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Why German Penmakers Don't Use Celluloid?


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#21 Laura N

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 16:32

Germans want understated while Italians want flamboyance and flare...my understanding =)


I invite you to peruse Pelikan's line of limited edition and special edition pens. Start anywhere: the Maki-e, the Fire, the Lighthouse of Alexandria (complete with its own glass dome), the Unique Collection, the Indian Summer. Even the Toledo in yellow.

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#22 eric47

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 17:49

From what I have observed, the German firms like MB and Pelikan tend to stick with a good design and a proven material once it is perfected. Celluloid as a material has some dimensional stability and age related deterioration issues. MB and Pelikan know about these problems too well having made pens from these when no other material was available. Once they mastered the art of injection molded PMMA to make really well finished pens(at least MB, IMO) I think they are loathe to go back.

Even if they wanted to, could Pelikan and MB easily ramp production of celluloid nitrate pens? Machinery, skill, know-how, etc. are those present any longer in those companies since celluloid pens in general drop off in the 1950s and 1960s?

By the way, Pelikan has released modern celluloid nitrate pens, the LE 1935 in Jade and Lapis celluloid from 1998 and 2001, respectively . That said, the stories I have heard is that they didn't make/turn the celluloid bindes; someone else did, an Italian company no less.

Indeed celluloid has stability issues. It hit manufacturers using modern celluloid nitrate, particularly the Italians and those for whom they made pens. My Pelikan 1935 Lapis has shrunk and has undulations mid barrel for instance. Color shifts, shrinkage, all were seen early on with modern celluloid, be it nitrate and acetate -- it was a (re)learning process for both the celluloid and pen producers.

But other modern plastics aren't exactly perfect either, they've had issues as well: shrinkage, yellowing, brittleness, fragility, etc.
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#23 Cepasaccus

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 18:52

Btw. celluloid is made from nitrocellulose (cellulose nitrate) and campher (c.f. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celluloid ). I have never heard about "celluloid acetate". There is a material based on cellulose acetate. This is at least in Germany abreviated as Acetat/Azetat and very clearly distinguished from Celluloid.

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#24 eric47

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 19:17

Btw. celluloid is made from nitrocellulose (cellulose nitrate) and campher (c.f. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celluloid ). I have never heard about "celluloid acetate". There is a material based on cellulose acetate. This is at least in Germany abreviated as Acetat/Azetat and very clearly distinguished from Celluloid.


Well, cellulose acetate and cellulose nitrate are often both referred to as celluloid, which generates the confusion. Since you like wikipedia, then in cellulose acetate search the string "celluloid acetate" and you will get a hit in reference to the material in question, i.e. "cellulose acetate". While probably not technically correct "celluloid nitrate" and "celluloid acetate" can be regarded as shorthand for "celluloid of the cellulose nitrate variety" and "celluloid of the cellulose acetate variety", respectively.
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#25 minimax447

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 19:29

I did consider making some celluloid to construct a one-off pen but having seen the attendant dangers, I think I'd stick to something rather plainer!

#26 OMASmaniac

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 19:39

Germans want understated while Italians want flamboyance and flare...my understanding =)


or maybe we can say ... Germans like boring stuff, Italian like creativity Posted Image

#27 pajaro

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 19:40

What is "excluded plastic?" I haven't heard of this before.

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#28 eric47

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 19:49

What is "excluded plastic?" I haven't heard of this before.

I think he means extruded plastic.

The manufacturing process is called extrusion, which in German is Extrusion.

Edited by eric47, 29 September 2012 - 19:55.

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#29 hari317

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 20:10

Even if they wanted to, could Pelikan and MB easily ramp production of celluloid nitrate pens? Machinery, skill, know-how, etc. are those present any longer in those companies since celluloid pens in general drop off in the 1950s and 1960s?


In my estimate, I think most certainly yes. If it really want to, MB could easily afford to get the material made, and turn pens out. It is not as if they injection mold the pens and it is done. They have superb expertise to laboriously post polish the pen after molding such that the parting lines are almost invisible. They can certainly set up a CNC turning line to precision fabricate the pens from rod/tube stock. Look at Platinum for instance, they do make and sell their 3776 celluloid (nitrate) pens having an average ebay price of just about 200USD new.
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#30 humsin

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 02:25

Germans want understated while Italians want flamboyance and flare...my understanding =)


I invite you to peruse Pelikan's line of limited edition and special edition pens. Start anywhere: the Maki-e, the Fire, the Lighthouse of Alexandria (complete with its own glass dome), the Unique Collection, the Indian Summer. Even the Toledo in yellow.


Those are limited edition pens whereas Italian pens are consistently colourful (except the Homo Sapiens); even their demonstrators are tinted!!
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#31 Dillo

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 16:21

Hi,

Aurora still uses celluloid acetate in their Optima line. The first editions were not cured correctly, then they changed their processes to prevent the shrinkage from happening. Aurora also uses marbled acrylic in some of their LE pens. These pens are differentiated by their Auroloide and "marbled resin" designations. Aurora uses the celluloid acetate material for these and not the nitrate material as evidenced by the smell of the material. It is a pity that the video that details the pen-making process does not go into how those Auroloide pens are produced. It only looks at the PMMA resin 88 which is manufactured by injection molding. I'm a big fan of Aurora Auroloide.

As far as German manufacturers go, Pelikan uses celluloid acetate for the outer binde of their striped pens. Many current German pens appear to be injection molded.

