View Full Version : Pelikan 400/M400 Friction Fit Nib Barrels

September 22nd, 2013, 02:21 PM
I managed to pick up 3 green Pelikan 400/M400 bodies, attractive because they included a pair of 14K nibs. They were listed as friction fit bodies, but I thought that was talking about the piston units. Instead, the sections have no threading, just a green acrylic sleeve and some lengthwise ribs to hold the nib units. Although the piston units are also friction fit.

But mine do not appear to match what is listed here:
1950 400 Friction Nib (http://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/index.php/topic/186560-pelikan-400-friction-fit-nib-unit/)

It does look like what is shown here, except that feed looks to extend farther behind the back of the nib than the more modern version that I have.
1982 M400 Friction Fit Nib (http://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/index.php?/topic/186288-need-help-to-id-a-pelikan-m400with-a-friction-fit-nib/)

The 2 that came with nibs installed have the clear piston seals and an unadorned piston knob. The other one has a black rubber piston seal and the words Pelikan W-Germany imprinted on the top of the knob. The piston housing (cone) on this one is also different, and has a “V3” hand vibro etched on it.

None of the 3 bodies have any other markings whatsoever. (No “DRP”)
I don’t have caps.

The one with the black piston seal and knob imprint also has threads in the barrel for the last 7/16 inch, as if for a screw-in piston unit. The other two have lines visible under strong light that look like threads but the inside of the barrel is smooth, so it appears that the threads were initially cut and then removed.

The nibs themselves do not help much, since one is the old style (lines converge on the feed slit) and one is the newer style (lines stop short of the feed slit) but both are after 1950. Add in the fact that it looks like both nibs are riding on modern M100/M150 feeds with a thin metal plain collar (bush) instead of the ebonite one like in the picture of the ’50 version. They have between .002 and .005 slip fit between the back of the feed and the section sleeve, with a similar amount between the metal bush and the section mouth, and .001-.002 slip fit between the metal bush and the section mouth ridges.

So, other than a pair of nice 14K nibs, what do I have here? Two flavors of the ’82 version, one ’50 and two ‘82’s or something else?

Since I suspect that they are both ’82 versions, does anyone have any details (i.e. dimensions, special attributes such as the split tail like the ’50 version) about the feeds used for the ’82 friction fit models?

Is finding a replacement ’50/'82 version specialized feed going to be similar to finding a 1935 lizard in an old desk drawer?

I will still be happy simply transplanting these 2 nibs to new homes, but these things get interesting.

rick propas
October 6th, 2013, 07:56 AM
Jeph, these look to be pretty standard M400s from, as you guessed, 1982. At the back of the barrel those aren't threads, but ridges to help retain the filler. Often after being removed once or twice they wear and the filler has to be shellacked into place.

Bo Bo Olson
December 30th, 2013, 02:33 PM
1950 with the first 400's Pelikan supposedly tried to introduce a friction feed pen. They did try in 1956...I have one. It is the first time I've heard that they tried to do that with the first 1982 models.

How are the nibs.....supposedly the '82-89 are very nice and springy regular flex....not quite semi-flex...but a tad more flexibility than the '90-97 M400 nibs.

January 4th, 2014, 02:08 PM
I apologize that I missed your question while I was on vacation.

I have only tried the M nib with the chevrons all the way to the feed slit but I love it. I guess it would be best to call it a soft semi-flex. With no pressure it writes closer to F (.5 mm) using Diamine ink and is butter smooth. With normal writing, small increases in pressure do not cause the line width to change. With intentional pressure applied, the line width goes to 1.1 mm, or between BB and 3B. With heavy pressure the line will go all the way to 1.4 mm but it railroads regularly and it feels wrong.

I used the barrel in the bottom of the picture with the M nib unit to minimize the clearance between the nib unit friction collar and the section throat. Even so, the nib has persistent ink creep. The good news is that the flow is so good that you simply cannot wipe the top of the nib dry as it will always draw more ink onto the top of the nib. Also, the feed dries out regularly even when capped. The piston draw is very strong but there is no hiss of air from the piston unit when actuating the piston like you get from a pen with a loose piston unit. So I attribute (possibly without cause) the dry-out tendencies and ink creep to be a symptom of the fit between the nib collar and section. If it were not for that this would be one of my favorite pens. The nib will probably get transplanted to another pen when I find one worthy of it.

On a related note, I was curious if you could give any more information about these friction fit barrels. If you notice in the picture, there are two distinct different configurations shown. The top two have the clear piston seals like the 1956 and later Pelikans with circumferential ridges on the bottom of the piston housing to provide the extra friction with the barrel. On the bottom barrel, the piston seal is black and the piston housing has longitudinal ridges on the bottom to provide the bite on the barrel. Also, the bottom pen was “Pelikan W-Germany” imprinted on the top of the piston knob whereas the other two are blank.

Also, do you have any pictures of your 1956 friction fit barrel taken apart? Please don’t do it now if you don’t but I am still trying to figure out why I have 2 different configurations.