Michael A. Shelley's

Fountain Pen Reviews

Pelikan and Parker

Pelikan Mk10 (1950s?)

nib: steel (fine)

Fill System: piston

Cap: pull-off

approx 134mm (5-1/4") capped

I'm not sure exactly when this pen was made; probably the 1950s or 1960s. This particular one has a small crack in the section near the nib, but still works fine. The flat-ended tapered shape was pretty popular for a while, and I find it comfortable to use.

The Mk10 is fairly lightweight due to its plastic piston filler. In fact, it's a bit too light for my taste. Like most Pelikans, it works reliably.

Pelikan M200 (current production)

nib: gold-plated steel (medium)

Fill System: piston

Cap: threaded

approx 127mm (5") capped

I'm going to get my only gripes about this pen out of the way up front. It's a little bit smaller than I would like. And I wish the nib gave a bit more variation in line width.

But that's it. Otherwise a fabulous writer, proof that a steel nib can be good. Light, piston-fill (which I like), ink window, smooth and springy nib, good ink flow, well-balanced for writing. So it's not the flashiest pen out there; it writes rings around most of them. (Around most of mine, anyway.)

This is on the lower end of the Pelikan line, and while I don't know what the street price for one is, it's a good quality pen. Some people don't like the threads on the section, but they don't bother me.

Pelikan M600 (current production)

nib: 14k gold two-tone (medium)

Fill System: piston

Cap: threaded

approx 130mm (5-1/4") capped

This is the newer run of the M600, which is slightly larger than the M400 (which is about the same size as the M200.) For my hand, this is probably the ideal size and weight for a pen. It writes very well, with no problems that I can recall, with whatever ink I put in it. I feel that the nib is a bit narrow for a medium and there is almost no variation in width. I'm told that the M800 and M1000 have more nib flexibility. My M200's medium puts down a slightly wider line. I've noticed some very light posting marks on the barrel, which can probably be polished out. Always a pleasure to write with this one.

Parker 45 Desk Pen (1950's-1960's?)

Nib: Looks like steel (medium)

Fill System: Cartridge / Converter (aerometric)

Cap: It's a desk pen, the cap sits on the desk

approx 160mm (6.3")

The Parker 45 is nothing special, but a good everyday pen. This one lives at work, so even if I forget to bring a pen (which is almost never,) I still have something to write with. The gold tip on the tail end appears to be plated plastic, the threads are kind of rough, and the base is just a black glass oval. Still, it does the job. Nib is average but usually starts readily, ink flow is pretty good (although it gets balky if left a few days with Aurora black in it), and it has the funky "Buck Rogers" converter. A pretty comfortable pen to use, medium width, nice length.

Parker 45 (still in production in England)

Nib: Steel, gold plated

Fill System: Cartridge / Converter (slide piston)

Cap: pull-off

approx 137mm (5-3/8") capped

This one is my wife's pen. I don't like the taper of the barrel, but posting the cap hides it, and it looks pretty sharp. It has the newer plastic slide converter, which rattles a bit in the barrel, but it works. I was really pleasantly surprised by this pen; it writes a smooth medium with almost no flex, but is consistent and the ink flows well until it runs dry. Then it stops. You can find one for about $25.

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Last updated 14 June 2005