Jump to content
Classifieds is broken, please do not submit any new ads ×

Why A Parker 51?


sandy101
 Share

Recommended Posts

So, what is it that a Parker 51 does that no other pen does?

 

There is a lot of eulogising about this pen on these forums, and I'm just wondering what this (vintage) pen offers that modern pens do not?

 

I enjoy my Parson's Essential and the modern pens I have, and having been slightly disappointed in the vintage typewriter market (they are never as described on e-bay). I'm just wondering if anyone could share their enthusiasm for this pen. Why is it such a (supposed) classic?

 

Why pay £30-£100 for a Parker 51, which may or may not work, when a brand new Pelikan.,or Mr Pen, (or whatever) can be had for the same price?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 116
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • Blade Runner

    6

  • pajaro

    5

  • Florida Blue

    6

  • mitto

    9

You are not the only one to wonder about this. I bought a 51 early on, used it for a while, then let it go. I did not care for the shrouded nib, nor the overall size, balance or feel. It did write perfectly well. I prefer others. I do, however, allow others to have their love for this Pen or any pen. Sometimes you see something for sale and wonder who on earth would ever buy it! It is gone the next day. It found at home.

"how do I know what I think until I write it down?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please tell me, when did anyone state that a Parker 51 offers more than other pens? Also, it seems that you have already made up your mind about Parker 51's.

 

Just sayin'

Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.

 

—Oscar Wilde

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was ultra modern in it's day...when modern and up to date filling systems and style was what sold pens.

 

The hooded nib was as far as I know new in 1940...it was the first modern pressed plastic pen; a "special" plastic.

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

 

It had a perfect filling system, that still works even after 70 or so years (will work for another 70 years too). The fiberglass sac is perfect still.

Didn't have those rills that screw on pens had.

Made for flying.....

 

It was new, displacing the Sheaffer early '30's New Balance (MB 146-9's are clones of it) as King of Pens. It was good enough to be made for over 30 years.

Once King of Pens, then Prince of pens after Sheaffer's Snorkle became King of Pens.

 

Most it appears were nails, so were great for Carbon paper...invented in the late 1860's.

 

Was back in the days of advertizing on B&W TV a top pen (And Esquire, Life, Look and so on). The Snorkel and the P-51 were The Adult's pen, that us School boys wanted when we got old....20 or 25 and could afford it.

Edited by Bo Bo Olson

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.

RIP...200's once great nib, now a double ball.:crybaby::wallbash:

 

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

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don`t get it either. Parker 51 is an old, overpriced pen that has an small ugly nib, hidden away under a plastic hood. It`s plain looking, it has a totally boring filling system- you can`t even see how much ink you got left, and it doesn`t even....write by itself. And it lasts forever.

 

Hopefully, people will read my post and ebay prices will tumble :ninja:

Edited by rochester21
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like my 51's for their sheer reliability and simplicity in use - it doesn't draw attention, always writes reliably, and are relatively easy to clean. Well, the exception being the Vacumatics, as they are a royal pain to flush without the Parker centrifuge. Now my 51 Cartridge/Converter on the other hand, is a dream of a 51 - easy to flush, and writes wonderfully.

 

...The broader nibs are also a joy to use. Smooth without fail.

Calculating.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven't made my mind up about anything. I'm not trying to be antagonistic.

 

I'm just wondering why the P51 is regarded as a classic by folk who use/own them. A lot of folk on this forum are very enthusiastic about the Parker 51, and seem to enjoy them a lot. I would like to know what this pen has to offer, that modern pens do not.

 

I don't own any "vintage" pens and searching on e-bay (and other vendors) I get prices from £35 to £350 depending upon quality, materials and age - and that's assuming I believe everything the vendor says.

 

Having bought relatively expensive (new) fountain pens, I can see that you can get more for your money, but what does a (used) £40 P51 offer that a £40 Brand New Fountain pen does not?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is a piece of history. History that still works. It set the benchmark for fountain pens. The nibs are great and perform very well. It is almost impossible to find a 14K gold nib on a modern pen for the price of a bulletproof vintage 51. A large part of it is nostalgia. We all have our preferences. Yours may not be for a 51. Some of us love them. I love all of my pens, but my 51 has a special place. Mainly because it was my grandfathers, but also because it still works perfectly after 60 years.

 

I don`t get it either. Parker 51 is an old, overpriced pen that has an small ugly nib, hidden away under a plastic hood. It`s plain looking, it has a totally boring filling system- you can`t even see how much ink you got left, and it doesn`t even....write by itself. And it lasts forever.

