Pen Pelikan

The Pelikan M491: A Pen History

January 8, 2020

By Michael W. Harris

My fountain pen history started in May 2013 using the gift of the Pelikan M200 in marbled eco-friendly. Although it required another 5 years for your gift to flower right into a full-blown hobby, due to my first fountain pen as being a Pelikan, the company has retained a unique devote my mind and heart. So much in fact which i hope to get a quantity of Pelikans to go with that first M200. Refer to it as a “

flock” of Pelikans, for a moment.

A Flight Ticket of Pelikans

Up to now, I’ve selected up three more pens in the brand: a unique Edition M120 in Legendary Blue, a M200 in blue marble (a pre-1997 model at this with slightly features), and the topic of today’s publish: the M491 in the 1960s. This last pen is a variety of weird: from the left oblique nib to the model no ., the M491 is simply an oddpen in the usually rather sedate and venerable German Brand.

Word of caution: once again to become a typical pen review. Rather, this will probably be more past this writing instrument, the way it came into being, important so odd, the way it came into existence within my collection, and why I really like it…quirks and all sorts of.

The M491

We begin with the way the M491 wound up within my possession. Not very lengthy after falling in to the hobby of fountain pens and also the initial binge of attempting to try “

all the things” on “

all the pens,” I’d a couple of which i desired to re-sell. I’d become some pens to to be able to check out facets of pens to uncover things i loved (brands, filling systems, nib sizes, etc.), determined that the couple of really didn’t work with me. This brought to joining the Pen Addict Slack group and also the “

sell-trade” thread. Naturally, while selling these pens, I had been also around the look-out for your to get.

A Pelikan by having an left oblique nib is weird enough given that they don’t really make obliques anymore. Even though it had been a non-current timepiece (billed being an MK30 approximately), the nib was something I’d wanted to test, and it also would be a gold nib, and also at $60 the cost was right too.

M491 nib and the body

After I first got it, though, a couple of things just struck me as very odd making me believe that it can’t function as the MK30 or really any one of individuals older models: 1) the nib is missing any sort of Pelikan branding, and a pair of) it’s a cartridge/ripper tools pen.

For individuals who know Pelikans, that last point should cause you to go, “

huh.” As The Pelikan’s Perch blog lately specified by an incredible infographic, Pelikan model figures that being with “

M” are piston fillers (M meaning “

mechanik-füller”). All credit towards the seller, though, your body from the pen is unquestionably those of the MK30, right lower towards the blue tinted ink window (which while helpful on the cartridge/ripper tools, is actually less necessary because it is on the piston filler). However, anything else concerning the pen is wrong for that MK30.

But when and not the MK30, then what is could it have been? Two websites, because of picture comparisons, helped to resolve this riddle. First was “

Werner’s info page,” where I had been first in a position to find out the pen being an M491 (scroll lower towards the very bottom from the linked page), which incorporated the cryptic note of “

only for export,” and also the indication it had become, indeed, a cartridge/ripper tools pen. And So I had found my pen, but what am i saying? Just for export? And export where?

The Slack seller I got myself the M491 from explained that they got it from another Pen Addict slack member who’d become it from the well-known person in the audience who’d also done some light restoration focus on it. Where that individual had become it from they couldn’t recall. But, regardless, the pen have been kicking round the community for some time.

This pen is among individuals objects having a history, a tale, which had existed lengthy before me and can hopefully carry on following the pen leaves my possession. Although it may have been produced in Germany “

for export only” to somewhere for “

reasons” that I don’t know, it’s still a real object. An actual object with materiality, which in the finish during the day, may be the singular factor the physical—analog—has over digital.

Why makes this pen? It’s so clearly grafted onto a pre-existing Pelikan model except without its legendary nib branding and piston filler, so why wouldn’t you just export the initial pen? Why this pen, the M491 “

for export only?”

I’m still unsure about many of these solutions, but I will tell you one factor: this pen from the German manufacturer was intended just for export to among the world’s largest fountain pen markets, one whose enthusiasm for that instrument is rivaled only by Europe itself (a minimum of i believe and anecdotal observation): Japan.

The M491 finial

The 2nd site that produced some solutions to my questions was Dominic Rothemel’s Pelikan Collectibles (again, scroll lower towards the second to last portion of the page “

Pelikan M4xx – Japan Models”). Understanding that the pen would be a M491, I could locate the pen on the website and again, confirm it via pictures and discover a little more about these models. It here which i learned they the pens these were offered in Japan within the mid-1960s with designs “

very like the pistons fillers that have been solid within this period in Europe.” Furthermore, regarding the curious model no ., it states that, “

We presume the reason behind this kind of numbering was these [pens] were fitted having a ripper tools by Pelikan.”

This includes lots of photos, and many interestingly in my experience, advertisements for that pens, which illustrates how this line was essentially a Japan specific form of cartridge/ripper tools pens. Why did Pelikan do ripper tools pens and never piston? Is there something related to trends within the Japanese market? Were they more attracted to cartridge/convertor instead of piston (arrived at consider it, for high finish Japanese pens, they’re almost also convertor)?

Curiouser and curiouser, but sadly this is when the data trail stops for the time being. These M4xx Japan only pens came in a number of models, nib materials, and nib sizes. So, as the left oblique of my pen may be some oddball today, my understanding is they were more prevalent in the past decades. Also, the 18 caret gold nib does apparently measure the level as around the greater finish of the products given that they also arrived steel and 14 caret. But here, while a few of these pens featured a folded gold cap as well as other furniture, the M491 has only a black plastic cap with gold bands, a gold clip, and a few gold around the finials.

It’s well worth the time for you to click on the images around the Pelikan Collectibles site: there are several great mid-60s designs displayed. I wouldn’t mind obtaining the M495 Gold Doublé personally! This odd period in Pelikan’s history is a that I must find out more about.

But so how exactly does the pen write?” You may ask. I stated this won’t be a conventional pen review, however i will offer you a couple of ideas about this absolutely weird and different pen.

Associated with pension transfer older pens, it’s small , more similar to an average ballpoint pen today in dimensions. As we discussed, branding is minimal, and also the color is simply flat black (though a red model seemed to be available).

The oblique nib lays lower a large, juicy line…when it’s working. My downside with this particular pen is it sometimes includes a inclination to hard start, particularly if it’s been set lower for any couple of moments. But between pen lifts it can often be a little tricky to have it began writing. However, it will consume a lot of it when it’s going, leading not only to some good line variation using the nib (with a little bit of flex), but additionally a chuckle shading. A sheening ink, I believe, would look amazing with this particular pen. (I’m searching to you Organic Studio Nitrogen!!)

However the hard beginning is frustrating and i’m thinking about taking it to some nibmeister for many work whether it is needed (I don’t know what the issue is, although the tines are very far apart in accordance with my other pens). But when I change that, I would lose the mega-ink flow this pen has.

M491 Writing Sample

The end result is, though, this pen quite a bit of fun to make use of. It’s certainly no everyday author and would absolutely destroy non-fountain pen friendly paper, however the line it lays lower is incredible to check out. As well as better, for me personally a minimum of, is that it’s the union set between my passion for Pelikans AND Japan (together with being only a damn weird pen). It had been certainly well worth the $60 and that i wouldn’t mind obtaining a couple of more Pelikans out of this era and also the Japan export line.