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Thread: Soennecken 111 Superior, Montblanc 146, and Pelikan 400: Legacies Lost and Found

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    Default Soennecken 111 Superior, Montblanc 146, and Pelikan 400: Legacies Lost and Found

    Many thanks to Stefan Wallrafen and Brad Torelli for their historical and technical knowledge, and to Brad for lending me his mid-'50s 146 for a few weeks.



    Part One: Historical considerations with a healthy dose of speculation
    It is easy to argue that the fountain pen in America reached its technological high-point during the postwar decade, when the confluence of an economic boom, wartime technological advancements and cultural optimism--not to mention the increasingly real prospect of obsolescence--gave rise to such indispensable pens as the Parker “51” aerometric and Sheaffer Snorkel. One may be tempted to see them as embodiments of a futurist mindset--sleek acrylic in an array of solid bright new colors, packed with refined engineering--yet in many ways they were evolutions of wartime designs: the “new” Parker “51” looked virtually identical to its vacumatic predecessor at a distance, while the Snorkel retained the many of the design cues that first appeared in mid-forties Triumphs. This isn’t surprising. For American pen makers, there was no great need for rebirth: the outcome of the war had lifted the spirit of the country; the consumer could look back upon designs from those years and perhaps be reminded of the courage of their countrymen and the bravery of that time.
    Such nostalgia probably seemed impossible for German pen manufacturers. Not only were German wartime models of especially diminished quality with their steel nibs and insufficient trim, but--more importantly--they came from the most horrendous moment in the country’s history. Making a clear and decisive break with that past, creating a product that looked entirely new to represent a changed country...these were likely the new imperatives for product placement. At the beginning of wirtschaftswunder, Germany’s most prominent pen manufacturers put them into effect.
    Montblanc and Soennecken entered in 1948 along with the deutsche mark*, releasing the 14X series and 111 series, respectively. Both dripped with an over-engineered, streamlined luxury realized in celluloid, already obsolete as a material but far more pleasant to the touch than the acrylic becoming standard across the pond.
    Then, with a more plebeian and modern entry, came Pelikan in 1950, with the 400. A simple yet inventive design, it was likely the first top-quality German pen to be made out of acrylic (notwithstanding its celluloid binde, of course).



    All presented new faces to the German pen-buying public. Montblanc, while carrying over its telescopic piston and nib design from the 13X series, reshaped the entire aesthetic of its Meisterstuck line, giving rise to a torpedo-like design that is now firmly established as the worldwide signifier for ‘luxury pen.’ Like Pelikan, which I’ll get to later, they simplified the piston knob design to a single piece, a refinement that paired nicely with the fresh streamline aesthetic. Black celluloid remained standard--par the course for the conservative preferences of the business class to which it was marketed--but most models (all except for the 149*) could also be had in a brilliantly attractive pattern that was at once 'arco' and striated in appearance. Even so, the color assortment was limited to grey-silver and green.
    Pelikan, with the exception of its convenient screw-in nib assembly and color scheme, ditched the design of its long-running 100 model completely, re-imagining their aesthetic by simplifying the construction, doing away with the binde which allowed for a 3-piece (instead of 4-piece) piston, and--perhaps influenced by Montblanc--striating the barrel to serve as the ink-view window itself. The trim changes were especially significant. Though it seems thoroughly unremarkable today, the beak clip and crown were probably the boldest elements of the redesign: both were dually functional as integral parts of the cap assembly and as manifestations of a new branding centered around the pelican image. Combined with the new single trim ring, which took cues from Sheaffer with its aluminum reinforcement of the cap lip, the pen was unmistakable. Advertising from this period embraced a playful modernity, associating the new flagship with the bird like never before: though it had always been featured on the cap-top logo, the 400’s head+bill clip strengthened this association.
    I’ve saved Soennecken for last because it is, in my eyes, the odd one out. Not only did the company develop a whole swath of intricate herringbone celluloids that remain among the most beautiful patterns ever created--possessing a regality and organic flow that transcends its anthropogenic composition and nearly wills into existence some natural origin--but also made them the central image of its marketing. By doing so the company eschewed the German cultural expectation that luxury pens be black. It was already the odd one out, having not the established cachet of Montblanc nor the everyman’s appeal of Pelikan, so perhaps the brand made such a radical shift from their previous designs, which had been relatively staid and almost exclusively black, because they thought they had little to lose. Most collectors seem to agree that the aim of Soennecken’s redesign was to compete with Montblanc’s 14X series (by this account, the 14X series first appeared in 1947). On the surface, as I have already pointed out, the two series bear some specificational similarities, but if the company was trying to compete with Montblanc in writing experience, they failed miserably. The Bonn-based firm’s rejection of pen-norms seems to have run deeper than their eagerness to advertise color: it presented a strikingly different concept for what a luxury writing experience should be. Rather than affirming a sense of trusty, masculine solidity, as Montblanc did, Soennecken created a line of pens that exude a hyper-refined delicacy that arises from design that focuses on aestheticizing the functional value of every feature. Where Montblanc left the 146’s ergonomically-minded section stubby and ever-so-slightly awkward to the eye, Soennecken gave the 111 an elegant vase-like concavity that centers the pen between one’s fingers like a glove; where Montblanc was satisfied with their piston guard being a few turns of unnerving frictionless screwing, Soennecken engineered a spring-loaded system that announces a completed fill with a satisfying “click.” It is this trans-sensory aesthetic coherence that makes this pen so special. And don’t think for a second I’m forgetting about that clip: it is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful of any pen; the way its facets work to highlight the angular striations of herringbone material is simply stunning.



