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Which Pelikan?

vintage large nib

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#1 Manalto

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Posted 19 March 2015 - 14:18

Recently I bought my first Pelikan, a Souveran M800, at a good price on eBay. It was never delivered, so I got a refund. I'm happy about this because, true to form, I did much of my investigating on Pelikans after ordering the pen, and learned that veteran collectors lament the decline in quality of Pelikan nibs in recent years. What pen would you recommend I look for that is about the size (girth) of the 800 but has the excellent nib that Pelikan is (was?) famous for?

 

James


Edited by Manalto, 19 March 2015 - 14:30.

James


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#2 sargetalon

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Posted 19 March 2015 - 14:33

The larger pens of today like the M800 and M1000 are more of a modern phenomenon. In the glory days of Pelikan nibs, the pens were generally much smaller, like the size of the M400 which was standard (I guess small now by today's standards). Your best bet if you are looking for a pen of that size and weight with a better nib would be to find an M800 from the late 80's or early 90's but that will likely cost you. If you can step down to a lighter, smaller pen, something like a vintage 400NN may be a nice fit with a much better price tag. The older nibs really are a joy to write with and so much more expressive than today's nibs.

Oh , and it's not the quality of the nibs that I lament. They are generally true to their manufacturing, which suits a lot of people just fine. It's just that in today's world that means stiff with lots of blobby tipping creating a wide, wet line and only very standard nib sizes in EF, F, M, and B. That does lend itself very nicely to wonderful custom grinds though.

Good luck with your search.

Edited by sargetalon, 19 March 2015 - 14:34.

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#3 nyx_h

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Posted 19 March 2015 - 14:39

I have a vintage 400, modern M600, M800 and a M1005 on the way. I enjoy my modern M800 with its big BB nib the most so far. It's smooth, wet and provides a very nice writing experience. Granted, I had to try out a few nibs before I found the one that suited me best, the ones I tried either had some QC issues (limited ink flow, scratchiness) or did not feel as good to write with. As sargetalon, they're great contenders for a custom nib grind! 


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#4 Manalto

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Posted 19 March 2015 - 14:52

Thanks, Sarge, this is helpful. Presumably the stiffer, less expressive nibs now being produced are to accommodate those who are adapted to the more heavy-handed habits of ballpoint use? 

 

Maybe I'm underestimating the size of the M800. I saw (here on FPN) a comparison that included the Waterman Le Man Opera and Sheaffer PFM, both pens that I have and find comfortable. (Also, the more lowly, but to my mind underrated No Nonsense is a good fit.) Aren't the Duofold, Sheaffer Balance and Montblanc 146 about the same size? I just don't like skinny pens; a 1/2" (13mm) grip seems about right.

 

Is there a way to tell the vintage of an M800, so I know it's from the 80s or 90s?


James


#5 sargetalon

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Posted 19 March 2015 - 15:06

Thanks, Sarge, this is helpful. Presumably the stiffer, less expressive nibs now being produced are to accommodate those who are adapted to the more heavy-handed habits of ballpoint use? 
 
Maybe I'm underestimating the size of the M800. I saw (here on FPN) a comparison that included the Waterman Le Man Opera and Sheaffer PFM, both pens that I have and find comfortable. (Also, the more lowly, but to my mind underrated No Nonsense is a good fit.) Aren't the Duofold, Sheaffer Balance and Montblanc 146 about the same size? I just don't like skinny pens; a 1/2" (13mm) grip seems about right.
 
Is there a way to tell the vintage of an M800, so I know it's from the 80s or 90s?


You're assumption about why modern nibs are produced this way mirrors my thoughts.

The M800 has a diameter of 0.52 inches, is 5.59 inches capped and 6.57 inches posted. Weighs about 0.99oz. I can't speak to it in comparison to the other pens you've mentioned as I've not used those.

Rick Propas host an excellent article that he wrote on his site the PENguin detailing how to date an M800. Links off the first page. Worth checking out.

PELIKAN - Too many birds in the flock to count.  My pen chest has proven to be a most fertile breeding ground.

