I Learn a Valuable Lesson About Fountain Pens and Inks, Set to Music.

Apologies for my internet absence. Since we brought the 2019 Chicago Pen Show to a successful and happy conclusion, pens have been scarce for me. And, actually, even before the Pen Show. Almost no pen time. Hence, nothing to write about pens.

Eh, it happens. Life is fine. It’s just been busy. Life is bigger. Much bigger than pens. But it’s made the blog seem like a Colorado ghost town, with the dust blowing between abandoned mining shacks.

Only now, it’s almost fall. Time to clean things out, get cracking. We’re back to school.

So here’s what I was doing with pens during my summer vacation. Like the song at (almost) the very end, this will be long and boring. But there’s music in it.

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Pelikan M605 White Transparent: It’s No Candy Cane

Pelikan M605 White Transparent with Pelikan Edelstein Ruby

Here’s the thing about the Pelikan M605 White Transparent: it’s elegant and glamorous. It just is. It’s Lara in Doctor Zhivago; it’s Daenerys Targaryen in her coatdress north of the Wall. It’s Fred Astaire, and Cary Grant. Whatever the circumstances, this pen will remain stylish.

Not even red ink can tart up the White Transparent. Oh, I tried. Up there is the pen filled with Pelikan Edelstein Ruby. It’s no candy cane.

Okay, if you hold the pen up to the light, you can make out the red, but even then, it’s not prominent.

Pelikan M605 White Transparent with Pelikan Edelstein Ruby

That’s the barrel placed against a sunny window and blown up much larger than life. As one does in real life …. Right, never.

Well, I kept trying. Next came a green ink. This is Pelikan Dark Green in the White Transparent.

Pelikan M605 White Transparent with Pelikan 4001 Dark Green

The barrel doesn’t really look much different than with the red ink.

If you really want this pen to look wild and crazy, I’m thinking it will take orange, or maybe turquoise. And even then, maybe not.

I am not going there, in any case. This pen has its own style. Why fight it?

Nonetheless, for posterity, here’s a seasonal ink display. Jingle Bells and Ho Ho Ho and happy holidays to all. Otherwise, doesn’t this seem wrong?

Pelikan M605 White Transparent with Pelikan 4001 Dark Green & Pelikan Edelstein Ruby

I’m running back to the gray and blue inks now.

Pelikan Hubs 2017: Chicago

Pelikan Hubs Chicago banner

Sorry I couldn’t get this up more quickly, but “better late than never” is the motto made for me. So, better late than never, here is my report on the 2017 Pelikan Hub in Chicago, held this past Friday night.

In two words: so fun! For (many) more words, it’s on to the next page.

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One Minute Ink Review: Pelikan Edelstein Smoky Quartz

Pelikan Edelstein Smoky Quartz

Pelikan Edelstein Smoky Quartz. Pelikan’s 2017 Edelstein “Ink of the Year” is Smoky Quartz, an earthy brown that’s dark and legible. It strikes me as a darker version of J. Herbin Lie de Thé.

Like all Pelikan Edelstein inks I’ve used, Smoky Quartz has excellent lubrication and flow. I don’t get much shading, except on Tomoe River paper. The ink color looks different on different papers, which I usually like, but if you’ve ever changed a baby’s diapers, choose your paper wisely here.

Apparently the color was picked by internet voters to be the Ink of the Year. And apparently it’s popular.

Is this an everyday ink? If it’s your kind of color, then yes. Pelikan makes well-behaved and dependable inks, and Smoky Quartz is no exception.

Ink Dips: Pelikan Edelstein Sapphire

Pelikan Edelstein Sapphire writing sample

Ink Dips is a more laid back, but potentially painful, ink evaluation than is normal here at Fountain Pen Follies. Instead of choosing a carefully curated ink, with Ink Dips I just blindly pick from a box of substandard and set-aside samples. You know the story about William Tell shooting an arrow at an apple set on his kid’s head? Ink Dips is an experiment like that, except the fellow holding the bow is drunk and hates you. That’s how it was this week.

Pelikan Edelstein Sapphire. I knew when I started Ink Dips that there would some I didn’t like. But the first three were awesome; in fact, there is one I wish I could buy. The ink I picked for this week was Pelikan Edelstein Sapphire.

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Fountain Pen Favorites for January 2017

calendar image

January is over? How did that happen? Well, swiftly, I guess. In terms of pens and inks, January wasn’t particularly notable for me. But if I dredge, I can dig up some highlights.

