Senator

1990s
About This Model

Senator is probably the largest pen manufacturer that we know next to nothing about. Today, Senator, properly Senator GmbH & Co., is a major German producer of office items and ball point pens, particularly promotional pens in a wide range of quality. However, its predecessor firm, Merz & Krell, was very well known.
Merz & Krell was a producer of fountain pens in Germany since 1920, particularly the Melbi brand from the 1920s-50s, but in addition to their own brand, Merz & Krell was a major producer of parts for Montblanc, Pelikan, and other brands from the 1930s forward. Indeed, Merz & Krell are probably best known for their Pelikan 120, produced under license for Pelikan from 1973-77; they look like true 120s but are a touch longer. In later years, their Diplomat and Senator brands, each with a range of piston-filled models from student to full size, were merged into the Senator brand, and in 2006 Merz & Krell changed their corporate identity to Senator.

About This Pen

Senator-branded pens have been available since the 1950s. They are generally black piston-filled pens, made of a variety of extruded plastic and acrylic resins, an appearance that is typical of thousands of German fountain pens from those years. They are usually very solid and well-made, not complex. This pen, from the 1990s, is like most Senators I’ve seen: 12.6cm long capped, 1.2cm across just below the cap line, substantial but not heavy, in shiny black resin. It was owned by a friend, who attests to very light use over the years, a description that is matched by the fact that it shows almost no evidence of wear aside from missing nib plating, which is not necessarily a sign of wear. The piston is strong, and pulls a significant amount of ink into the pen. The trim is gold plate; the clip is engraved with Senator, and Germany in tiny letters (That it says Germany, without “West”, is the only way one could tell that the pen is not older than the 1990s.) The nib is marked Senator, and could either be their manufacture or that of one of the dominant German nib companies. But, that unfancy nib writes a wonderfully wet fine/medium with some flex! This is a great pen to carry in a bag or pen/pencil case and not be a cause of worry.

Price: $78