Pen of the Day: Pelikan 400nn

Pelikan 400nn fountain pen J. Herbin Vert Pre

Pelikan 400nn with medium nib. I still have a few vintage Pelikans hanging around, and this is one I’ve always liked the look of. The original green stripe Pelikan celluloid binde is a beautiful thing. And the 400nn shape is sleek.

Pelikan 400nn fountain pen

I desperately needed to add a little color to my roster of inked pens, so I filled the 400nn with J. Herbin Vert Pré. It’s a little wild and a lot of fun. And it is yet another example of one of my favorite ink categories: the barely legible.

Vintage Pelikans like this often have lovely semi-flex nibs. I couldn’t resist.

Pelikan 400nn fountain pen with J. Herbin Vert Pre ink writing sample


Aurora Optimas: What Do We Say to the God of Fountain Pen Problems? Not Today.

Aurora Optima fountain pens in box

Well, Fountain Pen Follies did not enjoy a great start to the week, what with finding yucky stuff in some ink. However, let’s put that drear aside. Fountain pens are supposed to be fun. And here’s what I got yesterday from a very nice friend: this fantastic Aurora box.

Look at that gorgeous thing. Even the sun is happy to see it.

The box is wood on the outside and soft fabric on the inside. It’s like a luxury hotel room for fountain pens. And here are my Optimas, all moved in.

Aurora Optima fountain pens

From left to right, that’s the 365, the Sole, the Emerald Green Auroloide, the Blue Auroloide with gold, the Demonstrator with chrome, the Demonstrator with red, the Burgundy Auroloide, the Nero Perla and the Blue Auroloide with chrome.

I am waiting for the Monviso, which should come out in a few weeks.

And after that, I’ll still have ten spots to fill. It’s going to be fun. So check back in ten years.  Just calendar that in now.

Pen of the Day: Parker 75 with Graf von Faber-Castell Carbon Black

Parker 75 sterling silver ciselé

Parker 75 Sterling Silver Ciselé with fine nib. The Parker 75 is a business-like pen with a no-nonsense, no-flair nib.  It a fairly slim pen by today’s standards, but it’s comfortable to use and works without fuss. It could easily be the one pen you use every day.

The 75 comes in a number of finishes. In fact, this weekend I just saw a beautiful, new-to-me 75 pattern that a pen friend had purchased. I’ve had a few 75s over the years, but I’m down to just this one: the US-made flat top sterling silver ciselé pattern.

This is probably the most common 75, but it’s also my favorite. I’d say it’s the iconic Parker 75.

Parker 75 sterling silver ciselé

Being a total wild child, I threw caution to the wind and filled it with a random ink sample, Graf von Faber-Castell Carbon Black.  I know, settle down, right?

Well, it all worked out because Faber-Castell Carbon Black seems to be my kind of black ink: not dark-as-night, but more interesting to me because it has some shading. This ink also writes very smoothly and resists feathering nicely.  It reminds me of all my favorite black inks: Pelikan Brilliant Black and the black inks from Stipula, Montblanc and Seitz-Kreuznach.

Parker 75 sterling silver ciselé Faber-Castell Carbon Black ink writing sample

Montblanc Golden Yellow Ink: Mold Inside the Ink Cartridges?

Montblanc Golden Yellow Ink cartridge with SITB

I was going to send some of my Montblanc Golden Yellow ink cartridges to friends today, when I noticed something strange. There was something floating inside the cartridges that wasn’t just ink.  As you can see, it looks like mold.

This is a first for me. I’ve never seen mold grow inside sealed cartridges before.  I have occasionally seen it develop in bottles of ink that had been opened and partially used. But never in any Montblanc ink.

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Green, Green: The New Lamy Safari Green

Lamy Safari Green and Apple Green fountain pens

I have moaned a fair bit about how Lamy keeps bringing out so many green Safaris and Al-Stars. Like sands through the hour glass, so come the Lamy greens. And this year Lamy added a Green Safari to the regular line. That’s the pen in the background of that photo, with the sticker and the black cap finial.

I’ve read that the new Green revives the 2012 Special Edition Apple Green Safari. However, like all current Safaris, the new Green has a black cap finial, while the 2012 Apple Green had a green finial. You can see that, too, in the photo above.

I’ve always liked the Apple Green. It’s pretty much the only green Safari or Al-Star I ever use. So, figuring it wouldn’t hurt to have another, I added a new Green Safari to an order I placed last month.  And here it is, again: the Green, with the Apple Green below.

Lamy Safari Green and Apple Green fountain pens

I’m not sure, but I have the nagging feeling that the new Green may be slightly different in hue than the Apple Green. Very slightly. Or maybe not. Does it look slightly different to you?

Those first two photos were taken outside. This next photo was taken inside, under artificial light, after I removed the sticker.

Lamy Safari Green and Apple Green fountain pens

Well, if there is a difference, it’s negligible. Especially under indoor lighting. In any case, this Safari Green is still my favorite Lamy green, in either the Safari or Al-Star line, and for anyone who missed the 2012, it’s nice to have it back.

It’s the pen so nice, I bought it twice.

So I May Have a Problem (cough)

blue fountain pens with chrome trim

Sometimes a new pen purchase triggers … well, not a look in the mirror, exactly, but a furtive peek into the pen case.

Is it possible that I like blue and chrome pens a little too much?

You know, I’m going to go with “no.”  That is unpossible.

Don’t think twice, it’s alright.

Blue fountain pens with chrome trim

Things That Are Blue: Two Bright Blue Pelikans

Pelikan M605 Marine Blue and Pelikan M205 Transparent Blue fountain pens

Here is a quick look at my new blue Pelikan, the M205 Transparent Blue, with my slightly older blue Pelikan, the M605 Marine Blue.

The M205 is a demonstrator. The Marine Blue is not: the glossy, translucent plastic of the Marine Blue looks much less transparent in person than in photographs. But the Marine Blue has a definite “ooh shiny” quality.

The M205 is smaller, thinner and lighter, and has the steel nib instead of gold. But it’s also less expensive. And, yet, shiny. I passed this up when it was widely available a few years ago, but as soon as Pelikan reissued it, I snapped one up.

I use modern Pelikans all the time, and with blue my favorite ink color, I’m glad to have both of these.

Pelikan M605 Marine Blue and Pelikan M205 Transparent Blue fountain pens

Pen of the Day: Pelikan M205 Transparent Blue

Pelikan Classic M205 Transparent Blue Demonstrator with writing sample

Pelikan M205 Transparent Blue with fine nib. It’s full name seems to be the “Classic M205 Demonstrator Transparent Blue Special Edition” which certainly is a mouthful. But that does say it all. The pen is blue, it’s a demonstrator and it has chrome-plated trim.

Despite some internal struggle, I just had to have it. And it really looks great.

Pelikan Classic M205 Transparent Blue Demonstrator

As you can see from that photo above, the piston is black, but the spindle and other fittings are a lighter color — beige or gray. That makes the assembly less obtrusive, but still visible. I like Pelikan’s attention to detail there.

The only things I don’t love about this pen, and I knew both going in, are the Pelikan steel nib and the pen’s light weight. There’s nothing to do about the weight, since I don’t like writing with the pen posted. But as for the nib, because it’s a Pelikan I can swap in other nibs. And maybe I’ll have the steel nib stubbed or something. As we say in Chicago, “I know a guy.”

But, the look of the pen, I just love.

Pelikan Classic M205 Transparent Blue Demonstrator