I spent a lot of time pining for a Pelikan in the first decade of this century. That would be in the period between my becoming pen mad!! and the first time I actually got my hands on a Pelikan… or at least a proper Pelikan. In the first fever of pen madness, I crept about the city looking for fixes, hands quivering and eyes red-rimmed. A local art supply shop had a Pelikano Junior, and that became my first experience with the company.
Not… overwhelming, as I’m sure you gather. However, this didn’t affect the desire, because I recognized the potential for difference between something made for people with an age in single digits and something for people who have been around the figurative block a couple of times. We do not pedal a tricycle in the garden and say, “Now I have experienced driving,” right?
Then came a happy year in which I got, in short order, a New Classic and a 140. This was my first experience with a (more or less) modern Pelikan and a (roughly) vintage one. This one-two punch made an impression, even though I had at that time been a raving pen lunatic for nearly ten years, and had been known the touch of fountain pens since the mid-1970s. Those with larger psychology degrees than mine can ponder how much the amazement I felt from those two pens is a result of long building anticipation, but in my experience that sort of mounded-up expectation is almost never an enhancement to the eventual experience. If it were, people would not have fallen down in faints of revulsion as they did for Star Wars Episode I, right? It’s very hard to live up to unfounded expectations. Pelikan, for me, managed to exceed them, and that’s a rare trick.
What to I really think of them? Rather a lot. With the exception of the Level 5, every Pelikan I’ve handled has only increased my regard for the brand, and even that disappointment came only from the deeply silly filling system– the point on it was so good that I kept the thing at hand for a year, writing shopping lists with it so I could revel in the sensation of it despite being completely unwilling to trust it in a pocket. One elderly and ill-used Pelikano I briefly had was merely adequate as a writer. The rest have brought joy. It was, in fact, a recent reflection on how much I like using each and every pen of this brand which I have in my possession that gave rise to this whole department. Looking ahead, I don’t forsee writing such generally glowing praise of any other brand, a realization which rather surprised me. But there it is.
Pelikan. I like it a lot.