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Parker 50 Falcon


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27 replies to this topic

#1 I am not a number

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 22:03

Parker 50 – Falcon Flighter

Initial Impressions - 9 out of 10 (I was young and far more easily impressed back then).

I first saw one of these when I was at school in the UK, it was owned by one of the coolest guys in my year and I was pretty well knocked out by the futuristic look of it. Please remember that I am referring to the 1970s here, we were all expecting Jet-packs to be given out by the Government within the next few years and 1984 was not just a grim novel by George Orwell but also a date some years hence (rather than being the UK Government's plan of how to actually spend our taxes). If any Government ministers are reading this, I'm still waiting for my Jet-pack...

Having ownership firmly in my sights, I saved up in the manner of a steadfast young chap and eventually had enough to turn the dream into reality, and that is where it all started to go slightly wrong (or at least, that's how it seemed to my young mind).

I remember that the box was one of the things that would not have looked out of place on the set of Space 1999 - actually, now that I have time to reflect, it's no wonder we were so well behaved as kids, there was so much to look forward to with Eagle Transporters and a British Moon Base only 20 years into the future… Sorry, sort of lost the thread for a moment there.

Box.jpgeagle1a.jpg

The pen (when I finally got my sticky paws on it) was something of a let-down. It didn't enable me to breathe underwater, defy gravity or do half the stuff that I had built up in the way of expectations while I was amassing the funds for it. I also thought it a fairly so-so writer (something which I now know was a self-inflicted poor opinion due to my early inability to decide whether I liked a fine nib or a medium – how things have changed now that I am a stub/italic/oblique fan).

Appearance and Finish – very briefly 10 out of 10, then 9 (becoming 8, then 7 and so on).

It was available in five finishes as far as I am aware, gold-plated, matt brown, matt grey, matt black (called TX) and flighter (stainless steel). Of these I believe that the black is the rarest with the brown being the most predominant (brown was all sorts of cool in the 1970s and if they could have made a pen out of brown corduroy it would have flown off the shelves). The overall finish out of the box was pretty reasonable for the era but the major design flaw that spoiled the appearance was that the inner cap produced a ring around the section (and in some cases almost took the finish off entirely). Straight out of the box the section finish was perfect, but use would take its toll to a greater degree than almost any other pens.

FullFalcon800.jpg

FalconProfile800.jpg

Design, Size and Weight - 7 out of 10.

The Falcon was was produced in the UK and US and was very much a pen of a particular time, the design is evocative of many things then and despite having a certain ageless elegance, it very much looks like a product of that period. I love the profile of it, and given that I am not greatly enamoured of slim and light pens still find it a very attractive looking styling. However a second design problem (over and above the mark left on the section mentioned earlier) was that the ring securing the clip to the body of the cap was fragile and many examples seen on the market today have a fracture there which requires a repair. In those cases, care must be taken that the clip is not overstressed when in use and that it lies straight (vertically aligned with the cap). The trademark Parker Arrow on the clip is simple and unadorned with feathers, the cap tassie is a simple black plastic ring and the minimalist stying of these features complement the rest of the pen very well.

FalconPointing800.jpgSectionandCap800.jpg

The size and weight are not my ideal - I generally prefer a pen of greater substance but in certain circumstances the Parker 50 is just perfect.

Here are the numbers (because you're worth it):

Weight Capped – 17.0 grams (30.5 grams lighter than a Waterman Edson)
Weight Uncapped – 11.5 grams
Length Capped – 13.1 cm
Length Uncapped – 12.4 cm
Length Posted – 14.1 cm
Barrel Diameter – 10.5 mm
Average Section Diameter – 9.3 mm

The Filling System – 8 out of 10.

It's a cartridge/converter. I am giving it a score of 8 because the supplied Parker squeeze converters were not great but again, as with the Waterman Edson there is no obvious alternative if the aesthetic of the pen (which was the principal selling point) was to remain uncompromised.

The Nib – 10 out of 10.

