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On The Relative Disposability Of Modern M400's And M600's

Silent Speaker

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Hello Pelikan folks!


Having read some older threads recently concerning the dangers of disassembling the modern m400 by oneself, a question arose in my mind as to what exactly would happen come the day a modern m400/600 (and pretty much every other modern piston-filled Pelikan besides the m800+) requires replacing of its piston seals - what do they do with them in Hannover?


As I understand it, from the most informative and helpful threads by, IIRC, Fountainbel, the smaller modern pels like the m400, unlike the m800+, do not possess an easily removed piston unit: from my understanding there are plastic pins which lock the mechanism in place as opposed to the screw which holds the m800/1000's unit in place and that these pins are broken off when attempting to remove the unit from the barrel (resulting in, I assume, a pen that is "more broken" than it was before!)


From this, I've gotten the sense that the modern m400 etc., are sort of ephemeral pens, ie. once they break, that's it - the whole thing apart from perhaps the nib and cap are replaced, totally unlike the nature of their "heirloomable" predecessors that survived, amongst other things, a World War, and merely require replacement seals and a bit of grease to keep them going (till the next World War comes around that is).


Is this what occurs when a smaller souveran is sent in to have its seals replaced? Do they just swap the nib out and place it on a new whole pen? Or, like worn out seals, is it just the piston mechanism that is broken off and somehow replaced?


Or am I mistaken and things are not so drastic and it is merely a matter of possessing the correct tools and technical know how to replace the seals without writing off half the pen in the process?


I know that such seals can last for decades before requiring replacement, but I do like the idea of permanence that some fountain pens provide as opposed to the disposability that the average ballpoint gives; I like the idea of sending in a mechanical watch every once and a while for a cleaning and oiling versus having the entire movement ripped out and replaced as is the case with inexpensive quartz modules.


Thanks in advace for any comments that may clear this up for me.

Edited by Silent Speaker
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Pelikan service in Germany has proved to be excellent so far and they have taken care of 20+ year old pens FOC.

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It might be the same philosophy of conception as the Montblanc 342 and 344.

Their turning know is secured to the piston with a pin that is heated and put through the knob. That's a situation where you have to break the turning knob to access the piston.

I suppose it's a compromise between the cost of changing the whole 'simple' piece, and the cost to create and craft a piece that will be easily removable.

Also, the range of the product. If it's not catalogued as a "luxury" item, it won't be as important to save the integrity of the product, and not worth using technician's time (which has a cost) to do a complex repair.


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It might be the same philosophy of conception as the Montblanc 342 and 344.

Their turning know is secured to the piston with a pin that is heated and put through the knob. That's a situation where you have to break the turning knob to access the piston.


The pin can be easily driven out and refixed. Omas uses a similar construction on some of their celluloid piston pens.

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Why should the seals need replacement in your life time.

Since '56 at least they have modern seals.


Grease it every couple of decades or when ever it feels draggy with rice corn of 100% silicon grease.


My 400NN, 140 and 120 work as well as they did when made in the '50's.


Rick advised never or next to never and I'd said every few years...So I changed my mind to every 20 years or so.


I have noticed a number of folks that think all pens (including piston pens) should be taken apart and cleaned out....very, very often.


too early child hood training??? or cleaning the pen with ammonia and water every time some one wants to change an ink?

Or worry about the 'complicated' machinery of a piston filler getting out of sorts.


Rick really took a load off my mind...I don't have to take a Pelikan apart and worry about breaking it...As soon as I get around to having kids :unsure: , I'll let my grand children worry about it. :blink:

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.

RIP...200's once great nib, now a double ball.:crybaby::wallbash:


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




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...cleaning the pen with ammonia and water every time some one wants to change an ink?


In all fairness to those who do this, keep in mind that in the heyday of these pens, people probably rarely changed ink colour, so they never needed to clean the pen out. Pens used by ink aficionados these days probably get far more cleanings than the pen was designed to withstand.

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I've had a couple M400's over 20 years old that functioned perfectly.

"how do I know what I think until I write it down?"

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The pens will last a long time, over 25 years before a piston seal will leak, and then send it to Pelikan, Germany. There's no need to disassemble these pens for a cleaning. If it works, don't fix it.

"Don't hurry, don't worry. It's better to be late at the Golden Gate than to arrive in Hell on time."
--Sign in a bar and grill, Ormond Beach, Florida, 1960.



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Since my advice has been cited above let me clarify. It's not that you cannot remove the fillers on these pens, it's that they are not meant to be regularly removed and replaced as some folks seemed to be advocating.


Beyond that, are these pens as sturdy as their counterparts from 60 years ago? No, not in the strict sense of that word. Are they likely to last as long and provide as good service? As our German friends would say Wer Weiß. I'm inclined to think they are, but I'm kind of a sucker for modern technology. I like not having to spend a day under my car every 8000 miles as BMW advocated for my 1970 2002. But then I'm getting old (and rambling).

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