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Thread: Question About Vintage Pelikan 140

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    Default Question About Vintage Pelikan 140

    Hi - This is my first time posting on the forum but definitely not my first time visiting it; this site has been a valuable resource for information so I would like to seek your advice about a recent vintage pen purchase.

    I bought a restored Pelikan 140 with a needlepoint flex nib and when it arrived, I noticed that a portion of the barrel looked like it was cracking from the inside. It's not a crack down the barrel, but looks like crackle glass or shattered windshield, but on the inside and visible between the green stripes. I tried flushing with water to see if it would clear it out, but it had no effect.

    I asked the seller about it and was told that this is a cross hatch pattern done purposely to make the plastic stronger and resilient to impact. The pattern does not look regular to me (yes to irregular shattered/crackling glass look, not cross hatch) and is confined to a small section of the barrel (it's just in one spot above the the pen grip and does not go all the around the barrel). It really does look like vintage crackle glass (I happened to have inherited my grandma's collection of crackle glass so I am familiar with the look), but I have never seen it in a pen. Does anyone know what this is, what would cause this?

    The good news is that the seller has agreed to the pen's return and apparently has another buyer lined up for it. I would still like to know what this is, however, for my own edification because I love vintage pens, and if there is anything that I can do to prevent it from happening to my current and future vintage pens... Thanks!

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    Senior Member carlos.q's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question About Vintage Pelikan 140

    I've never seen a cross hatch pattern on a Pelikan 140. I believe your best bet would be to return it for a refund. I would also recommend you take a few pictures of the pen and this "pattern" and post it here.

    And...

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    Default Re: Question About Vintage Pelikan 140

    Quote Originally Posted by carlos.q View Post
    I've never seen a cross hatch pattern on a Pelikan 140. I believe your best bet would be to return it for a refund. I would also recommend you take a few pictures of the pen and this "pattern" and post it here.

    And...
    Thanks for the warm welcome! Here are some photos. I couldn't get clearer pictures because of bad lighting. It's the weirdly shaped broken glass/split geode look between the green stripes. There are also horizontal scratches on the surface from where the cap rubbed on it, but I am not concerned about that. Sorry about the massive pics, I couldn't figure out how to make it smaller... (newbie facepalm)

    IMG_20190924_204100.jpgIMG_20190924_204117.jpg

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    Default Re: Question About Vintage Pelikan 140

    Quote Originally Posted by happyhippo View Post
    I asked the seller about it and was told that this is a cross hatch pattern done purposely to make the plastic stronger and resilient to impact.
    The explanation of the seller that it is "purposely done to make the plastic stronger" is complete nonsense. You mask ask him/her proof for this statement.

    Hairline cracks in the inner barrel are not uncommon in vintage Pelikan 140 and 400 pens but a shattered glass look is really not normal. Maybe the pen will not leak ink into your shirt pocket (because the striated binde sits tightly around the barrel) but ink may creep between the inner barrel and the binde. These stains are difficult to remove and you likely need to place the pen for a prolonged period in the sonicator. But small and unnoticable cracks can significantly grow in length and number during a prolonged sonicator cleaning. Possibly, this is what has happened to your pen.

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    Default Re: Question About Vintage Pelikan 140

    That is a little bit odd, the first time I've seen such a thing. Depending on the price, I would also hold the seller responsible for not mentioning this. There are sometimes small lines within the binde that look like cracks, but they usually look more like a "speck a crack" (one short line)not this kind of pattern.

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    Senior Member azkid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question About Vintage Pelikan 140

    Welcome!

    My first thought was that you are seeing crazing, a network of fine cracks, which can happen when acrylic (resin) is exposed to chemicals like denatured alcohol or acetone.

    https://www.coralvue.com/support/693...ng-or-cracking

    If that's what you're seeing then the seller is full of crap.

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    Default Re: Question About Vintage Pelikan 140

    Quote Originally Posted by jos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by happyhippo View Post
    I asked the seller about it and was told that this is a cross hatch pattern done purposely to make the plastic stronger and resilient to impact.
    The explanation of the seller that it is "purposely done to make the plastic stronger" is complete nonsense. You mask ask him/her proof for this statement.

