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Why A Parker 51?

parker 51 51 vintage

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116 replies to this topic

#21 WOBentley

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 00:19

Simply put... they have an elegant simplicity about them and they just plain work.


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#22 wastelanded

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 00:35

I can`t think of another pen that can be dug out of a desk drawer after 60 odd years, flushed, and written with. That, friends, is Good Design. Oh, the 40s and 50s were the Golden Age.

 

I stayed away from them: I don`t like fine nibs. Then I got one with a Broad nib and it`s sweeter than a first kiss. Not my favourite pen, but I`ll never ever give it up.

 

It was designed for a super fast drying ink...that ate all other pens; raw. Bay State Blue's big horrible Elm street brother.

 

Bo Bo :lticaptd:


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#23 EKE

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 00:53

I think it's beautiful. 

 

:wub:


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#24 welch

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 01:43

The P51 is simply a great pen: the balance, the filler (especially the aerometric), the simple style, and their durability. Look at one carefully, and you see an attention to detail that modern pens don't have. Plus: for $75 - $150 you can get a good 51, renovated and tuned and ready to write for another 60 years. You can pay more than $150 if you want...if, for instance, you want a pen in one of the rare colors. For a quality writing pen, though, look for black or teal and have the nib tuned.  


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#25 vincy4fish98

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 03:49

For me it was love at first sight for my "51". I bought mine used but restored from David Nishimura in the mid 1990s.. Mine is black and gold with the blue diamond clip. I carry mine in  my pocket everyday. I know I am preaching to the choir but here are reasons for the 51:

 

 

http://www.wwpenclub...les/teacher.pdf



#26 dcwaites

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 04:22

It just looks good.

It just works.

'nuff said.


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#27 Tresconik

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 06:18

http://www.fountainp...ut-a-parker-51/



I got mine some time back, and honestly, it was boring. My Lamy was my favourite pen. 
Now though, the 51 is the pen I use the most. 



#28 loudkenny

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 06:40

The Parker 51 is a great pen for a lot of reasons...

 

It was designed to work in an office environment day after day as efficiently as possible for as long as possible, so it was made with the best materials available. This is also why it is so long lived today, as the 51 was originally built to use inks that would literally dissolve lesser pens. Don't believe me? The next time you find a 51 Aero for sale, buy it, wash it out, and ink it up. Nine times out of ten it will work even with all its original parts. Of course, it goes without saying that the older Vac 51 has the same dried out rubber diaphragm issues regular Vacs (and most other rubber sac type pens) have.

 

The 51's nibs were nails for the same reason Sheaffer's Lifetime nibs were nails - they were sold under a lifetime guarantee that was honored no matter how hamfisted their owners were. Besides, flex wasn't very useful in postwar office environments. The 51's do have a cool feature other pens didn't have - a 'ball nib'. This gave the 51 the ability to write with a thinner line with the pen held upside down in the hand than right side up, which is great for taking margin notes.

 

The pen's look is clean and classic, not gaudy. It is futuristic even today without being dated. It doesn't jump up and scream 'Look at me - I'm a fountain pen!', Its hooded nib design actually predated early jet fighter aircraft design, not the other way around.

 

it just goes to work and does it well... even today, 70+ years after its original sales.

 

ken


Edited by loudkenny, 30 October 2013 - 07:06.


#29 xwingrox

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 08:17

This hasn't been mentioned but I actually like how the P51 is basically a 1/2 inch un-tapered cylinder. I really don't like how many pens are either fat cigars or have really tapered sections. 



#30 Rose Nibs

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 09:00

It worked again! You got a whole bunch of us to rave about the great 51 one more time. And every word of praise for the pen is deserved. Designed by Moholy Nagy, you know. No, that's a myth.


Edited by Rose Nibs, 30 October 2013 - 09:10.


#31 The Good Captain

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 10:49

One of the quite a few pens I've never wanted to own. One of the others; an MB 149.


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#32 WayTooManyHobbies

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 11:46

Whether the looks appeal to you or not, the 51 has the well-deserved status of an icon.  I have four of them (1941 DJ Vac, 1944 Vac, 1947 Vac Demi, and 50s-ish Aero Demi), and they all practically exude quality.  The Aero, like most of its kin in the wild, was revived simply by flushing.  The Vacs required disassembly and diaphragm replacement, but to an engineering geek that just provides an opportunity to appreciate the internal design, materials, and manufacturing quality.

 

When a 51 is in my rotation, it's generally the first pen that I reach for.  The only competition (at least in my smallish collection) is my Vanishing Point and Snorkel.  There are certainly plenty of great pens out there, but the 51 is one of those items that is right.  Using the engineering flavor of the word's definition, a 51 is elegant.

 

"When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty but when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong."  - R. Buckminster Fuller



#33 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 12:35

I grew up in the 50-60's, after the Vac times, the Aeromatic was as normal as the lever fill or those new cartridges. (that always had to be squessed and bent to get ink into the feed.)

 

When I bought my P-75 @ 1971, I didn't think a second about it's Aeromatic filling system; it was normal. It was quite a shock to find out just two years ago, the P-75 also took cartridges...I'd bought it pre-conver.. I'd tossed the box and papers. I knew how it worked. And cartridges were second class.

 

True a lever filled faster and simpler, but it wasn't a 51. Sheaffer touchdown and Snorkel had it's filling system. I guess it was like Chevy and Ford pick up drivers; who remain true to the brand.

Lever and modern non-blind cap Piston, is still the fastest.....don't got to take the pen apart like a cartridge or the P-51.

 

For school kids when they got all grown up....20-25, they were going to get an Adult pen; a Sheaffer Snorkel or a P-51.

