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Praise To Pelikan 400 Tortoise

pelikan 400 tortoise km nib

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#1 LyaT

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Posted 31 July 2019 - 07:21

Maybe it is known to many Pelikan fans already, of the beauty of vintage tortoise shells. However, I was shocked when I opened the parcel and saw my 400 tortoise for the very first time. This is some otherworldly kind of beauty, breathtaking! The tortoise shells change color from light to dark, from honey to blood red. The rest of the pen is in warm brown color, clearly brown, striking and matching perfectly with the tortoise.

I inked it with MB Toffee Brown. Here are my two tortoise pens. The 400 cap and knob matches perfectly with the ink.
fpn_1564552655__c37a6544-a27b-48d7-ab17-

It has a KM nib, marked on the knob.
fpn_1564552639__215acbf5-899c-4b34-879d-

The nib is KM. To my surprise, the ball-ish nib is still nicely stubbish! And it is smooth, I can rotate my pen a little and still write the same. The nib has script logo, no marking on the cap ring. From what I read, it is made in the early 50s only.

It gives line variations. Without pressure it writes like a stub, with subtle line variations. Nice semi-flex. Easier to flex (as in less pressure needed) than my 400nn M nib with bird logo. I have a theory of script nib being better at semi-flex, dont know if you would agree. The nib makes a sound when I write, much more so than my 400nn nib. The sound is similar to my M101n M nib, but I have CI grind on that nib, dont know if that changes the sound. The 400 nib is extremely wet. Toffee brown looks much darker. I will appreciate any suggestions to make the nib dryer.
fpn_1564552624__4a93a50d-a5e6-4865-8186-

All my birds (less the 400nn, I swapped its nib into M620). The 400 is clearly brown.

fpn_1564552582__3585bf64-242e-42bf-a22c-

I am really lucky to acquire a 400 tortoise in this condition. The pen is almost mint, can pass for NOS, if you ignore the old metal look inside the cap. The piston seal is nice, no leak. I applied some oil that came with my TWSBI eco, the piston moves smoothly. I can see through the tortoise under light, to check ink levels.

I paid E235 shipped. It is steep, almost the same as a new M400 white tortoise. Well, but it is hard to find one in this condition. I think it is worth the price.

Now the 400 is competing against M101n red tortoise for the spot of my favorite pen. I swapped a semi-vintage OB nib into M101n. Cant say which I like better, they are very different pens and nibs.

Edited by LyaT, 31 July 2019 - 07:37.


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#2 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 31 July 2019 - 15:57

That had to be a buy now....in I can still get the 400/400nn tortoise from between E100-120 if I Hunt on German Ebay (Ebay.de).....that requires more time..in that case time is less money.

 

The Pirate Seller's Cartel, have been contaminating the regular Ebay auction section by putting their Buy Now pens, in that at @ E10 less than their Stateside priced Buy Now offerings.

So you have to Hunt.....they want to drag the price up, so everyone puts their pens in for way too much money.....

Do look in past auctions to see what the regular offered pens sell for........a big difference.

 

I have a Geha 790 KM and a Osmia 773 I think it is in KM also.

 

Both are semi-flex, and flat and stubbed on the bottom which was normal for those K...kugal/ball nibs, with the ball on top of the nib and a bit thicker tip than the regular semi-flex, so it does write a bit wider.

I'm not sure but would guess that they made K nibs in the '30's for those who liked to hold a fountain pen like a pencil.....in the newfangled ball point didn't start contaminating how one holds a fountain pen until the ball point came in in the mid-50's. 

 

Yours looks more sea green....more than brown.

 

I have a '54 transitional tortoise (nib marked, not piston cap marked) and a 500.

The 400n was 'the normal start of marking nibs........

Also a '90-96...in tortoise was made from '83-96 not the '82-97 of the green striped M400 with out the gold piston ring.

The 500 and '54 400 are a lighter brown tortoise than my '90's one. Oddly to me the rolled gold cap of my 500, makes the darker '90-96 400's tortoise look dull. I hadn't expected that.

A '90's tortoise.

Mh9fmyO.jpg

 

 

I had looked in a couple Pelikan pen blogs....and there are a bit more variation in tortoise than I had known.