    Part 2: Reprise of the 21-minute road trip

    Now, finally, onto the writing. For a while I’ve wanted to do a review in the spirit of the original FPGeeks’ blog and assess the performance through a “21-minute road trip.” This time I’ve finally gotten around to it. We never learned what was written in any of their reviews, but it is most likely of the circular strain the mind so easily settles into when writing for the purpose of pen analysis. My following thoughts are a composite of impressions formed during short jotting and discoveries made over the 21-minute period I spent with each pen, filled with Organics Studio Blue Merle--a moderately saturated grey with great flow--and written over several pages of a Clairefontaine notebook. Tomoe river is usually more my thing, but Clairfontaine paper is I think more representative of most papers on the market.
    I started my hour-long marathon of consecutive road-trips with the Montblanc. I knew it was the heaviest, and I’d developed some concern for the obtrusiveness of its threads over the few weeks I’d used it to take quick notes, so I thought it best to get the discomfort over with first. Being a medium-sized pen person, I also had doubts about the width of its section, which was uncommonly girthy for its day--would it make long-session writing a uncomfortable? Within the first 5 minutes of writing, my ergonomic fears about the threads and the section were assuaged. The pen, with its brass piston-granted backweight, felt palm-centered in the hand, but not ungainly. Any minor discomfort from the threads faded away as the pen warmed to the touch, and to my surprise, the pen became considerably more comfortable as I continued writing. At the halfway point (having written nearly two pages), my hands felt fresh and inspired. I had fallen into a rare groove where, after twelve minutes of constant writing, I only wanted to think of more things to write so the experience could continue. As I wrote, the brilliance of the nib’s proportions--which I had until that point considered as a little small and squat--availed itself to me: the slightly shorter size with wide wings, as seen looking down over with the wide section, creates a sort of visuo-tactile feedback loop of control; strokes feel precisely under the control of your fingers. And practically, a shorter nib better accommodates those who write at higher angles.

    Better than all of that, however, was the performance of the nib itself. Its response curve (tine spread/pressure applied) is marvelous for normal writing, allowing for just enough expression but never bogging down strokes. The weight of the body alone (well over 20g) makes this expression almost effortless. Flow was quite wet with any pressure (as seems to be the case with ‘50s 14X series), but very consistent-- and the tines were sprung just tight enough to be conducive to excellent shading. Every time I would finish writing with the pen, whether after a jot or the ‘roadtrip’, the nib left me with a lingering feeling that I had just experienced something sublime.

    My 21 minutes with the Montblanc left me unexpectedly energized and lucid, so I followed my instinct and plowed forward into the next road (paper) trip. I would like to think that doing so heightened my comparative abilities; indeed, once all your senses have settled in to writing with a certain pen, suddenly taking in hand a different one presents a real affront to them--this is especially the case with celluloid, where that warm ‘bond’ between pen and hand is strong.



