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My First 51 Experience

1955 parker 51 pencil box

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42 replies to this topic

#21 inkstainedruth

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 19:54

That's exactly it!

I was a bit surprised by the prices these things fetch, but since mine is fully serviced and comes with a 12-month guarantee... that's different from finding one at a garage sale that may or may not work.

 

Well, if it's an Aerometric model, the one you find at a garage sale actually has a pretty good chance of working after it gets flushed out (the 51 Vacs may need some restoration work, but I have three of them -- two of which were "sumgai" priced, and I was that "sumgai"  B)).  

I found one at an estate sale about 5-6 weeks ago which turned out to be a rarer color Aerometric (Forest Green) and all I had to do was flush it out.  Okay, now the pliglass sac is stained from the ink I used to inaugurate the pen (vintage Quink Permanent Violet)....  :blush: 

And yes.  They just... write.  All the R&D work went into making 51s what they are -- superb writing instruments.  No, they're not gonna fiex (although if you're lucky you might find one with an oblique nib).  Yeah, some people complain about not getting to see the nib -- even though they understand the reason for the hood).  Deal with it.  Or send them to me or to mitto (nah, send them to me -- he's got hundreds of them already...  ;)).

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth


"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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#22 pajaro

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 21:00

 

Well, if it's an Aerometric model, the one you find at a garage sale actually has a pretty good chance of working after it gets flushed out (the 51 Vacs may need some restoration work, but I have three of them -- two of which were "sumgai" priced, and I was that "sumgai"  B)).  

I found one at an estate sale about 5-6 weeks ago which turned out to be a rarer color Aerometric (Forest Green) and all I had to do was flush it out.  Okay, now the pliglass sac is stained from the ink I used to inaugurate the pen (vintage Quink Permanent Violet)....  :blush: 

And yes.  They just... write.  All the R&D work went into making 51s what they are -- superb writing instruments.  No, they're not gonna fiex (although if you're lucky you might find one with an oblique nib).  Yeah, some people complain about not getting to see the nib -- even though they understand the reason for the hood).  Deal with it.  Or send them to me or to mitto (nah, send them to me -- he's got hundreds of them already...  ;)).

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

 

Well put.  I bought a lot of aerometric 51s, flushed them and they wrote perfectly.  If you don't like the hooded nib, don't buy the pen or sell it if you already have it and quit crabbing about it.


"Don't hurry, don't worry. It's better to be late at the Golden Gate than to arrive in Hell on time."
--Sign in a bar and grill, Ormond Beach, Florida, 1960.

 

They took the blue from the skies and the pretty girls' eyes and a touch of Old Glory too . . .


#23 Glenn-SC

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 23:02

I usually purchase things with a reasonable expectation that they work.

 

Parker 51s come in two filling systems:

 

One reputed to work out of the box

 

and

 

One reputed to need repair in a non-trivial number of cases.

 

If it were a choice between two models of car or toaster or anything else I'd apply the same logic.

 

Simple utility. YMMV

 

1) If you buy a pen that is represented as being "in working order" then yes, you have a reasonable expectation of it working regardless of what pen and what age it is.  And every one that I have bought with that claim has worked and worked very well.

 

2) If you find a pen "in the wild" and believe that it needs repairs, pay accordingly.  A vac fill Parker (Vacumatic or "51") is not that expensive to have resacked.  Or you can learn to do so yourself.  

 

3) If Vac fill "51"s scare you, avoid them.  There are more than enough others who will gladly buy them.

 

4) YOMV


Edited by Glenn-SC, 06 November 2018 - 08:11.


#24 mitto

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Posted 06 November 2018 - 02:10

Well, if it's an Aerometric model, the one you find at a garage sale actually has a pretty good chance of working after it gets flushed out (the 51 Vacs may need some restoration work, but I have three of them -- two of which were "sumgai" priced, and I was that "sumgai"  B)).  
I found one at an estate sale about 5-6 weeks ago which turned out to be a rarer color Aerometric (Forest Green) and all I had to do was flush it out.  Okay, now the pliglass sac is stained from the ink I used to inaugurate the pen (vintage Quink Permanent Violet)....  :blush: 
And yes.  They just... write.  All the R&D work went into making 51s what they are -- superb writing instruments.  No, they're not gonna fiex (although if you're lucky you might find one with an oblique nib).  Yeah, some people complain about not getting to see the nib -- even though they understand the reason for the hood).  Deal with it.  Or send them to me or to mitto (nah, send them to me -- he's got hundreds of them already...  ;)).
Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth


:)
Khan M. Ilyas

#25 TheDutchGuy

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Posted 06 November 2018 - 15:00

Not sure where the impression came from that I don't like the hooded nib  :) . I love the pen! Some line variation would've been nice (not flex, just a tiny hint of stubbiness) but as a writing machine, this thing is awesome.