    Hairline cracks in the inner barrel are not uncommon in vintage Pelikan 140 and 400 pens but a shattered glass look is really not normal. Maybe the pen will not leak ink into your shirt pocket (because the striated binde sits tightly around the barrel) but ink may creep between the inner barrel and the binde. These stains are difficult to remove and you likely need to place the pen for a prolonged period in the sonicator. But small and unnoticable cracks can significantly grow in length and number during a prolonged sonicator cleaning. Possibly, this is what has happened to your pen.
    Thank you for the information. The plastic looks like it's lifting from the layers and my big concern is that the pen might leak, which would not be fun...

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    Default Re: Question About Vintage Pelikan 140

    Quote Originally Posted by pasenow View Post
    That is a little bit odd, the first time I've seen such a thing. Depending on the price, I would also hold the seller responsible for not mentioning this. There are sometimes small lines within the binde that look like cracks, but they usually look more like a "speck a crack" (one short line)not this kind of pattern.
    The seller noted on his website that the pen was "fully restored" and included some pictures with the pen. The pen I received also didn't seem to match the one from the photos, which had a different cap... Thank goodness, it's on its way back!

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    Default Re: Question About Vintage Pelikan 140

    Quote Originally Posted by azkid View Post
    Welcome!

    My first thought was that you are seeing crazing, a network of fine cracks, which can happen when acrylic (resin) is exposed to chemicals like denatured alcohol or acetone.

    https://www.coralvue.com/support/693...ng-or-cracking

    If that's what you're seeing then the seller is full of crap.
    Thank you! I suspected crazing as well but wasn't able to find pictures online showing fountain pen crazing. I did see images similar to what I was seeing on the pen when I searched for "plastic crazing," which is not good news (I don't want a pen that I am afraid to fill with ink). Does crazing happen frequently on clear plastic pens or on a lot of vintage pens in general? I have a few solid colored vintage fps that I can't obviously see through, and others have converters that can be replaced. They all seem to be functioning well though, thank goodness!

    I just mailed the pen back to the seller at the post office and will have to see when the refund would be issued. What bothers me the most is that the seller tried to pass off what I was seeing on the pen as something that is normal to all vintage Pelikans. He said, "all the pens are like that ... the manufacturing process is designed to incorporate that design for durability" and that if I am "looking for perfection then a modern pen is more to your taste." I might not know about vintage fountain pens enough to restore and sell them to the public, but I have collected and used other vintage pens to know that the crackle glass effect on the barrel is not normal and not something that was done on purpose by Pelikan. There is a difference between wear on a vintage item and a defect!

    The seller apparently found another buyer for the pen I am returning and even kindly forwarded the buyer's eager email for the pen. I hope that the pen's condition has been fully explained to the new buyer, although I doubt it...

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    Default Re: Question About Vintage Pelikan 140

    I agree with Azkid. That is either crazing due to the presence of chemicals or, and I've seen this on a Pelikan before, the pen was crushed at some point.

    This is what a 400nn of mine looked like:



    That was from the pen having some kind of crush force applied to it. It didn't impact the pen and ink didn't settle into the cracks, but they were there and were kinda ugly. As far as I know, the person that bought it from me is still enjoying the pen to this day without issue.

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    Default Re: Question About Vintage Pelikan 140

    Also, if this needlepoint flex is from who I think it is from, this is not the first time someone has received a pen from said seller that was in questionable shape.

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    Default Re: Question About Vintage Pelikan 140

    I've owned over a dozen vintage 400s ranging from user-grade to near-mint, and almost all of them have had sections of their barrels that look like the 140 in question. Not sure why this is so startling to people! I think these are just tiny separations between the outer celluloid "binde" and inner acrylic barrel that happen as the materials age.
    The tortoise pen in the second picture though does show obvious signs of abuse.
    Last edited by fountainpenkid; October 8th, 2019 at 10:22 AM.
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