Pelikan Ink Colors
by Michael Richter
  Article # 389 Article Type: Reference

Some years ago, in 1995, when I first became seriously interested in fountain pens and fountain pen ink, I thought I knew all the Pelikan ink colors available. Beside the regulars like Black, Red, Green, Royal Blue and Violet I thought additional colors like Brown, Pink, Turquoise and Blue Black constituted a huge selection of colors. Little did I know.

At school I used the Pelikan Blue Black ink my father gave me with his Montblanc 32. This Blue Black was as old as the pen and came in a big one litre bottle which was still half full and more important still usable! The color had become more greenish gray than the dark blue I was expecting. I was fascinated with an ink which dried to a different color than that applied to the paper.

The Montblanc in question is still one of my favorite pens (lovely sharp OB nib), and I since bought many other pens and fountain pen inks.

Over the years I continually discovered new Pelikan ink colors that I didn't’t know existed. I think colors like Moss Green, Lilac or Apricot were still regularly available in stores in 1996 and 1997 - once again I thought that was all the Pelikan colors there were.

Now I have 24 different Pelikan inks (including three vintage inks whose colors are still available).
I bought most of them in smaller stores, not expecting such a "treasure" when entering, e.g. Pelikan Cherry Red, Silver Gray, Cyan Blue together with (modern) Parker Quink Permanent Violet in a small tobacco store during a vacation in France, or Orange Red and Rose Colored in an ordinary copy shop and Umber, Khaki and Mint Green from ebay.

All those "special colors" only came in cartridges, which is a pity because those are not good for long term storage. It seems that those colors were time limited productions also - never saw all of them for sale at the same time. Pelikan doesn't’t seem to be interested in offering such special colors again in the next future, at least that’s what they say – not much information about those inks could be gathered by contacting Pelikan.

But now, let’s go for colors!

Name and Description
Apricot (Apricot) :
Apricot really is an "apricot color"; a very light orange with a slightly beige-yellow hint. It’s an interesting color but to light for serious writing.
Apfelsinenrot (Orange Red) :
Actually this is more like a true, vibrant orange, slightly lighter and less red tones than Omas Triratna or Bethge Orange.

Orange (Orange) :
This ink color wasn't’t sold under the 4001 label, but together with a series of inexpensive school pens, called the "Nature Pen". This ink comes in really small bottles.

The color itself is a deep and dark orange with red and brownish hues. This color is dark and intense enough for regular writing and gives nice variations. If you think this color would be cool to write with, the bad news is that it is discontinued– the good news is that Private Reserve Orange Crush comes really close!



Brillant Rot (Brilliant Red) :
This type of color never was my favorite (no, the reason is not that my dad is a teacher , the regular bright red inks like Montblanc Ruby Red or Galerie Jansen Red or Lamy don’t have much appeal. Not enough intensity, slightly orange or pink tones and unfortunately Pelikan Brilliant Red belongs to this group of inks.

The vintage Pelikan Red is pretty similar, just a bit paler and a little bit more pink, but not really much.
Waterman or Omas Hong Kong , even Herbin and Parker Quink are much better!

Kirsch Rot (Cherry Red) :
Cherry Red is a pretty unique darker red with magenta tones, similar to the old Sheaffer Red but with more intensity and slightly darker – nice color all in all.
Rosé (Rose Colored) :
This is also a very unique interesting bright color! It’s of light rosé-orange color, actually pretty similar with the color of rosé wine, but a little bit more intense. Might be mistaken for a strange bright red color and still to light/pale for writing, but great for underlining.
Pink (Pink) :
Pelikan’s pink is a light pink color with less intensity; Similar to Lamy Pink, but it does not have as much magenta tones as Waterman, Herbin, Rotring and Jansen pink.
Flieder (Lilac) :
Lilac is a medium violet, actually to similar to Pelikan Violet, but lighter, less intense and definitely more magenta tones. More intense than Rotring Violet.
Violett (Violet) :
This is a medium violet rather towards magenta tones than blue with OK intensity – the difference to Lilac is not very noticeable unless comparing side by side under bright light.
Königsblau (Royal Blue) :
Pelikan Royal Blue is a typical washable blue ink, similar to Lamy, Galerie Jansen Blue or Herlitz Royal Blue with slightly purple tones and medium intensity – like the ordinary red colors not my type of ink.
Cyanblau (Cyan Blue):
This is a very unique medium blue with no purple at all. The color actually goes towards a real cyan blue (which is more a "turquoise" color) but is still a true blue. Maybe looks like really "watery" Penman sapphire (also having very slight turquoise hues when watered down). Very nice color for every day use (and also hard to describe). I haven’t come across a similar color yet and definitely one of the colors I wish to be brought back!
Türkis (Turquoise) :
Pelikan’s Turquoise is a nice, decent example with good intensity being similar to Lamy or Herbin. Montblanc and Sheaffer both seem slightly lighter and Private Reserve Naples Blue or Waterman South Sea Blue are darker.
Brillan Grün (Brilliant Green) :
"Emerald" would be a good description for this lighter medium green color. It is similar to Lamy Green or Sheaffer Skrip Green (which is slightly more faded) with just a little touch more blue color in it. Intensity cannot be compared with e.g. Rotring Green which is much more intense and darker.
Menthe (Mint Green) :
Not much of a difference to the regular Brilliant Green on the first view, but compared side by side the Mint Green is paler and has more blue tones, similar colors are Montblanc Emerald Green and Herbin Vert Réséda.
Khaki (Khaki) :
When I think of Khaki as a color I see an intense orange (like the color of a Khaki fruit). Pelikan’s Khaki is more of a lighter but intense yellowish olive green. I don’t know any other color like this. Even Bethges Olive Green is much more green. This is a true Olive color (look at an actual green olive!)
Moosgrün (Moss Green) :
Dark and intense Olive Green color. Similar in terms of color with Private Reserve Avocado but slightly less intensity.
Brillant Braun (Brilliant Brown) :
Nice intense medium brown with clearly red and orange tones. This is truly a (the most) brilliant brown I know. No similar color available; Omas is less red and darker, Private Reserve Copper burst also has fewer red tones and is lighter.
Umbra (Umber) :
Again I think of a different color when hearing the name "umber", which is a darker gray green color to me. Pelikan’s Umber is similar to the regular Brilliant Brown, but „cleaner“ and lighter with just a bit more orange – it’s a nice medium brown.



Blauschwarz (Blue Black):
This ink writes dark gray with blue hues but dries to an almost "gray only" color; still a little bit more blue than e.g. Omas’s Gray similar to Lamy Blue Black.

It is not like the typical American Blue Blacks Parker, Sheaffer and Waterman offer!
The vintage Blue Black (from the 60’s) I have has developed additional green tones.

Silbergrau (Silver Gray) :
Compared with Omas’s Gray, Bethge Flannel Gray, Private Reserve Flannel Gray this gray looks slightly more "dirty". While Sheaffer Skrip Gray has slight brown and red tones, Pelikan Silver Gray has olive green tones. Ink gives lot of line variation and is a dark medium gray.
Brillanschwarz (Brilliant Black) :
This is a standard black ink with good intensity (not completely as intense as Aurora Black). No really noticeable green or red tones. Bottled Brilliant Black had some problems with mold in the recent past.


...that’s all the Pelikan ink colors I know so far, but I won't be surprised if I find a nice burgundy or lime green color!

All inks have proved to perform well in most pens; additional to good flow, intensity of most Pelikan inks is good also.

If you know of any Pelikan Ink color I forgot to mention, I would be pleased to hear from you.

Michael Richter

Text and Photos © 2003 Michael Richter.


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