    Caught in this celluloid rush, I picked up the Soennecken next, not wanting to give it the challenge of going last. Unlike the Montblanc, the 111 had seen several months of note and test-taking use by this point, so I expected to begin my road trip reminded of my previous impressions of long writing--not least of which the occasional cramps during hasty essay-writing that would leave me frustrated with the form-fitting concavity of the section. What immediately struck me instead was the nib. Not it’s pleasant give or stubiness, but its sheer size. Longer than the section itself, the nib on the 111 Superior is a grand beast in need of taming. Point it in paper’s direction and it becomes an object of aesthetic romance, but dare to mark with it, and you’ll find yourself beguiled. The delicacy and poise of the pen in the hand is two-faced: while the leverage of the long nib encourages graceful flexing, the extra distance between your fingers and the page makes it harder to control. Thus my road trip felt, and looked, as you can see, comparatively chaotic. Eventful chaos, to be sure. The freedom of stroke--and conversely the extra effort needed to form precise characters--increased my visual awareness while writing. Good thing there’s a lot to look at. One through-line of my 21-minute experience was the way in which writing with this pen never quite ceased to feel like an “event.” I felt the pen inserted itself into the experience of my thoughts, pumped in by the visuo-tactile feedback loop I talked about earlier: its visual and tactile beauty can distract from the goal of getting ideas onto the page. In no way is all this a mark against the pen. Many of us use fountain pens seeking this very awareness of writing with flair. Of the three pens, this one does, without doubt, impart the most flair and uniqueness to one’s writing. But what of the cramping I experienced when wildly writing an in-class essay? It didn’t manifest itself during the 2 ½ pages I wrote, though I didn’t find it as comfortable as the 146, especially towards the end. The ergonomics of the pen seem more geared towards giving a first impression of luxurious comfort rather than the real thing that lets pages fly by addictively. Maybe writing is an event when it isn’t.
    And one last thing: the 146’s nib performed better. Not only did it feel better--the 111’s nib-leverage doesn’t make up for the nib being slightly less ‘bouncy’ (there is more give after greater pressure is applied)--but it had an unhesitant flow; the Soennecken, to my dismay, lightened up a bit by the middle of the second page. It never became truly “dry,” but the luscious, juicy flow of the start was gone. In daily use, of course, this issue never presented itself. Both the 111 and 146 always wrote well from the first to last stroke.



    Finally I moved on to my tried-and-true Pelikan 400.* After the Soennecken, I was beginning to feel the effects of my wandering scribbles, and entertained a passing worry about hitting some sort of 'wall' during my final road trip. But I pressed on, deciding that the 400 was unlikely to let me down--this was a pen I'd been writing with for years. What I overlooked was the way writing experience is dictated by immediate circumstance. My fingers had so happily bonded with lusciously concave celluloid sections for the past 40 minutes that the Pelikan's straight and acrylic one felt decidedly alien. Is this really how a pen should be?,I thought as I set upon the page. Luckily, 'alien' doesn't preclude 'comfortable': the girth and nib length (just a smidge shorter than the 146) allowed for easy character formation, even as the smoothness of the factory OM was not up to par with the other two. (To be sure, there was no issue with tine alignment.) While the Pelikan's nib response curve was much less forgiving (producing a BBB is possible but requires an impractical amount of pressure), the flow was excellent--wet but with enough control to leave subtly elegant shading. Some part of this flow--and of my overall writing experience--was influenced by the OM grind, but having owned 10+ of these pens previously, I can confidently say this is one of the 400's common strong-points. This road trip reminded me of just how easygoing the Pelikan is as a writer: it is ergonomic and agile enough to be forgotten. There's no web-caressing backweight luxuriously growing warm in your hand (Pelikan's pioneering mechanism was always made of plastic or hard rubber) and no big flashy nib. The threads, where I usually grip the pen, fade into the section almost immediately, providing excellent grip but nothing more. To me--and my long history with the pen may have produced serious bias--the 400 is the only pen in the bunch that fades away as a visuo-tactile phenomenon, letting you think purely and unpretentiously. Yes, it's an old 'fancy' pen with a crown at its cap-top and a striped suit along its body, but those are there only for others to notice. It is a tool honed to allow for the most fluid written expression. Practically speaking, the performance was flawless: no skipping or flow-weakening here. Unlike the celluloid pens, however, it failed to feel like an extension of my hand, like a well-bonded attachment. This may seem paradoxical given that I said it is the least noticeable of the bunch--the least of an 'event'--but I think we can agree that it would be supremely strange thing to grow a pen-finger!

