8.17.2009

Pelikan M200 Italic Special Production Review

Building off the popularity of the M200 italic nib that was released last year and promptly sold out across American pen stores, Pelikan re-issued the Black Tradition Series 200 with medium italic nib earlier this year. Try one today from Goldspot Pens.


This special production has the exact same body and piston-filling mechanism as the standard Tradition Series 200 fountain pens. One minor difference between the stock image and the actual product is that the translucent ink window is actually tinted green as opposed to the black-tint you see in the above picture. I personally think the dark green adds Pelikan's personality and identity to the design. Check out all of our Tradition 200 series pens here.

One question that seems to be coming up from our customers interested in this model is, "how does the italic compare with the standard medium and fine steel nibs?" I went to task and produced a sample writing sheet that shows the capability of the italic nib.


I'll be the first to admit that I'm no calligrapher. If anyone has the M200 and wants to show off the true potential of an experienced hand with this pen, please post a pic of your writing and we'll feature it on our site. Don't fret, non-calligraphers! There is a small booklet included with the pen that gives you two basic lettering styles to copy and learn from.

The italic takes some getting used to, especially if you've never used a fountain pen before. You need to be more deliberate and apply a slight degree of increased pressure to ensure all of the strokes are well-represented on paper. It forces you to slow down and contemplate the ART of each letter. The line variation is ample and the down-stroke almost appears as thick as a broad-tip stroke.

As far as the overall design of the pen, the M200 is made of resin with no metal inner barrel, which makes for a fairly lightweight pen. The balance with the cap posted is extremely comfortable. Filling and cleaning the Pelikan piston-filler is easier than using a converter, and it holds a ton more ink.

Summary:
  • Writing Quality : gold-plated, stainless steel italic nib is a pleasure to use and offers a decent amount of line variation with good smoothness. (grade A)
  • Aesthetic Quality : Classic Pelikan style black w/ gold-plated trim. Sophistication without the frills. (grade A-)
  • Utility : Cap posts securely on the back-end and writes well posted. Lightweight resin body and cap balances well in the hand. Good for long writing sessions. However, more time and care has to be taken with each stroke, which slows down your writing speed. Not ideal for taking notes in a meeting or in class. (grade B)
  • Price : At $125 retail (on sale for $99.95 at Goldspot.com), this is certainly a great deal for a pen of this quality. The only reason I do not give it a higher grade is because you can purchase a normal M200 nib for $20 less. Most companies that offer an italic nib don't charge that much of a difference. (grade A-)

Final Grade : A-
Pelikan sure knows how to please their avid customers and collectors. This is a true "writer's pen" that requires more time and a fine appreciation for penmanship. With that said, they accomplished their task at building a product to satisfy the lack of high-quality, specialty nibs that are sold in the contemporary pen market.

8.10.2009

Can I have your John Hancock?

This weekend, I was having a discussion with the family over breakfast regarding handwriting, specifically signatures, and I thought the topic would be very appropriate for the readers of this blog.

The conversation started when my wife, who is a school teacher, mentioned that the modern-day curriculum included less and less cursive writing instruction for younger children. I chime in to say that the kids are getting in front of the computer earlier and learning to type efficiently is actually more important in the modern-day workplace, and will become even more significant in the future. My wife and Mom champion for the importance of learning sound handwriting technique. "You still have to sign legal or business documents," my Mother reasoned.

"People sometimes write an X or an undulating line for all they care," I argued. My Mother works at a doctors office, so she has seen her share of illegible signatures. My Father, the token skeptic, blurts out that the doctors purposely have poor handwriting to prevent against possible forgery of prescription orders. Then, we get to the subject of John Hancock.

Possibly the most recognized signature of all-time, a "Hancock" stands for boldness, artful expression and individuality.

This leads me to imagine the broad spectrum of signatures that are out there, and about the people who create them. I broke the signature spectrum into several parts:

The Symbol - an "X", wavy line or a simple check-mark. You wonder if the person invented the font "Wingdings."

The Squiggle - Maybe one letter is recognizable, but the rest looks like an erratic EKG readout or like the person was trying to get the ink flowing out of their ballpoint pen again. Example (Louis XIV's signature):The Somewhat Legible - Sloppy, but the overall shape of their handwriting gives you a clue as to the author's real identity. It's like a 3-d Magic Eye poster; some people get it right away while others are staring aimlessly. Example (guess who):
The Somewhat Good - Most letters are well-defined and legible. Many signatures fall in this range, especially if you have good handwriting but are in a rush. Example (Gerald Ford) :
The Exquisite (a.k.a. the John Hancock) - This type of signature wears its flair proudly. You feel the need to crop everything else out of the document and present this person's signature to an art gallery. Maybe they are a part-time calligrapher? Or maybe they had their knuckles rapped with Sister Mary's ruler every time they didn't do their cursive lowercase "z" correctly (The "Phil Rirruto" part from Billy Madison comes to mind).

I would love to hear from our readers on this topic. Talk about your own handwriting and how your signature has developed into its current state. Which of the above signature types do you fall into? At what age did you develop your "signature" style? Have you noticed its change over time? Does your signature vary depending on what you're signing? Do you hate electronic signature pads because they ALWAYS distort your signature? Do you think we should be spending more time practicing our cursive and our signatures?

Feel free to send pics of your signature, but be aware that anyone can be on this blog watching, so upload with caution.

Signature graphics are courtesy of Anna Koren's Graphology Center website.

8.05.2009

Goldspot Selected for First "Carnival of Pen Pencil and Paper"


Hey all,


Come one and come all to the first-ever Carnival of Pen, Pencil and Paper, as hosted by the Blog Notebook Stories. Here you will see a bevy of current pen, paper and office supply blog articles submitted by blog-writers from across the globe. The host was so kind enough to recognize our latest post that took a sneak peek at the new AT Cross fall 2009 releases.

Along with writing instruments reviews, you will also be able to find notebook reviews, sketch art and unique stories from collectors and writing enthusiasts. Many of the articles are well-written and very detailed. So, if you like writing and are a pen and paper enthusiast, check out the Carnival and you will probably find a few new blogs worthy of an RSS subscribe.

---
On the Goldspot front, we are close to putting the finishing touches on the new catalog. We will have loads of new products to share with you in the coming months for "Back to School." Subscribe to our blog's RSS feed, follow us on twitter @goldspotpens and check out our Facebook fan page for up-to-the-minute news on all things pens.