IMAG0634  This is a Pelikan 120, second edition, made sometime in the 1960s or early 1970s. I bought my first one when I was a kid. It cost $13.00, and later when they closed out sales on them, I bought the remaining nibs the stores around me had. A nib, back then, cost $5.50. The first edition of these pens was made in the 1950s. It sports slight differences: the nib does not screw in and out, although it is easy to replace; the Pelikan logo is imprinted on the top of the cap, a rather nice touch; the pen, itself, is just a touch thicker and more squat, which significantly changes the feel of the instrument in the hand. There are a few other little things, cosmetic for the most part not worth a real mention.

This is my Golden Key. Altogether, I have about twenty of them, maybe more, and maybe another twenty of the first edition. One, exactly like the one pictured here, sits fully loaded on my writing pad as I put this post together. Also on my desk, where the writing pad and my computer are–these  days just a laptop since I don’t use a PC anymore–are some Parker 51s and Parker 21s, the silver keys, I guess, and some Chinese made fountain pens, which would be the bronze. In all fairness, I have to say that the Chinese pens, which sell for a fraction of the price of the name brands, write every bit as well as the name brands, and like the name brands, how they write depends not only on the model but on the individual pen. One of the Parker 51s, my favorite user, got lost in the woods in my backyard one autumn day and was out there a whole winter. I kept looking for it, sometimes daily for weeks at a time, and hoped I would find it. Then, the following spring, there it was sitting pretty close to where I had determined I’d lost it. I wasn’t even looking for it at the moment it appeared. I took it in the house, cleaned up the outside, took off the cap, and it wrote immediately; it didn’t even have to be started like many fountain pens do after a day or two of non-use.


Golden Key to what?  Happiness, of course!

Metaphorically speaking.