One of these days...if I sell some pens, I'd be looking for a '30's version of the red capped tortoise you have.

 

I buy cheap old pens, in my wallet has me in court for wallet abuse.

 

In 1938 the Boehler brothers split their Osmia factory. This is a Boehler gold mdl 54. @ '38.

When I buy a pen, I take the photo's, in mine turn out poorly.

qEZw8vj.jpg


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.

 

 

 


#3 jchch1950

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Posted 31 July 2019 - 16:15

An important pen in any Pelikan collection. ;)



#4 inkstainedruth

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Posted 31 July 2019 - 16:17

Lovely pen, LyaT.   

My first Pelikan was a modern (1990s era) M400 Brown Tortoise, and the tortoises sure are pretty, aren't they?  :wub:  I only have one vintage bird, a green striped 400, and while the color just screams "Pelikan" (the green stripe really is sort of iconic) I'm just not all that enamored of the color (the OB nib on it, on the other hand.... B)).  The M400 has a very juicy and springy F nib on it.  

Yeah, the cap and blind cap on the BT is really brown -- I didn't realize that at first when I got mine, until I put it up against a green marbled M200 a friend gave me, after reading about the color in a thread on here.

I'm a little surprised at the ink in your uploads -- I had tried Toffee Brown and found it to be way too red a brown for my taste (I prefer browns that lean more sepia).  But until I read what it was, I was guessing  from the photos that it was something like Edelstein Smoky Quartz (which is much more to my taste in browns, colorwise).

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth


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#5 Soot

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Posted 31 July 2019 - 17:24

Congratulations on your vintage 400! They are wonderful pens and very dependable.

 

I used to have a few KM nib 400s, to correct their wet nib, you just have to use a dry ink. I don't think there's a way around it, unless you plan to make modification to the nib/feed/etc.

 

And yes, these script nibs are superior to the later bird logo nibs IMO. Enjoy!


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#6 DrCodfish

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Posted 31 July 2019 - 20:10

Great pens! I have one, w/a Stubbed Bnib.  It's Always inked, almost always with Diamine Chocolate. 



#7 LyaT

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Posted 31 July 2019 - 20:27

Great pens! I have one, w/a Stubbed Bnib.  It's Always inked, almost always with Diamine Chocolate. 


Oh wow, did you stub a modern nib and fit it into vintage 400?

#8 LyaT

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Posted 31 July 2019 - 20:29

Congratulations on your vintage 400! They are wonderful pens and very dependable.
 
I used to have a few KM nib 400s, to correct their wet nib, you just have to use a dry ink. I don't think there's a way around it, unless you plan to make modification to the nib/feed/etc.
 
And yes, these script nibs are superior to the later bird logo nibs IMO. Enjoy!


Hey thanks! Are your KM nibs also on the wet side? My KM is miles wetter than M605 F.

I ordered J herbin lie the de, that is the driest brown ink I know. Hope it will make it better.

#9 LyaT

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Posted 31 July 2019 - 20:33

Lovely pen, LyaT.   
My first Pelikan was a modern (1990s era) M400 Brown Tortoise, and the tortoises sure are pretty, aren't they?  :wub:  I only have one vintage bird, a green striped 400, and while the color just screams "Pelikan" (the green stripe really is sort of iconic) I'm just not all that enamored of the color (the OB nib on it, on the other hand.... B)).  The M400 has a very juicy and springy F nib on it.  
Yeah, the cap and blind cap on the BT is really brown -- I didn't realize that at first when I got mine, until I put it up against a green marbled M200 a friend gave me, after reading about the color in a thread on here.
I'm a little surprised at the ink in your uploads -- I had tried Toffee Brown and found it to be way too red a brown for my taste (I prefer browns that lean more sepia).  But until I read what it was, I was guessing  from the photos that it was something like Edelstein Smoky Quartz (which is much more to my taste in browns, colorwise).
Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth


Wow that M400 brown tortoise is a gorgeous pen too. I only seen pictures of it.

The ink is really mb toffee brown. My pen is very wet, it pours down a lot of ink on a thin line, the result is what you see: it becomes a deep chocolate color, the red undertone is hidden. I learned to try my inks in different pens/nibs, some combo always work better than others. I put my dryer inks in OB nib to see the shading, and my watercolor inks into wet F or M to see brighter shades. It is really fun to play.

