(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)
Pelikan introduced a new line of pens in the fall of 2015 called Stola. The Stola I line is matte and glossy black and comes in a ballpoint and rollerball. The Stola II line (also ballpoint and rollerball) combines two colors: black and matte silver, and the ballpoint pen includes a stylus. These two lines do not appear to be available in America. The Stola III line is matte silver with black accents and is the only one that includes a fountain pen. The word "stola" in German means "wrap," so perhaps the name derives from the special coating used on the pens.
The Pelikan Stola III comes in three flavors: fountain pen, rollerball, and ballpoint. All three are coated with matte-silver lacquer with black plastic accents and a steel clip. The barrels are brass, coated with the same silver lacquer. This gives the pens a nice amount of heft in the hand, but they are not overly heavy.
Each pen comes packaged in a minimalist silver box with a black foam interior and ribbon holder.
The cap (for the fountain pen and rollerball) is made of aluminum and bears the Pelikan logo on its finial.
The black steel clip shape echoes the pelican beak clips on the higher-end Pelikan fountain pens, though it is an outline not solid. It is also very tight so it might be difficult to clip onto thick fabric. The Pelikan name is printed in black at the bottom of the cap which snaps on.
The Fountain Pen
The Stola III fountain pen comes with a medium steel nib (no other sizes are offered). The nib is engraved with some simple scroll work.
A high-capacity cartridge with blue ink is provided with the pen. The Pelikan site doesn't clarify whether or not the pen can use a Pelikan converter. It only mentions the large cartridges and the Pelikan Edelstein ink cartridges.
The Stola writes quite well. I noticed a couple of skips from time to time, but no hard starts. It writes smoothly, but offers no flex or bounce. This is a hard nib.
The Stola III fountain pen is a nice alternative to the Lamy AL-Star, a very similar pen at a similar price point. For those of us who don't like the Lamy's grip section, the Stola offers a smooth grip with a brass (rather than aluminum) barrel. The Stola is significantly shorter than the Lamy (4.625 inches vs. 5.12 inches unposted). I tried posting the Stola and the cap kept popping off, so if length is important to you, the Stola might be too short. The Stola is heavier than the Lamy at 1.2 ounces vs. 0.78 ounces. Unlike the Lamy, you don't have numerous color choices with the Stola, but the Stola seems much more sophisticated in design.
The Stola III rollerball I reviewed has a medium width stroke, but you can get Pelikan 338 refills in blue or black in fine, medium, or broad.
The rollerball writes smoothly and the ink is bold. I didn't encounter any ink blobbing, hard starts, or skipping. The pen is a nice weight (1.2 ounces) and feels good in the hand. Like the fountain pen, it is almost impossible to post the cap.
The Stola III ballpoint uses a twist mechanism to extend and retract the point. Compared to the other two pens, its grip section is quite broad (0.438 inches). Because of this, the pen was uncomfortable for me to hold and my hand tired easily. However, of the three pens, this one is the lightest at 0.9 ounces.
Like the rollerball, my review pen came with a medium stroke. But, once again, you can get 337 refills in black, blue, or red in fine, medium, or broad.
The ballpoint was the least impressive of the three pens in terms of writing. The ink didn't flow as well and was definitely lighter than the rollerball ink. The pen seemed to drag on the paper.
You can purchase any of the three Stola III pens from Goldspot Pens. The fountain pen is $35.95; the rollerball is $27.95, and the ballpoint is $27.95. Refills for the rollerball and ballpoint run $10.00 a piece.
- The Stola III pens are very reasonably priced.
- The construction of these pens is solid, and the matte silver with black accents is classy looking.
- The fountain pen and rollerball write beautifully.
- These pens would make wonderful gifts for fountain pen newbies, graduates, officemates, and others.
- Of the three pens, I would recommend only the fountain pen and rollerball. The ballpoint was uncomfortable and the least smooth writer.
- The fountain pen is fairly short and posting the cap is difficult.
- You don't have any nib choices for the fountain pen other than medium.
(Goldspot Pens provided these products at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes).