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Pelikan 550 Brown Tortoise Shell Pencil, And Question

pelikan mechanical pencil pelikan 550

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17 replies to this topic

#1 MYU

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Posted 07 May 2018 - 20:08

A long time ago, maybe back about 7 years ago, I had a beautiful Pelikan 400NN fountain pen.  I loved the brown tortoise shell body.  Just exquisite.  For me, it was the quintessential Pelikan.  Anyway, to make a long story short, I traded it away for a different fountain pen.  At the time, I had my sights set on a replacement for it (the 400N, with squared off ends, versus torpedo ends), but the deal fell through.  Actually, I'd always had a weak spot for the 500, which featured a rolled gold cap in place of the plain dark brown or black cap.  But those are much more expensive.

 

Fast forward, I had a chance to pick up the mechanical pencil companion to the 500.  So this enabled me to capture the aesthetic of the fountain pen without the exorbitant cost.  This one had a clip problem--it was bent outward--and the seller hadn't a clue how to fix it.  Plus she thought the pencil was broken since the clutch was sticking out of the front end (that's actually normal, as this has a nose-forward clutch) and there didn't seem to be any way to get access to the lead inside.  The rear plug was stuck because of lead dust, so I was able to pull it out and clean it.  There was plenty of lead inside!  The only bummer is that the eraser, which is cleverly inside the rear plug (you just unscrew it), has desiccated.  Not sure how to get a replacement for it.

 

Pelikan_550_MP_tortoise_01.jpg
 
Pelikan_550_MP_tortoise_02.jpg

 

But... my main question is this:  How does the rolled gold cap separate from the tortoise shell celluloid body?  I tried applying some force to unscrew it and to pull on it (presuming it's a friction fit), but it doesn't want to budge.  I'm afraid of doing something wrong and breaking this pencil, which is actually working just fine.  But the pen steward in me is itching to disassemble this pencil so I can thoroughly examine it and clean if necessary.  The nose cone will unscrew, but that doesn't appear to help much.Any idea how to take this apart?


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#2 christof

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Posted 07 May 2018 - 20:33

Hi G.
unfortunately, I cannot help with your problem. I have never disassembled a 450/550.
...only thing Incan say is: I LOVE this penilcs!!

37094053981_35a798544b_h.jpg

I'm trying to build a small collection. the 550's are still missing.
good luck my friend!
C.
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#3 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 07 May 2018 - 22:48

I had a problem with the top of my 450, until I discovered all I had to do was grab the top above the clip and twist. The pen does not come apart at the 'joint' so there is no reason to try. I did but I was ignorant of the top being above the clip.

Congrats on the 500MP.

 

I would expect any decent pen shop...well German would have that eraser. E-Mail: service@fritz-schimpf.de

I got my brown marbled 200 from them.

 

I always hated MP's from what ever '50-60's junk that was around including the better Jotter, and even my BP/MP P-75, when I had the MP cartridge in it.

Then I tried my 450, :cloud9:  and what great balance it had. For 6 weeks I wrote only with that mechanical pencil, didn't touch a fountain pen. :yikes:

 

The BP 455 is a nothing special '50's ball point.


Edited by Bo Bo Olson, 07 May 2018 - 22:50.

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 & https://www.peter-bo...cts/nib-systems,

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

 

 


#4 MYU

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Posted 07 May 2018 - 23:37

Hi G.
unfortunately, I cannot help with your problem. I have never disassembled a 450/550.
...only thing Incan say is: I LOVE this penilcs!!

37094053981_35a798544b_h.jpg

I'm trying to build a small collection. the 550's are still missing.
good luck my friend!
C.

 

They are indeed beautiful writing instruments.  Stunning collection you have there, C.!  I didn't realize there was a gray color version.

 

I had a problem with the top of my 450, until I discovered all I had to do was grab the top above the clip and twist. The pen does not come apart at the 'joint' so there is no reason to try. I did but I was ignorant of the top being above the clip.

Congrats on the 500MP.

 

I would expect any decent pen shop...well German would have that eraser. E-Mail: service@fritz-schimpf.de

I got my brown marbled 200 from them.