    Of course, all I can summarize is my personal experience. My hands are average-sized for a man (7.5" long), and my tri-grip style seems to be the norm, but my results will not hold true for some. In short, I found the Montblanc to be a ridiculously-enticing writer, the Soennecken to be too elegant for its own good, and the Pelikan to live up to my workhorse expectations for it. In the spirit of the New York Times' Wirecutter review system (and in a fantasy world where midcentury German flagship fountain pens are their own category) I'll say the Pelikan 400 is the best pen for most people, while the Montblanc is the best pen for anyone--who can afford it. Even in pendom at large, there are few pens so thoroughly satisfying to write with as the original 146.
    Sometimes we are best able to determine how we value something in its absence. As I write this, none of these three pens remain in my possession. I returned the Montblanc after a few weeks, and sadly, both the Soennecken and the Pelikan are now lost. So which do I miss the most? Strangely enough, the Soennecken--by a long shot. I do think of that luscious nib on the Montblanc from time to time, and the pocket-companion that once was the 400, but the only pen that I 'mourn' the loss of is the Soennecken. Maybe my knowledge of their rarity clouds my judgement (more on this later). I happen to think it's something more: that everything about using and appreciating the pen is beautiful. I'd never had a pen like it.

    CONTINUED FURTHER DOWN


    *representative image courtesy of PenSpa
    Last edited by fountainpenkid; May 31st, 2019 at 08:35 AM. Reason: autocorrect spelling mishap
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    Default Re: Soennecken 111 Superior, Montblanc 146, and Pelikan 400: Legacies Lost and Found

    Thank you for detailing a history of these three companies, which are actually my favorite three pen brands of all.

    I actually have a great appreciation for the steel and Pd nibs of wartime German pens. I intentionally buy them over the gold ones. I find they have a unique writing feel and character, imo, better than gold nibs.

    Among my favorites are:
    Pelikan 101n modern Lapis fitted with a CN OBBB nib
    Montblanc 334 1/2 with Pd OM nib
    Soennecken 120 with steel B nib
    Soennecken 510 with steel M nib
    Last edited by ChrisC; October 2nd, 2018 at 07:18 AM.

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    Default Re: Soennecken 111 Superior, Montblanc 146, and Pelikan 400: Legacies Lost and Found

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisC View Post
    Thank you for detailing a history of these three companies, which are actually my favorite three pen brands of all.

    I actually have a great appreciation for the steel and Pd nibs of wartime German pens. I intentionally buy them over the gold ones. I find they have a unique writing feel and character, imo, better than gold nibs.

    Among my favorites are:
    Pelikan 101n modern Lapis fitted with a CN OBBB nib
    Montblanc 334 1/2 with Pd OM nib
    Soennecken 120 with steel B nib
    Soennecken 510 with steel M nib
    So I've heard. I've only tried them briefly but they have been impressive. I was really only talking about perceived quality and longevity.
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    Default Re: Soennecken 111 Superior, Montblanc 146, and Pelikan 400: Legacies Lost and Found

    I confess that I've owned for eight years a Sonnecken Rheingold 616 blue-ray with silver trim and a flexible 14k F nib, and I've never dipped or filled it. I really must write with it...one of these days.

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    Default Re: Soennecken 111 Superior, Montblanc 146, and Pelikan 400: Legacies Lost and Found

    Quote Originally Posted by FredRydr View Post
    I confess that I've owned for eight years a Sonnecken Rheingold 616 blue-ray with silver trim and a flexible 14k F nib, and I've never dipped or filled it. I really must write with it...one of these days.
    I think you should! What does the nib seem like?
    Will
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    Default Re: Soennecken 111 Superior, Montblanc 146, and Pelikan 400: Legacies Lost and Found

