Dummy / Factice / Facsimile


Pelikan produced fountain pens for advertising purposes. These pens didn't actually write; their only purpose was to look nice in the shop windows to interest customers in the products.

An engraved text clearly indicates the intended purpose. This is different depending on the target country, although in addition always multilingual.

These dummy fountain pens were engraved in Germany with the inscription "Schaumuster" and "Dummy  Factice + Facsimile"; my copies are from the Netherlands and bear the designation "DUMMY-FACTICE" and "FACSIMILE".



A city trip to The Hague and Scheveningen (Netherlands) between Christmas and New Year 2016 gave me the opportunity to visit theAppelboom stationery business in Laren, near Amsterdam. Joost Appelboom welcomed us very warmly and kindly. After a long conversation he showed me the two fountain pens. He was surprised that I recognized this from a distance as a dummy. The top of the cap made me suspicious and a look at the nib confirmed quickly that it was not a regular production Pelikan 400.

He gave me the two pens and I am now very happy to introduce them here. These are my first Pelikan dummy pens.

Dummy tortoise and green-striped

Comparison with the serial pens

Despite the deviations from the standard model, a dummy pen in the shop window is probably difficult to recognize as such and it can fulfill its purpose well. Surely many of these pens for advertising purposes led to some lucky person finding a Pelikan 400 under the Christmas tree, or a Pelikan 400 being given for a special occasion.

Holes with function

According to Mr. Dittmer, there was a separate department in the Pelikan company that produced these pens, because the dummy pens were not simply made from the same parts as the regular production. Of course, no genuine gold nib is installed, but even with other components, such as the clip ring, it can be seen that a different diameter made it impossible to use on the standard fountain pen.

For many dummy pens one can find on the back one or two holes in the barrel or cap. These holes have not been drilled into the holders to destroy the functionality, the holes have a purpose. They serve to be able to fasten such a dummy pne from the back with rice board pens on an advertising stand. The picture shows how.

Here shown by the example of a dummy of a Pelikan 120, in the photo the positioning is shown.

Further particularities

From the time of 1965-70 came the following dummies with metal cap: a blue Pelikano model 2, a P20 Silvexa blue and a P30 Rolled gold black. With these three pens the cap band is engraved with the „Pelikan Attrappe Dummy Factice“.

The metal caps of the original fountain pens have an inner plastic cap at the upper end, which ensure the safe hold of the cap on the closed pen and seals against possible ink leakage. In the dummy pens this inner plastic cap is missing. The cap (if it has been removed from the dummy) will not securley post on any other pen. The cap is glued to the dummy with a plastic ring at the end of the barrel. This shows the picture with the P30 Rolled Gold. Here, too, one can see that the metal cap at the end of the barrel has been omitted in the dummy pen, since the end is normally not visible through the pinned cap. The length of a dummy pen is not identical with the length of an original model with an attached cap due to the fastening method of the caps to the end of the barel. This shows the picture with the two Pelikanos.

More dummy models

Besides the dummy pen of the Pelikan 400 model, there were also dummies of the 100N, 120, 140, 400NN, Graphos and Pelikano, P15, P20, P30, M20 Silvexa, also M200 and M400 from the 1980s. The list of dummy models is certainly not complete and I would be happy to add to it!

The last known dummy pens are from the 1980s. However, different models were used to provide test pens in various nib widths, as can be seen in the picture of the Pelikan P55 Future. It is possible that this usable sample pens, which was not intended for sale, replaced the dummies for the show window. At the latest since the mid-1990s, window decoration by means of dummies would be disproportionate effort due to the variety of models and the limited availability of e.g. Limited and Special Editions.