For my birthday last month, my mom got me a Pelikan M205 DUO fountain pen. The pen is a unique concept. Like most Pelikans, it is a piston filler–it does not take cartridges. The transparent yellow body is matched to an extra-broad (“BB”) nib. Included with the pen is a bottle of fluorescent yellow ink. The idea is that the pen can act as a both for writing (though with a broad nib) and a highlighter.
(A Sidebar: There was an interesting discussion on the Zoss Pen List about all transparent pens being called “demonstrators.” The opinion I respected the most felt this was incorrect. Demonstrators reflect pens that were made for use in shops to demonstrate a pen. They may be fully or partially transparent, be modified for the purpose, or simply be stamped “for demonstration use.” These are collectable as a distinct subcategory, offer a lot of interesting characteristics.)
I was attracted to it transparent yellow body and extra-bold (“BB”) nib. Like other reviewers, I didn’t foresee a huge need for highlighting. I inked it with some orange, and then green. I was worried the ink would stain the transparent body. After flushing it with water a few times, it was clean, save for a small streak near the section. Letting it sit for a couple of hours with water in it made it completely clear.
As it turns out, this week I was afforded an opportunity to really put it through its paces. I’m attending ITIL training at work this week. We are going through a workbook, which is material to go along with the slides. In preparation for this, I flushed my M205 DUO, and loaded it with its highlighter ink.
It has proven quite useful. I can highlight the key points, but also add my own marginalia based on the instructor’s comments. The highlighter ink highlights well, and short notes work well. This makes it easy to take notes (rather than having to swap between a highlighter and conventional pen). However, I fall back to a conventionally-loaded pen when taking more detailed notes or transcribing a diagram. The fact that the whole pen and the ink are transparent, you can actually watch air enter the ink reservoir in tiny bubbles. I almost want to go back to school, if only to use it in highlighter mode more often.
My usual approach for a writing sample is to scan the output. This allows detailed looks at any feathering or irregularities. However, the scanner was not doing a good job capturing the color of the highlighter ink (indeed, I’m rethinking this approach for future writing samples). In this case, I took a picture of the sample with my iPhone.
To demonstrate the highlighter in action, I printed text in a variety of sizes, as well as examples of ballpoint and fountain pen writing (letting the latter dry for ten minutes). I went through each sample once to highlight, then wrote some marginalia to the side. This is to simulate a note taking scenario.
It works well for up to twelve point text, which is what I typically see for books (I think my ITIL workbook is twelve points). It does a good job at fourteen and sixteen points, though it is more of a “strike-through” than a full highlight. While I tend to prefer the latter (coloring in the base text completely), this does a good job in calling attention to text. I find I’m going through text twice, if only to play with the pen.
The extra-broad nib is fun to write with, though is not well suited to tiny writing. It’s particularly neat to write with a fun colored ink, like orange or kelly green. While I can read short notes in the highlighter ink, it’s not well suited to longer passages.
I find the Pelikan M205 DUO an attractive pen, with some unique characteristics. I wouldn’t get it just to be a highlighter, but it is flexible for broad writing as well. However, when paired with the highlighter ink, it is a great tool for studying for a certification.
My Pelikan M205 DUO came form Appointments in Cincinnati.