights X 2016 3

Kaweco stand

Kaweco’s stand was the stand most visitors would see first as it was just next to the entrance to the first hall.

They showed many of their new products. I particularly liked the red fountain pen. It is a red colour that feels like a red that has been revived from Kaweco’s past, but when I asked about this I was told that it is a new colour they came up with recently.

Kaweco new pens

 

Kaweco also introduced new packaging in the form of a big plastic screw (you can see it in the back on the left, in the photo above).

The employee at the stand also told me that black is their ‘best colour, so they introduced black as part of their ICE Sport series (that’s the series of Sport pens that are half transparent)

Ink-wise they showed their new colours Smokey Grey and Sunrise Orange.

The new nib holder is at the bottom

The new nib holder is at the bottom

 

Kaweco’s new aluminium dip pen / nib holder was also being presented at their stand. There is only one nib for now, but more will be available in the future.

What I found most exciting: They brought all the tools needed to assemble their fountain pens. I was lucky enough to have witnessed how these tools are being used and made a little video. The pen being assembled is a fountain pen that is a bit darker than the new Macciato colour. This Caramel colour is limited to 300 pieces.

The last item I want to show is their new pen holder in the shape of a German Shepard, Kaweco’s heraldic animal. The pen is made from artificial stone. I have used Pelikan’s pen holder in the shape of a pelican, but it is made of some sort of ceramic and will scratch the plastic body of Pelikan pens. From the looks of it I think the problem with scratches shouldn’t be as bad with Kaweco’s pen holder, but I haven’t really tried it out.

Kaweco German Shepard pen holder

I was happy to hear that all of these items will be available in the UK.


You can find more information about Kaweco’s new products on their web site.

I found more information about the Kaweco pen holder at mostwanted-pens.com.