What later became the "Pelikan" firm was founded in Hannover by Carl Hornemann (born 3/29/1811, died 12/13/1896). The firm came into being on April 28, 1838; this date is accepted today as the official beginning of the firm, since the firm's first printed price list appeared on that day. In addition to 76 water-color and oil paints, prepared oils and varnishes, it offered colored inks. For some years before that, Hornemann had been producing water-color pigments. On december 14, 1863, Günther Wagner, the man who gave the firm the name of Pelikan, became a partner. Soon he bought out the Hornemann family, buying the company in 1871.
The seventies brought "Pelikan" the financial upswing that other businesses also enjoyed after the victorious war with France. Wagner invested in machines and did a lot of advertising. In addition, he founded a second factory in Eger, which then still belonged to Austria. In the eighties, Fritz Beindorff came into the firm. At first he worked under Wagner's leadership; he even became Wagner's son-in-law; in 1894 he became a partner in the firm and as of January 1, 1895 he was the sole proprietor.
He founded twelve Pelikan branches in Eastern Europe and Latin America, and was part of the firm for almost sixty years. At the beginning of his career, he had 39 fellow workers; in 1888 (on Pelikan's fiftieth anniversary), there were already 62 employees. At the turn of the century in 1900, 236 employees held secure positions. In 1913 (the firm's 75th anniversary), there were 975 people working for Pelikan.
In 1918, when World War I ended, there were 1110, while in 1928, at its 90th anniversary, the number of employees had grown to 2488. And in 1938, at the firm's hundredth anniversary, Pelikan had 3701 employees!
In 1863, when Günther Wagner joined the firm, the sale of ink already made up a great part of the firm's business. From then on, the sales catalog was divided into two parts, the first part including everything that painters, architects and engineers needed for drawing and students required for drawing lessons; the second part included the glues, stamp pads and all the other things used in the office. In 1897 the production of Pelikan inks began. Since 1900 Pelikan Oil, an adhesive that is still in production, has been made. In 1904 the first Pelikan typewriter ribbons were produced. Tinplate paint boxes were added in 1905, and the production of carbon paper was taken up in 1907. The firm has produced drawing pads since 1907. In 1929, one of Pelikan's most important dates (and surely for every Pelikan collector as well), writing instruments were also made for the first time. The first Pelikan fountain pen was the "100" model. It was made in black, black with a band set off in green, marbleized green (the entire pen), or, among others, marbleized in blue (see the large photo in the price guide). The somewhat striking versions are extremely hard to find today, since many of them were destroyed in the war. The versions with yellow or white gold coatings are extremely rare.
In 1932 Pelikan put the "Ibis" on the market. It usually turns up at sales today as a collector's item, in black, but there were also marbleized versions. For export it was produced only in black, as the "Rappen". It was, of course, intended as a low-priced school pen, but to get a marbleized "Ibis" today, one has to pay many times what one would pay for a modern school pen.
In 1934 Pelikan produced the "Toledo", structurally identical to the " 100" model but with 24-karat gold decoration on the barrel in the form of an artistically hand-decorated pelican. This pen is being made again today in two sizes, one in plain sterling silver, the other in gold plated sterling silver. In 1934 too, production of refillable pencils began. The first model was black and marked "auch Pelikan". Later the same model, made to match the pens and with a green band, came on the market.
Pelikan introduced the "100N" in 1937. It differed from the previous series in having a somewhat larger ink reservoir. In addition, the shape was changed somewhat. The piston was no longer rippled now, but smooth, with a conical end. This model was also available in every possible color variation; again, the simple black or black and green versions are found most often, as some colors were produced only for export.
In 1950 the legendary Pelikan "400" was produced; with the same model number and slightly changed shape, it is still available today. First available in seven versions, it is offered today in only two. But there also were expensive variants of it, namely the "500" model with gold filled piston and cap, or the completely gold filled "520". In 1952 the Pelikan "140" was put on the market as the little brother to the "400". This series had equally conical pistons and cap ends. Just like its forerunner, it was available in many versions. The rarest colors are white and mother-of-pearl.
In 1955 the shape of the "400" was changed slightly, and it was called "400N" from then on. One year later, in 1956, it was changed a second time; the piston and cap end were now very pointed and now itwas called "400NN".
To match the pens, Pelikan built the appropriate pressure pencils. But there also were versions that could not be matched directly with a series of fountain pens, and remained individual items.
We might mention here the pencil with probably the most unusual mechanism that was ever built was the "Model 60". Instead of pushing the cap button or twisting the entire cap, it was bent! By bending the pencil, the lead supply was pushed outward. This pencil was available in green apd in black. Since the pencil was very small, it could be filled only with 25 mm leads of 1.18 mm thickness. The normal lead length was 50 mm, sometimes only 35 mm. The standard lead thickness then was 1.18 mm; today, on the other hand, leads of 0.5 mm and 0.7 mm are chiefly required and produced.
In 1959 the "P1" was put on the market in eight different variations; this was a fountain pen that had a small, covered point. Until that time, all the points had been large and free-standing. The "P1" also was heavily advertised because of its flight safety and its elegant shape-it was slimmer than the other models.
The "Pelikano" school pen was introduced in 1960. Like the "P1" it had a covered point; at this time, other manufacturers also were selling fountain pens with covered points. The "Pelikano" was filled with a cartridge. To complete Pelikan's classic program, a whole series of pens appeared in the sixties, their designs reflecting the modern spirit of the times. Suddenly, stainless steel caps appeared on piston fillers, and the same models also appeared as cartridge fillers (Series 25). The clip, until then unmistakable in the shape of a pelikan's bill, was changed to a non-identifiable Pelikan clip (Series P30/M30 and P20/M20), with "M" indicating a piston mechanism and "P" standing for the cartridge filler. °
Today a "P1" in good condition is hard to find, as it did not sell well, being more expensive than the classic "400". The "Green Stripes" were classic then; as they are now. The modern "25" and "30" are not very interesting to collectors.
This love for nostalgic writing instruments was surely the reason why Pelikan included in their program, or as special issues, the "400" (14-karat gold point) as the Model "600" with an 18-karat gold or platinum-plated point, plus a decorative ring on the piston as well as on the cap, even issuing them in a masculine format as the "800" model. Recently the firm has also issued limited editions, such as the "Blue Ocean", selling only 5000 of them worldwide, and in 1992, the "800" in transparent green (3500 sold, though not in Germany). In September 1994 the "Hunting" appeared, a "Toledo" in green with a silver band on which a stag can be seen. The whole edition consisted of 3000 pieces, of which 600 have been reserved for Germany. The price was 1900 marks. The transparent ball-point pen to match the "800" was also issued in America. 700 were made.
Check the Pelikan limited section to find out what Pelikan made after 1994.



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