Edel

1935-38
About This Pen

The Edel fountain pen is a curiosity, a pen that had been mostly lost to history until a Dutch restorer took a risk and brought them back to life.  What is an Edel? It is a 1935 German piston-filled fountain pen, made of plastic (barrel and cap), Bakelite (crown and blind cap), and ebonite (section and feed). It looks like nothing as much as a contemporaneous Pelikan, the 100 series. Its nib is like no other German nib I’ve seen — amazing flexible and wet, writing from an EF to a BBB, and wet without dripping ink. It’s a handsome, shiny pen.

The interesting part is its story. In 2013, I believe, a Dutch restorer named Alex van Galen was offered the contents of an old trunk bought at auction, part of the contents of which were a large batch of what appeared to be never sold inventory stock of pens. There was a page of newsprint from Hamburg, 1944, at the bottom of the trunk, but no other information about the previous owner or the pens’ history. Van Galen took the chance and bought the pens. He decided to restore them individually, which in reality meant disassembling them all and building as many complete pens as he could from the pieces. The Bakelite and ebonite parts had weathered well, but not the same for the plastic, which had shrunk in many of the pens. In the end, he was able to recover and build numerous pens which had not been seen before and, I don’t believe, (other than his sales) since. I was able to get one from the first batch, because within hours after posting his story on the Fountain Pen Network, I wrote to him to claim one. It is a beautiful restoration, and the nib is truly unusual. I love wartime pens, and even though this one was not designed for wartime use, it is clearly from that era.

The two World Wars, in addition to everything else they did, changed the historical paths of millions of people, as well as their possessions.  My Edel is one of those possessions — someone had a stationery/pen business somewhere in Germany, and was an agent for Edel, either at the wholesale or retail level.  The person, the business, the brand were lost forever, but that trunk reappeared after 70 years, to be brought back to life by an adventurous pen restorer. Thanks, Alex!

This pen is in the Europe, Britain, Asia collection.