Yes, 10. My ability to assess the worth of a nib has matured over the years and not only does this one work extremely well, it also has the delightful ability to always start first time. I recently left it in a jacket pocket for about four months and when rediscovered, it laid down a lovely line without any hesitation whatsoever. It may not have the pure silkiness of some nibs, but for me that is outweighed by the other main factor about this nib which is the sheer beauty of it and the overall sleekness of line. As can be seen in the photograph, there is a fairly large ball tip to the nib which makes for a forgiving sweet spot which will be another plus point for some.

NibProfile800.jpg

It is in many ways reminiscent of the Pilot 701 Myu (in that it is made directly from the section material). Some people refer to the Falcon as the "poor man's T-1" but I would stay away from that particular method of damning with faint praise.

Cost – 6 out of 10 (but this is a very subjective call).

This pen was only on the market for a few years (1977 to 1983) and not very many were made. The price that you will pay will depend on the condition and the finish. Watch out for the two major bugbears if you are planning to buy (the marking around the section where it comes into contact with the inner cap and the condition of the clip retaining ring).

SectionWear800Text.jpgClipCrack400.jpg

I think that when it comes down to it, you will most likely buy this pen for its look rather than its performance. It's a fairly elusive creature and the fact that there will always be people who want one can mean that it will often fetch a high price, but there are also good examples to be had for much more reasonable sums.

Overall – 46 out of 60

I like this pen for what it is in its own right and (in my case for reminding me of the very brief time when it was available). It is another of those pens that will appeal to some and leave others cold. It was symbolic of a specific time and what it means to me and the memories that it triggers will be different for me to any effect it may have on others. This is not a pen that I would suggest that everyone should own (or even try), buy I would recommend that the pictures are at least briefly studied so that you can see another example of the pen-maker's art.

What I will say is that on a sunny day in Bath, sitting outside a pub and doing The Times Crossword with it remains fairly high up on my list of simple pleasures.

IANAN


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#2 Bearcat

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 22:45


Great review....And, in my youth, I recall these as being "pens that you can play darts with...."


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#3 Philips

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 23:43

Very stylish, I like the way the nib blends into the body! It reminds me of the Concorde supersonic aircraft.

Edited by Philips, 08 February 2009 - 00:24.


#4 OldGriz

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 15:27

These are great pens.... I was lucky enough to get 10 FP/BP sets from a pen/watch shop that went out of business here early last year...
I sold all but one set at the Raleigh Show last year... and kept one for myself
I finally sold that set because I just could not get used to the size of the pen... a bit slim for my liking..
But the pen is a fantastic writer.... mine wrote a nice medium line and then if you flipped it over a sweet xf/f line and still smooth
One think to be careful off.... the clips have a bad habit of snapping off if you are not careful and there is no way to put them back on correctly...

Personally, I think that if Parker had come out with this pen before the T1 it would have been a big hit...
However, I think the reputation of the T1 really hurt this one....

Edited by OldGriz, 08 February 2009 - 15:28.

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#5 MYU

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 15:28

"Hey, you've got my pen--I need that back please!"



Excellent review, IANAN. I especially appreciate the time travel humour. Brown corduroy... heh, do I well remember that period of illogical fashion. laugh.gif

The Parker 50 Falcon has an interesting look to it. Much like your reference to the Eagle transporter about the box, I'd say that comparing the pen to the more stately Parker 45 flighter is like comparing the Hawk to the Eagle. wink.gif

 


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#6 LAMYer

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 15:51

Hi, a dumb question here: is the nib gold or steel? Thanks!

#7 OldGriz

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 16:13

QUOTE (LAMYer @ Feb 8 2009, 10:51 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hi, a dumb question here: is the nib gold or steel? Thanks!


Steel... but absolutely beautifully designed. These pens are an absolute joy to write with if you like a thinner pen...
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#8 Pippin60

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 16:17

Nice pen and great review, but I think the models got my attention more. They were some of my favorite sci fi shows. I loved space 1999 even though it did get a little cheesy in the end.

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#9 I am not a number

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 16:28

It's made directly from the section material which I believe is steel.

Heck, I loved the Eagle...




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#10 MYU

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 02:09

QUOTE (I am not a number @ Feb 8 2009, 11:28 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Heck, I loved the Eagle...

