Jump to content

Pen Production Runs: What are the Models Longest in Production?



Recommended Posts

 

 

There was a seed of a discussion started here, that was wondering which fountain pens have been in production the longest without major changes to their design.

 

Yes, the Parker Duofold, for example, has been around for over 100 years, but it has seen a lot of design changes (filling system, size, overall design). We were wondering about pens that are still in production today (or were in production for a long time) that during their production run were essentially unchanged. I don't mind a little debate of what "unchanged" means as long as it doesn't distract too much from the main point of what models have survived a long time without significant changes, which may be a testament to the effectiveness of their design.

 

Yes, one can quibble about what "unchanged means" (part of the charm of a discussion such as this). For example: material upgrades to specific components or dimensional changes of less than a couple of percent or so maybe count as not a change, while changing from a vacuum filler to a piston filler, or eyedropper to something else, or a significant change in weight or dimensions or nibs, etc., might indicate a different pen, even if it has the same model name or number.

 

This is what I have in mind, for example:

 

  • The Lamy 2K, has been around since the mid 60s, and is essentially the same pen today as it was when it was introduced.
  • The Montblanc 149 has been around in about the same dimensions as a resin Meisterstück since at least the early 1950s (I think) and the 149 model might go back into the 1920s with similar dimensions but significant changes in materials (but is that still the same pen? Go!).
  • Many Pelikan models with a common name use essentially the same technology since forever, but they have also gone through a lot of size, shape and weight, and material changes. Also several models have gone in and out of production over the years.
  • What about in Japan? Today's Big 3 in Japan have all been making fountain pens for over 100 years? Are there models there that have been produced in almost unchanged design for a long time? Which and since when or for how long?

 

Though it isn't a fountain pen, the 4-color Bic was also mentioned in the initial discussion above for it's enduring design since it was introduced int he 60s.

 

What I am looking for is a discussion of fountain pen designs that have endured in production the longest virtually unchanged. Thanks!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 36
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • N1003U

    14

  • christof

    5

  • Beechwood

    4

  • Switala

    4

Top Posters In This Topic

Posted Images

Beechwood

You have set this out very well indeed.

 

People like of the Parker 51 having a long run but around 10 years for the Vacumatic and 20 years or so for the Aerometric, ignoring the 2002 SE and this current abomination.

 

The UK Duofolds don't measure up either at around 25 years, I cannot think of any other long running Parkers.

 

I look forward to hearing of any other candidates.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
silverlifter

The Kaweco Sport is another candidate; it emerged at approximately the same time as the other German old-timers or slightly later (late '60s-early 70s), but transitioned away from a piston mechanism whilst keeping the same form.

Vintage. Cursive italic. Iron gall.

Link to post
Share on other sites

On May 25, 1950, the 400 model was introduced. So in May of this year it will be completing 72 years.

But in production, the 400 line is completing 59 years.

The production periods for the 400 series variations follow.

 

Pelikan 400

1950-1956

Pelikan 400N

1956

Pelikan 400NN

1956-1965

400NN Merz & Krell

1973-1978

M400 (old style)

1982-1997

M400

desde 09/1997

 

So thinking about the criteria that we set the dates are more like curiosity than to establish 400 as more long-lived. The short production period of 400N caught my attention, it was a transition canet ... I will give more value to those I have ... Regards

Link to post
Share on other sites

Reading a forum topic, I realized that we can not fail to mention the Sheaffer NoNonsense, launched in 1969, is so derived from the classic flat-tipped Sheaffer pens from 1914 to 1929.

It's 50 years with very few variations.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Manofadventure
7 hours ago, Switala said:

On May 25, 1950, the 400 model was introduced. So in May of this year it will be completing 72 years.

But in production, the 400 line is completing 59 years.

The production periods for the 400 series variations follow.

 

Pelikan 400

1950-1956

Pelikan 400N

1956

Pelikan 400NN

1956-1965

400NN Merz & Krell

1973-1978

M400 (old style)

1982-1997

M400

desde 09/1997

 

So thinking about the criteria that we set the dates are more like curiosity than to establish 400 as more long-lived. The short production period of 400N caught my attention, it was a transition canet ... I will give more value to those I have ... Regards

The Pelikan 400 and 400N/400NN are different pens and are radically different to the Pelikan M400 lines. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Manofadventure
10 hours ago, N1003U said:

 

 

There was a seed of a discussion started here, that was wondering which fountain pens have been in production the longest without major changes to their design.

