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Parker Vacumatic Id Help ...


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#1 BrianDiPalma

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Posted 03 July 2010 - 11:26

My Mom sent me some photos of two pens that she picked up for me at an antique shop. I don't have the pens yet and so I'm only able to go on the photos she sent. I was wondering if anyone has some more information on the Green Pearl vacumatic. It's pictured next to the Parker "51" (it's forrest green, but hard to tell in the photo) that she bought for me as well. From what I can tell, the three bands on the cap suggests one of the first models with the lockdown filler. Is this correct? But I can't quite tell on the size. What sizes were made? And is there any way of guessing just from the comparison to the Parker '51' with which the Vac is pictured? It looks like it might be some sort of Debutante model, but I don't know anything about these pens.

#2 EOCostello

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Posted 03 July 2010 - 12:28

My Mom sent me some photos of two pens that she picked up for me at an antique shop. I don't have the pens yet and so I'm only able to go on the photos she sent. I was wondering if anyone has some more information on the Green Pearl vacumatic. It's pictured next to the Parker "51" (it's forrest green, but hard to tell in the photo) that she bought for me as well. From what I can tell, the three bands on the cap suggests one of the first models with the lockdown filler. Is this correct? But I can't quite tell on the size. What sizes were made? And is there any way of guessing just from the comparison to the Parker '51' with which the Vac is pictured? It looks like it might be some sort of Debutante model, but I don't know anything about these pens.


I have a Golden Pearl pen from 1936, the lockdown era, that is 4 11/16ths and has the three rings. The standard size was 5 inches, and the Oversize was 5 1/4 inches. For the lockdown era, I believe those were pretty much the standard sizes. Later debutante pens tended to have distinctive narrow gold bands, or what I call "leaf" patterns. Off the cuff, I'd say you had a similar pen to my Golden Pearl.

Another way to tell at a glance if something is a lockdown is to look at the blind cap. Lockdown blind caps, because the plunger, well, locked down, are always very small. It makes the pen pleasingly chunky, if you want my view. Later on, when they went to the Speedline filler, the blind cap had to be lengthened, which made it taper more a bit toward the end. Eventually, of course, they got rid of the bottom jewel and made the blind cap very rounded on the end.

#3 BrianDiPalma

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Posted 03 July 2010 - 17:28

Thanks for the response. The end looks on the chunkier (rather than tapered) side, so I'm guessing that it is a lockdown, right? Also, assuming that this pen is shorter than standard or the oversize, would it be more rare?

#4 wekiva98

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Posted 03 July 2010 - 18:22

The perspective in the photos is a little confusing, but your Vac looks to me like the 1st generation standard size from the 1930s. They were shorter than the later Parker 51s, as the pictures show. There should be a lockdown filler under that stubby blind cap. There was a smaller, slimmer model, called the slender, but this one looks too stout for that. The early Vacs are more squared in profile than the later pens, which were streamlined at the ends. The later Vacs also had the non-locking (speedline) filler, a longer blind cap and (most of the time) a single wide cap band with engraving. Since I'm partial to emerald pearl Vacs, I think your mother made a good choice.

#5 EOCostello

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Posted 03 July 2010 - 21:59

Thanks for the response. The end looks on the chunkier (rather than tapered) side, so I'm guessing that it is a lockdown, right? Also, assuming that this pen is shorter than standard or the oversize, would it be more rare?


"rare" is a matter of opinion, since these pens were for the most part made in the tens of thousands each year. I think the standard, 5 inch size was the most common, followed by the smaller size (bought more for ladies), followed by the Oversize, which was a relatively small fraction, though still probably numbering in the thousands each year in production.

For what it's worth, I like the looks of these pens, and I think you've got a nice one.

#6 penmanila

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 14:56

i agree; first-gen, mid-30s standard. there was a smaller, thinner version of this (the slender) and a big fat one (the oversize) but this looks just right for a standard. if you measure it capped and it comes out to 5", then it is. to be an oversize, it has to be 5-3/8".
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