 

Hopefully, people will read my post and ebay prices will tumble :ninja:

+1

"If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day. That's a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you're going to have something special."-Jim Valvano

 

"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don't have that problem."-Ronald Reagan

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Personally i got one...As it is a mythic pen i considered i must have one,it's true that it is a very nice pen with an incredible reliability,mine is from 1948,the sac is the original one and it works as if it was brand new....

A people can be great withouth a great pen but a people who love great pens is surely a great people too...

Pens owned actually: MB 146 EF;Pelikan M200 SE Clear Demonstrator 2012 B;Parker 17 EF;Parker 51 EF;Waterman Expert II M,Waterman Hemisphere M;Waterman Carene F and Stub;Pilot Justus 95 F.

 

Nearly owned: MB 149 B(Circa 2002);Conway Stewart Belliver LE bracket Brown IB.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Why pay £30-£100 for a Parker 51, which may or may not work, when a brand new Pelikan.,or Mr Pen, (or whatever) can be had for the same price?

 

That's always the risk you take buying any vintage pen (not just a Parker 51) on eBay, a flea market/boot sale, garage sale, antique shop etc. Most of the time it will not be in working condition. You might find a vintage Pelikan 140 that will need a piston seal. Unfortunately these types of parts fail over time, but they can be fixed easily and for a reasonable price through a pen restorer or if you acquire the right tools, materials and knowledge you can fix a vintage pen yourself.

 

However, there are many reputable vintage pen sellers that will sell you a restored P51 (probably for well under 100 pounds) usually with a 1 year guarantee against failure.

 

Back to the 51. Apart from keeping ink from drying while the pen is uncapped for a bit of time, the 51 does nothing that another pen can do. People love the 51 because of its design. It was decades ahead of its time and even in 2013 it looks fresh, modern and even a bit futuristic. It recalls the early years and the years leading up to the "space age." The silhouette of the hooded nib often draws people to the pen. Also, they are very well-made and incredibly reliable. In my experience, many 51 aerometric fillers can be brought to life after a good flush and the original pli-glass sacs can be in perfect working order even from the first aeros in 1948. I have a navy gray 51 aero from 1948 that I bought on eBay and all it took was a thorough flush and cleaning to get it going again.

Parker: Sonnet Flighter, Rialto Red Metallic Laque, IM Chiseled Gunmetal, Latitude Stainless, 45 Black, Duovac Blue Pearl Striped, 51 Standard Black, Vac Jr. Black, 51 Aero Black, 51 Vac Blue Cedar, Duofold Jr. Lapis, 51 Aero Demi Black, 51 Aero Demi Teal, 51 Aero Navy Gray, Duofold Pastel Moire Violet, Vac Major Golden Brown, Vac Deb. Emerald, 51 Vac Dove Gray, Vac Major Azure, Vac Jr. Silver Pearl, 51 Vac Black GF Cap, 51 Forest Green GF cap, Vac Jr. Silver Pearl, Duovac Senior Green & Gold, Duovac Deb. Black, Challenger Black, 51 Aero Midnight, Vac. Emerald Jr., Challenger Gray Pearl, 51 Vac Black, Duofold Int. Black, Duofold Jr. Red.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you don't like plastic pens, you won't like the 51.

There are metal versions of the 51, like the Flighter and Signet, but they cost much more than the versions with plastic barrels.

Parker: Sonnet Flighter, Rialto Red Metallic Laque, IM Chiseled Gunmetal, Latitude Stainless, 45 Black, Duovac Blue Pearl Striped, 51 Standard Black, Vac Jr. Black, 51 Aero Black, 51 Vac Blue Cedar, Duofold Jr. Lapis, 51 Aero Demi Black, 51 Aero Demi Teal, 51 Aero Navy Gray, Duofold Pastel Moire Violet, Vac Major Golden Brown, Vac Deb. Emerald, 51 Vac Dove Gray, Vac Major Azure, Vac Jr. Silver Pearl, 51 Vac Black GF Cap, 51 Forest Green GF cap, Vac Jr. Silver Pearl, Duovac Senior Green & Gold, Duovac Deb. Black, Challenger Black, 51 Aero Midnight, Vac. Emerald Jr., Challenger Gray Pearl, 51 Vac Black, Duofold Int. Black, Duofold Jr. Red.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Parker "51", the pen that Parker stopped counting after 12 million sold, and estimates today of 20 to 50 million finally sold. This is the pen that ended the hostilities with Germany (Ike gave 2 "51s" to Smith to sign) and Japan (Nimitz). It's a style that creates a loyal following because it defines a style and even an era.