 

Yes, the Parker Duofold, for example, has been around for over 100 years, but it has seen a lot of design changes (filling system, size, overall design). We were wondering about pens that are still in production today (or were in production for a long time) that during their production run were essentially unchanged. I don't mind a little debate of what "unchanged" means as long as it doesn't distract too much from the main point of what models have survived a long time without significant changes, which may be a testament to the effectiveness of their design.

 

Yes, one can quibble about what "unchanged means" (part of the charm of a discussion such as this). For example: material upgrades to specific components or dimensional changes of less than a couple of percent or so maybe count as not a change, while changing from a vacuum filler to a piston filler, or eyedropper to something else, or a significant change in weight or dimensions or nibs, etc., might indicate a different pen, even if it has the same model name or number.

 

This is what I have in mind, for example:

 

  • The Lamy 2K, has been around since the mid 60s, and is essentially the same pen today as it was when it was introduced.
  • The Montblanc 149 has been around in about the same dimensions as a resin Meisterstück since at least the early 1950s (I think) and the 149 model might go back into the 1920s with similar dimensions but significant changes in materials (but is that still the same pen? Go!).
  • Many Pelikan models with a common name use essentially the same technology since forever, but they have also gone through a lot of size, shape and weight, and material changes. Also several models have gone in and out of production over the years.
  • What about in Japan? Today's Big 3 in Japan have all been making fountain pens for over 100 years? Are there models there that have been produced in almost unchanged design for a long time? Which and since when or for how long?

 

Though it isn't a fountain pen, the 4-color Bic was also mentioned in the initial discussion above for it's enduring design since it was introduced int he 60s.

 

What I am looking for is a discussion of fountain pen designs that have endured in production the longest virtually unchanged. Thanks!

The Ratnam and Ratnamson ebonite eye dropper pens have some models, which are essentially unchanged since they started pen making in 1932 in India. Similarly, Guider pens are also essentially unchanged in design. All these pens are made in Rajahmundry in India. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Manofadventure said:

O Pelikan 400 e 400N / 400NN são canetas diferentes e são radicalmente diferentes das linhas Pelikan M400. 

I fully agree! So I made the divisions of the models and dates and did not deal with the 400 line as a whole, it would not be possible.

We started this subject in another topic and the Pelikan were mentioned, so we set the subject to discuss. the idea is to foster information.

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Switala said:

On May 25, 1950, the 400 model was introduced. So in May of this year it will be completing 72 years.

But in production, the 400 line is completing 59 years.

The production periods for the 400 series variations follow.

 

Pelikan 400

1950-1956

Pelikan 400N

1956

Pelikan 400NN

1956-1965

400NN Merz & Krell

1973-1978

M400 (old style)

1982-1997

M400

desde 09/1997

 

So thinking about the criteria that we set the dates are more like curiosity than to establish 400 as more long-lived. The short production period of 400N caught my attention, it was a transition canet ... I will give more value to those I have ... Regards

Does anyone know what the differences are between the 1982-1997 M400, and the current M400?

when was the modern “Souverän“ product line launched?

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Manofadventure said:

The Ratnam and Ratnamson ebonite eye dropper pens have some models, which are essentially unchanged since they started pen making in 1932 in India. Similarly, Guider pens are also essentially unchanged in design. All these pens are made in Rajahmundry in India. 

Wow almost 90 years! And people still like the feel, look, and performance of Ebonite...

 

Especially given the potential ink capacity and design simplicity (and reliability assuming the joints are designed well against leaks), maybe it is unsurprising that there are eyedropper designs that have endured.

 

One problem traditionally with some eyedroppers is air management (burping). Do or did the Ratnam(son) models ever have a burping problem, and if so, were there any design changes made, say to the feed and/or section to address the problem?

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Switala said:

Reading a forum topic, I realized that we can not fail to mention the Sheaffer NoNonsense, launched in 1969, is so derived from the classic flat-tipped Sheaffer pens from 1914 to 1929.

It's 50 years with very few variations.

It seems another good example.

 

This is also wonderful learning information for me. I know very little about Sheaffer designs and product history, only that they are an old brand.

Link to post
Share on other sites

the ubiquitous Bic Cristal was introduced in December 1950 and it is still with us after 70 years

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Switala said:

I fully agree! So I made the divisions of the models and dates and did not deal with the 400 line as a whole, it would not be possible.