#10 LyaT

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Posted 31 July 2019 - 20:34

An important pen in any Pelikan collection. ;)


Agreed!!

#11 LyaT

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Posted 31 July 2019 - 20:52

That had to be a buy now....in I can still get the 400/400nn tortoise from between E100-120 if I Hunt on German Ebay (Ebay.de).....that requires more time..in that case time is less money.
 
The Pirate Seller's Cartel, have been contaminating the regular Ebay auction section by putting their Buy Now pens, in that at @ E10 less than their Stateside priced Buy Now offerings.
So you have to Hunt.....they want to drag the price up, so everyone puts their pens in for way too much money.....
Do look in past auctions to see what the regular offered pens sell for........a big difference.
 
I have a Geha 790 KM and a Osmia 773 I think it is in KM also.
 
Both are semi-flex, and flat and stubbed on the bottom which was normal for those K...kugal/ball nibs, with the ball on top of the nib and a bit thicker tip than the regular semi-flex, so it does write a bit wider.
I'm not sure but would guess that they made K nibs in the '30's for those who liked to hold a fountain pen like a pencil.....in the newfangled ball point didn't start contaminating how one holds a fountain pen until the ball point came in in the mid-50's. 
 
Yours looks more sea green....more than brown.
 
I have a '54 transitional tortoise (nib marked, not piston cap marked) and a 500.
The 400n was 'the normal start of marking nibs........
Also a '90-96...in tortoise was made from '83-96 not the '82-97 of the green striped M400 with out the gold piston ring.
The 500 and '54 400 are a lighter brown tortoise than my '90's one. Oddly to me the rolled gold cap of my 500, makes the darker '90-96 400's tortoise look dull. I hadn't expected that.
 
I had looked in a couple Pelikan pen blogs....and there are a bit more variation in tortoise than I had known.


Thanks Bo Bo! Your enthusiasm towards vintage nibs encouraged me into trying more of those.

I managed to get a bit off the buy it now price, but not by much. I had been watching 400 and 400nn tortoise pens in auctions. My ebay app has ebay.de listings. Since April, I only found 2 auctions with conditions similar to this one, they both went around E200. My 400 has a rarer KM nib and better looking tortoise shell, so I think it is worth the price. Maybe I overpaid by E30, but I cannot let it go. The last 400nn pen I got was at fair price of E90, but the pen was in a very bad shape visually, with a broken piston seal and nib stuck in the pen. I had to pay some 50 pounds to get it fixed. The extra I pay towards professionally serviced pens is really for the trouble free experience.

So you think it is a sea green tortoise? I dont know much about tortoise variations. Mine does look more green the pictures I have seen.

I have seen pictures of those transitional script nibs. Mine must be before 54 then. That pen is older than my dad! Cannot believe it is still perfectly functional today.

Do you find script nibs better than bird logo ones?

#12 LyaT

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Posted 31 July 2019 - 20:57

And yes, these script nibs are superior to the later bird logo nibs IMO. Enjoy!


So nice to find someone agreeing with me.

After using the vintage script nib, I appreciate more of the M101n script nib. Pelikan really made a good effort to recreate the vintage. Both nibs are softer than their bird logo counterparts. Both nibs sing similar songs when writing. The modern M101n nib is softer than vintage, but not as bouncy.

#13 DrCodfish

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Posted 31 July 2019 - 21:02

I bought a nib from Mr. John Motisihaw and had him stub it and fit it to the pen or me.



#14 Soot

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Posted 31 July 2019 - 21:06

Vintage Pelikan nibs tend to run wet. One of my KM was a ink gusher, I enjoyed it, but not so good when you try to write small.

 

I've never tried the modern M101N so I can't tell you the difference but more often than not, I swap out the modern nibs for the vintage. But, that's my preference.


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#15 LyaT

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Posted 31 July 2019 - 21:13

I bought a nib from Mr. John Motisihaw and had him stub it and fit it to the pen or me.


Ah I see. Modern nibs do not screw into vintage pens readily, from what I read. That is why I was curious. Thats nice!

