Basic Guide to Repairs on models 100, 100N and 400 (plus related models)
Martin Lehmann with additional information added by Tom Westerich
rights reserved by the author
Because of their manufacture, early Pelikan pens usually confront the collector with a
limited number of problems:
piston cannot be moved any longer
the piston is leaky
ink feed is damaged
nib is damaged
ink view have shatter cracks or is cloudy
hairline cracks in cap lip
The first task before each repair attempt on all models is a thorough cleaning in plain
water. An ultrasonic bath may be used with caution. Exercise special care with hard
rubber caps, sections and mechanisms found on early pens. Clean hard rubber parts with
ultrasonic cleaner only if you must and then only briefly and under constant visual
inspection, since they may discolour very strongly.
is valid for all models, from 100 to 400, only in some rare cases, nib units might be
friction fit instead of being screwed in:
|Pelikan Nib units from 100 to 400NN
cleaned, the pen should be completely disassembled and cleaned again. Often the nib/feed
unit can be unscrewed immediately after the first ultrasonic bath. It is helpful to
have the original Pelikan nib-pliers [Figure 5] to unscrew the unit, placing them closely
at the section. Without the pliers, the assembly can be screwed out by hand using a
soft tissue for better grab. If you use your fingers to screw out the nib/ feed, pay
special attention to the feed vanes, which might be damaged easily. Do not grip the
nib/feed at the sides, but rather at the front and back.
piston filling mechanism
Pelikan 100 and 100N models, as well as IBIS
|Pelikan 100 100N and 140 friction
fit pistons - the old versions with cork seal and the newer version with rubber seal.
- Remaking cork seals works best with roughly precut cork seals -
starting from there, the final adaption is much easier.
it is necessary to disassemble the piston filling mechanism. For the beginner the most
surprising fact is that the thread of the mechanism is reverse threaded - thus opposite
the normal direction of rotation of normally screwed together parts. Frequently, the
mechanism cannot be simply screwed out. Usually this means using the ultrasonic bath again
(still, caution with hard rubber sections!). Subsequently, protect the cone with a piece
of leather or rubber, grip the mechanism with rounded pliers (preferably section pliers
available at pen shows) or with the original Pelikan repair pliers, and screw out the
mechanism, remembering the reverse threading.
ink frequently leaked into the filler, the individual parts of the mechanism (turning knob
with spindle, piston rod, piston and nose cone) should be cleaned after disassembly.
the piston rod is to be replaced, you must pay attention to the upward gradient of the
spindle, since this was modified approx. 1938.
seals and rubber seals of Pelikan 100 and Ibis:
If the piston is leaky, there are two methods of repair, depending on the model:
the piston is leaky, there are two methods of repair, depending on the model:
Regarding pens with rubber or neoprene seals it is easiest to exchange the leaking piston
rod for one that is still working. [Editor's note: occasionally warm oil rubbed into a
seal will revive it] You could also take a Pelikan 100N rubber seal and make it fit
the 100 barrel by sanding it with finest grade paper (best on the lathe) down to the
diameter needed for the model 100.
If you find a cork seal, it can easily be renewed. Remove the remains of the old cork.
Then pull out the front disk, which is friction fit into the nose cone. Its best to
knock out the disk from the back, pushing a thin metal pin into the piston rod.
new cork can be cut from an old wine or whiskey cork. Since this source requires a certain
effort in whiskey consumption J
, it may be easier to buy a small stock of raw cork seals available at pen shows. Hardware
stores also carry cork sheeting from which seals can be cut. Winemaker´s supply or
Laboratory supply shops sell precut unused (= no risk of excessive drug abuse...) corks.
The pistons of the later models 100N made of black rubber shrank frequently, so that they
no longer seal. When dealing with pens of the post-war period (green ink window and no
step in the grip section), the pistons may be replaced by spare parts from 120, 140 or 400
models. This replacement is simple, effective and historically quite correct, since in the
final phase of the production of the model 100N all pens were equipped with the same
seals. Early versions of the 100N do still feature cork seals, which basically are fit the
same way as the model 100, just that the cork is held by a screw on cap, which again is
screwed on with a reverse thread.
Barrels of Pelikan 100 and 100N
In most cases of damaged pen bodies, it is my opinion that exchange with original spare
parts is the only answer. This applies particularly to feed and cap lip cracks in hard
rubber, since these can never really be repaired. An internal ring made on a lathe
might be put in; but that is only the secondary best solution and involves much work.
If the barrel is badly damaged, the sleeve has to be removed and the body exchanged.
With the older Pelikan 100 models it is quite simple: usually I put the barrel into
water with liquid dish soap for about 24-48 hours. [Editor's note: Be cautious,
since ingredients in dish soap made in the United
can cause color shifts when celluloid is exposed to them for more than a short time.
Try an ammonia solution first. Then, after a thorough rinse, soak briefly in dish
Afterwards grasp the sleeve with your whole hand and press it toward the grip
section of the barrel.
that were manufactured through injection moulding are substantially more difficult. To my
knowledge there is no ingenious solution. Once I was able to separate a very beautiful
colour sleeve from the barrel by free- milling from inside the barrel. That will work with
a lathe too. However, there is a real risk of destroying the sleeve completely.
Pelikan 100 barrels tend to have crystallized threads for the piston mechanism, which
falls apart when unscrewing the piston. Hard to repair. Skilful repairmen might use a
later 100 barrel with rotten ink window to fit its threading onto the early barrel. This
will keep the early version with its amber ink window.
|Various barrels Pelikan 100 showing all sorts
400 and 140 barrels feature friction fit piston mechanisms.
|Knockout tool and knocked out piston of a
have got to be pushed out from the front. Grabbing the piston mechanism with a set of
pliers and pulling it will result in a cracked piston. You need to unscrew the entire nib
unit, insert a metal pin of the exact diameter and knock out the piston. Moderately heat
the barrel, up to a max of 80 degrees Celsius.
the situation with friction fit Montblanc pens from the 60ies is exactly the opposite:
knocking the pistons out would crack the interiors, they in fact need to be pulled out
from the back.
what to do with damaged nibs? Keep your fingers away - either "Mottishaw " the
nib or exchange it.
With a certain experience you can fix some problems by using only your hands, bending a
little bit, but often it leads to strains within the material and the possibility of
destruction. However, many skilful pen repairman are able to readjust a bent nib and grind
them, but regarding lost iridium tips, John Mottishaw still is the one and only.
From all this, one fact becomes particularly clear: Spare parts are needed. Damaged parts
can be "repaired" satisfactorily only in the rarest cases, mostly you have to
In these brief articles on manufacturing and repair I know that I can't mention here
everything, which might be interesting. And I don't know everything about repairing.
There are a lot of people out there who know much more than I do. Let's take these
articles as a starting point to gather knowledge on repairing and history of Pelikan
fountain pens at centralized point.
note: As always, cleaning and repair guidelines are for your information only.
Neither the authors nor me as publisher here on the website can be responsible for any
damage you do to your pens in the course of attempting repairs. When
in doubt consult a kompetent pen repair professional.]