Tag: parker fountain pen review

Review: Cedar Blue Parker 51, F-M

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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. 🙂

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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.

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(L to R) Parker 88 Rialo, 51 aerometric, 21, 51 gold-filled vacumatic, cedar blue 51 vac, 51 special, 75, Vacumatic Major in Azure Blue Pearl, Vacumatic Junior in Golden Brown

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.

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(L-R) Vacumatic Azure Blue Pearl, Cedar Blue Parker 51, Parker 51 Vacumatic

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.

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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.

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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.  Continue reading “Review: Cedar Blue Parker 51, F-M”

Review: A Pair of Parker 75s (Fine and Extra Fine)

Yesterday I wrote about a couple of Parker 75s that my friend gave me. The first time I saw them, I was curious about whether I could fix them or whether I can still have my nibmeister friend fix it for me. They were really rough-looking, but no amount of grime and oxidation can hide the classic beauty that is a Parker 75. Read about my restoration efforts here.

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Parker introduced this pen back in 1963. Some design clues point to the production years of 1965-1967 for these specific pens. The sterling silver cisele finish was introduced first in 1965, and so was the all-plastic section. I believe pre-1965 sections had metal threads. The end of the section also still had the “0” inscribed on it as the center marker for the rotating nib, which was discontinued in 1968. The body of the pen looks really classy. I’ve had this pen in my wishlist since I saw it posted on the FPN-P forum. I think the cisele finish is very beautiful and it ages well. As long as it’s not neglected, the patina will look spectacular.

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I’ve seen this same finish in Sonnets too, though the cisele Sonnets felt lighter in my hand. The 75 has some heft to it. It’s very pleasant to hold, not too light and not too heavy either. It is a thin pen, so if you favor fatter pens, you might find this a bit difficult to hold. The size is just perfect for me, though. It sits comfortably in my hand, and I love its balance. The cap posts at the end of the pen, and although it feels good even when unposted, posting it makes the pen feel more solid. The finish does not feel delicate at all, so I don’t mind posting the cap. This is one of the very few pens I prefer to use while posted.

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A quick research of the pen’s history shows the little design changes that the 75 went through over the years. Since this has been in my wishlist for quite some time, I really was hoping to find one in a cisele finish because it looked very classic. I am so grateful for this pleasant surprise. 🙂

My only gripe about a sterling silver pen is that if your hand is sweaty, it tends to make it smell like you’ve been clutching coins. Anyway, I don’t really have sweaty hands so that’s not much of a problem for me.

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I found it fascinating that even in its oxidized and grimy state, the clip still shone, almost untarnished. I must say that this pen cleans up pretty well. There’s still some tarnished spots on it at the moment, but I’m sure they will polish off over time.

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The section of this pen is quite a nifty innovation by Parker. I’m wondering why they discontinued it, it seems very useful. The section has a triangle-shaped grip and the nib can be rotated to a different angle. This is good if you have a very specific way of gripping the pen which makes it hard for you to use a fountain pen. This rotating nib made it easier to write at different angles. I’ve adjusted mine to make it easier to hold even if my grip rotates.

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The “0” at the end of the section indicates the center, if you want the nib positioned like how it normally would be in non-rotating nib/feed units. That’s quite a nice touch, and it’s a shame it’s not available in modern Parker pens anymore.

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The cap has the usual Parker brand and logo on it and an inscription that says it’s Sterling Silver. The details on the arrow clip reminds me of Parker 51 clips except that the quiver of the 75 is shorter.

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I just love vintage Parker clips. Especially the clips of the 51, Vacumatics and 75s. They’re simple but very distinctive. The details are gorgeous. I can’t say the same for modern Parker clips, I’m afraid.

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The filling system is through an aerometric squeeze converter. It’s a good thing the 75’s converter is easily removable and can be replaced with modern converters. One of the pens’ converters already have an ossified sac which fell apart as soon as I opened the pen. The one above is intact, though. The rubber is pliant and has no leaks or holes.

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I was surprised to find that the nibs required very little work, relatively speaking. One of them was virtually unused so all I had to do was to clean up the pen and load it up with ink and it’s good to go. That’s a #65 nib, which is Parker’s nib code for 14k Fine. It writes really well, though there’s feedback I’m not used to because I always use European fine and medium nibs. The other nib is a #63 (14k Extra Fine) and it was previously used and stored while inked so this took a lot of soaking to get rid of the dried ink in the nib and feed. However, once I cleaned it out, it writes perfectly. Not like how an extra fine would write but more like a European fine.

Below is a video of the writing sample of both pens:

Both write really well. Especially the #63. That it still writes perfectly after ink dried up in it for several decades is a testament of just how well-made these vintage Parker pens are.

Overall, I find these pens to be reliable writers. They don’t hard start, they don’t skip and is virtually no-frills. They’re not finicky or high maintenance. They look good and the weight is pleasantly substantial. I even love the tripod grip and the rotating nib unit. I love everything about this pen. That it came from somebody super special to me makes this pen invaluable, irreplaceable.