 

Why get one? Utterly reliable (today we would say: it just works), uses any ink on the market today, safe to fly with (I recently had an incident where my aircraft was unpressurized at 17,000 feet with a "51". No problem at all.), and works with most paper. Others have mentioned that it's already 70 years old and will last another 70. Will modern pens in the same price range do the same? Remains to be seen.

 

The "51" is my everyday carry.

 

Buzz

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I also have a 51. Mine came with a monogram that makes me believe it belonged to a nun. It's got some history. It came in a box, and was in very good condition. The nib is a fine, and writes reliably. I guess the best part of the 51 is its reliability. However, the writing experience, compared to a Montblanc 344 or Montblanc 14 from the same period, is inferior. It's a nail that feels almost like a ballpoint. Perhaps that was the big selling point. A fountain pen that didn't require a light touch or a special angle/grip. It would write well no matter how you hold it or how hard you press.

 

I don't use mine as much as I use other pens. I guess I would have sold it had it not been for the monogram. I kind of like the personal story behind it...

---

Please, visit my website at http://www.acousticpens.com/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Back to the 51. Apart from keeping ink from drying while the pen is uncapped for a bit of time, the 51 does nothing that another pen can do. People love the 51 because of its design. It was decades ahead of its time and even in 2013 it looks fresh, modern and even a bit futuristic. It recalls the early years and the years leading up to the "space age." The silhouette of the hooded nib often draws people to the pen. Also, they are very well-made and incredibly reliable. In my experience, many 51 aerometric fillers can be brought to life after a good flush and the original pli-glass sacs can be in perfect working order even from the first aeros in 1948. I have a navy gray 51 aero from 1948 that I bought on eBay and all it took was a thorough flush and cleaning to get it going again.

 

^ This.

 

I don't own a 51 yet, but it's on my list. Not only am I attracted to the many features mentioned in this thread, the P51 is one of the few vintage pens with chrome trim and a profile that wouldn't look out of place with my subdued modern pens. It's vintage without looking too "vintage-y." I think that's pretty neat, coming from a guy in his early 30s.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's the only pen on the planet to ever have permanent displays in Museums of Design in London and New York.

 

And that recognition is by people who Aren't (necessarily) "fountian pen people".

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi,

 

It was really an excellent pen. The plastics have aged well for the most part, compared to a lot of other plastics. The pen itself generally wrote well, and I think the pen is very cool looking. It's very streamlined. I can write with the pen, and people won't notice right away that I'm using a pen that's out of the ordinary. It doesn't have a huge nib that draws attention. I generally like the streamlined look over the large open-nib look, but that doesn't stop me from enjoying both kinds of pens.

 

Dillon

Stolen: Aurora Optima Demonstrator Red ends Medium nib. Serial number 1216 and Aurora 98 Cartridge/Converter Black bark finish (Archivi Storici) with gold cap. Reward if found. Please contact me if you have seen these pens.

Please send vial orders and other messages to fpninkvials funny-round-mark-thing gmail strange-mark-thing com. My shop is open once again if you need help with your pen.

Will someone with the name of "Jay" who emailed me through the email system provide me an email address? There was no email address provided, so I can't write back.

Dillon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was a Parker 51 skeptic for a couple of years before I came across a near-mint P51 at a local flea market for an obscenely-low price. I couldn't pass it up, knowing that they easily sold for 100X the amount that the seller wanted. I gave the aerometric filler a thorough flush, polished up the body and loaded it with ink. I was very, very impressed! For a pen that's over 50 years old, it performs perfectly and writes like a dream. My only complaint is that occasionally I have to adjust my grip so that I'm not writing with the side of the nib! (With the hooded nib, it's sometimes difficult to tell whether you're holding it at the proper angle.) I've got a lot of other vintage pens, but they've all required a lot more restoration work to get them into working condition.

Larry

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My P51is over 60 years old and is as ood or better than most of my new hundreds of dollar pens. i have no doubt it will last 60 more years.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's reliable, the slip cap is easy to remove/replace, the aerometric version is quickly refilled. My only complaint is that the nib is difficult to see, and sometimes I don't hit the sweet spot, and I get no writing on the first stroke, until I establish my nib position. That's a bit annoying, but overall, it's a very good pen, the pen I used through my higher educational years.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share








×
×
  • Create New...