Pelikan 100 All Black - Original Rubber Cork
Manufacturer/Model: Pelikan Germany/100 All Black
Year of production: Exact year unknown, somewhere between 1939 and 1942
Filling system: Piston filling (Original "rubber" cork serviced and preserved)
Nib: CN - Chromium Nickel - EF Extra Extra Fine Super Flex melts on paper, writes up to BB/3B, super wet and consistent; Original Ebonite feed with Ebonite collar
Material: Cap, Captop, Front Grip Section & Barrel sleeve - celluloid. Turning Knob and Piston Assembly - Ebonite/Hard Rubber. Barrel either celluloid or acrylic, most likely celluloid. Gold Plated clip and rings, standard drop shape clip
Length (pen closed): 117.2mm, 160mm posed; Diameter at cap 12.8mm; Diameter at barrel ink window 10.8mm; Diameter at barrel sleeve 11.8mm; Cap length with captop and clip 60.8mm; Barrel length without nib with t.knob 94mm
Condition and information:
*Date first published & listed: June 23rd 2021
*Date updated: Nov. 11th 2022 - This is the last pen from this group/type of these 100s from this Find to be listed.
You can see a video of this pen in action here:
Context & Provenance:
To read more about the circumstances about how and where this pen was found, please visit our blog page here:
This find was also covered in an article by The Pelikan's Perch. You can read the article here: "Treasures In The Attic: A Time Capsule Rediscovered"
The Black Pelikan 100s:
The pen offered in this listing and pictured above, is one out of 33 Pelikan 100 and 100N pens in this find. Out of these 33 Pelikans there are 18 Pelikan 100 among which 8 Pelikan 100 All Black with green and green to yellowish barrels, pens with the cork piston filling system. In addition to these 8 all black 100s which had the original wood cork (which were either the Standard 100 or the Danzig model), there were 4 all black pens with the rubber "synthetic cork". This pen is one of those 4. Similarly to these pens, there were 4 Pelikan 100 with green marbled sleeve which also featured this piston. These 4 all black 100 are virtually identical to the other 8 all black and have a slightly differently shaped nib and feed which has a slightly different inscription and a larger "CN" mark in a circle (see photos). As well as on the previous groups in this find, some have the inscription on the caps are "Pelikan Patent" some have "Pelikan D.R.P.". The pen in this listing has the Pelikan PATENT inscription on the captop.
Probably the most revealing feature on these 4 pens including the ones on offer here is the piston head, that the the rubber like material that replaced the old cork. These were introduced in 1942. However, these pens feature parts and trades with earlier 100 models starting as early as 1937, which could suggest a long debated theory that Pelikan had long transitional periods between model variations, that is if they had parts already manufactured from previous year(s) they would use those on later generations pens. As is the case here and in this find. In this collection we have these exact 100 all black pens, where the only difference is that those had the wood cork and these have the rubber head or what is called synthetic cork which was introduced in 1942. However even though the pens are virtually identical, the pistons are not, the spirals are not compatible between the two pens, as the wooden cork pens have one helix spiral where these ones have two helix spiral which is obviously an improvement as there is a redundancy if one of the helixes fails. Furthermore, the turning knob and the shaft are also identical, the only different parts are the spiral and the piston rod to accommodate it as well as the piston head, i.e. rubber vs wood cork.
Even though this is a 100 and not the 100N model, this one comes with a CN nib, which was not entirely unheard of, as even if it preceded the 100N, eventually the 100 and the 100N were produced in parallel for 1-2 years. First the 100N was only produced for export, and was often exported together with the 100, while in Germany only the 100 was offered for 1-2 more years. The cap, captop and section are made out of celluloid. The sleeve is also celluloid. (We fit the sleeves back with just a touch of a silicone grease underneath them. Since there was little to no shrinkage in the pens this is possible and instead of using any kind of glue, including shellac, the best way to keep the sleeves safely on the barrels is basically just by a touch of silicone grease. This way any repair in the future will never have to deal with any glued parts). Usually the pens from this era had a hard rubber/ebonite cap, captop and even a section. Furthermore, the barrel is the two part barrel, celluloid grip section and very likely transparent celluloid barrel. Even though we have tested the pens, we cannot quite determine if the barrel is a transparent celluloid or is it actually early acrylic introduced just a couple of years later, however it's certainly not the injection molded one-part barrel-section as these are obviously two separate parts.
To add to the intrigue, the pen is fitted with a CN nib, which would suggest a pen made or at least assembled by Pelikan in late 1939 to early 1940 when the prohibition of gold use in pens started. Or maybe that the shopkeeper did the swap during the war 1940-41-42 in order to stay in business. Needless to say, some of these pens raise more questions than they answer. We can only present the facts and the pens as we have them, but we are certainly not any of those handful of people which can shed more light to these pens.
From what our experience and research tells us, these 4 pens are transitional 100 models using components from several phases of the 100 model development, what the people which are deep in the Pelikan rabbit hole call the 6th generation 100, made somewhere in between 1939 and 1942.
Please examine all of the photos closely and draw some professional dating conclusions yourselves. Please also feel free to ask for additional photos including from some obscure details of the pen, or ask anything you deem necessary. If knowing and willing, please share any information which you deem needs correcting or simply adds to this knowledge and we will cite it here so other people can read it and enjoy it too.