Used in this review:
Parker 75s (fine and extra fine)
Sailor Jentle Miruai
Pilot Iroshizuku Tsuki-Yo
Elias Notebook

Review: Parker Vacumatic Junior, Golden Brown

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Eversince I got my first Parker 51 Demi, I’ve developed a hankering for vintage Parker pens. I’m not keen in collecting a whole lot of them, just a few of the pretty colors. My first vacumatic was an Azure Pearl and that was gorgeous. I loved how it wrote and how it looked, I like everything about it. I first saw this very same pen during a pen meet with JP of Pentangeli Pen Spa and Nib Works and fell in love with it. So when he put it up for sale, it was a no-brainer.

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This pen is a gorgeous specimen of a Vacumatic Junior. It’s slightly shorter than a Major and has a pearl-colored jewel on the cap. While the blue vac major has a wide cap band, this one has two slim bands around the cap.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis pen also has no blue diamond on it. JP said that this pen was manufactured some time in the 1940’s. The size difference from the Vacumatic Major isn’t really noticeable. Except for the small details you’ll see when you look closer, you’d think they’re the same pens, just with different colors. The weight is pleasant, the section is smooth and it’s a great pen to use for long writing periods.

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I have to say that the celluloid rings on this pen are gorgeous. The golden brown hues have so much depth and character to them. I think this pair needs a emerald colored vac to round it off nicely. 🙂

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As the name implies, it is a vacumatic filler. It has a clear plastic plunger and, since it came from Mr. Pentangeli himself, the sac is healthy and the mechanism is working perfectly well.

The pen’s nib if very pretty. It seems to have wide wings that taper off to a slim point, giving you the feel that it’s almost like you’re writing with a quill. I think that Parker’s vacumatic nibs are elegantly designed and beautiful in their simplicity.

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I was already enjoying myself immensely while turning this beauty over and over in my hand, but the best part was when I inked it. The nib just glides over paper with a wet, fine line. It’s a beautiful writer. Probably one of the best in my collection. Here’s a video of the writing sample below:

Of course, I inked it with a lovely, rich brown ink–Pilot Iroshizuku Yama-Guri. It is a perfect match. 🙂 For a seventy-something year old pen, this is in great condition and it writes even better than the modern pens that I have. I’m happy to add it to my collection.

Review: Parker 25, Broad

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My quiver has a handful of arrows.

When somebody offered to trade her Parker 25 with my Kaweco Sport, I agreed because I honestly haven’t used that pen in months. I’m learning now that plastic pens aren’t really appealing for me. I thought I’d just add another Parker to my collection of arrows.

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Parker 25 – square clip, tapered bottom.

This morning, I got the Parker 25 with a broad flighter nib in the mail. I bought it because I thought the design was pretty interesting. It looked (for lack of a better term) quite futuristic. The pen has a very streamlined design. It has a slim profile with the end of the barrel tapering off and the rest of the pen feeling pretty much the same width. The pen feels really solid in the hand, it has good heft to it. My first impression was that it felt like it could withstand a lot of abuse.

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Parker 25, uncapped

The body is stainless steel, the section is hard plastic. It feels substantial but well-balanced, neither top not bottom heavy. When you post the pen, it sits on the tapered part of the barrel comfortably and securely. The cap snaps on and off the section and slides onto the end of the barrel when posting. Unlike other Parker pens with the iconic arrow-shaped clip, this one has a squarish clip with the Parker logo on it. This is probably because this pen (which was made in the UK) was marketed towards a younger demographic. They wanted to make a pen that looks modern, with a slim profile, but offers all the benefits of a fountain pen. Needless to say, it became really popular during its time. It had the reputation of being boxy but extremely reliable, a great workhorse of a pen.  Continue reading “Review: Parker 25, Broad”

Review: Parker 51 Demi, Navy Grey (Fine)

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Yesterday, I got my second vintage Parker pen in the mail. It’s the Parker 51 Demi in Navy Grey with a Fine nib. As I said in previous posts, I don’t really like using fine nibs as I find that the shading is more prominent with medium nibs. I like generous ink flow on my pens, and I generally find fine nibs to be scratchy, dry writers. The only fine nibbed pen that I appreciated was the Waterman Crusader (which reminds me that I haven’t reviewed that yet). Today, all that changed when I got the Parker 51 in the mail.

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I read in a forum that I frequent that any self-respecting fountain pen collector worth his salt should have a Parker 51 in his collection, and since I’ve been enjoying Parker pens these past few days, I decided to try this one out. It’s hard to describe my first impression of this pen. I was a little half-hearted about it because it had a fine nib, but it felt so great in my hand. It’s not too small (like the jotter) and not to big either. It’s a tad on the light side, but the build is just really solid on this pen.

A Parker Demi 51 is a smaller or “lady” version of the full-sized 51. I admit that holding this pen made me want to look for a full-sized 51 to add to my collection. The color is something I don’t see in modern Parkers anymore–Navy Grey.  Continue reading “Review: Parker 51 Demi, Navy Grey (Fine)”