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Pelikan Fountain Pens
The first Pelikan fountain pen was manufactured in 1929. Produced by the Pelikan ink company of Hanover, Germany, Pelikan had been in the ink industry for over 90 years before they offered their own fountain pen as part of their product line. The original Pelikan fountain pens had a signature green color and a transparent ink window. They had a piston-filling system that used a differential threading works inside of the pen barrel to fill the ink well.
Pelikan was the first German pen to use a color other than black for the pen's exterior. German pen manufacturers felt that black was a dignified color, but the head of Pelikan wanted to make green pens. Pelikan added more colors and precious metals by 1931, including gold and white gold overlays. Pelikan pens sold better outside of Germany, partly due to the company's already existing office supply mail-order business.
Pelikan ceased operations in 1944 during World War II. They reopened in 1947 and redesigned its pen in 1950, calling it the Pelikan 400 series. This became Pelikan's best-selling pen. Original 400s are easily recognized by their vertically striped black and green barrel. Today, collectors seek out the original 100 series pens from 1929, as well as the gold overlaid Pelikan Toledo and other pens made with precious metals.
The Pelikan company was originally founded in 1838 and sold colored ink. In 1871, a chemist named Guenther Wagner took over the company. He used his family emblem, a pelican, as the company's logo
Collectors consider the color of the celluloid barrel band on a vintage Pelikan fountain pen to be important. Pelikan fountain pen colors that are difficult to find include gray, tortoise shell, and lizard, as well as blue Pelikan model 101s
Pelikan lizard-pattern pens in mint or near-mint condition currently sell for close to $2,000