Parker 51 fountain pen praise (redux)

Discussion in 'The Nib' started by DGS, Jul 26, 2010.

  1. DGS


    We've had several threads over the last year or so discussing fountain pens. These usually begin with someone asking a simple question like, "I'm new to fountain pens and would like some recommendations on a decent one to try for my first one...", etc., etc. This is routinely followed by many helpful posts offering advice regarding modern pens, both nice (Lamy, Pelikan, Pilot), and (in my opinion anyway) not so nice (Chinese knock-offs of the Parker 51, like Hero).

    Inevitably, however, the common theme among these threads is that many folks will throw their enthusiastic recommendation in for the classic, venerable Parker 51, made between 1941 and about 1965. I confess to being one of the Parker 51 "holy rollers," for I think it is the best fountain pen ever made. In its aerometric version (i.e., squeeze filler), made from 1949 to the end of its production in the mid-1960s, it is virtually indestructible, and a well-used pen from that era found in a flea market will likely need only to be rinsed well and soaked in water for awhile to be able to write good as new.

    So, today I decided to pull out one of my more special 51s that I hadn't used in quite awhile. This is a custom-made pen I purchased from a Brazilian pen maker. He crafted the cap and barrel out of sterling silver, with aluminum end jewels (these are the jewels used in the 1941 first-year Parker 51 pen). The incised pattern he used in both the barrel and cap are an all-over "Empire State" art deco pattern that is just gorgeous. My lousy photos (taken with my cell phone) don't do it justice but do give you a hint of what it looks like in person. The clip is a vintage clip from a Parker Vacumatic pen (similar to the Vacumatic 51 but with a slightly larger diameter on top to be able to fit this particular cap). The innards of the pen are a vintage Parker 51 aerometric pen with a beautiful, smooth medium gold nib that writes like butter. I will NEVER sell this pen! :biggrin: Here are the pics:

  2. brianw

    brianw Moderator Emeritus

    That definitely looks like Ariel Kullocks work... What a beauty......
  3. DGS


    Not Ariel, though he does magnificent work down in Argentina. This is from Sergio, who has long since disappeared...
  4. brianw

    brianw Moderator Emeritus

    Wow work from sergio, those are now classics....

    Ones I will never sell...

    My grandfathers 1950 flighter with a factory stub

    a 1949 Plum Gold cap set
  5. DGS


    I have two plums, but with GOLD cap??!! I will hunt you down!!:lol:
  6. brianw

    brianw Moderator Emeritus

    A old Korean war vet gave me the set as a gift

    Pencil still had the lead from the 60's and the pen had not been flushed when he put it away in the drawer... a quick warm water flush and it was off and writing....medium/fine nib and like butter. Caps no scatches or dings. He told me his kids would just throw them away, and he wanted them to go to a good home

    Oh I forgot to add, he also gave me his fathers Crescent Filler
  7. DGS


    Nice story, and I'm sure you enjoy the set more knowing the background. Do you use the Conklin also?
  8. Andy, that is really a treasure! Here's the story behind mine. My grandfather flew a B-29 in WWII, and my grandmother gave him the Parker 51 to carry on his missions in the south Pacific. After the war, he became a college professor, and he carried the pen until he died. Many, many years later, I became a professor at the same school, and I signed my first contract with his Parker 51.

  9. brianw

    brianw Moderator Emeritus

    Oh yeah, semi wet noodle on the nib... what a flex. I did have Zorn resac it. The hard rubber really warms to your hand.... great check signing pen with noodlers bulletproof black
  10. DGS


    Fabulous story! :thumbup1: Try telling that story with a Bic. Doesn't have the same ring...
  11. DGS


    I just filled that 51 with Noodler's Black this morning. :001_smile
  12. brianw

    brianw Moderator Emeritus

    A pen owned by your father... priceless, what a great story
  13. DGS


    Speaking of hard rubber, I'll have to get out my Dani Trio raw ebonite eyedropper one of these days. Haven't used it in ages. You're right about that warm feel. The Dani pen is huge, and holds enough ink for a couple months' writing, at least for me. (Not quite as big as a vintage Dunn Dreadnaught, though; wish I had one of those).
  14. brianw

    brianw Moderator Emeritus

    Just did my weekly fillings:

    1. Flighter - Legal Lapis
    2. Crescent Filler - Noodlers Black
    3. Edison 76 - Noodlers Texas Blue Bonnet (thanks Jakespoppy)
    4 '49 "51" cursive italic - PR Chocolat
  15. brianw

    brianw Moderator Emeritus

    Dani holds a boatload of ink... nice pen
  16. That Sir is a gorgeous pen...I've owned two Parker 51s and sold both on the boards...I now find myself wanting another one.

    I thank you for the wife will not :lol:
  17. mdevine

    mdevine Moderator Contributor

    Sweet pen. I have may different fountain pens but the one I write with all day, every day is a Parker 51. They are built like tanks. In this way, it kind of reminds me of my 40s Superspeed. It may be 50-60 years since these were produced, but none of the subsequent "innovations" have improved on the function or durability of either.
  18. DGS


  19. That 51 is a real beauty!

    I have about a dozen, but they're all ones I picked up here and there - no good stories behind them. My two favorites are a GF cap/gray barrel Blue Diamond Vac that was my first 51 and a Lustraloy/gray Aero that's my EDC. The Aero goes with me everywhere and has been through probably 30 states and eight or nine countries now. The nib is broken in just right and I keep it full of Noodler's Blue.

    It almost goes without saying that the 51 is my favorite pen. However, I keep a few of the 61s around - I have a red one with a solid gold rainbow cap, a stainless rainbow and a plain stainless one. The plain stainless one goes with me now and then - it's a fine pen - but I still reach for the 51 99% of the time.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2010
  20. you guys are doing me in... wonderful legacies to those pens.

    I'm just getting caught up by this particular AD... and despite having a few decent (and indecent) pens, I don't have a 51... and I REALLY REALLY want one.... are not helping.

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