Apart from being Pelikans entry in the early 21st century “Funny Capitalization of Pen Names” parade (which Faber-Castell seems to have taken most to heart), the th.INK was one of two radical design exercises the company offered in close succession. The other is the Twist, which has outlived its sibling despite being the odder looking of the two. It is possible that the teens the th.INK was targeted at were unimpressed by the advertising attached to the pen– “th.INK out of the box!” is one of the lines that appears in promotional text.
It is also possible that the general shape of the pen didn’t appeal. While not as strange at the Twist, this pen is odd looking even when capped, in a way Pelikan’s other teen-directed offerings and even the Lamy Safari aren’t.
This is something of a shame, because while it’s odd, it’s not actually bizarre. As a pen, it’s just as good as anything else Pelikan has offered; the business end is exactly the same as that in a Twist, a Pelikano, or a Future. It’s firm, damp and smooth in writing. The rounded triangular cross-section makes it ergonomically viable as well, without insisting upon the Standard German Writing Tripod grip, and it sits in a left hand as easily as a right… for an under-writer, at least.
It is something of a throwback in its loading. The joint is about half-way down the barrel, just below the long triangular rubberized insert, a placement very similar to Pelikan’s original cartridge pen, the 15/25. This allows for checking reserves and reloading without taking the cap off, which is convenient.
Less convenient is the cap itself, although I do find he clip worthy of praise. It’s a flat piece of metal, with the pressure for gripping pockets coming from a small fin under the clip that presses from inside; it should be very kind to material over time. The cap itself, though, is rather small and clings fiercely to its mounting point, so opening the pen can be a struggle and, with a small lapse of attention, lead to a line drawn on a finger. It’s not quite the same degree of grappling as one has with the Rotring Skynn, but there’s definitely a similarity of sensation.
Once it’s off, there’s also a question of what to do with it. I believe Pelikan meant for it to be put to one side or held in the non-pen hand, because that long rubbery tail is not a place for it to sit. It is possible to perch the cap on it, but it looks ridiculous as it only goes about a third the way down the tail before the round inner cap starts to bite into the tail’s vertices.
Production Run: 2012 – c.2014 (it appears in a Japanese catalogue for 2013-2014); I believe, technically, it was only made for the 2013 model year.
Cost When New: €16.95 ($21.50– for modern values, try this calculator). I find is is still available new in September 2018 at a Malaysian outlet for RM39.90, which is roughly $10.
Size: 14.0 cm long capped, 13.1 cm uncapped.
Filler: Cartridge, capacity approx. 0.6 ml or 1.4 ml (international pattern).
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