Two new pens have joined me, and like our Presidential candidates, they are as different as can be. Unlike our candidates, they both have great looks, style, function well, and are probable keepers.
The first is vintage: a 1940’s Pelikan 100N with a grey marbled Binde. This is the first Pelikan I have purchased since the 120 I bought my first week of college in 1970. I have been watching listings for them since reading Pelikan expert Rick Propas’ statement in which he noted that he owns quite a few 100N’s and never is without one in a shirt pocket. When a reasonably priced one turned up, I pounced; two weeks later it landed in my life. It’s a bit short but not petite; light in the hand but perfectly substantial and balanced. As Rick has noted, using this pen is an experience in elegance and timelessness. Once again, as when using a Sheaffer Vac-Fill or a Parker 51, one is compelled to ask whether Pelikan had any idea that this pen would be so solid, so dignified, and so well functioning in 70 years…it just feels right, writes well, and fits me.
The other new pen was given to me to try out at our recent New York City pen club barbeque, a TWSB Mini Vac. It’s made of very solid, clear acrylic, with a plunger mechanism that is very similar to the Sheaffer Vac-Fill. This pen has a stiff EF nib that is a bit too stiff for me and might be swapped out, but I find myself being repeatedly surprised to find the pen being turned over in my hand, over and around so the sloshing ink can be admired; I usually don’t even remember picking it up to play with it. Until now, much as I’ve admired TWSB’s pluck and struggles as a new company in mass production, its pens just hadn’t caught my interest or felt right in my hand. So far, this pen has achieved both.