Pelikan P25, 1961-1965

This date in 1961 marks the earliest recorded appearance of the Pelikan P25, Pelikan’s first cartridge pen aimed at adults.

Pelikan launched the P25 after the unexpected success of the Pelikano: Pelikan’s first cartridge pen, launched in 1960 and targeted at school-going children. The P25 is not very different: instead of the Pelikano’s aluminum cap and steel nib, the P25 sports a rolled gold cap and 14K nib.

(Pelikan also launched the P15 at the same time as the P25, identical but with a nickel silver (billed as “Silvexa”) cap. The P15 and P25 were first offered in sapphire blue, then black.)

The P25 was based on the Pelikano, which in turn was based on the P1 – Pelikan’s belated and not very successful answer to the Parker “51”. For the P1 Pelikan retained its traditional piston-filling system, and only adopted cartridges with the Pelikano.

The P25 is slimmer and lighter than the 400s that Pelikan is best known for. The P25 seems a little smaller than the 400NN when capped, but when uncapped the P25 is actually longer. The 14K nib is stiffer than those on the 400s. The P25 cap has a Pelikan beak washer clip, following earlier pens, and is held in place by a dome the same plastic as the barrel.

From L to R: 400NN, 400, P25, a Pelikano

What’s interesting about the design is that the barrel unscrews about 1/3 from the end of the pen, instead of after the section. The threads for the cap are also high up, close to the nib. The pen is meant to take short international cartridges, and because of the construction it’s difficult to tell if you’re running out of ink until the cartridge is almost empty. But the end cap can hold a spare cartridge (inserted upside-down).

The P25 is an unassuming pen that doesn’t stray far from its origins as a student pen, and as a result it seems to be usually overlooked. This good example was almost a steal considering its rolled gold cap and 14K nib.


Switching Pilot steel nibs — a BB italic on a Prera

Bought a Prera recently so that I could switch its nib with a BB italic from a Pilot Plumix that wasn’t seeing much use. This turned out to be simpler than I’d expected.

Grasp the nib and feed between thumb and forefinger and pull straight out. Don’t twist. The feed and nib will emerge together.

The Plumix first:

(Note the different ends on the feeds from the Plumix and the Prera. The Plumix is a bit different from other Pilot pens as it takes international cartridges instead of Pilot’s proprietary ones.)

Then the Prera:

The nib is shaped so that it’ll fit in only 1 position on the feed. I switched the nibs, then pushed nib and feed back into the section.

Voila! With the BB nib the Prera is even cuter 🙂

Tropen Scholar

I couldn’t find much info on this pen, other than what’s in Lambrou. According to FPOTW, Tropen sold 150,000 Scholar pens a year from 1945-1948, but doesn’t it doesn’t say which year the pen was launched or when Tropen stopped production.

As the name implies the pens were targeted at students but they’re still quality products. The materials are light and thin but not flimsy (the plastic feels like ABS) and the details are sharp. What I especially like is that the pen and blind cap have been turned so well that you can barely discern the seam between the blind cap and the barrel. There’re no flash lines either (unlike the Pelikan M2xx pens). And it holds a lot of ink too.

I imagine “Nichroma” was an attempt to make a plated steel nib sound snazzier (a common marketing tactic among pen manufacturers back then). The nibs write smoothly and are very stiff. The nib units unscrew as well.

I really like the German 1930’s styling, and the pen is very comfortable to hold and write with. The only complaint I have is that the nibs are reliable but a bit boring. Initially, they had ink flow problems as well – for no reason they would dry up while writing. Those problems seem to have gone away.

The pens came with tapered ends that you could switch the blind caps with, to turn the pen into a desk pen. The taper makes the pen look a bit unwieldy but it does improve the balance of the pen, making it an even nicer writer.

(On a side note, Parker adopted a similar tactic to market the Duofold during the Depression, to make it look like the buyer would be getting 2 pens for the price of 1)

(Tropen pens with a Pelikan M215 for size comparison)

I recently bought these Tropen Scholar pens in Kuala Lumpur, at KS Gill. I suspect they were were made in the last 2 decades, especially since they were sold with the circa-1989 Scholar pens (these look completely different btw), but I have no way to date them. If you’ve more info pls feel free to comment.