1. Ink Dips. I liked the first two, Sailor Something Something and Pelikan Edelstein Onyx. Oh, yes, Sailor Oku-Yama. Details … poof. The mind is the first thing to go. Or maybe vision. Possibly hearing. What was I saying?

2. Yellow Journalism. I wrote in my new journal pretty consistently. Not every day, but almost. So it’s becoming a habit, which is nice. Unfortunately, I have written 96 pages since Christmas, which is going to be financially ruinous; these things are costly. I’m going back to a Rhodia Webnotebook when I fill my Nanami Writer, to see if the type of journal makes a difference or not.

3.  Hmm, a Rant. Yeah, um, well, hard to think of a third highlight, to be honest. I liked the inks I used this month. Pens were pretty calm for me — there is not much happening here in pens. Actually, I dislike something. I am not in favor of the newly announced 2017 Lamy Safari color, which is “Petrol,” which is the German word for “Teal.” I can’t even pretend to care about this Safari. Especially when the 2017 Al-Star is already an aquamarine called Pacific.

It seems I’ve gone off Lamy. After so many years of the neons and the greens and the greenish yellows, now in 2107 we’re getting not one, but two, blue greens. That’s not what I’d call progress.

I’ve lost faith in Lamy, or interest, or both. I don’t know if the string of similar colors is due to lack of imagination, cost-consciousness or trying to profit off an influx of newbie buyers with no apparent discernment (given the prices they’ll pay for counterfeits). But whatever the cause, I don’t care. I’m bored with the result. It seems cheap and cynical, and worst of all dull, by Lamy.

Yes, I am now completely unexcited about Lamy Safaris. And I used to be their biggest fan.


Photo by Dafne Cholet, Flickr, used under Creative Commons license.

Ink Dips: Pelikan Edelstein Onyx

Pelikan Edelstein Onyx and Parker 75 Silver

Ink Dips is a more casual, and potentially evil, ink evaluation than is normal here at Fountain Pen Follies. Instead of carefully evaluating an ink I’m interested in, the point of Ink Dips is instead to blindly pick an ink sample from a box of dullards and discards. Then I ink up that sample in one pen and see what I think. It’s sort of like the feeling you get when you leave for the airport during a snowstorm: you don’t know what’s going to happen, but you’re prepared for it to be painful.

Pelikan Edelstein Onyx. I’m pleased to say that Pelikan Edelstein Onyx turns out to be an awesome performer. It’s a black ink, on the lighter side, and although it is premium-priced, the more I use it, the more I think it’s worth it.

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Doubling Down: Pelikan’s Double-Broad Highlighter Nib Isn’t Just for Highlighting

Pelikan M205 with double broad BB nib

That is the Pelikan double broad nib I bought at the Ohio Show this weekend from Dan Smith, the Nibsmith. I put it on my M205 Blue demonstrator.

I don’t know if the size of that tipping material can be adequately appreciated, but there’s a lot. I call the nib The Blob. In a good way.

Here is a comparison of an M600 BB nib on the left with the M205 BB nib on the right.

Pelikan M600 BB versus M205 BB highlighter

And the other side, again with the M600 BB nib on the left and the M205 BB nib on the right.

Pelikan M600 BB versus M205 BB highlighter

I’m guessing that Pelikan wanted to make the M205 BB more round for highlighting. That said, I first tried a Pelikan M205 Highlighter fountain pen at the Chicago Pelikan Hub, and that nib was more stubbish than mine.

Having seen the nib, you won’t be surprised that it writes a gigantic line. It’s almost marker-like, and very smooth. It’s kind of fun writing with such a wet and wide nib. Also good for making your points forcefully. Or writing with yellow ink.

Here is a writing sample with the M205 double broad writing in blue and the M600 in pink.

writing sample Pelikan M600 BB versus M205 BB highlighter

The M205 has Pelikan Edelstein Tanzanite ink, which is a wetter ink than the Sailor Sakura-Mori in the M600. But the M205 double broad is just bigger, and it writes wider.

writing sample Pelikan M600 BB versus M205 BB highlighter

I’m a person who loves a good fine nib, but I think most fountain pen people prefer broader nibs, and this makes an intriguing choice. Because you can buy this one separately. And it will fit into any Pelikan from M200 through M700.

In the US it’s $60. Which means every else in the world it’s probably only $20 or less. (A little black humor, for those of us in Chartpak territory.)

I decided to buy the nib only. You could instead buy it on the highlighter pen. Or if you’re buying a different new M205, ask for the BB nib instead of the usual choices. I’d probably do that, if I ever bought another M200-sized pen, and I’d have the BB modified into a stub or architect’s nib. Because The Blob has tipping material to spare.