#26 TheDutchGuy

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Posted 20 April 2019 - 09:03

My current one writes like a dream, but it's on the broad side of medium and very uniform - I'd prefer some variation.

I've discovered new qualities in my 51 :-). This pen is very, very sensitive to which ink I put into it. So far, it's been Diamine 1864 Blue Black, which is basically a black ink with just the merest hint of blue. With this ink, my 51 is _very_ wet, writes a line on the broad side of medium, and feels extremely smooth with barely any feedback. Yesterday I cleaned the pen and decided to try a different ink, so I put in Montblanc Royal Blue. The performance of the pen changed completely. My 51 is much drier with this ink, the are subtle but intriguing colour variations, there's a lot of smooth, pencil-like feedback and my degree of control when writing increased a lot.

Then, just for fun, I tried reverse writing and this felt very promising. So I took a hand lens and was amazed at the amount of tipping material of this nib, especially on the reverse side...

fpn_1555750620__80202e3b-56dc-4b9c-a9da-

^---this is actually the reverse writing side of the nib! I polished this side and now I have two pens in one! The reverse writing experience is just awesome. Just for comparison, here is the underside of the tip that is used for normal writing:

fpn_1555750797__3a2af9cf-4703-4a5b-bfc2-

^---This is the normal-writing side of the nib.

This translates to a wonderful writing experience! The reverse-writing is actually stubbish (note line difference between vertical and horizontal strokes):

fpn_1555750934__17b001da-732e-4835-91ac-

^---The little embellishments to the word 'Parker' were done with reverse writing. The possibilities are endless.

Consider me impressed with this pen, again.

#27 Mangrove Jack

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Posted 20 April 2019 - 10:28

Having used FP's all my life (off and on) but never having owned a P51, I finally bought one in mint condition some years ago and found it works very well indeed. I like it better than I thought I would.

My only concern is if / when I need to give it a good flushing and may have to strip it down, how do I get the hood (section) off to clean the collector and feed and re-fit it back ?
Heating the section to break the adhesive bond, and using shellac (not available in my country) to re attach it all sounds very intimidating. Nonetheless it is inked always and ready for action on my desk.

Edited by Mangrove Jack, 20 April 2019 - 11:01.


#28 Jerome Tarshis

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Posted 20 April 2019 - 12:11

Having used FP's all my life (off and on) but never having owned a P51, I finally bought one in mint condition some years ago and found it works very well indeed. I like it better than I thought I would.

My only concern is if / when I need to give it a good flushing and may have to strip it down, how do I get the hood (section) off to clean the collector and feed and re-fit it back ?

 

I have been writing with one or another 51 since 1949 and have never thought one of those pens in ordinary use needed "a good flushing" in the sense of taking off the hood. Buying from competent sellers is part of the reason for my success, I imagine.

 

Acquiring a 51 in some kind of terrible condition just might be a reason for taking the pen apart, but in general those pens weren't meant to be taken apart by the ordinary user and don't need to be. I did once have a corroded breather tube replaced, but that's a repair to my mind, not ordinary use. 


Edited by Jerome Tarshis, 20 April 2019 - 12:17.


#29 Mangrove Jack

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Posted 20 April 2019 - 13:14

Jerome, thanks, That is reassuring.

#30 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 22 April 2019 - 08:31

Tried several but the nibs never ever did it for me. I prefer the Sheaffer Triumph Vac Fill. 


Pens are like watches , once you start a collection, you can hardly go back. And pens like all fine luxury items do improve with time

#31 Offret

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Posted 24 April 2019 - 09:09

I notice most people that complain about the Parker 51's looks are the same people who get into FPs because they like the aesthetics of the open nib, and so they convince themselves that the P51 is a horrible pen  :lol:. These same people tends to prefer these god aweful tacky pens that are more show than go. 

 

Me, personally, the hooded nib design is one of the reasons I LOVE the P51 - it doesn't scream, "I'm a fountain pen"

 

Yet, it has got to be one of the most attractive and timeless pens ever designed. Understated? Yes. But there is a reason why it is in the MOMA's permanent collection...