 

I always hated MP's from what ever '50-60's junk that was around including the better Jotter, and even my BP/MP P-75, when I had the MP cartridge in it.

Then I tried my 450, :cloud9:  and what great balance it had. For 6 weeks I wrote only with that mechanical pencil, didn't touch a fountain pen. :yikes:

 

The BP 455 is a nothing special '50's ball point.

 

Thanks for the info, Bo Bo. I did get the "end cap" to rotate a little, but I didn't move it beyond that.  Given the two dramatically different materials (celluloid and metal), they must separate... but I expect there's a trick to it.  Knowing Pelikan with their complicated piston mechanisms, they don't make it easy.  I'm going to give up trying, though.  I don't want to mess up the pencil and it may very well continue working fine for the remainder of my days.  I'd thought that with a metal rear section it would be rear-heavy, but it balances right at the "joint" between metal and celluloid.  I don't usually use lead any larger than 0.9mm, except for 2mm when drawing. So 1.18mm is a weird lead size for me.  Yet, the beauty of this pencil may just coax me to use it anyway.  ;)


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#5 christof

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Posted 08 May 2018 - 04:12

 

They are indeed beautiful writing instruments.  Stunning collection you have there, C.!  I didn't realize there was a gray color version.

 

 

The 450's / 550's were available in the same color range as the 400 / 500, demonstrator included...

 

16631962723_a3b0a134eb_c.jpg

 

...lots of them are still  missing as you can see :(

 

C.


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#6 joss

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Posted 08 May 2018 - 08:18

But... my main question is this:  How does the rolled gold cap separate from the tortoise shell celluloid body?  I tried applying some force to unscrew it and to pull on it (presuming it's a friction fit), but it doesn't want to budge.  I'm afraid of doing something wrong and breaking this pencil, which is actually working just fine.  But the pen steward in me is itching to disassemble this pencil so I can thoroughly examine it and clean if necessary.  The nose cone will unscrew, but that doesn't appear to help much.Any idea how to take this apart?

 

The caps of the 400/500 pencil are solidly friction fit onto the barrel so if you try to separate them you will most likely end with a broken barrel.

 

The pencil mechanism is held in place by the front nose cone and by the clip washer ring. So if you unscrew both the nose cone and washer ring, the pencil mechanism pops out from the top. Be careful with the clip washer ring because it is made from plastic, not metal, and therefore quite fragile.



#7 joss

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Posted 08 May 2018 - 14:15

As an addition to the comment and photos above: I have this Pelikan 550 pencil with numerous hairline cracks in the barrel. I was using the pencil regularly and I thought the cracks were stable but the barrel finally started to crumble last week.

Interestingly, the crumbling barrel reveals a sort of shrink wrapped sheet that sits between the barrel and the brass tube which holds the pencil mechanism.

 

Here are some pictures of this poor pencil, the last one shows the different parts:

 

fpn_1525787871__pen1.jpg

 

fpn_1525787920__pen2_sm.jpg

 

fpn_1525787959__pen4.jpg



#8 MYU

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Posted 08 May 2018 - 18:16

@Joss, thank you for the info!  I'm relieved to know about the permanent friction fit attachment of the end cap and barrel, so I won't fiddle with it again.   And... I feel a bit stupid, because I'd taken off the nose cone first, put it back on, then took of the rear clip screw-on ring... I hadn't taken off both together.  So that ring is plastic with a gold or gold-tone metallic coating?  Good to know this, because after I'd fixed the upward bent clip, I secured the ring on pretty tightly to help keep the clip firmly in place. I won't try to force it any more than that, in case of the plastic cracking.  So there's no gasket involved anywhere, like inside the ring or underneath the clip mount?  I didn't see any, so if there's supposed to be one the previous owner lost it.

 

Curious to see the full array of parts.  So am I right that this pencil has a double-clutch lead expelling mechanism?

 

Sorry to see your 550 suffering those nasty barrel cracks. Fascinating to see what's underneath.  I wonder if that "shrink wrap" was once smooth plastic that eventually shriveled up due to aging?


Edited by MYU, 08 May 2018 - 18:19.

