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View Full Version : Pelikan P1 (Silvexa)



fountainpenkid
March 17th, 2013, 04:42 PM
Introduction: In 1959, Pelikan, which had been making relatively traditional celluloid pens like the 400, 400n, and 400nn at a time when lucite was king, finally decided to make a pen that directly competed with the current Parker phenomenon, the "61". The "61" featured a simpler design than the "51", as well as a slimmer body. In some ways, the Pelikan P1 is similar to the "61". It has a hooded nib, Lucite (acrylic) construction, a metal cap, and a jewel on the barrel end. Past these things, the P1 is a very different pen with some odd styling, hence its short 6 year production. However its production short, it would be a mistake to cast it off as a deservedly obscure mishap...it actually has a lot going for it!
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First Impressions: This pen came to me in a bag with a couple other vintage (or near-vintage) Pelikans at the LI Pen Show. I'd seen some pictures online before, but I didn't have much interest in getting one. In person, it is quite cool looking. It is not nearly as large as the Parker it was trying to compete with, and the delicacy of it is quite intriguing at first. Uncapping the pen, the nib leaves you wanting something, but the uni body design is a nice touch.
8/10
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Overall Design: With the cap on, I think the pen is quite attractive and classic. The port-hole shaped ink view windows made for a distinctive look, but as much as I love their look, they are placed too far up the barrel to really be useful unless you are really low on ink and hold the pen nib-up. When you uncap the pen though, it becomes a bit odd. The hooded nib is just...ugly! There is too much going on at the nib end compared to the rest of the pen. The fact that the threads are placed so far forward does allow most of the barrel to be one sweep of shiny Lucite, which looks cool. If there wasn't an extra bevel at the nib end, and the threads were more simple, the pen would look a lot better. Also, it doesn't have a Pelikan logo on the cap jewel, which would make it look more like a top of the line pen IMO.
7/10
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Writing Experience: The body and the piston are all made out of acrylic, so this is a very light pen to use when it is not posted. Posting adds a bit of weight to it, but for me it is a bit top-heavy in this configuration. The pen is plenty long enough unposted, so if you don't mind a feather light pen, it should be quite comfortable. Te nib on my pen is a factory Oblique Medium, so it is hard to write really fast, but this pen certainly allows for complete control of your writing...if you had a needlepoint nib, you could make very precise lines because you can hold the pen so close to the tip. This open is great for long writing sessions or quick jots. People with very large hands may find it too thin to be used for extended periods, but if you have normal sized hands, it should be perfect.
8/10
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Clip: A slightly stylized classic Pelikan bill clip. It fits tightly and goes off and on different types of cloth very smoothly. I just don't like how the washer extends in width over the cap...it makes it look a bit cheap.
7/10

Cap: The cap screws on and off in less than a half turn. This makes it very practical for a daily user. Because of the placement of the threads, the barrel won't be scratched with the infamous thread marks from use.
9/10

Filling System: Pelikan used their tried and trusted piston filler for this model. It is a bit stiff, and because of the unibody design, it is a bit harder to grease the piston, if need be. The piston design is the same as the vintage 400s, so you need to use heat to remove them. Heat is tricky and it is easy to mess things up. Best leave it to the pros. The best thing about it is the ink capacity, which is a little over 2ml. That is more than enough for many days of writing for most people. Pelikan optimized the ink capacity on this one, and it shows!
8/10

Nib: The one thing that is rare to find on a Parker "51" or "61" is a broad or stub or oblique nib. P1s, like many German pens, are much easier to find with an interesting nib. Don't think flex, but my nib is an OM, and wrote smooth and somewhat wet from the get-go. No hard starts either (I literally left it uncapped for 4 hours and it started up immediately with no hesitation whatsoever.) The one thing about it is that it is ugly. They could have done a better job in the nib-end styling department. :)
8/10

Price: The P1 is not that easy to find, but they are often found in NOS or mint conditions for well under $200, and used you can get them for well under $100 used. A piston filler with a hooded 14k nib in many sizes...I think it is a great deal!
8.5/10
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Conclusion: Apart from the quirky nib section and somewhat stiff piston, this pen is really nice! It definitely beats the capillary "61" pens if you want a practical daily user. It is somewhat uncommon, but not rare. If you're OK with hooded nibs, and you want a great user pen I recommended this if you want something a bit different from the crowd.
65/80= ~B-

Thanks for reading!

Bogon07
March 21st, 2013, 04:51 PM
Thanks for an informative review of an interesting pen. Hope you have many happy years writing with it.

fountainpenkid
March 22nd, 2013, 09:53 PM
Thanks! It is a great pen!

fountainpenkid
June 21st, 2013, 11:48 AM
Update: the design grows on you...that is all I can say.