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THE PELIKAN'S PERCH - A growing reference site for all things Pelikan


#6 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 19 March 2015 - 15:13

I have a 605 with a semi-flex B from my 400n. :drool: :puddle: :notworthy1:

 

A 800 is a Large pen so sort of clunky and is a nail, unless you can get a W. Germany or pre'98 one.

A 600 and there are so many beautiful ones, is a light and nimble medium-large pen with a thicker girth than a medium-large 400nn.

 

My advice is to find the 600 that appeals most to you, and buy both a semi-flex to start with and after a few months to get use to semi-flex buy a 'flexi'/maxi-semi-flex from Penboard de.

 

Sell the blobby semi-nail nib the modern 600's come with. Or send it off to be made stub or CI. There is not much else one can do.

You are just about stuck with the 800's nib in the 400's nibs don't fit.

 

The 'semi-vintage' 600's are the same size as a 400. Just the deluxe version, the nib is well liked, even if it's not vintage semi-flex or 'maxi'.

 

If you post your 600/400nn or 400 it is longer than an un-posted 800 and better balanced.

 

The vintage pens had to have had superb balance to keep market share.

Modern Large pens don't have the balance....and many later generation folks, don't know better.

 

Gee, now that I got that 400n's nib in my 600....I can go looking for the beautiful ones :puddle: .....as soon as my money bush gets back from it's winter long holiday in St. Moritz.

 

Of course I am a bit prejudiced against big clunky Large pens. Do have both the more comfortable to me, '50-60's medium-large and a '70's-80's Large 146. I always feel it takes me time to adjust to my 146.

Got a Townsend, Lamy Persona and a big, light but still clunky Safari. Some long metal Pelikans also.

 

I could talk my self into a W. Germany 800, got a real, real nice true regular flex nib with a nice amount of spring. It would be worth getting use to. 

 

Too bad you like fat pens....I was shocked when I found out the thin and elegant Snorkel of mine was a Large pen. :doh:  :headsmack: 


Edited by Bo Bo Olson, 19 March 2015 - 15:22.

German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany      Info on Bock nibs

 

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#7 kansaskyle

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Posted 19 March 2015 - 15:14

Rick also sells vintage Pelikans, including some of the M800's from the 1980's and 1990's.  Check out this link.


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#8 Manalto

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Posted 19 March 2015 - 18:10

Thank you everyone, this is extremely helpful. Pelikans designations were alphabet (and numeric) soup to me, and now things are clearing up a little. I'm trying to learn as quickly as I can. 

 

 

 

Too bad you like fat pens....I was shocked when I found out the thin and elegant Snorkel of mine was a Large pen. :doh:  :headsmack:

 

I didn't say I like fat pens; I said I don't like skinny ones. There's plenty of middle ground, right?

 

I'm pretty flexible about what pens I use and enjoy the variety. My daily carry pen is a Targa (not the slim) with a grip around .375". I do old-school architectural drawings with a Rapidograph, make multiple carbon copies with a ballpoint using white-knuckle force, practice calligraphy with wet noodles, stubs, and antique pens (nibs) of all sorts  - you get the idea. After learning the feel of a writing instrument, I can adjust to it pretty quickly, if not immediately. I confess to not having a whole lot of patience with those who are so "discriminating" and narrow in their preferences that almost nothing will do. My philosophy is that it's their loss by choosing the fussy route rather than the inclusive one.

 

However, if I'm going to shell out a couple (or a few) hundred dollars, it's time to be just a little fussier. I want neither chopstick nor cigar. My hands are toward the large end of average sized, so a little girth feels nice. Balance is far more important than length, absurdly long or stubby examples excepted. I trust in the consensus of opinion here that the earlier Pelikans were superior to those being produced today. The 400s and 600s (before 1998?) sound great.

 

Thanks, Kyle, for the link!


Edited by Manalto, 19 March 2015 - 18:13.

James


#9 Manalto

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 21:33

Bought a tortoise 400NN from the early 1950s with a flex nib from Rick Propas. I told him I'd sing his praises here if I'm pleased with the results.

 

From what I've heard here, I'm already glad I went the vintage route. Thanks to all of you for helping me figure this out. 


James






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