The history of the brand dates back to 1838 when the chemist Carl Hornemann founded his company for artists’ paints in Hanover. In 1863, Günther Wagner joined the company as a chemist and took over the management eight years later. He renamed it “Günther Wagner” and chose to use the pelican on his coat of arms on his products. This commitment to excellence led to the registration of the Pelikan trademark in 1878. Subsequently, he began to manufacture non-toxic paints for children and launched offensive advertising campaigns to make them known to the teaching community: it was a huge success. In 1881, Fritz Beindorff joined the company as a salesman. After marrying Günther’s daughter, he assists him in the management.
When Lewis Edson Waterman creates the feeder in 1984, the fountain pen takes off. Carl Günther saw this as a market opportunity and started to manufacture fountain pen inks. True to its promise of excellence, he developed inks of exceptional quality, which are still today among the best inks in the world.
The first fountain pen that was functional in every detail was created by Hungarian engineer Theodor Kovacs, who patented his invention in 1923. He cooperated with the Günther Wagner company, which saw in this manufacturing process an extraordinary opportunity to develop this writing instrument. What was revolutionary about this innovation was its filling system: a differential piston that moved up and down with a screw mechanism. The seal was perfect.
The first Pelikan fountain pen was created in 1929. On several occasions, the company showed its imagination to find its place in this already very competitive market. First of all, it had the ingenious idea of creating a transparent window on its first model so that the remaining ink level could be seen. In addition, when it came to the choice of fountain pens, competitors were making a different model for each nib size. Pelikan came up with the idea of offering a single fountain pen in two different colours, but with a very wide choice of nibs. It was very easy for the dealers to assemble the nib the customer wanted.
One of the German company’s flagship models was the Pelikan 100, which came in several colours. In 1934, the beautiful Pelikan 111 Toledo was created, with an engraved and hammered pelican motif on the steel body. The clip shows the pelican’s beak for the first time. In 1950, the Pelikan 400 was launched with a transparent body with green stripes and a clip in the shape of the beak of the famous bird. In the 1980s it was called Souverän and came in different sizes (from M100 to M1000). In 1960, the Pelikano was designed especially for schoolchildren: it has an unbreakable aluminium cap and a cartridge filling system.
For more than 90 years, Pelikan has been manufacturing fountain pens whose high standards of quality and creativity have enabled it to quickly find its place among the precursors of the object, and today it ranks among the best fountain pen brands in the world.