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The Parker "21"


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6 replies to this topic

#1 hendrixstrat

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 02:35

So today I went to Pen Haven in Kensington, Maryland. I was looking around the store and asked the owner, "Do you have any Parker 51's for under $75?". He replied "Have you ever used a Parker 21?". I told him I had not but I would be interested in trying one out. He pulls one out and informs me that the only difference between the "21" and the "51" are the type of plastic used and the nib material. He told me that the "21" used a slightly cheaper plastic and wields a steel nib. Then he handed over a gorgeous blue Parker 21 and a pushed a bottle of purple Montblanc ink over to me, and said "give her a test". I dipped the nib into the violet ink and as soon as the nib touched the paper I thought to myself "WOW! This pen is smooooth!". I quickly told the owner I was ready to buy it, and walked out with my "new" Parker "21" for $40.

So after buying this pen I have been wondering, if a Parker 21 is this good, how can a Parker 51 be any better?
Pelikan M800 - Green, M (want to trade for a F!)
TWSBI 540 - Amber, M
Bexley Corona - Orange, M
Parker Duofold Centennial - Black, M
Esterbrook LJ - Black, Gregg 1555 (EEF)
Parker 21 - Navy Blue, M
Sailor 1911 Large - Black, M

#2 Florida Blue

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 02:50

Do you know if it is a Parker 21 "Super" or a standard 21?

There is a large difference between the two pens.

Edited by Florida Blue, 26 February 2012 - 02:58.

Parker: Sonnet Flighter, Rialto Red Metallic Laque, IM Premium Chiseled Gunmetal, Latitude Stainless, 45 Black, Duovac Blue Pearl Striped, 51 Standard Black, 21 Super Red, Vac Jr. Black, 51 MK1 Black, 51 Vac Blue Cedar, Duofold Jr. Lapis, 51 MK1 Demi Black, 51 MK1 Demi Teal, 51 MK1 Navy Gray, Duofold Pastel Moire Violet, Vac Major Golden Brown, Vac Deb. Emerald, 51 Vac Dove Gray, Vac Major Azure, Vac Jr. Silver Pearl, 51 Vac Black GF Cap, 51 Forest Green GF cap, Vac Jr. Silver Pearl, Duovac Senior Green & Gold, Duovac Sub. Deb. Black.

#3 hendrixstrat

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 04:51

Is there a way to tell the difference? I can tell you it has the concave clip not the arrow clip, if that helps any.
Pelikan M800 - Green, M (want to trade for a F!)
TWSBI 540 - Amber, M
Bexley Corona - Orange, M
Parker Duofold Centennial - Black, M
Esterbrook LJ - Black, Gregg 1555 (EEF)
Parker 21 - Navy Blue, M
Sailor 1911 Large - Black, M

#4 Sandy1

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 12:15

Hi,

As caps can sometimes be interchanged, I use the size of the nib+feed opening in the shell (grip) to distinguish at a glance between a 21 and a Super 21.

Shown below, from Left to Right, we have a Red 21, a Black Super 21, a Red Super 21 Flighter (OoooLaLa), a 51 Aerometric Mark I and a 51 Flighter (wiggle toes).

Posted Image

As these pens are understated in outward appearance and follow a similar aesthetic, other than dimension & mass, the functional difference lies in the nibs and the internal ink management system - which is outstanding in the 51.

In use, there is nothing quite like a 51, or in my case, that particular 51 Flighter. For durability & 'feel', the Lexan of the 51 is the best of that rum lot. Fellow Members in the Parker Forum can enlighten you far more than I.

As with any pen, if the nib is excellent and the pen fits your hand, then you're doing very well indeed.

Enjoy!

Bye,
S1

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#5 Sasha Royale

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 13:51

The Parker 21 is an economy version of the very popular Parker 51.
In my experience, the mechanism seems to be quite good. It writes well.
The pen is significantly lighter in weight. The plastic seems thinner
and more brittle. (?) In my used specimens, there are tiny cracks
and faults in the section, that seep ink onto my fingers. I acquired
about a half dozen previously-owned Parker 21's in attempt to find an
unafflicted one. My NOS Parker 21 does not have this fault.

My Parker 51's date back to late 1940's. All are perfect.

Good luck.

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#6 Paddler

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 15:17

The MKI (convex clip) and the MKII (concave clip) both share the little quirk that the feed doesn't have enough reserve capacity. When you let the pen cool off in a horizontal position, the feed fills with ink. When you then put the pen into your shirt pocket, it warms up and the air in the reservoir expands and pushes a drop of ink out the end of the pen. The drop runs down the section and into the spaces around the cap clutch ring, where it lies in wait for your fingers. In my experience, the 21 Super (arrow clip) doesn't exhibit this feature.

Also, I have noticed that the 21's steel nib is not nearly as springy as most other pens' nibs. This makes it a lot easier to bend the tines into (and out of) alignment.

I like the 21 much better than the 51. The 21's business end is more sharply pointed and lets you see when you have the pen properly rotationally aligned with the paper.
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#7 Florida Blue

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 17:52

Is there a way to tell the difference? I can tell you it has the concave clip not the arrow clip, if that helps any.


If the cap is original than that sounds like a standard Parker 21.

Which is a good pen!

I believe the cons have already been mentioned regarding the 21 vs. the 51.

Despite the cons you seem to really enjoy using it so I think for $40 you did fine.

If you want to experience the 51 magic you should look for a 51 "Special." Despite its name it was the entry level 51 with an Octanium (Parkers made-up word for the steel alloy they used) nib, chrome cap instead of lustraloy, black cap jewel instead of pearl and it had an open squeeze bar filler instead of the tube filler (it's similar to the filler on your 21).

51 Specials usually sell for less than a regular 51.

Enjoy your new 21!

Edited by Florida Blue, 26 February 2012 - 17:54.

Parker: Sonnet Flighter, Rialto Red Metallic Laque, IM Premium Chiseled Gunmetal, Latitude Stainless, 45 Black, Duovac Blue Pearl Striped, 51 Standard Black, 21 Super Red, Vac Jr. Black, 51 MK1 Black, 51 Vac Blue Cedar, Duofold Jr. Lapis, 51 MK1 Demi Black, 51 MK1 Demi Teal, 51 MK1 Navy Gray, Duofold Pastel Moire Violet, Vac Major Golden Brown, Vac Deb. Emerald, 51 Vac Dove Gray, Vac Major Azure, Vac Jr. Silver Pearl, 51 Vac Black GF Cap, 51 Forest Green GF cap, Vac Jr. Silver Pearl, Duovac Senior Green & Gold, Duovac Sub. Deb. Black.