#16 LyaT

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Posted 31 July 2019 - 21:16

Vintage Pelikan nibs tend to run wet. One of my KM was a ink gusher, I enjoyed it, but not so good when you try to write small.
 
I've never tried the modern M101N so I can't tell you the difference but more often than not, I swap out the modern nibs for the vintage. But, that's my preference.


I just tried some remedy I read from an old post here. I pressed one tine over the other to close the tines. It worked! It writes not as wet now, still wet enough but much better for every day use. Yeah!

#17 LyaT

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Posted 31 July 2019 - 21:19

Vintage Pelikan nibs tend to run wet. One of my KM was a ink gusher, I enjoyed it, but not so good when you try to write small.
 
I've never tried the modern M101N so I can't tell you the difference but more often than not, I swap out the modern nibs for the vintage. But, that's my preference.


Me too!
My M101n now hosts a 80s-90s OB nib.
My M620 hosts 400nn M nib.

But I like my M605 F nib, that one gives good shading without being too wide.

#18 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 01 August 2019 - 00:15

Do you find script nibs better than bird logo ones?"""

No, just prettier. In semi-flex.

Semi-flex due to ease of tine bend and spread is a wetter writing nib than, regular flex or a semi-nail or nail. So could be considered a gusher....I'd suggest 4001 ink if a semi-flex is too wet.

Pen makers who make their own inks, design the nib and feed to match their ink. Not someone elses ink. & if one uses a wet ink in a wet nib...& or is a bit heavy handed at the same time...one ends up with super wet line.

 

 

The Obliques of the 50-60's is the real thing; semi-flex and stubbed. :thumbup: :puddle:

....I've a few '82-90's regular flex obliques.....3 of them...and a modern 1005's regular flex OBB, and they offer being regular flex if one looks hard only a whisper compared to the real thing of semi&maxi.

W.German 200 OM, W.Germany 600 OBB, 381 OB....that I didn't even know was oblique it has so little line variation, and a 1005 OBB.

The W.Germany 600 is half a width narrower than the modern 1005.

 

All in all in semi&maxi I have 16 obliques..........I just don't really count the semi-vintage ones. I had a Lamy 27 nail OM.....no line variation at all. I sold that. My Lamy 18 K nail Persona OB had also no line variation. PB made it a nice CI for me.

 

A good poster stated, "Stubbed and CI are 100% line variation, semi-flex is line variation On Demand."

 

Some folks cant their nib, some call that rotate their nib.....some are left handed, some might be left eye dominant and want to see the top of the nib so cant it until they see the top of the nib.

I had to train my self to cant the oblique nibs. I always suggest starting out with a semi-flex OB, in it is still a writing nib, and the wide sweet spot allows for error.

Obliques come in the normal 15 degree grind, and rarer 30 degree grind. I've not run into a 22 grind, but only have 16 from that era..

 

There use to be a lot of threads with folks not being able to work an oblique. I came up with hold the nib in the light to see if it's 15 or 30 degree grind.

If 15, then post the cap fo the clip is aimed half way between the slit and the edge of the nib, grasp in air, place on paper and write.

30 degree grind, aim the clip at the right had edge of the nib, grasp in air, place on paper and write.

There were still troubles. Richard suggested if they were still having problems, to place the paper at 90 degrees or 180 instead of 45 degrees. After that those threads died.

I didn't have to do the last. But with OF and OM, one needs more exact canting than with OB or OBB.

xxx

 

My post war 100n has a first stage superflex nib...Easy Full flex. It is only marked k on the nib, and I eyeball it as an EF...in there was no marking on the pen to nib size.

 

In maxi-semi-flex I have an Ibis, 400nn and my too wide to write with 500 OBB, with a 30 degree grind. A legal signature takes from 2/3s a page to 3/4ths of one. A pure signature pen. Having a rolled gold cap and piston cap cover, it was one of their fancy pens.

In any brand but Osmia, where a semi-flex has a small diamond often with a size number in it. Their maxi's are the Supra nibs; some with a large diamond with no number, others with just Supra written on it. I have some 29 semi-flex and 16 maxi's of this and that brand.****

 

The following are in a 3 X tine spread set......don't push the nib to more.....some do and brag about it....a good way to spring the nib.