    Part Three: Legacies Lost and Found
    Here I would like to consider why these three pens have such divergent legacies within the hobby, and what it means for their future. No small part of this divergence comes from the circumstances of their inception and production, as I previously discussed. The 14X series established Montblanc as the world's foremost luxury pen maker; despite their high price, they sold quite well. The Pelikan almost certainly sold even better (no wonder with its far more modest pricing) and like Montblanc, the brand carries the styling of the series with them into the present. Today's M400 is much truer to its origins than the "precious resin" 146 (or 149) Montblanc currently offers, but both companies have chosen their midcentury output to serve as the exemplar for their brand image.
    Interestingly, they are alone in this choice. The surviving American giants--Parker and Sheaffer--have chosen the 1920s and 1960s, respectively, as their flagship 'periods': Parker with their Duofold and Sheaffer with its Legacy (based on the PFM). And the other influential European survivors that produce tributes to their past--Aurora, Montegrappa and Kaweco--have either chosen different decades (Montegrappa with their Extra 1930, Kaweco with their Dia 2 and Sport) or entirely neglected the original spirit of the pen (Aurora with the modern 88). This supports what many sense about the current place of fountain pens in material culture: they are most often perceived as throwbacks, as retro style, as heritage. The mid-century, however, was a time of flux for the fountain pen as a concept--its last innovation-packed gasp of mainstream consumer relevance--and many of the designs seem futurist, not retro.
    So the Montblanc 146 and Pelikan 400 are the exceptions that prove the rule. They were fresh in their time, but the major aesthetic updates were made more conservatively: both retain classically-shaped open nibs, flared sections, and trim pieces. Both are iconic and instantly-recognizable, and both feel quintessentially--indisputably--like a fountain pen. There's only one pen that might have them eclipsed in that last respect, their cousin without a legacy: the Soennecken 111.
    When earlier I used the flowery phrase "trans-sensory coherence," I was trying to convey the aesthetic significance of the 111. It is refined enough to be timeless (all of three these pens are, really), but also feels like an idealized version of what a vintage pen should be. It is as if a "most beautiful pen" described in some novel came to life. Shouldn't this have made it a success?
    No, actually. This colorfully sensuous refinement made it a failure. This is quite a bit more interesting than the unconvincing and simplistic version for Soennecken's failure you sometimes hear: "the 111 was too expensive." Their prices were no higher than Montblancs! So how did the firm really misjudge? According to collector and pen historian Stefan Wallraffen, the colorful celluloids offered--and the advertising focus on them--played a large part in making the pen a hard sell as a "high class" writing instrument in 1950s Germany. A cultural concern with masculinity--specifically a concern of "remasculinization" among German men--was growing, even as politics moved towards women's equality, notes the historian Robert Moeller. (Moeller 103) If German men were trying to establish a new form of de-militarized masculinity, having a stoutly-built solid black pen (like the Montblanc) likely would have been thought to help express masculine virtues like strength and emotional stability. Fountain pens had long been gendered--especially when it came to size--and so the more delicate build of the 111, once in the hand at the shop, might have alienated those men. As Wallraffen puts it, the 111 was a "pen for the wrong time." On top of this, Soennecken was already in new territory by entering the luxury pen market, where Montblanc had been the long-established German frontrunner, and thus the pen had high manufacturing costs and no preexisting luxury image--the perception of their new offering as "effeminate" only compounded existing disadvantages. So what were they thinking? Perhaps they figured that, as Steve Jobs would say decades later, pen buyers wouldn't know what they wanted until it they saw it. They designed an aesthetic ideal in an imperfect world. In this interpretation they overestimated the capacity of German luxury pen buyers for change. Or, if the 111 was primarily intended to expand the women's luxury pen market, that certainly doesn't come through in their advertising--or their nomenclature: it seems only the smallest model, literally called the 111 Lady, was marketed with such an intention. We will probably never know decisively why the pen didn't sell, but I hope that maybe, if these historical considerations are known more widely, we can appreciate the 111 for the possibility of its transgressive and idealistic nature. If the current of culture had flowed differently Soennecken might still exist, and I have a feeling they'd be making their own tribute to their past, a modern 111, if they did. But what we have instead is a world where the Montblanc is expensive but easy to find somewhere, the Pelikan is affordable and easy to find anywhere, and the Soennecken is expensive, often degraded, and plain difficult to find. It would be nearly impossible, as others have noted, to assemble a complete 111 collection. While it is conceivable that celluloid Montblanc 14X will be available in good working condition for a long while to come, the era of the Soennecken appears to be ending. Many examples exhibit some degree--often very serious--of celluloid degradation and color loss. While the black and dark tortoise pens might long outlast the other colors as usable examples, the unfortunate thing is that those other colors--the rosewood and the green and light tortoise!--are the thing that make the series a singular piece of German pen output.
    Maybe someday I'll be able to own all three of these pens myself. I would jump at the chance; they complement each other very well, as writers with surprisingly different aims and as tiny commercial answers to a new era in a broken country.