 

I think the Aeros with Lustraloy and chrome clip are probably the most vanilla looking ones...I also prefer the longer clip of the early aerometrics (see pictures below). I'm also one of those weirdos who prefers the streamline look of the SJ model over the DJ. Some of the colours are definitely less attractive to my eyes. I think when it comes to P51s attractiveness, the devil is in the details...

 

An early Aero in forest green w/Lustraloy cap and contrasting gold (long) clip is like the Explorer 1016 of pens (for those who know watches). A cedar blue Vacumatic w/sterling silver cap and contrasting gold clip is elevated aesthetically, and reminds me of antique silverware with all the Art Deco romance. 

 

 

These are, to me, the absolute best, most well thought out, and reliable pens in existence. For an everyday writer that fits my use, style and personality, you couldn't pay me to use another pen. 

 

med_gallery_19668_246_273725.jpg

 

Nice-Vintage-1948-Parker-51-Aerometric-F

 

41694082_337551633647433_888245787812058



#32 pajaro

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Posted 24 April 2019 - 17:25

 

I have only 80 or so, but they are addictive!

 

The "51" defined "streamlined" like no other pen had before.  
No other "hooded" nib pen (e.g. the Waterman Taperite) were as elegant.
The Sheaffer's inlaid nib pens and other's, like the Waterman Carene, may be worthy evolutions, but the "51" started it all.

 

I enjoy pens with open nibs as well, but I always have at least one "51" inked at all time.

 

Well said.


"Don't hurry, don't worry. It's better to be late at the Golden Gate than to arrive in Hell on time."
--Sign in a bar and grill, Ormond Beach, Florida, 1960.

 

They took the blue from the skies and the pretty girls' eyes and a touch of Old Glory too . . .


#33 Glenn-SC

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Posted 24 April 2019 - 21:02

And for those who complain that "a "51" looks like a ballpoint pen" forget that the "51" came into existence before the ballpoint pen.

It could be more properly said that "ballpoint pens look like Parker "51"s".



#34 majorworks

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Posted 02 May 2019 - 19:31

I have but one "51", a teal aerometric given to me by my father when I was a kid. Don't get all sentimental; it wasn't his. I used to go to his workplace and this pen was always in the drawer of an old unused desk. I liked it, I guess, so he told me to take it. It's personalized "John Grossmann," so John, wherever you are, thanks (probably long deceased, I'd guess).

 

I had Ron Zorn rehab it a few years ago and it's a great pen. Smooth as silk F/M nib. It's not a stub but it writes a little stubbish, giving my sloppy hand a bit of panache.

 

Inspired by this thread, I just bid on a vac advertised as working from a UK seller. It ain't pretty, though, so if I win, it'll be a cheapie.


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#35 corgicoupe

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Posted 02 May 2019 - 20:38

I have one that I got as a kid, when I graduated from grammar school, also a teal Aerometric dated 1951. Much later I inherited my Dad's black Vacumatic dated 1946. Both are precious to me.


Baptiste knew how to make a short job long

For love of it. And yet not waste time either.

                                                         Robert Frost


#36 JotterAddict62

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Posted 02 May 2019 - 21:16

I have a number of P51's [ both types ] One has grown on me, I though that I would not like a M nib. Well it's a nice writer [ daily writer ].

 

To inkstainedruth [ if you read this ] We are tied on the $2  P51 find. [ I found 3 P51's for $2 each [ 2 Vac's & 1 Aero ] back in 2016 summer ]  Try to beat me on the $10 cordovan brown Vac desk set. :D

 

Ken



#37 GlenV

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Posted 03 May 2019 - 14:28

I have a few 51s and find them elegantly simple in appearance and always ready to go. I have not found it necessary to remove the hood to clean them after initial restoration, my favorite ones are the vac fillers they are fun to restore and doubt they will need resacked in my lifetime.
Parker made these pens to last forever I think
Regards, Glen

#38 landrover

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Posted 04 August 2019 - 11:59

Despite having purchased far too many so called high end pens, I have come to the conclusion that the Parker 51 is far and away the best.
Anyone else think the same?

#39 remus1710

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Posted 04 August 2019 - 18:32

yes but i still keep my visconti homo sapiens and my montblanc 146 :)



#40 landrover

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Posted 04 August 2019 - 19:46

Remus.
Yes I've still got my 149's, YoL's, 3 Conids etc, and like you I shall keep them.
The irony is the Parker 51 writes better, and is more comfortable to write with.
And I've had a 51 the longest time!





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