Elysian Fields

20 06 2020

Years ago I was gifted a fountain pen when I was asked to be a friend’s best man. Around 1991, if I recall. I knew nothing of the brand at the time, and though the nib declares itself as an M, I found it decidedly F-like, and at the time totally unsuitable to my writing style. Sadly therefore, it languished in the back of a drawer, though happily it wasn’t discarded in our move to Canada, and I recently rediscovered it.

It’s a sleek matte black élysée series 60 Dynamic, and now I know a little more about fountain pens in general I have come to respect and appreciate it a lot more. I’ve even come to realise my writing looks a lot better (not yet “good”, but better) with a nib on the F side of M, and this one now comes a close second to my Sheaffer Sagaris with its steel but smooth F nib.

So, thanks largely to the research performed and kindly shared via the Internet by N. Dean Meyer, I’ve learnt a lot more of this slimline little beauty.

Firstly, let me precis the company’s history from N. Dean Meyer’s research.

Despite the decidedly gallic name, élysée is in fact a German brand, though sadly now defunct.

ElyseeLogo

Late 1920s: Jeweller Paul Dummert founded R. Dummert Co. in Pforzheim, Germany.

January, 1974: As the global economy slipped into recession, Reinhold, Paul’s son, sold the company to watchmakers Heinz Benzinger and Wolfgang Klein. They focused on writing instruments with plated finishes and sold primarily to international firms that had their own brands.

1975: A lacquered instrument line was developed, an innovation that encouraged the company to create its own brand.

1980: The brand “élysée” was registered (despite the prior registration of “Elysee” by the Pforzheim-based watch-maker owned by jewellery-maker Harer).

October, 1981: The firm R. Dummert officially presented the “élysée” brand at the Frankfurt Book Fair. That year, it introduced the 60, 70, and 80 Lines. At that time, the logo (derived from “D” for Dummert) was introduced; it persisted unchanged through until the end of the brand.

April 1, 1991: Staedtler took over 100% of the company, which was renamed élysée Schreibgeräte GmbH. Management moved from Pforzheim to Nuremberg in late 1991, and Dummert KG was dissolved in 1992.

June 30, 2000: With a falling stock market production ceased and élysée disappeared as a brand. The “lifetime” élysée warranty ceased at the end of 2002.

The 60 series, and my matte black Dynamic model in particular was in production from around 1983 to approximately 1994. It was available in matte finishes with epoxy lacquer and stainless steel in Black / Blue / Burgundy / Brown / Steel Gold Trim / Steel Chrome Trim (nib chrome plated). It has a characteristic flat 14K gold-plated steel nib, slender body, spherical top, clip attached to top, metal section threads, and a length of 136mm.

All products were designed and specified by élysée. The production of the parts was outsourced from companies like Mutschler, including stamping, lacquering, plating, nib assemblies, etc. élysée then assembled, finished and distributed.

Like my own example, I read that several owners find their 60 series pens prone to rusting on the barrel trim near the nib assembly.

img_7217-1

My black élysée series 60 Dynamic clearly showing the top-attached clip with branding

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Close-up of cap showing etched name and “modified D” logo along with top-attached clip and matte lacquered finish

img_7218-1

Close-up of cap showing “Germany” impression. Manufactured after reunification in 1989.

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Close-up of cap showing “élysée” impression on opposite side to “Germany”.

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Close-up of flat gold nib, showing logo and M. Note some failing of plating around barrel trim

Source and further reading: N. Dean Meyer.

There’s also an excellent write-up at 7heDaniel.


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