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Dove Grey Parker "51" Vacumatic

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6 replies to this topic

#1 French


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Posted 19 January 2008 - 03:53

First Impressions (3/5)
I hate to admit it, but this pen didn’t have the immediate “wow” factor. When I received it, the cap was badly tarnished, however, the seller had this pen listed as a ‘poor condition’ vacumatic, so, I was fairly happy with the pen that arrived. Like the majority of “51”s out there, it was purchased “pre-owned” (how’s that for euphemism?), so there was neither fancy box nor paperwork.

Appearance (4.5/5)
As mentioned above, the cap was badly tarnished, but it polished up very nicely. The body is in good condition for any pen, never mind one that is 60 years old. The cosmetic flaw is the nib isn’t sitting as deep in the hood as it should, however this doesn’t seem to affect the pen’s writing feel

capped pen

Design/Size/Weight (5/5)
What can I say about the classic design of the “51”. This pen is sort of like the New York Yankees or the Boston Red Sox -- its either love or hate, not many seem to have neutral feelings about the design. I fall in the love category, even though I really do enjoy looking at a big, beautiful nib.

Nib (4.5/5)
This pen lays down a fairly wet fine line. The nib is as smooth as I like, giving just enough feedback to give me a feeling of control on the page. About the only way this pen would score higher is if the nib was seated as it should be.

exposed nib

writing sample (FPN notepad)

Filling System (4/5)
I like the vac filler. It holds a lot of ink and once repaired is reliable. The pen would have scored higher than 80% if the vac filler had some mechanism for keeping ink from flowing out when the diaphragm decides to go. When the pen’s diaphragm gave up the ghost, luckily I was flushing it. Had it happened in the pocket of one of my favorite shirts, I would have been upset.

That being said, now I understand why all vintage Vacumatic pens should have the filler restored upon purchase, unless you know when the filler was restored. I believe this pen will last quite some time now.

I do need to comment on the quality of the restoration job. I sent this pen to Tom Mullane (Old Griz) to have the filler restored. His turn around time was less than a week, and he had other things going on. We spoke twice on the phone, so I had no surprises regarding the cost, and I learned Tom is quite the gentleman. His work is holding up well, he gave the pen a polishing, so it looked reallly good when it returned to me. I would definitely send other pens to Tom for restoration.

Cost and Value (5/5)
I paid less than $80 including having the filler restored. I was told the cap on this is the nickle silver cap, which allegedly is rare. I believe I got a good deal, partly because of the unusual cap, but mainly because I enjoy using this pen.

I think this pen is a typical “51”. Efficient, smooth, reliable, and not pretentious. This is a pen that people don’t immediately look at and say “Oh, it is one of those fancy pens.” I like a pen that is understated enough to take to a meeting and not distract those sitting next to me, and this (actually almost all) “51”s are like that. IMHO, this pen provides a great demonstration of why the "51" is a classic, its 60 years old but aside from some tarnish on the cap, it looks great, and it writes better than a lot of brand new pens.

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#2 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 19 January 2008 - 18:01

very great review wink.gif I tried a lot of vacs but unfortunately I find them not enough big and I personnally prefer open nibs to hooded nibs. Every 51 I tried was too stiff. Maybe one day, I will find very smooth and comparable to my 1950 vac? Who knows.
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

#3 tipstricks


    Fallen in love with flex

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Posted 20 January 2008 - 14:59

Well done, French. Your P51 seems to be the same model I have, so I want to share the photo set I've made:
P51 Dove Gray Vacumatic

#4 French


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Posted 20 January 2008 - 17:21

Wow, Tipstricks, your pictures really put mine to shame. I hope you are also enjoying your pen.


#5 PianoMan14


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Posted 01 April 2010 - 21:37

Chicken-scratch handwriting?? Yours is definitely better than my 'fast' hand!
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#6 lovemy51


    legal? of course... and with all my papers. FP-friendly, mostly

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 08:07

man, the color of the body is so nicely matched, i can't even see the blind cap line on the barrel. congrats!

#7 Ed Ronax

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 12:15

Nice review, thanks.
And how can this be, because he is the Kwisatz Haderach.

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