For the 25 people gathered at the event ‘Pelikan Hub’, a pen is not just a device to write. For those who collect them, these beauties come in many forms: some that glide smoothly across paper, some remarkable in their antique state and some that are pricier than precious jewellery.
Surendra Karamchandani of Venus Traders took the lead in inviting the city’s passionate pen collectors on Friday to showcase and discuss their collection.
Pelikan Hub is an international pen collectors’ event, organised on the third Friday of every September at 6.30 pm local time in 199 cities across 48 countries. In India, it took place in 10 cities. This was the second consecutive year of this initiative in Pune.
Well-known pen collectors, including Karamchandani, Arun Jugdar, Dipesh Mehta and Vijay Nimbre, were present.
Makrand Kale, from the family of one of the city’s oldest pen manufacturing companies Kale Pens, was felicitated for his family’s contribution to the world of writing instruments.
Kale Pens was best known for quality, nibs and ink and for a policy to provide two to seven years of guarantee on their products. The younger generation of the family was also present.
Mehta said as a pen collector, he found it important to check the distinctive feature of the nib, ink filling system, ink flow and material before adding any new pen to his collection.
‘‘I have a Pilot Justus 95 pen that can be used two ways — as a regular fountain pen as well as a pen with a flexible nib. I also have a Mont Blanc Meisterstück fountain pen with a high-quality nib. This pen can cost around Rs 65,000 today. The world-famous manufacturing companies are mainly German, Italian, American or Japanese. There are some good pen manufacturers in India too, but many have closed down.’’
Sharing his experience, Nimbare said, ‘‘During school days, I was known for my good handwriting. Later, I started using ball pens and observed that my handwriting started suffering. This made me think about using fountain pens again and later I became a pen collector.’’
He added, ‘‘You’ll find a fountain pen in the range of Rs 25 to a collector’s item worth Rs 20 lakh. An ink bottle may also vary in price from Rs 25 for a 60 ml bottle to Rs 1,200 for the same quantity. I particularly like the simple Bril fountain pens in my collection as well as the pricey Omas and Onoto pens. I regularly use pens from my collection and maintain them by cleaning and polishing.’’
Makrand Kale talked about the journey of Kale Pens. He said, ‘‘My father Murlidhar Gopal Kale started this brand in the 1970s. Back then, fountain pens were widely used by students and academicians. My father brought the blue-black shade of ink as well, which was new then. The ink was prepared at our home in a steel utensil using colour crystals and acid. Ball pens became popular in the early 1980s as they were cheap and convenient. We did not want to compromise on the quality of our ink pens and so they could not be sold at a lower cost.’’
Kale also said many pen collectors and people who used Kale pens back in school keep asking him when they will start production again. ‘‘We are thinking of starting manufacturing again, like a limited edition. I hope we will come out with something concrete by next year,’’ he said.