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#9 sargetalon

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 12:14

The breakdown of the pencil is neat to see and a good resource for future reference.  As far as the eraser goes, not sure how to source a replacement.  Could any of today's modern Pelikan pencil eraser replacements be made to fit?  Maybe something worth exploring.  That or just don't make any mistakes.


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#10 MYU

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Posted 10 May 2018 - 17:31

The breakdown of the pencil is neat to see and a good resource for future reference.  As far as the eraser goes, not sure how to source a replacement.  Could any of today's modern Pelikan pencil eraser replacements be made to fit?  Maybe something worth exploring.  That or just don't make any mistakes.

Mechanical pencil installed erasers do come in a variety of sizes.  Unfortunately they don't seem to be sold in that manner -- it's usually by the brand.  And for Pelikan, they've gone the route of using the smaller "universal" eraser size.  This particular eraser is 5mm in diameter.  I've discovered that Jet Pens identifies an eraser size "S" for Uni pencils, which is 4.5mm in diameter.  It may be close enough.  If anything to increase diameter, applying a little aluminum tape would provide for secure mounting.  I only use these erasers for minor erasing, when my full size eraser is not on hand.


Edited by MYU, 10 May 2018 - 17:32.

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#11 Tweel

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 18:57

A Sheaffer Type G eraser is 5 mm in diameter.


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#12 MYU

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 20:56

A Sheaffer Type G eraser is 5 mm in diameter.

Excellent -- thank you!  I see Sheaffer still makes these too.


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#13 MYU

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 01:58

Just a follow-up.  I'd ordered a couple sets of the Sheaffer 5mm Type-G erasers.  It turns out they are too wide to use in the Pelikan 550 pencil as-is.  My 550 had a metal sheath in eraser holder, which contained the fossilized eraser. After excavating the old remnants, I tried to put the new 5mm eraser into it... but it made it too wide to fit in the holder.  So I took out the sheath and just slid the eraser directly into the holder.  It fit nicely.  Of course, if and when the eraser wears down, there's no means of being able to coax the eraser to sit higher in order to use it up.  At that point, I'd just crumple up a little paper to put inside and provide enough bolster to make the eraser stick out.  And then when it's even smaller, I'll probably be able to stick it inside the original sheath and make use of it until it's done.  Providing of course I don't lose the sheath!


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#14 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 09:24

Why not write Pelikan to see if they have any erasers that fit, or can tell you which would?


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 & https://www.peter-bo...cts/nib-systems,

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

 

 


#15 Kalessin

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 18:44

One thing you can do is get an X-Acto or similar razor-type craft knife, and whittle down the eraser where it would be gripped by the holder.

 

Remember to keep your fingers safe if you do this!


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#16 MYU

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 22:07

Why not write Pelikan to see if they have any erasers that fit, or can tell you which would?

The Pelikan corporate website with store doesn't stock those erasers (LINK). I looked on-line and was stunned to see how much they're charging for erasers (LINK).  So I'd rather find a compatible size and pay $5 USD rather than $21 USD plus shipping.


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#17 MYU

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 22:11

One thing you can do is get an X-Acto or similar razor-type craft knife, and whittle down the eraser where it would be gripped by the holder.

 

Remember to keep your fingers safe if you do this!

 

Last resort, perhaps.  When you start slicing up erasers, it gets wonky (won't be perfectly cut).  It seems the better method is when not being able to find an exact fit, get it slightly smaller so you can just use a little tape (aluminum works great) to add girth and make it fit.


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#18 Anchovy

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 14:00

Why not write Pelikan to see if they have any erasers that fit, or can tell you which would?

 

I have just managed to take apart and clean my 450 with the help of the picture above: many thanks. I too had a desiccated eraser stuck inside the push button. Once you've fiddled to get it out you'll realise that there are threads on the inside of the push button so it must have been possible to screw out a little more of the eraser without losing fit until it was used up. I doubt whether they still make such sophisticated parts (even palomino blackwing's bracket doesn't really work).

 

More importantly, there is a wonderful customer services person at Pelikan's who loves answering obscure questions from the archive about nibs, parts, repair, production cycles - you name it. Her name is Bogumila Przybylok, and her email is Bogumila.Przybylok@pelikan.com 

She is a marvel of helpfulness in German, but I don't know whether she speaks English. 







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