Now, you have probably noticed the wide array of years in the title, starting from 1937 to 1942, which some of you collectors consider a true heresy for us not to be able to pinpoint the exact year and sometimes even the month of production, and indeed you are right, it is a heresy. However when it comes to these 100s and especially about these war models, and especially in these transitional models when records were vaguely kept and almost entirely destroyed in WWII, there are probably only a handful of people in the world, maybe even less, that will know exactly what year this pen was made and what exactly is going on with these pens and why there are some inconsistencies with the Pelikan pen (pens that will be offered here), why we are not able to determine the exact year, and why some "known facts" don't seem to fit on some of these Pelikan pens.
The pen offered here as most from this collection is a museum worthy Pelikan 100 all black fountain pen. The Pelikan 100 was the first piston fountain pen with a differential piston filling system, invented by the Hungarian engineer Theodor Kovacs in 1925, after which he sold the patent to Pelikan and made the Pelikan 100 possible. The differential piston system we know and still use today, is based on this one, the rest is history.
Early Pelikan celluloid pens are virtually unmatched by any pen manufacturer in any era, they are simply breathtakingly beautiful objects with such a deep patina, shine, gloss and most unique patterns for the color celluloids, they are simply works of art. The Pelikan 100 embodies the Bauhaus design where form follows function, and to this day, it is still one of the most comfortable pens to hold and use, simply fits in the hand, has a perfect balance and thickness, has a natural warmth and feel in the hand, it simply belongs.
Pelikan, starting in 1929 marketed these pens as the first transparent pens, where the ink level can be easily read and easily refilled with the piston action when the ink was going low. In addition they proudly marketed the pen as astonishing technical advance in writing, which couldn't be more true as we still use the same filling and writing principles today. Another nice feature is the 4 thread spiral on the cap and on the barrel; no matter where the starting position is when the user starts to screws or unscrews the cap, the cap will be screwed/unscrewed all the way to close or open the pen on in only 1-1.25 rotations. These are just some of the details that make these vintage Pelikan pens so special.
Most amazingly however is the pen's condition. The pen has no cracks, scratches, dings, chips or teeth marks, no deformations, discoloring, it is simply a time capsule as it was made months and not 80 years ago. The pen is in perfect working order. Made with about 18 parts, this is a masterpiece of precision engineering, hard to believe that it was made 80 years ago. All of the parts are its original ones, the only part that needs some work on is the rubber cork, which tend to shrink over time, but once repaired they work as they did 80 years ago. The piston is now super smooth, easy to turn and fills all the way to the top and will work flawlessly for decades. There is that amazing barrel clarity rarely seen on these old 100s, a lovely bright green ink window. The inscription on the captop is nice and crisp, inscribed twice in a row, "Pelikan PATENT" which stands for Deutsches Republic Patent. The rings are tightly fit to the cap that suggests there is no shrinkage or deformations. There is some brassing on the clip due to some minor corrosion, but this is easily repairable and can be re-gold plated by any jeweler around the world. However in order to keep it authentic we will not perform any gold plating on the pens from this find, including this one.
One of the best things about this pen is of course its nib. This is the epiphany of nib making. The nib is fully flexible, EF needle sharp CN nib which stands for Chromium-Nickel. The CN nibs were the successors of the Pd nibs which came after the prohibition of gold for non essential use during WWII. The idea was that since this alloy didn't rust and was also flexible, it would provide the same feeling and writing experience as the gold nib. In most respects they were right, and it did, superbly. This is a truly super flexible nib that simply melts on the paper. It will write any size from EF up to double broad or even wider. Since its a EF its a super sharp, needle like and tends to be slightly scratchy, however this is common on such sharp nibs and should go away if the pen is used regularly, i.e. it will smoothen and adapt to the strokes and angles of its user. We could smoothen the nibs, but this is how they came and since they have never been used we believe not doing any work on the nibs is how they should arrive to you. The nib is fed by its original ebonite feed which is tapered at the back end. This feed tapering provides kind of pre-ink reservoir behind it, essentially creating a pre-ink chamber, where the entire weight of the ink reservoir is directly transferred to the ink canals of the feed but it also helps for the capillary action to be able to suck up the last few drops of ink in the barrel. This feed has a very large ink canal allowing for constant ink flow, making the nib quite wet. The imprints are super clear and parts are still filled with the green filling originally done on this pen. The finely grooved/knurled ebonite turning knob feels nice and provides the needed grip when filling the pen.
It's not by chance that the 100 is one of the most appreciated, most collected and most admired pens in the world. Having the pleasure of working with so many of these pens, one understands why this is. It's just amazing the precision with which these pens were crafted, the ebonite/hard rubber differential piston mechanism is so well engineered, the entire pen disassembles like a true mechanical machinery, no glue was used in the original assembly, no lubricants were used, all parts are threaded or friction fitted. The form, shape and size were spot on from the day it was conceived, and they still are to this day, it just felt so right in the hand, the weight and the ergonomics, basically perfect.
These Pelikan 100s are more than just pens, they are engineering and design timeless masterpieces.
*Please feel free to contact us if you need any additional information or if you'd like to add or comment on this description.
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