Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Treasure Out of Print

Two years ago I ordered a book from Classic Fountain Pens in Los Angeles, the place where nibster John Mottishaw does his fine work. I ordered the book only because it looked like an interesting read, and because I am a great fan of Pelikan fountain pens. The book is one called Pelikan Schreibgeräte by Jürgen Dittmer and Martin Lehmann, published in 2004 by H.F. Dunkmann GmbH & Co. As it turns out, it was a smart purchase, because not only is the book a ‘must have’ for any Pelikan fountain pen buff, but it has suddenly turned into a rare item. The idea was to add the link to Classic Fountain pens above for those readers interested in buying a copy of the book, but I found out there are none in stock, the German publisher is out of stock, and the book is out of print. So, if this short post and the included photos stir your interest… Well, keep your eyes out for a copy on the shelves of your nearby secondhand bookstore.


This is a large book of 188 pages which offer up almost anything you want to know about the Pelikan company, its history and development, and a complete illustrated guide to every pen made by the company from 1929 up to 2004. There is a full section on all limited edition pens, as well as special edition pens. Pages 138-181 are a comprehensive table showing the complete line of pens from 1929 to 1977, with pertinent facts about each, including the value of all vintage Pelikans. Also included is a very interesting chapter on the development of the fountain pen. The whole thing is chock full of tidbits about the company, the pens, and their advertising; a favorite part of the book for me is the abundance of old illustrations, posters and advertisements.


For those able to read German, the book will prove even more valuable, as it includes both the original German text on the left side, with English translation on the right. It is a strong and sturdy hardback publication, printed on good quality paper, and as mentioned above, full of very good illustrations. It measures 12 inches in height and 9.5 inches wide, which calls for some tall shelf space.


Hopefully, the publisher will bring out a new edition of the book before too much longer. A first edition came out in 1997, and it was seven years later that this second edition was published. Hopefully, we can look forward to a third edition in 2011.

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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America