Ernst Bitterman
July 18th, 2013, 05:05 PM
Does this pen actually have the word "Silvexa" on it? I'm asking because I'm working up a profile for the M20/P20 Silvexa on my site, and the only non-forum source I've got to suck information out of suggests that the name doesn't apply to the earlier P1-- I don't disbelieve that the name is there, I'm just seeking confirmation.

fountainpenkid
July 18th, 2013, 06:10 PM
Does this pen actually have the word "Silvexa" on it? I'm asking because I'm working up a profile for the M20/P20 Silvexa on my site, and the only non-forum source I've got to suck information out of suggests that the name doesn't apply to the earlier P1-- I don't disbelieve that the name is there, I'm just seeking confirmation.

Well..kinda: I checked back and it is stamped "silvex" on the cap lip.

whych
July 18th, 2013, 06:31 PM
The cap lip has GERMANY PELIKAN P1 SILVEXA stamped on it.

@fountainpenkid
If you want to swap nibs, I have a fine nib I can swap for your OM.

fountainpenkid
July 18th, 2013, 07:44 PM
The cap lip has GERMANY PELIKAN P1 SILVEXA stamped on it.

@fountainpenkid
If you want to swap nibs, I have a fine nib I can swap for your OM.
You can swap nibs on these? How?

whych
July 18th, 2013, 08:26 PM
First give the pen a good clean and soak the nib section with the pen filled with water for a day or so, flushing regularly to get rid of any old ink that may have dried.
Use a toothpick with the point cut off to screw into the hole in the feed and pull the nib and feed out.
The nib is small so don't lose it.
To write properly with the OM nib, grip the pen as normal and put the nib onto the paper. Rotate the pen until the nib point is flush with the paper - should be counter clockwise. Now the nib is correctly aligned to the paper, hold the pen in your other hand and re-grip the pen as you would normally do and write normally. If the nib was a normal nib, you would be writing with the left hand tine of the nib, but because it is ground at an angle, both tines are contacting the paper.

Ernst Bitterman
July 19th, 2013, 12:28 PM
The cap lip has GERMANY PELIKAN P1 SILVEXA stamped on it.


Thanks for the look. I posed as similar question about the one I've got on FPN after some more looking about, and it seems that "Silvexa" might refer to the cap's finish rather than the pen itself. If that's the case, it's a terrible trick for Pelikan to have pulled. Other makers may have put stuff like "DOUBLE OR" or "STERLING" in their impressions, but they've usually got the grace not to nudge it right up against the model designation without even a hyphen or dot for the sake of modesty.

...and it occurs to me in my greed for a tiny extra data point, I didn't properly praise the review which founds this thread. Yet another pen I'd really like to try for myself!

whych
July 19th, 2013, 01:30 PM
@Ernest
Best guy to ask on FPN is Tor Pelikan. He has a few of them.
I don't think it was an intentional 'cheap shot' by Pelikan.
They introduced the Pelikano range at the same time that had an aluminium cap and steel nib
The P1 came out with a gold nib and stainless steel or rolled gold cap and looked the same.
To distinguish between the two, they gave it the name Silvexa which they used in the MK10 and others that had steel caps as opposed to the plastic.
Whereas the Pelikano had limited nib width choices (EF. F, PF, M and B), the Silvexa gold nibs offered a wider range of nibs.
I have seen them from fine up to OBB.
The P1 gold nib will fit the Pelikano but not vice versa. The gold nib is thinner than the steel nib. The feeds are also slightly different.
Strangely enough, I prefer the P1/Type 1 Pelikano to the competing Parker 51/61 they were all trying to emulate.
I think the biggest surprise you get with the German pens is how light they are compared to the other pens of the time and once you get used to the weight find the heavier pens a bit cumbersome.

Do you perhaps know the difference between the old Pelikan PF nib as opposed to just the F?

Ernst Bitterman
July 19th, 2013, 02:04 PM
Do you perhaps know the difference between the old Pelikan PF nib as opposed to just the F?

Polydactyl Fine? Haven't a clue.

fountainpenkid
July 27th, 2013, 08:51 PM
The cap lip has GERMANY PELIKAN P1 SILVEXA stamped on it.

@fountainpenkid
If you want to swap nibs, I have a fine nib I can swap for your OM.

My P1 must be weird or something, because it has "silvex" not "silvexa" stamped onto the cap lip. Maybe the guy at ruttinger.de (I think that is the Pelikan model website) knows. I'll send him an email.

fountainpenkid
March 15th, 2015, 11:00 AM
Pictures added! (taken quite some time ago and never uploaded...)