The rod and seal was one approach, taken by Omas, Onoto and Sheaffer, the diaphragm was another, used most successfully by Parker and by Waterman and Osmia. An eastern European engineer, Theodor Kovacs appears to have been the first to devise the modern piston filler and secured a patent for it, probably in 1925.
Kovacs’ design used a shaft mounted with a cork seal as a piston and a telescoping device attached to a turning knob to advance and retract it.
In 1878, Wagner added the name of Pelikan, from one of the elements in his family crest.
Following Wagner’s retirement, a decade later, his son-in-law and successor Fritz Beindorff led the company to become one of the world’s leading makers of fountain pens.
[Note: This is by no means meant to be a complete history of the Pelikan pen or the Günther Wagner firm.
Readers seeking the fullest account of Pelikan should consult Jürgen Dittmer and Martin Lehmann’s The history of Pelikan begins with Germany's industrial revolution in the early nineteenth century and continues into the global economy of today.
Two years later the first Pelikan was produced and within five years of its release the telescoping piston filler revolutionized European pen manufacture, replacing the favored safety filler.
Before long, even the giant, Montblanc, was forced to adopt the piston filler, touching off a generation of close and often litigious rivalry between the two firms.
Initially, however, their relationship was much more cooperative.
Beginning in 1924, Montblanc relied on Pelikan for ink, and Pelikan, which did not have its own metal working facilities before 1935, relied on Montblanc for nibs.
In order to produce a pen based on his innovation, he went into partnership with two brothers, Edmund and Mavro Moster, who controlled the Croatian firm Penkala.