As far as making pens from black celluloid goes, there doesn't seem to be any modern pens made from it. I happen to really like black celluloid, but that is a story for another day. I have a black celluloid Aurora in my collection.

Omas is one of the few companies making pens from actual celluloid nitrate. The resulting pens are very nice.

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#32 jar

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 16:25

Omas is one of the few companies making pens from actual celluloid nitrate. The resulting pens are very nice.

Dillon


How about Montegrappa?

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#33 eric47

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 16:45

Aurora still uses celluloid acetate in their Optima line. The first editions were not cured correctly, then they changed their processes to prevent the shrinkage from happening. Aurora also uses marbled acrylic in some of their LE pens. These pens are differentiated by their Auroloide and "marbled resin" designations. Aurora uses the celluloid acetate material for these and not the nitrate material as evidenced by the smell of the material. It is a pity that the video that details the pen-making process does not go into how those Auroloide pens are produced. It only looks at the PMMA resin 88 which is manufactured by injection molding. I'm a big fan of Aurora Auroloide.

As far as making pens from black celluloid goes, there doesn't seem to be any modern pens made from it. I happen to really like black celluloid, but that is a story for another day. I have a black celluloid Aurora in my collection.

While celluloid acetate (called celluloixe by Aurora) was used on the first Optimas, it's not clear that the later Auroloide materia is in fact acetate and not PMMA or some other resin. PMMA doesn't have to be black, it can be colored even with a marbled effect. The recent Nettuno Docets, made by Aurora this year were made of a marbled material, much like Auroloide; the press materials were specific on those pens, the material is PMMA.

It wouldn't surprise me that Aurora has changed the mix for the Aurorloide pens. If you compare various Auroloide Optimas over the years, the color tones have changed over the years.

Modern black celluloid pens most likely exist by the way. Some of the original Stipula black Etrurias were said to be made of celluloid. Speaking of which Stipula is another company, along with the aforementioned Montegrapps, who make celluloid nitrate pens.

Edited by eric47, 30 September 2012 - 16:47.

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#34 Florida Blue

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 17:15

Even if they wanted to, could Pelikan and MB easily ramp production of celluloid nitrate pens? Machinery, skill, know-how, etc. are those present any longer in those companies since celluloid pens in general drop off in the 1950s and 1960s?

By the way, Pelikan has released modern celluloid nitrate pens, the LE 1935 in Jade and Lapis celluloid from 1998 and 2001, respectively . That said, the stories I have heard is that they didn't make/turn the celluloid bindes; someone else did, an Italian company no less.


I'm not sure the machinery, skill and know-how was ever present, at least at Motnblanc. Much of the celluloid used to make MB pens in the 1930s to the 50s was rod stock that was made by Bayer. Apparently, MB and Bayer had an exclusive agreement in the 1930s where Bayer would provide rod stock to MB in certain colors and patterns that would only be available to them.

However, Bayer also provided celluloid to OMAS in the 1930s. Bayer celluloid was used to make some of the Extra Lucens of that time.

If MB or Pelikan wanted to release a line of pens made from celluloid nitrate they would have to buy the rods from another company if they wanted to release them in a timely manner.

Edited by Florida Blue, 30 September 2012 - 20:13.

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#35 paultyler_82

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 22:56

There may be a little confusion in terms here... cellulose nitrate was NEVER used to produce pens, and be thankful for that; cellulose nitrate is the substance widely known as guncotton. Cellulose nitrate was processed with camphor to produce celluloid, also known as Parkesine, pyroxylin, Ivorine and French Ivory, the material used in pens and many other items. The production is very nasty and dangerous as you can imagine, which is why it is no longer produced in many countries due to strict ecological controls.
Cellulose acetate is a separate thermoplastic substance which is an acetate ester made directly from raw cellulose. It's production is not near as nasty or dangerous and it is used mostly in fiber form but may be found in eyeglass frames and other items as well. It also does not have the decomposition or flammability issues that Celluloid has.

Edit: Possible reason that this confusion was encountered is that film stock used to be made from celluloid but was commonly referred to as cellulose nitrate stock. It was replaced by cellulose acetate filmstock, but the problem is that prolonged exposure to a heat source would degrade CA filmstock. While CA filmstock is still used in some applications, most film was changed yet again with the introduction of polyester film.

Edited by paultyler_82, 01 October 2012 - 23:03.

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#36 axio

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 23:21

What's so good about celluloid barrel btw?

#37 jar

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 23:41

What's so good about celluloid barrel btw?


Feel, color, depth, warmth.

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#38 humsin

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 00:42

What's so good about celluloid barrel btw?


Feel, color, depth, warmth.


...maybe proper celluloid...cos the stuff on the M1000 isn't that nice =P
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#39 Chris S

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 00:55

What's so good about celluloid barrel btw?


Feel, color, depth, warmth.


+1

I wondered the same thing until I got my Visconti Van Gogh Maxi. When I'm writing with it, I just don't want to put it down. The feel and warmth are amazing. Not to mention everything else.
All I want is 1 more pen, and 1 more bottle of ink, and maybe 1 more pad of paper. Well, at least until tomorrow. Oh yeah, and throw in that bottle of single malt. Is that asking for too much?

thanks Chris.

#40 jar

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 00:55

What's so good about celluloid barrel btw?


Feel, color, depth, warmth.


...maybe proper celluloid...cos the stuff on the M1000 isn't that nice =P


Isn't it fortunate that today we have so many other possible choices?

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