This was very different Pelikan Hub experience for me. In 2016 and 2017, I happily attended the Chicago Hub, which was a blast. But this year, I acted as Hub Master for a new Hub in Evanston, just north of Chicago. Despite the fact that I was merely the Bad Moms version of a Hub Master, the location was a big success. We had 24, but more wanted to come after they’d heard about it; and I’m afraid I’m going to have to find a bigger space for next year.
The only thing is, as Hub Master, I really didn’t get to sit back and socialize at the Hub like I normally do. So that means not much to say about the Hub itself. But you could click above for previous years, and I hope folks who went to other Hubs will comment below about their own Hub experiences.
Here’s what I did see and hear: lots of Pelikans. You don’t need to own a Pelikan to attend the Hub, but it’s nice to bring them, if you have them — like wearing red or blue on the Fourth of July. At the Evanston Hub, lots of people brought Pelikans both vintage and modern.
I am a modern Pelikan fan, so my contribution was a sort of “Tester Tray” — 10 modern Pelikans to try, with nibs from EF to BB, plus some architect’s nibs, and inked up mostly with Pelikan inks. My buddy Karl added two of his modern Pelikans to that. A lot of folks brought treasured vintage Pelikans to show, and of those, the trusty, and reasonably-priced 120 seemed the most popular
Here’s my tray. I bet you won’t guess which is my favorite.
We had Pelikan inks, too: I brought bottles of Edelstein inks from Pelikan for folks to try, sample and ultimately take home. And Pelikan gave every registered participant a bottle of the current Edelstein Ink of the Year — Olivine — together with a pad of paper and a magazine called Pelikan Passion.
I’m not sure about everything passed around by attendees. I only had fleeting glimpses. I saw Michael’s pens, made of beautiful materials. I saw Haoran’s and Toni’s vintage Pelikans, and Karin’s treasured 120. I saw Fred’s Lamy Safari and Safari-like pens. Mary Jo and Alex were sketching. And I saw Ralph from Regalia Writing Labs performing heroic volunteer nibmeister work on people’s pens. He’s the best.
What pens did our Hubsters like? Any pens with materials made by Jonathon Brooks — because, of course. Architect’s nibs by Dan Smith, which were on two of my tester Pelikans. And, surprisingly, a lot of people preferred the fine architect’s nib, instead of the smoother and more showy medium architect’s nib.
There was much love for the Pelikan M600 Green o’ Green fountain pen — of course, because it slays. And the Pelikan M450 Green Tortoise — ditto. Finally, the Pelikan gold BB (double-broad) nib on one of my M600-size pens seemed popular. Those three, unfortunately, all are items Pelikan no longer makes and sells. Cue Joni Mitchell: Don’t it always seem to be, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.
But here’s the Green o’ Green looking stylish. The photo is less accurate on the color of the Olivine ink, which is a touch lighter and yellower in real life.
Most popular among the Edelstein inks I brought or had inked-up seemed to be Topaz and Aquamarine. Also Olivine. Good call. Topaz and Aquamarine are standouts, and I already adore Olivine.
About Olivine, sigh. Now, the practical side of me knows it’s too early to be definitive: I am not yet sure how it does on poor paper, or how easily it cleans out, or really much of anything. I have only used it since Friday night. In fact, I still have it in only one pen, a Pelikan with an extra-fine nib. But at least in that pen, Olivine is lovely. The color is a medium, sort of olive- or avocado- type of green, but with more blue. So it’s crisper than you’d expect. It’s also more complex. For me it looks different on different papers and in different lighting.
One unfortunate thing, however: I think it is pronounced “Olive – een,” instead of “Olive – ine,” which would have rhymed with divine, and therefore been most excellent.
For ink name mavens, Olivine is named after a mineral that becomes the gemstone peridot, the August birthstone — and the color is probably close enough, though I find the ink darker than the gemstone. Maybe it’s more like the mineral? Alas, I do not know: my rock expertise ends at jewelry, because jewelry is better.
Olivine’s color is both hard to photograph, and also hard to classify. At first you think it’s a typical yellow-green, but it’s actually more blue than the typical yellow-green. I think it’s kind of a medium-dark green with some gray or brown maybe. But it’s not muddy, so that’s not really descriptive either. And then there’s the shape-shifting on different papers. My friend Jon was reminded of Montblanc Racing Green, and I can see why he thinks that, though I’m not so sure. I like it much better than Racing Green, anyway.
See that photo? That’s Olivine on the Pelikan paper. But, really, the ink isn’t that dark-looking on every paper. Also, on my monitor that photo makes Olivine look bluer and more saturated than in real life. So, okay, this is a tough ink to accurately depict.
But if you like green inks, I highly recommend trying Olivine. Usually Pelikan keeps the Ink of the Year available only for a year. I’m glad I have my bottle.
Which reminds me that in these posts I always like to thank Pelikan for doing the Hubs, and also thank the Hub Masters. Except now I feel funny saying “Thanks, Hub Masters,” when I was a Hub Master — though of course, I’m obviously not talking about myself. But you should thank your own Hub Master, because this is the kind of a job that reminds me of being the parent of a teenager: heavy on the work and worry, chockfull of complaints and light on obvious personal reward. Your Hub Master probably did a lot of scut work to make sure everyone had a nice time — so thank her or him.
Mostly, though, we should thank Pelikan. Now that I’ve seen this process from the inside, I am going to double-down on something I’ve said the last two years: Pelikan deserves all the credit in the world for coming up with the Hubs, and continuing them. I can’t believe how much work, time and quite frankly money Pelikan must devote to this. It’s a great thing they’ve built here, especially for those who don’t or can’t go to local pen meetups, but will make the effort for a once-a-year Hub event (with gifts).
Great job, Pelikan. Thank you.
And I want to go a little farther. Is it possible that we should all put a new Pelikan on our wishlists? Pen or ink. Maybe we should support this company that support fountain pens and fountain pen users? It’s not even that hard, because, while Pelikan products aren’t always inexpensive, they are always excellent. Pelikan pens, in my, ahem, extensive experience, last forever and work well; and Pelikan inks work really well, too.
Think of the money we’ve all squandered over the years — $40 of this, and $80 of that, all of which looked splashy or sheeny or “flexy” online but turned out to be ink that’s hard to read, or ink that dried out in our pens, or pens that leaked ink all over us or were awkward to hold or were just garbage. Or just that we never use, in the end. Forgo three of those impulse buys or internet sensations or things that “sound useful,” and boom, you’ve got enough for a new Pelikan. And you’ll have something good.
Reader, consider yourself hereby enabled.
No, that is wrong. Consider yourself more than enabled: consider yourself deputized, even entrusted with a sacred charge. This is a matter of duty, and honor, not for yourself, but for the entire community, nay the whole world. You must, by order of Fountain Pen Follies, buy something new from Pelikan before the next Hub. Feel free to blame me. (I made you do it; and you promised. I’m in charge of all pen decisions. It’s not even for you, for goodness sake: you were giving back to the community.)
Go forth and buy new Pelikans and ink, and report back to me. Do it not just for yourself, but for all humanity.