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
||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
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
||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) :
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
||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
It is not like the typical American Blue Blacks Parker, Sheaffer and Waterman
The vintage Blue Black (from the 60’s) I have has developed additional green
||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.
Text and Photos © 2003 Michael Richter.