I did too... was the most plausible looking sci-fi spacecraft, with echoes of hardware designs from the US Apollo space programme. Too bad the design would NEVER have worked in atmospheres, so that kind of annoyed me. But there was much that made up for it. smile.gif

Gerry Anderson had quite an imagination. Aside from craft that never would have flown, a lot of technologies they demonstrated would eventually become a reality. The other thing... 1980 and 1999 were just way too soon for that rate of technological progress.

Anyway, getting back to the pen, I really liked the design... I have a thing for integrated nibs, despite the fact that severe nib damage means tossing out the pen. And you're not likely to find much in the way of flexibility. But that sleek look made it all worthwhile. biggrin.gif

Edited by MYU, 09 February 2009 - 02:12.

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#11 lovemy51

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 08:11

thanx for the review IANAN! lovely!!

#12 JimStrutton

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 11:35

QUOTE (I am not a number @ Feb 8 2009, 04:28 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It's made directly from the section material which I believe is steel.

Heck, I loved the Eagle...



The Model shop in Swindon, (the one in the upper floor of the Mall), is selling a cased limited edition of the Eagle, just what you need to decorate the Bat Cave. You won't like the price though headsmack.gif

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#13 I am not a number

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 14:03

QUOTE (JimStrutton @ Feb 9 2009, 11:35 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The Model shop in Swindon, (the one in the upper floor of the Mall), is selling a cased limited edition of the Eagle, just what you need to decorate the Bat Cave. You won't like the price though headsmack.gif

Jim

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#14 KrisH

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 14:21

QUOTE (I am not a number @ Feb 9 2009, 02:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (JimStrutton @ Feb 9 2009, 11:35 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The Model shop in Swindon, (the one in the upper floor of the Mall), is selling a cased limited edition of the Eagle, just what you need to decorate the Bat Cave. You won't like the price though headsmack.gif

Jim

The case for a late and long lunch break has just presented itself...


Swindons a bit far away from me ... pictures please thumbup.gif

#15 wspohn

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 22:24

QUOTE (I am not a number @ Feb 7 2009, 02:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Hmm....resemblance?


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#16 JimStrutton

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 18:41

QUOTE (KrisH @ Feb 9 2009, 02:21 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (I am not a number @ Feb 9 2009, 02:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (JimStrutton @ Feb 9 2009, 11:35 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The Model shop in Swindon, (the one in the upper floor of the Mall), is selling a cased limited edition of the Eagle, just what you need to decorate the Bat Cave. You won't like the price though headsmack.gif

Jim

The case for a late and long lunch break has just presented itself...


Swindons a bit far away from me ... pictures please thumbup.gif


I will try but the Mall has the damn No Photography rules, but I will try to surreptitious with the camera phone, so don't expect brilliant quality thumbup.gif
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#17 I am not a number

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 19:02

QUOTE (JimStrutton @ Feb 11 2009, 06:41 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I will try but the Mall has the damn No Photography rules, but I will try to surreptitious with the camera phone, so don't expect brilliant quality thumbup.gif

I can't get time away from the office, I keep getting ambushed by work.

And my bail conditions have some fairly restrictive stipulations about me and the general public.
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#18 ianmedium

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 19:03

Your friend wasn,t David Saunders by any chance! I remember feeling the exact way you did when I saw his Parker, He was the rich kid in class, had the first VCR,first Atari and this stunning fountain pen, I lusted after it and a sheaffer at the time, Great review BTW!
And space 1999 to boot!

I forgot... I still wear brown corduroy!!!

Edited by ianmedium, 11 February 2009 - 19:06.

All the best.
Ian



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#19 MYU

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 20:36

Will's perspective of the Parker 50 Falcon with the Blackbird SR-71 reminded me of another craft with similar appearance:


Edited by MYU, 11 February 2009 - 20:37.

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#20 JimStrutton

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Posted 28 February 2009 - 16:26

Finally, here for IANAN is the picture of the model that could soon be decorating the BatCave! For a man of his means the price won't be a problem, carrying it home might roflmho.gif

Jim


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