Last year, I set up an appointment with one of Fountain Pen Network Philippines’ nibmeisters so that I can get my Waterman Hemisphere which I handed to him at a pen meet for flow adjustment. At that time I was anxious about meeting him outside of a big pen meet because I was extremely shy. My husband and I went to Magnum Opus early to get a seat. A few minutes after, JP arrived. He gave me my Waterman Hemisphere which, of course, wrote perfectly after he adjusted the ink flow (it was gushing like a squealing teen in a Justin Bieber concert) and made it write like the wet medium that it was supposed to. Instead of heading home immediately after, I was pleasantly surprised that he brought along some of his vintage pens. He opened up his pen case and showed me each of them, explaining what they were, what era they came from, what materials they were made of, etcetera. It was my first mini pen meet. 🙂
At that time, I was only beginning to discover vintage Parker pens. I had a grey aerometric Parker 51 demi which I adored, but I haven’t seen any other vintage pens yet. Of the lot that he showed me, two stood out as the most beautiful (for me, at least)–a Parker Vacumatic Junior in golden brown and a cedar blue Parker 51. I enjoyed that meet a lot. JP was like a cool uncle showing me wonderful treasures that I previously only read about.
Fast forward to a few months after. These two pens (the brown Vacumatic and the cedar blue 51) are now part of my permanent collection of vintage Parkers. I am a happy camper. 🙂
The first time I saw this pen, I already thought that it was beautiful. The second look still gave me the butterflies in my stomach. Parker 51s are so understated and classic in their beauty. This one is pretty different from the ones that I have, though, because it has a blue diamond. Design clues tell me that this pen was manufactured in the second quarter of 1946. During that time, the FCC hasn’t yet banned the use of lifetime guarantees for Parker’s pens. That’s what the blue diamond stood for–the commitment of Parker to make pens that will last a lifetime. Since somehow this pen found its way to my hands almost 70 years after and it’s still working perfectly, I’d say that Parker’s guarantee is spot on.
This particular generation of Parker 51 is pretty interesting because you can see how it transitioned to a different clip design used by the later 51s.
As you can see in a photo above, the clip sports the arrow that is reminiscent of the art deco movement. The pen in the middle and the right are both Parker 51s but the clip of the Cedar Blue P51 (middle) is more similar to the clip of the Azure Blue Pearl, which was from a completely different generation of pens.
These two pens, even if they come from different generations have very similar clip designs. The Parker 51 was transitioning from the era of the blue vacumatic.
This pen is filled through a vacumatic filling system. In the early 1940s, Parker stopped using metal components in their plungers and instead used celluloid plungers with no metal trims on the threaded collar. Metal was scarce during those times because of the war effort. This pen has a metal thread because by the time it was manufactured, the war was already over.
The cap is 16k gold-filled and has very light stripes in sets of threes all around it. It’s different from the lustraloy caps of my later Parker 51s and looks more formal or luxurious.
The section has a steel band with a gold-plated area in the middle which secures the cap in place. This pen’s gold band has almost worn off, but that’s understandable given the age.
This clip is just beautiful. It is consistent with the design changes Parker initiated in the late 1930’s, where the arrow is split and the name Parker is imprinted on it vertically. The enameled blue diamond and (in earlier pens) the star on clips is Parker’s response to Sheaffer’s white dot lifetime guarantee.
I like my later Parker 51’s simpler arrow design, but this arrow is more beautiful, for me. It’s my favorite Parker clip design because it’s more intricately made.
This is the underside of the hooded nib. When I got this pen, I inspected the nib and saw very little wear on it. Perhaps it wasn’t often used by the previous owner.
I love everything about this pen. The appearance, the weight, the length, the girth…most of all, the way that it writes. I’ve never had a disappointing experience with a Parker 51 yet, and this one is no different from my other 51s. It is an excellent writer.
I inked it up with Pilot Iroshizuku Tsuki-Yo because the color fits the cedar blue color of the barrel.
The nib is thicker than a vintage fine, and thinner than a medium. It lays down a consistently wet line and has not dried up on me yet even when left uncapped a few minutes.
It does not hard-start, it does not skip. It’s smooth and reliable. It doesn’t flex at all because it’s a hooded nib, but the 14k gold nib does make the writing experience a lot more pleasant. It’s got a little spring to it, it’s definitely not as hard as a nail.
Here is a video of the writing sample below:
Overall, this is a wonderful addition to my collection. It’s a classic, and as a Parker girl, I’m really happy that it’s still writing superbly after all these years.