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Trying This 51 (And Variants Thereof) Thing Again



Silvermink

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Well, I was down in Bellingham for the Seattle Pen Club meeting this past weekend and tried a few 51s and 21s and decided to give it another shot, since I quite liked them. I didn't get on with the last 51 I had but I think part of that was that the nib was drier and finer than I would've liked.

 

So, I went ahead and snagged myself this red 21 (last series judging by the clip) with a medium nib off eBay: http://www.ebay.ca/itm/261067430896?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649

 

I'm excited about trying it again, particularly since I got one with a medium nib when the fines seem to be much more common. Wish me luck.

http://twitter.com/pawcelot

Vancouver Pen Club

 

Currently inked:

 

Montegrappa NeroUno Linea - J. Herbin Poussière de Lune //. Aurora Optima Demonstrator - Aurora Black // Varuna Rajan - Kaweco Green // TWSBI Vac 700R - Visconti Purple

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Well, I was down in Bellingham for the Seattle Pen Club meeting this past weekend and tried a few 51s and 21s and decided to give it another shot, since I quite liked them. I didn't get on with the last 51 I had but I think part of that was that the nib was drier and finer than I would've liked.

 

So, I went ahead and snagged myself this red 21 (last series judging by the clip) with a medium nib off eBay: http://www.ebay.ca/itm/261067430896?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649

 

I'm excited about trying it again, particularly since I got one with a medium nib when the fines seem to be much more common. Wish me luck.

In 1968 Parker fitted a 14ct gold P51 nib to mine. It's performance was tops, and it is still good.

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I'll bet that 21 with the gold nib is really nice. I have been tempted to put a gold nib in one of these. The 21 Supers and regular 21s are nice writers as is, though. I have had a few of the Super 21s for what must be about twenty years now, and they seem as reliable as a 51. I like that red color.

"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.

 

 

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Ernst Bitterman

I've spoken this heresy before; if you've got a Super 21, the only thing you need a 51 for is to satisfy curiosity. You'd never know the difference blind-folded (although your writing might suffer).

Ravensmarch Pens & Books
It's mainly pens, just now....

Oh, good heavens. He's got a blog now, too.

 

fpn_1465330536__hwabutton.jpg

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inkstainedruth

I've spoken this heresy before; if you've got a Super 21, the only thing you need a 51 for is to satisfy curiosity. You'd never know the difference blind-folded (although your writing might suffer).

So what exactly *are* the differences? I asked this a few months ago and never got a satisfactory answer from anyone. Note: I have all but a Super 21, and I also have a 51 Vac that I've been afraid to test without a pro giving it a quick going over at least, and a full repair job if necessary....

What I know (or think I know) for sure:

51 Vac -- gold nib, (??) body, plunger fill system

51 Aerometric -- gold nib, lucite body, aero fill system

51 Special -- octanium nib, (??) body, non-aero squeeze fill system

21 -- octanium (??) nib, lower quality plastic body, non-aero squeeze squeeze fill system

Super 21 -- ???

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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Hello,

 

The 51 Special is aerometric, Lucite. Super 21 has the Octanium nib like the 51, otherwise a 21.

Confounding matters, the 51 Standard has the Special filler and a gold nib, Lustraloy cap, gray cap jewel.

 

Happy penning.

"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.

 

 

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I thought the 21 hoods were super fragile and prone to cracking if you looked at them funny?

 

Depends on whether you're good looking or not.

"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.

 

 

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Ernst Bitterman

So what exactly *are* the differences? I asked this a few months ago and never got a satisfactory answer from anyone. Note: I have all but a Super 21, and I also have a 51 Vac that I've been afraid to test without a pro giving it a quick going over at least, and a full repair job if necessary....

What I know (or think I know) for sure:

51 Vac -- gold nib, (Lucite) body, plunger fill system

51 Aerometric -- gold nib, lucite body, aero fill system

51 Special -- octanium nib, (Lucite) body, non-aero squeeze fill system

21 -- octanium (and of more standard, old-fashioned shape) nib, (distressingly, almost catastrophically) lower quality plastic body, non-aero squeeze squeeze fill system

Super 21 -- octanium nib (the same as in a 51 Special), ("X-100", which is not quite Lucite, but is substantially more stable than the previous stuff) body, non-aero squeeze fill system

 

I've taken my lunatic's green ink to fill in your blanks. I know that at a certain point in production, the Lucite was dropped for a less costly plastic in all models (and I have hesitation about it being the stuff of the 51 Special), but I don't know just when-- after 1959, but how long after I look to others to provide.

Ravensmarch Pens & Books
It's mainly pens, just now....

Oh, good heavens. He's got a blog now, too.

 

fpn_1465330536__hwabutton.jpg

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Ernst Bitterman

I thought the 21 hoods were super fragile and prone to cracking if you looked at them funny?

 

The one that let go on me waited until I wasn't looking. It happened during an out-of-rotation period; not cracked during flush, cracked during fill, and a couple of restful months in between.

Ravensmarch Pens & Books
It's mainly pens, just now....

Oh, good heavens. He's got a blog now, too.

 

fpn_1465330536__hwabutton.jpg

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I wonder if the one I bought is a Super, considering the clip. It's definitely the last model since the clip is actually arrow-shaped and not just imprinted.

http://twitter.com/pawcelot

Vancouver Pen Club

 

Currently inked:

 

Montegrappa NeroUno Linea - J. Herbin Poussière de Lune //. Aurora Optima Demonstrator - Aurora Black // Varuna Rajan - Kaweco Green // TWSBI Vac 700R - Visconti Purple

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I wonder if the one I bought is a Super, considering the clip. It's definitely the last model since the clip is actually arrow-shaped and not just imprinted.

