04 September 2019

Pelikan in Japan (III)

Some weeks ago I spoke about how a fountain pen should perform correctly regardless of the script and that Japan was not such a special place (see ::1::).

Well... today I might be saying the opposite, but just regarding Japan as a special and sometimes strange market.

Story goes that after Pelikan had phased out the 400NN model in 1965, repeated requests from Japanese retailers made Pelikan to reconsider its decision. However, instead of putting its machinery to work, Pelikan outsourced the production of models 120 and 400NN to another company—Merz & Krell. And the 400NN M&K was made again between 1973 and 1978. The 120 M&K had a slightly shorter life: between 1973 and 1977.

Anyway, this story is well known (see some sources of information at the end fof this text), and nothing truly new can I offer save a group picture of the four variations of the model 400NN made by Merz & Krell: black, black striped, tortoise brown striped and green striped.


The number and color of the four variations is well known, but the complete picture of set is rare.

These pens and their origin on the demands of Japanese retailer pose some interesting questions:

– That important was the Japanese market for Pelikan at the time?

– Are Pelikan nibs so well suited to write in Japanese?

– And conversely, do we really need specialized nibs to write in Japanese? (::2::, ::3::, ::4::)



The black and the black striped versions of the 400NN M&K, side by side.

Notes: Some sites with more complete information on the Pelikan 400NN Merz & Krell:

-- The Pelikan's Perch: https://thepelikansperch.com/2014/10/05/merz-krell-who-were-they/

-- Pelikan Collectibles: https://www.pelikan-collectibles.com/en/Pelikan/Models/Revised-Piston-Fillers/400NN-Basis/index.html

-- The Pelikan's Perch: https://thepelikansperch.com/2014/10/05/merz-krell-who-were-they/

-- Pens and Sensibility: several posts (::5::, ::6::, ::7::).

-- Tony Rex's thread on FP Geeks Forum offered additional information on how to disassemble the piston of this pen: https://fpgeeks.com/forum/showthread.php/7349-Merz-and-Krell-Pelikan-400NN

-- Ruettinger Web: http://www.ruettinger-web.de/e-pelikan-modell-400.html


Ohashido BCHR, music nib – Bril Turquoise Blue

Bruno Taut
Nakano, September 3rd 2019
etiquetas: Pelikan, Japón, mercado

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