Regular flex, 120/200 '82-97 400's, when well mashed will go 3 X a light down stroke. Can't be written with really when so mashed.

Semi-flex require half that pressure to go to 3 X. It is a robust nib, and can be written with when pressed to it's max. It took me some 3 months to go from being Ham Fisted to having a lighter Hand with my first semi-flex, a 140 OB. It is a flair nib, not for Lettering wide scripts. One can make a nice decender at the end of a paragraph.

Maxi-semi-flex takes half of that pressure or 1/4th the pressure needed to mash a regular flex to 3 X. Is easier to get a bit fancy.....but again, don't press the nib over 3 X.

I find the following pictures to be too wide.

A gent sent me the pictures in he was looking to by a vintage 400, and I recommended against it, because in my book, that nib is or has been over stressed. Why buy a sprung nib?

Do read Richard's fine article.

uh0c0kL.jpg

Especially the fancy X's.

AdtsC9R.jpg

I would consider the second and wider quick fox to be well maxed.

When I pointed this out....these are those sprung while you watch Ebay or Youtube overstressing of a nib. However those who like to do that, tell me off. It's their nib. I just ask they mention taking the nib to 4 & 5 X :yikes: when selling it, so the wise don't buy.

Richard Binder has a great article on metal fatigue. I call it how to Spring Your Nib.

 

I had never understood, why some said, they didn't like using a semi-flex nib, because it was too slow. If one abuses a nib like that, of course it's too slow. I just scribble along at regular speed.....my Hand did get lighter....but not super light.

With my Wet Noodles, I have to sweat to get XXF, think to get EF, so basically scribble in F.  Not the lightest Hand out there.

 

After reading Richard's article, I strive to stay under max. My 100n will go 5 X, so I try to keep it at 4x.

I have two Wet Noodles that that rare 7 X....and outside of Youtube and selling a pen, 7 X is rare in vintage pens. I strive to keep them at 6 X as a max. One Wet Noodle I have will "only" go 6 X, so 5 X is just fine by me.

 

 

 

"""After using the vintage script nib, I appreciate more of the M101n script nib. Pelikan really made a good effort to recreate the vintage. Both nibs are softer than their bird logo counterparts. Both nibs sing similar songs when writing. The modern M101n nib is softer than vintage, but not as bouncy."""

 

I didn't know that. Vintage is '50-65, and is unless marked H or D semi-flex. I do have a D nib '50-54 400, and it is the nail's Nail.

That M101 could it be regular flex, similar to the '82-97 era? Like the 200's?

 

 

**** 1932 Degussa the German gold and silver producer....still doing that, took the Osmia nib factory with it's semi-flex and Supra nib factory for debt.

In they were making gold ribbon wheels for Osmia, in semi & maxi, I think...WAG....that they sold what ever gold ribbon wheel that was on hand to Pelikan, MB, and later Geha. That explains why some of them are maxi-semi-flex and none of those companies marked their nibs in any way to being semi or maxi. My WAG is one nib in 5 seem to be maxi out side the Osmia/Osmia-Faber-Castel pens. As I mentioned, I do have 16 of those maxi's and only 1/4th are Osmia.

Logic is my escape route, in I have no proof. :rolleyes:


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.

 

 

 


#19 Ray-Vigo

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Posted 01 August 2019 - 13:22

That's a really nice looking pen. The K-type nibs were a "ball" for their time, but not really much of a "ball" tip by today's standards. I like the K-series nibs too - I have KFs on my 140s and they're just the right balance of both round and vintage in a tip for me.

#20 Tweel

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Posted 01 August 2019 - 17:32

This is some otherworldly kind of beauty, breathtaking!

It has a KM nib, marked on the knob.

 

Your pen is really nice, congratulations!  Iridescent vintage pens can really be beautiful -- I have a Waterman Stalwart that does amazing things as I roll the barrel in the light.  My only Pelikan brown tortoises are a 1980s M400, and an M101N.

 

Are you sure that the nib is a Kugel?  It looks to me like an oblique, including the little "" stamped into it.


fpn_1375035941__postcard_swap.png * * * "Don't neglect to write me several times from different places when you may."
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