Tag: vintage parker fountain pen

Review: Parker Vacumatic Debutante

Review: Parker Vacumatic Debutante

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Before the crazy Monday shift starts, I decided to write a short review of this pen I acquired last week. It’s a Parker Vacumatic Debutante in azure blue and it’s been on my wishlist for as long as I’ve been collecting pens. I had a bit of hard time determining what kind of vacumatic this is because some parts of the pen don’t match the documentation available for it.

IMG_3830Based on the date code, this was made in the third quarter of 1941. This corresponds with the speedline plunger, double-jewel, and the blue diamond on the clip. However, the cap band was throwing me off. It was a little wider than the usual cap band for debutantes of its era, and it was also smooth, without the usual chevron design of Parker Debutantes. Luckily, there are people in the international FPN group that know way more about vintage Parker pens than I do. There are so many different variations of these pens, it can be so confusing sometimes. Apparently I got a debutante (not a sub-debutante, like I initially thought) that is off-catalog, which is uncommon. Azure blue is the more uncommon color of this small batch of debutantes for that year.

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L-R Parker Vacumatic Major, Junior, Debutante

Here’s a comparison of the clips. Isn’t the clip cute? It’s short and so adorable. I like these old Parker clips and how the arrow shows art deco inspiration. In person, they’re very detailed and elegant. Modern clips just don’t compare with these.

Below is a size comparison with my other Parker pens (debutante is at the rightmost). Considering that none of these are oversized pens, it is really pretty small. It’s even smaller than the Parker 51 special’s pencil, and that’s already small in my hand. I cannot get over the squee-ness of this pen.

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Here are a few close ups of the pen’s details. Look at that gorgeous blue diamond clip. As I mentioned in other Parker-related entries, this is the lifetime guarantee that Parker used to mark its products with until the regulations changed about these guarantees. The speedline filler was eventually replaced with plastic plungers because metals were used for the war effort.

My absolute favorite kind of Parker are the 51’s, but I love the celluloid rings of these vacs too. They are fascinating to look at. This is what I love about these kinds of pen. It’s virtually impossible to find two identical pens because each pen will have unique celluloid rings. I love the nib of Parker pens of this era. They are so sleek and the design really makes you feel like you’re writing with an arrow head. This pen writes so smooth. Like butter! Here’s a video of the writing sample.


The 14k gold nib is an absolute joy to write with. It’s like when I start writing, I don’t want to stop. It just glides on paper, and the ink it lays down is moderately wet. The nib is springy and wonderful.

Overall, I am so happy to add this to my collection. 🙂 Inner peace. For now.

Review: Parker 21, Fine

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This is one of the pens that I picked up in my first flea market dive. I did find a few other pens but wasn’t confident that I could fix them if I bought them. This one seemed intact except for some brassing on the cap. No clanking sound when I shook it, no brassing around the aerometric filler, and the nib looked beautiful.

The Parker 21 was produced between 1948 to 1965. The pen was redesigned in 1952 because the initial production of these pens (Mark 1) leaked a lot in the cap and the ink dried up after a few days of not being used. This pen’s color is called charcoal grey, which is different from the navy grey of my Parker 51.

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The nib is quite similar to Parker 51’s hooded nib. I believe the nib material is octanium and the iridium point is very bulbous. The nib of this pen looks to be fine, though there aren’t any markings on it. It also looks almost new. In fact it’s the only thing that looked clean about the pen when I first found this. Absolutely no ink stains or signs of brassing and wear.. It didn’t seem like the previous owner used it a lot.

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Size Comparison (Top to bottom): Parker 51 Special, Parker 21, Full-sized Parker 51

At first glance, it’s easy to mistake it for a Parker 51. The size is close to a full-sized 51, though it’s noticeably shorter. The immense difference is when you hold the pen. Parker 51 definitely feels more weighty, and the Parker 21 feels like a low-budget version of the 51.

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Some brassing on the cap

The jewel is also metal instead of black, grey or pearl plastic. The cap is very thin and light, though it slips on comfortably and securely.

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Jewel comparison (L to R): Parker 51 special, Parker 21, Parker 51 full-sized

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The cap has “Parker 21” etched on it and it looks similar to a Parker 51 cap at first glance if not for the thickness, weight, clip and jewel.

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Some brassing on the clip

The clip has a modern-looking quiver with seven lines on it. It looks exactly the same as a Parker 45’s clip. I like the 51’s arrow clip better.

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Arrow clips (L-R): Full-sized Parker 51, Parker 21, Parker 51 Special

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This pen is an aerometric filler, and I’m pleasantly surprised that the sac is still intact. It looked pretty rough when I got it, and I was ready to send it off to Pentangeli Pen Spa and Nibworks for resaccing, but when I tried to fill it with water, there were no leaks. The sac was still soft and the unsightly white stains on the surface washed away easily. That says a lot about the quality of vintage Parker pens.  Continue reading “Review: Parker 21, Fine”