    Moeller, Robert G. “The ‘Remasculinization’ of Germany in the 1950s: Introduction.” Signs, vol. 24, no. 1, 1998, pp. 101–106. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/3175673.

    in progress...

    If anyone has anything to add or correct, please chime in! In no way do I see this review as authoritative, but I'd like it to be as accurate and complete as possible.
    Last edited by fountainpenkid; May 30th, 2019 at 09:11 PM. Reason: typo
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    Default Re: Soennecken 111 Superior, Montblanc 146, and Pelikan 400: Legacies Lost and Found

    (aside) A thought about 'nostalgia' and design, which I made quite a lot of assumptions about in the beginning of the review: I'm not so sure there were really the pressures on German manufacturers I hypothesized. Lest we forget, the Volkswagen Beetle came out of Nazi Germany with direct involvement and support from the government and Hitler himself. Though it was not commercially available during that time, it existed as a concept and was part of the Party imagery. Yet Volkswagen didn't feel a need to ditch the design--in fact their embrace of it would define their success as a manufacturer. People didn't appear to see an inseparable semiotic relation between political/social environment and the products it gave rise to. So would they really have seen such a relation in the case of fountain pens manufactured in Nazi Germany during? Probably not. I think it had more to do with the stylistic trends than anything else.
    Last edited by fountainpenkid; May 30th, 2019 at 08:55 PM.
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    Default Re: Soennecken 111 Superior, Montblanc 146, and Pelikan 400: Legacies Lost and Found

    I'm currently restoring a Soennecken, a 116 I believe.
    And I think it has one of the best piston mechanism even compared to Pelikan and Montblanc (vintage ones of course).
    It is simple, elegant, durable and quite restorable.
    - Will
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    Default Re: Soennecken 111 Superior, Montblanc 146, and Pelikan 400: Legacies Lost and Found

    Thank you for your detailed report and the nice pictures. There is no need to correct something I think, I just want to ad two more informations.

    a) according to the Pelikan book (p.58), the design of the 400 was invented before wwII. there are drawings and photographs at the pelikan archive of a pen similar to the 400 from 1939.

    b) there were other german manufacturers who started earlier with injection mould production. for example lamy started before 1950. here is a picture of a predesessor of the Lamy 27

    Lamy (pre 27 model, ca. 1950) von -C.M.Z-

    or this Artus from the late 1940's

    Artus Special_1 von -C.M.Z-

    both are made of injection molded plastic.

    C.
    Last edited by christof; May 31st, 2019 at 08:27 AM.

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    Default Re: Soennecken 111 Superior, Montblanc 146, and Pelikan 400: Legacies Lost and Found

    Quote Originally Posted by christof View Post
    Thank you for your detailed report and the nice pictures. There is no need to correct something I think, I just want to ad two more informations.

    a) according to the Pelikan book (p.58), the design of the 400 was invented before wwII. there are drawings and photographs at the pelikan archive of a pen similar to the 400 from 1939.

    C.
    Thanks for the information! Even more reason to get that book. So the 400 was in development for quite a while--fascinating and I can't believe I never knew that! Do you know anything about how the design evolved from 1939 to release? I guess in '39 there was already lucite available (Parker was using it to develop the "51"), so it is possible the materials didn't really change?
    Will
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    Default Re: Soennecken 111 Superior, Montblanc 146, and Pelikan 400: Legacies Lost and Found

    as far as I understand the book there are drawings and photographs in the archive. I have no further informations about possible materials.
    c.

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    fountainpenkid (May 31st, 2019)

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    Senior Member Scrawler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Soennecken 111 Superior, Montblanc 146, and Pelikan 400: Legacies Lost and Found

    I have a Soennecken 555 from around 1955, so is not quite as up market as your 111. I find it much too delicate for my largish hands. The nib does encourage you to start with a flourish, and I am wondering if it is because of the fonts that children learned to write in school in Germany at that time. Mine is definitely suitable for use by a younger person or a lady. I have only used it twice in the past year, once at the Pelikan Hub, where I brought it for comparison with a 400NN, and last week. My only reason for using it last week was to help me decide if I was going to keep it, or give it to a member of the hub who showed appreciation for it. These pens are really high quality manufacture and in every technical way could have directly competed with MB, but as a school pen it would be far too expensive, and as a man's work pen far too delicate in appearance and feel. The nib is small, but delightfully bouncy, with just enough flexibility to allow for stroke variation.

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