Thursday, November 12, 2009

Featured Pen - The Parker 51

The Parker 51 is another pen that has probably had more written about it than most other pens made. It was developed in 1939 and was in continuous production until 1972, that's 33 years...a long time for a single pen model.

For an extensive history, please go to Ernesto M. Soler's Website - The Parker "51" Website, I don't think that you will find a more comprehensive history of this fabled pen anywhere else on the web.

Of course, don't ignore extremely informative sites like the wonderful model profile on Richard Binder's site, the Fountain Pen Network and the Parker Forum there or Tony Fischier's Parker Collector Site.

I am the proud owner of three Parker 51's, two Aerometic and one Vacumatic. Interestingly, both of my aerometric pens are black, although one has a F/M nib and the other a B nib, while the vac is Cedar Blue with a F nib.

The vacumatic pen was an eBay find for a very good price in good working order, although I fear that one day soon that I will have to send it to a Penmeister for repairs. Parker 51 repairs are not for the timid and require special knowledge due to their unique construction.

The Parker 51 remains one of my favorite pens and although these three have been out of rotation for several months, I am always joyful when they return. They are reliable pens worthy of the Parker name and exhibit all the quality workmanship that Parker invested in all of their pens.

Anyone familiar with the Parker 51 should also be familiar with the Parker dating system. My pens are dated as follows:

Cedar Blue Vac - Made in USA - first quarter 1947
Black Aero F/M - Made in USA - fourth quarter 1949
Black Aero B - unknown - best guess second quarter 1952 - imprint is worn

The Parker 51 is a classic, but it also seems to be a pen that you either love or you hate. There does not seem to be any in between when it comes to pen lovers. I happen to love the "51", I love the hooded nib, I love the Parker reliability, I just love them.

Click to enlarge: (the paper is Bloc Rhodia No 16)


phonelady said...

thank you the parker sounds like an awesome pen . they are very good from what I hear .

Mary said...

Definitely agree with your review. I love my Parker 51's and use my vacumatic buckskin beige one on a daily basis. They hold a tremendous ink supply and are beautiful writers.

TAO said...

I certainly appreciate the Parker 51 and have several. Hard pens to find nibs in that aren't fine or medium so when you do it's pretty great. Like one of my fav pens, the Sheaffer Snorkel, the one downside is that they take forever to flush out! A small price for such a reliable pen.

Sam said...

Absolutely love both my Parker 51's (Black M aero & grey F aero). Both write really well and fit my handwriting style perfectly. Guess that mean's I'm in the "love the 51" camp.

ravensmarch said...

I think I've found a middle ground in my appreciation of the "51"-- I like them well enough, but it wouldn't be the one pen I'd race back into a fire to save, if several needed saving.

peaceablewriter said...

The aesthetics of the Parker have not appealed to me. Can't say I am in the 'hate' camp because I have not actually written or held one. As always, you do a great write-up and I adore your "featured pen" series. -the other Julie

Chris T. said...

Man, I'd love to get my hands on one of these and see where I might fall in the spectrum of fandom.

Any advice on where to begin on getting one of these vintage pens?

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