 

The opening where the nib is on the Super 21 is much smaller, similar to the 51, than the one on the regular 21.

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Ernst Bitterman

I wonder if the one I bought is a Super, considering the clip. It's definitely the last model since the clip is actually arrow-shaped and not just imprinted.

 

Without a close look at the hood, it's hard to be sure, but it looks like one. The early Supers just had imprinted decoration, but the later had the shaped 45-style clip.

 

EDIT: ...and then he found one COULD have a close look at the hood. Super!

Edited by Ernst Bitterman

Ravensmarch Pens & Books
It's mainly pens, just now....

Oh, good heavens. He's got a blog now, too.

 

fpn_1465330536__hwabutton.jpg

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inkstainedruth

 

I've taken my lunatic's green ink to fill in your blanks. I know that at a certain point in production, the Lucite was dropped for a less costly plastic in all models (and I have hesitation about it being the stuff of the 51 Special), but I don't know just when-- after 1959, but how long after I look to others to provide.

Thanks!

I wasn't sure how early they started using the Lucite. All the pens I have (with the possible exception of the 51 Vac, because it's an English-made one and I'm not finding a date code) seem to be pre-1956 because the inscription on the sac sleeves all say "Use Superchrome Ink"; the Plum Aero *does* have a date code (1st quarter 1949, if I'm reading the dots correctly), and when I had to take the hood off the 21, the nib appeared to have a date code of 1953 (I'm guessing date code rather than nib size, because I'm not finding any reference to "53" as being a nib designator number).

@ watch_art:

I looked over the 21 really carefully when I bought it; the cap was somewhat stuck, probably because of dried ink, so I let the guy in the antiques mall who opened the case for me to see the pens better -- there was also a red Esterbrook but it cost more -- uncap it for me (that way, I figured that if it cracked, it would be someone else's fault.

I had to take the hood off because it ended up leaking on a trip home from down South in March; there appeared to be a crack in the feed, and I tried fixing it with a little silicone caulk, IIRC. Getting the hood to align with the nib and feed when I put it back on was a bear -- complicated by the fact that I didn't realize at first that part of the clutch ring assembly had gone down the sink (fortunately, it didn't get completely washed down the drain and my husband was able to retrieve it by removing the trap).

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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Without a close look at the hood, it's hard to be sure, but it looks like one. The early Supers just had imprinted decoration, but the later had the shaped 45-style clip.

 

EDIT: ...and then he found one COULD have a close look at the hood. Super!

 

Nice. It wasn't even advertised as such, so... score.

http://twitter.com/pawcelot

Vancouver Pen Club

 

Currently inked:

 

Montegrappa NeroUno Linea - J. Herbin Poussière de Lune //. Aurora Optima Demonstrator - Aurora Black // Varuna Rajan - Kaweco Green // TWSBI Vac 700R - Visconti Purple

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At the price you paid the pen ought to have been a nice Super 21. A nice regular 21 can be had from $12 to about $20, and I recently bought a dark blue NOS Super 21 with tag for less than $20. A lot of Super 21s are these days offered at $50 to $80 NOS, but, as usual, it pays to shop around. So, if you got a nice Super 21 from Yellowlimbo at what you paid, that was probably a fair price for an excellent Super 21. You generally get what you pay for. The one you bought was probably the best they had. The pen seller's knowledge and discrimination are worth something.

"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.

 

 

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At the price you paid the pen ought to have been a nice Super 21. A nice regular 21 can be had from $12 to about $20, and I recently bought a dark blue NOS Super 21 with tag for less than $20. A lot of Super 21s are these days offered at $50 to $80 NOS, but, as usual, it pays to shop around. So, if you got a nice Super 21 from Yellowlimbo at what you paid, that was probably a fair price for an excellent Super 21. You generally get what you pay for. The one you bought was probably the best they had. The pen seller's knowledge and discrimination are worth something.

 

Yeah, I'm sure I could've gotten it for cheaper, but it seemed a decent price and it was a buy it now so I decided to scoop it. I'm reasonably happy with what I paid for it. Might complement it with another 51 if I get on with it.

 

It does look like it's in really nice shape.

http://twitter.com/pawcelot

Vancouver Pen Club

 

Currently inked:

 

Montegrappa NeroUno Linea - J. Herbin Poussière de Lune //. Aurora Optima Demonstrator - Aurora Black // Varuna Rajan - Kaweco Green // TWSBI Vac 700R - Visconti Purple

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  • 2 weeks later...

I got the pen and it's really, really smooth, though I think the jewel is missing (it's got an indent in the end and a little hole), unless this cap style isn't supposed to have one. Not that big a deal since I paid relatively little for it and the nib is fantastic. If it starts to bug me I'll see if I can snag one off eBay or whatever.

http://twitter.com/pawcelot

Vancouver Pen Club

 

Currently inked:

 

Montegrappa NeroUno Linea - J. Herbin Poussière de Lune //. Aurora Optima Demonstrator - Aurora Black // Varuna Rajan - Kaweco Green // TWSBI Vac 700R - Visconti Purple

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I bought a regular 21 from an ebay seller a while ago, to see if those pens were any good. It writes beautifully, as well as many 51s.

 

I did a pay-it-forward with an Esterbrook, and three people responded. I felt bad for the two who didn't get the Esterbrook, so I found a couple of Esterbrooks, resacced, but some minor issue, a tooth mark and a floppy lever, and offered each person a choice of the Parker 21 real sweet writer or the Estie with an issue. They both took the Estie. Poor unwanted Parker 21. I'll have to use it now. I'm not sure what that means.

"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.

 

 

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