 

(I don't remember Waterman as a US pen from that time. It wasn't advertized on B&W TV enough, I guess.)


German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany & https://www.peter-bo...cts/nib-systems,

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

 

 


#34 OcalaFlGuy

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 13:50

This hasn't been mentioned but I actually like how the P51 is basically a 1/2 inch un-tapered cylinder. 

 

You Seriously need to get your eyesight checked out. Or learn the definition of "un-tapered cylinder". Or both.

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl



#35 DrCodfish

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 14:30

I was a sceptic who came around.

 

The fact that it was a design break through when it first appeared is generally lost to those of us who 'were't there'.  (can you remember the 60's? seemed so revolutionary at the time, now just seems like a bunch of narcissitic slackers, I can say that, I was there).  

 

The fact that it is so reliable is what carrys weight today, .... and the design (seems to me most folk either love it or hate it ).  I'd suggest that if it came out looking more like an Esterbrook, and less like a bullet train (even with it's great performance) it probably would have been just a run of the mill pen, out of production within a couple years.

 

I was not particulalry impressed, but bought one just to see for myself.  Of course given this motivation I bought the cheapest one I could find, ... and was bowled over by how well it wrote.  Assuming I had gotten an outlier, I quickly bought another, again very cheap EBay buy (looking more to prove that this pen was no great shakes than anything else), and what do you know, another pen that is just bullet proof and a very enjoyable writer. 

 

I was befuddleld. 

 

I bought a third, this time a certifiably cheaper pen, one of the last run (a model 3 or some such? come on P51 folk you can explain this better than I) with a supposedly lower grade 'Octanium' nib.  Surely this pen would dispell the myth for me. 

 

Nope, another great writing pen. I am not a raving P51 fanatic, but I am definitely a fan.  These pens travel well and don't demand a lot of TLC, something I value when on the road.  I figure three really cheap EBay buys in a row, yielding three stellar pens (great wiriters, no fuss, ink up and write, fabulous nibs) is pretty close to conclusive evidence that there is perhaps something special about these old pens that look like they came out of a Flash Gordon movie. I stopped at three, I didn't want to go broke looking for one that was a dud. 

 

It is possible that the looks will grow on you, did me.

 



#36 rff000

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 15:28

I was a teenager through most of the 60's. The only Parker I could afford (and owned) was a 45. I thought it was pretty good and was very sorry when I lost it. Thanks to Ebay, In the 90's I bought an NOS version for under $10. The converter leaked, though, and I barely used it until I got the bright idea of getting a new Parker piston converter which fit the old 45.

 

I also got a 51 on Ebay. A 1947 vacumatic model. I paid around $12 plus $30 to restore it. The restorer offered me much more for it. Now that it appears to be worth $100 or more, I'm reluctant to carry it around, so I take my 45 with me on trips, but leave the 51 behind. I'm also not sure how the 51 would behave on a plane. The 45 does OK. I guess the 51 vacumatic is kind of a museum piece for me, while the 45 is something I can use and not be afraid of losing. I also have a 21. I wonder why I have so many. I'm not a real collector, just somwhere in the no-man's-land between user and collector.


Edited by rff000, 30 October 2013 - 18:03.


#37 OcalaFlGuy

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 15:28

Dammit.

 

There are times like this when I REALLY MISS the clapping hands emoticon. (Dr. Codfish's post)

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl


Edited by OcalaFlGuy, 30 October 2013 - 15:29.


#38 Paul80

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 17:04

For me its a combination of things.

 

They sold 30 million of them so they must have got something right.

Some are 60 odd years old and still going strong with many of the first Aerometrics still using their original ink sacs and looking like they will last another 50 odd years.

The Medium and Broad nibbed versions are just a dream to write with.

No matter how long its sat in the draw it will write first time (Almost) ;)

If you leave it out on your desk whilst you pop to the loo it probably will still be there when you get back, try doing that with your Montblanc or Pelikan.

 

There are very few pens that can tick all the above boxes and those that do are quite often made around the same basic design as the 51, the Pelikan P1 being a prime example of other makers trying to copy what even they recognised as a winning design.

 

That's my views on why its got to be a must have pen in your collection, even if its just one and if it is just one an English Aerometric with Medium or Broad nib would satisfy most writers. but if just for a collection then there are loads of options to satisfy the most ardent collector.

 

Paul



#39 DrCodfish

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 17:26

Dammit.

 

There are times like this when I REALLY MISS the clapping hands emoticon. (Dr. Codfish's post)

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl

I'm fairly new at this FP business,but coming from you I will take that as a high compliment.



#40 Inkysloth

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 18:46

... The 51's do have a cool feature other pens didn't have - a 'ball nib'. This gave the 51 the ability to write with a thinner line with the pen held upside down in the hand than right side up, which is great for taking margin notes.

/snip

 

ken

 

I'm going to be Mr Picky, but pens before the 51 were capable of writing a thinner line when held rotated 180 degrees - the Vacumatic was advertised as having this feature, and I believe Sheaffer may have done similar too? Though I'm less certain on that. Anyway. it's not just the ball nib that can do this, any nib correctly ground will.

 

In response to the original question, I would far rather spend £30 on a vintage pen that had proved its mettle with 50-70 years of good service, a cracking quality 14K nib, excellent ink capacity, and few moveable parts to break, than spend £30 on a new pen. I like both modern and vintage pens, but I do think the 51 is an incredibly graceful shape, comfortable to use, and wonderfully robust. For the money, I don't think a modern equivalent can be found. The TWSBIs are nice pens, but I don't feel confident they'll still be working in the same order in 60 years.


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