Fountain Pen Restoration

Pelikan 120

Pelikan is one of my favorite pen manufacturers. Both vintage and new. In fact, of the very few modern pens I own, several are Pelikans. Pelikan, a German Company, has been manufacturing fountain pens and other writing instruments since 1929. It began in the mid 1800s in Germany as a paint and ink manufacturer and eventually began producing fountain pens in 1929, and still produces quality writing instruments today.

I own many, including 100Ns, 400NNs, 400s, 200s, a 140, and a 120. The 120 discussed here is the least glamorous and was produced between 1955 and 1965 as an entry level student pen.

About four years ago I came upon a Pelikan 120 at a sale and picked it up for less than ten dollars. It had the Pelikan trademark green and black colors. What separates it from most of its higher class relatives is that it has a plated nib. It is a piston filler, as are most Pelikans from 1929 to current products. When I tried to write with it, it tore the paper as I pressed down and I put it aside until this week.

Another aspect of fountain pen restoration is preservation of the nib. I have mentioned cleaning up nibs in previous posts and now will mention a little about smoothing nibs. I am not a professional nib technician who reshapes nibs, or retips them. But, I can do a simple smoothing of a nib that has been been improperly stored or nicked up. For larger projects of reshaping and retipping, advice of a professional through the links in my blogroll is recommended.

As for smoothing, I use Micro Mesh 2400 to 12,000 grade sheets, which is a very fine abrasive paper which will gently smooth out nibs to allow for smoother contact with the writing material.

Which brings me back to this successful restoration project. After gently working on the nib with a 2,400 grade sheet, I tested it periodically. After about 10 minutes, it was smooth to paper at all angles and a completely new pen. Not a glamorous 100N or 800, but very useful. A pen that had been sent to the back of the pen case, was restored to how it came out of the factory around 1960.

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If you would like to read more about Pelikan Pens, ruettinger-web is an excellent website. Additionally, a very good book on the history of Pelikan and its long line of pens is Pelikan Schreibergerate, by Jurgen Dittmer and Martin Lehmann.


December 18, 2007 Posted by | Pelikan | , | 9 Comments


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