Parker 51 ?September 6 2004 at 1:07 PM
|Peter D (no login)|
Was it you who posted a while ago that the Parker 51 was
perhaps the finest pen ever made?
My memory is not so great anymore.
Please tell us about this pen.
P.S. Your watch/pen combo is the height of class!
AP Discussion Group
While waiting for Jack's response, I might insert that in the....
|September 6 2004, 2:54 PM |
heyday of fountain pens (1950's--60's)the Parker 51 and the Sheaffer Snorkel went hand-to-hand in combat for the title. Each has its merits and both were made as functional writers. For me, the nod goes to the Sheaffer. The Snorkel mechanism is one of the most intricate filling systems and a delight to use. It solved a problem of the time--namely a messy pen post-filling. And the nib is a wonderful writer. The 51 had an annoying tendency to trap ink around the nib with the potential to deposit a large dollop at inopportune moments. The 51 also is a terrific writer.
Both pens were the workhorses of their time and made in large numbers. Accordingly, they remain easily available at a price which is quite reasonable in comparison to modern pens. I own both and enjoy each. But the Sheaffer gets the nod--especially in a demonstrator. Watching the mechanism at work never fails to delight!
Belles Lettres Discussion Group
I don't know that I can improve on this very comprehensive response!
|September 7 2004, 9:45 AM |
Really, I think that covers it very well- the drawback in my view to the Snorkel is the complexity of the filling system although that's also its attraction and frankly its strength as well. I don't know how well you know the pen- it has a long hollow needle that extends from under the nib and draws ink into the sack via a vacuum plunger system. It's a little on the complicated side, and the sack is very small but the ink insulation and metering is so efficient that it will write for an incredibly long time on a single fill. They also came with a huge variety of nibs, including both open and inlaid nib variations. The Parker 51 is a simple, robust pen with an incredibly simple and reliable filling mechanism (the aerometric filler anyway; the vac filler suffers from the same faults as the Vacumatic, which is the tendency for repeated operation of the plunger to wear the diaphragm out) with a classic, easy to use design and a wonderful nib.
The original '51' nib is hooded because the pen was designed to be used with the new, fast-drying Superchrome ink, which was a bit of a failure and phased out after a few years- it didn't really work well, even in the '51' whose hooded nib was designed to keep the ink from drying out too fast on the nib and feed and clogging the pen. The Lucite feeder was a miracle of precision fabrication at the time- it had multiple fins with precisely controlled saw cuts in between that gave wonderfully consistent delivery of ink to the nib. I happen to like the design of the '51' and the way it feels in my hand a bit better than the Snorkel, but objectively it's pretty much a tossup in terms of quality- they're both superb pens. The '51' came in a huge range of colors and different caps, ranging from elaborately engine turned goldfilled caps with all sorts of different patterns, to plain stainless steel. There were also lower grade versions which had stainless rather than gold nibs, but there's no real difference in performance.
|September 8 2004, 7:04 PM |
I shall also be looking for a 51 in the near future.
The problem with my Vacumatics of course was the wearing
out of the filling mechs. But what well made nibs!
The ones I have worked well when I just dipped them
and wrote (not long) till the ink left the nib, then
just dipped again. Just like the good ole days!
Belles Lettres Discussion Group
Oh, the Vac nibs are sweet, no doubt about it. . .
|September 9 2004, 2:01 PM |
I had a Vacumatic Major that was my favorite pen until an ex girlfriend (she was not an ex at the time) borrowed it. She then broke my heart and took my pen.
Ended up with the car, too, hm. Live and learn
. Still, what a beauty- she got right in amongst me.
I used to be a rich man......
|September 9 2004, 7:19 PM |
Then I got married!
Thanks for the nod
|September 8 2004, 6:59 PM |
I will be going on a snorkel expedition at once!
I hope it brings you much pleasure! (nt)
|September 8 2004, 8:10 PM |
Parker 51 vs. Snorkel
|September 22 2004, 10:00 AM |
My 1st pen was a 1940 Sheaffer triumph nibbed gray stripe. Still love them to death, through their snorkel period, too. Nothing in my estimation beats the look of that conical nib, and they work on NCR multi-form paper, too.
I also have a 1943 Parker 51 that was my father's. It never dries out, writes forever, and is my other pen of choice. The vacu-filler diaphragm is easily replaced when it wears out, and there's something neat about it.
Given my spotty experiences with Montblancs and Montegrappas, these two old war horses are just a relief to be using on a daily basis. Old 51's aren't cheap, and medium nibs aren't so common (fine and ex-fine being moreso), but they're great. The old Sheaffers with the conical Triumphs are all neat, snorkel or not (though be careful of the piston fillers).