We started this subject in another topic and the Pelikan were mentioned, so we set the subject to discuss. the idea is to foster information.

I find it somehow interesting that despite design changes, production interruptions, etc., that Pelikan has stubbornly held onto the 400 model number.

 

I suppose, if one examines the history of the Pelikan model line, in at least recent history, the models seem to have sort of branched out from the 400 model line. The 800 came out as bigger, the 600 as a little fancier (and then just a touch bigger, between the 400 and the 800), then finally the current 1000 as the flagship model (I suppose not accidentally very close in dimensions and weight to the MB149, like the 800 is not far from the MB146), and the now discontinued (unfortunately in some eyes) M300. But the basic design theme of all those pens seems to derive from what today is the M400.

 

I need to maybe go back and revisit a couple of sargetalon’s history lectures in his blogs to re-learn the more detailed story, but it seems the 400 plays a very key role in inspiring the modern Pelikan Souverän product line, and probably the “Classic” 200 product line as well, which seems to me to pretty much be a cost-reduced version of the 400.

Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, artart said:

the ubiquitous Bic Cristal was introduced in December 1950 and it is still with us after 70 years

Has anything changed about the Cristal? Size? Materials?

 

yes, it was revolutionary and really transformed the pen industry.

Link to post
Share on other sites

not the longest rund but still impressive: the LAMY Safari

 

from 1980 to present. the color with the longest rund is Umbra/charcoal from 1982 to present.

 

more details here:

50782966598_5d59cf036e_4k.jpgLAMY Safari English quer Dezember 2020 by C.M.Z, auf Flickr

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, christof said:

not the longest rund but still impressive: the LAMY Safari

 

from 1980 to present. the color with the longest rund is Umbra/charcoal from 1982 to present.

 

more details here:

50782966598_5d59cf036e_4k.jpgLAMY Safari English quer Dezember 2020 by C.M.Z, auf Flickr

 

40 years is also an impressive run (apparently so much so that the original colors are coming back in "throwback" models). Ironically, I am a Safari fan (I have 4), but I just bought my first Umbra last September.

 

What (if any, even very minor) changes have been made to the Safari since it was introduced? To me, it is like the 2K: a timeless classic that has remained unchanged.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Beechwood
3 minutes ago, N1003U said:

 

40 years is also an impressive run (apparently so much so that the original colors are coming back in "throwback" models). Ironically, I am a Safari fan (I have 4), but I just bought my first Umbra last September.

 

What (if any, even very minor) changes have been made to the Safari since it was introduced? To me, it is like the 2K: a timeless classic that has remained unchanged.

 

I bought my first Lamy in either 1981 or 2, it was bought from a design shop, not a stationer or a pen shop. the colour was dark matte grey and the only difference that I recall was that it had a clip screw and a big clip, the screw was a blade type, not a Philips.

 

The design was radically different from anything else that you could buy at the time, perhaps that remains true.

Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, Beechwood said:

 

I bought my first Lamy in either 1981 or 2, it was bought from a design shop, not a stationer or a pen shop. the colour was dark matte grey and the only difference that I recall was that it had a clip screw and a big clip, the screw was a blade type, not a Philips.

 

The design was radically different from anything else that you could buy at the time, perhaps that remains true.

 

The safari is to me a nice, functional, medium-large, low-cost pen. When I examine the details with the eye of someone who needs to manufacture in high-volume, a product of good quality, as affordable as possible, the Safari is quite clever in many ways (and following the old observation that imitation is a very true form of flattery, the Safari is well executed).

 

I think that the design and manufacturing details were so well thought through at the beginning is reflected in a product that has remained relevant and competitive for several decades.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Another question (or questions) I wonder about that might be appropriate in this thread (if if is answered over in the MB forum somewhere, even a simple link will do):

 

When did the MB146, in its present incarnation, first appear? When did the 146, regardless of design (if it has ever changed significantly), first appear?

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Beechwood said:

 

... the only difference that I recall was that it had a clip screw and a big clip, the screw was a blade type, not a Philips.

 

in general, the blade screw types indicates a rollerball and the cross screw types a fountain pen:

50217644443_01f8dbae68_3k.jpgLamy Safari Colors by C.M.Z, auf Flickr

 

but there are also some dotted caps...

50224784338_50b9a000c0_3k.jpgminus punkt plus by C.M.Z, auf Flickr

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Announcements


×
×
  • Create New...