The history
The history of the Pelikano®

Pelikano looks back on an eventful history. The first Pelikano pen was made only after numerous polls with teachers, in order to gain well-founded knowledge on the topic of learning how to write.

The history of the Pelikano®

From 1960 until now

Pelikano looks back on an eventful history. The first Pelikano pen was made only after numerous polls with teachers, in order to gain well-founded knowledge on the topic of learning how to write.

The first Pelikano pen was introduced to the market in 1960 and was particularly designed to meet the demands of school students. Already in 1964 many million students were using the Pelikano fountain pen and it finally found entrance into the schools.

Throughout the years, the Pelikano had been improved and modernized more and more. The biggest change is made now: In celebration of the 50 year anniversary of the Pelikano fountain pen. It comes in a completely new design and this time it is accompanied by the new Pelikano ink rollerball pen.

1960: A legend was born

Due to an extensive product test of the model 120 with thousands of teachers taking part, lots of valuable information on the performance of the writer and the writing instrument was gained in spring 1959. As a result of this survey, the first Pelikano was constructed.

The first model was made with a chrome plated screwing cap, the beak clip and a rounded off blue cap top. The end of the barrel was rounded off, too.

The shape of the first Pelikano pen corresponded to the model P15/P25 with completely covered nib.

Back then, the cartridge filling system was revolutionary! Children no longer had to work with open ink wells and also did not have to wipe off the nib, either.


1965: Proven quality – new design

In that year, the shape and the technique of the Pelikano pen was developed further. Apart from the flat cap top and the flat end of the the barrel, the cap and the nib were enhanced. A viewing window in the barrel made it possible to check the ink volume of the cartridge filling fountain pen.

The new click-on cap made of chrome-plated brass became a slightly changed clip, which still was clearly recognizable as a pelican’s beak.

The now only partly covered, swinging nib was well-visible, however, strong enough to stand the strong pressure a beginner in writing gave to the pen.

The educational demands of a slip proof grip zone lead to the grooves in the upper part of the pen. They were supposed to prevent the student holding the pen to close to the nib.


1969: Writing as light as a feather

The next Pelikano fountain pen had a click on cap made of chrome plated brass again. As popular to that time, the design followed clearer lines. The clip narrowed to the end, but it did not have a beak clip anymore. The top of the cap was covered with the Pelikan logo and the clip had the “Pelikano” logo on it. The barrel was made of a new kind of even stronger synthetic material.

The still halfway covered nib received a revised version. This way, it was as elastic as the nib before, but it had a higher stability due to the bent edges on the sides. With a special finishing it became such a well writing pen that it was also used for all adult fountain pens until 1979.

In the following year, a red model also came on the market for the first time, in order to meet the demands of parents, who wished for a red model for girls.


1973: Profiled grip zone for clean fingers


The clip of the Pelikano was revised: a new, clearer design was used for the clip. It was now shaped like a beam and had “Pelikano” logo engraved into the clip. The click on cap was made of chrome plated brass, however, for export the model 465 with colored plastic caps was used, as well. The end of the barrel was designed in a way, so that name stickers were able to be glued on.


The nib attachment was not as hidden as it used to be, however, it narrowed to the end. For the first time, models for right and left handers had been introduced with separate names, the models 460 and 461.

The profiled grip zone had a kind of hollow for the pointer finger. It was supposed to guarantee a correct writing position, as children still tended to hold the pen towards the end.




1979: Perfect for a student’s hand

The cap was now cylindrical. Additionally, the barrel was shortened, so that the pen was held more balanced in a child’s hand when the cap was closed. The clip was now shaped even more rectangular.

The model names for left handers were changed to 450 and 451 and have remained unchanged until 2009.

The key to an ideal writing position was the changing of the front part of the pen. The gripping profile was revised a little and the end of the front part was straightened.

The shape of the nib could not be improved any further until 2003.


1984: Further improved grip zone

The Pelikano fountain pen kept its basic shape, the changes that were made concerned the front part, which was redeveloped to improve the child’s writing position.

The “Pelikano Super” existed for one last year in 1983, however, it hadn’t proven popular and was taken from the product range in the next year.

The grip zone was optimized to prevent further slipping of the middle finger. In the following year, a slip resistant profile completed the design.


1989: Better view on the filling level

In 1989, technical changes were made. The barrel was equipped with a long shaped viewing window that provided a clear view of the ink cartridge used and the auxiliary cartridge.

Going with the taste of time, Pelikano was also offered in trendy colors: White with a black clip and a black nib, mint and pink.

1989, the blue and red pens received a gold plated nib. The models mint and pink received a black nib and a black clip.

In the years following, a change in the consumers demands could be seen in view of the first fountain pen for students. The Pelikano fountain pen was seen more as a fountain pen for eight to ten-year-olds.


1993: Introduction of the safety cap


Since 1993, the Pelikano Junior had provided a good basis for children who had been learning to write. The existing Pelikano models merely received a cosmetic upgrade: the black pen received a golden plated nib and a clip made of stainless steel. The pens in the trendy colors Russian-green and pink were then available with a black nib and a black clip.


1994 the English government enacted a regulation which said that fountain pens for students needed safety caps. Pelikan adopted this regulation for the construction of its writing instruments and adjusted the form of the Pelikano cap accordingly.


2000: Pelikano follows the trend

The new Pelikano now had a translucent barrel with a glossy surface. This way, the viewing windows were able to be omitted, as you were able to see the ink volume anyway.

The clip received a slightly curved shape.

Despite the traditional colors red and blue, the Pelikano pen was now also produced in the color green and a different shade of red.

The smooth writing ability of the nib was increased by using a new method of sharpening it.


2003: Designed completely new

In this year, the design of the Pelikano pen was changed entirely. A market research survey that tested the degree of acceptance of different pen models led the way.

This Pelikano was rounded off on the end of the barrel and the cap. The translucent synthetic material of the previous model was kept and was also used for the slightly curved clip and the cap top.

The nib was a copy of the one on the fountain pen future. Moreover, it received a new grip zone. It was exactly adapted to meet the needs of a right or a left hander.

The Pelikano was what you would call the entry level model into the market of fountain pens for the youth. In order to learn how to write, there was the Pelikano Junior. After that, at the age of 9, the child was supposed to and also desired to write with a fountain pen, so he/she could finally count him/herself among the older children.


2010: Pelikano - cooler than ever

In celebration of its 50th anniversary, the Pelikano received a new, trendy design. The transparent top part offers a great view of the ink volume and the metal cap got a new look, too.

Now, even students who prefer writing with a rollerball pen do not have to take a pass on the Pelikano.

The latest Pelikano has a strong stainless steel nib and a special grip zone for relaxed writing. The new Pelikano is now available in three trendy colors (red, blue, green), however, the color shades of the rollerball pen come out darker so it can be told apart easier from the fountain pen when both pens are closed.

Naturally, both the fountain pen and the rollerball pen are available for right and left handers.