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Dried Ink In A Parker 21


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A friend of mine gave me her Parker 21 to try and revive. Someone else gave it to her, all clogged up, and she thinks that person might have used india ink in it. However, I started soaking it first in water (because I have some, and I don't have any pen cleaner), and there is black ink coming out. I am thinking that indicates it is Not india ink, but rather something more conventional, as I wouldn't think water would affect dried india ink. Is that correct?

Second question about this. The feed is currently so clogged that it is impossible to draw water up into the sac, which is happily in good shape. I am thinking I will probably need to take the section off to get the feed clean. Does the section come apart similar to a P51? From parkerpens.net this seems to be a mark II version.

Thanks for any advice.


Edited for grammar, posting from a smart phone, sorry.

Edited by johnsi02
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First off, give it a long soak - 24 hours or more.


If that's no good, try soaking with 10% ammonia. I have had good luck with that, but only when really needed.


I have cleaned some pens that were clogged with India ink and also had black ink coming out. I suspect that both India and regular ink were in the pen. So you might need to go to an art supply store for that kind of cleaner.

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I had an old Parker 21 that was gooped up with black stuff. Put it in an ultrasonic cleaner with a little detergent and ammonia. All kinds of black came out. Ran it for 5 or 10 minutes, rinsed it out. The nib and feed were still full of hard black stuff that did not soften at all. I figured someone used India ink in it. Then when it would not write they probably put some fountain pen ink in it. Or, visa-versa. Ended up bundling it with a nice 21 missing the cap when I sold the good one to a restorer. The nib was bent 90 degrees up and one tip broken off. If it does not write, then you are not pressing down hard enough? Like a ballpoint pen.


People who try to use India ink in a fountain pen remind me of an idiot technician who brought his motorcycle battery to me to recharge. We had a battery charger in our lab.


I hooked it up and later saw vapor coming out of the battery and smelled chlorine. I unplugged the charger and removed the clamps. Later he asked me why someone had done that. I asked him what was in the battery. He said he wanted to make it like new so he dumped the old acid and put fresh acid into it. I asked him what kind of acid. He didn't want to say, but finally told me he'd gotten some hydrochloric acid from the Met Lab and put into it. When I told him that lead/acid batteries used only sulfuric acid and that the chlorine gas coming out was dangerous and he probably ruined his battery he just said he thought acid was acid!


So, ink is ink, right?


He had some kind of a two-year degree in education and was working in a research facility. He didn't last long.

Eschew Sesquipedalian Obfuscation

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I like the technician story. At least he knew that there was such thing as acid, and didn't put milk in the battery thinking liquid was liquid. :lticaptd:

Edited by lisadan


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Sounds like me almost killing myself with Chlorine gas.







But it was from my chemistry set when I was about 11.


Bruce in Ocala, Fl

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I had this experience once, not too long ago. Soak it for a very long time. I the 24 hours or more seen above was serious. It really does take ages to soak the pen.

Note to self: don't try to fix anything without the heat gun handy!

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Do NOT try to take the section off.

From what I understand the plastic used in the P21 is not as durable as the P51, and you are likely to break the section.


As with other I would SOAK the section, to just below the metal ring between the section and the ink sac protector.

And SOAK and change water when you see ink clouding the water.

Get a hypodermic needle from the drugstore, or an ink syringe from Goulet Pens, load it with water, and slowly squirt the water into the section from the front. This will force water into the section where it can get to and dissolve more ink. Just be careful as the inky water can/will splash back towards you.

This soaking process WILL take a LONG time, until you can get enough ink dissolved that you can get the pen to suck up water. Then things will go faster.


Just to give you a time reference. I twice cleaned Parker 51s where I had to do this soak and rinse process for THREE weeks. The ink was that hard to dissolve from inside the pen. So be patient. As long as you see ink coming out, keep soaking/cleaning.


If you have or have a friend with an UltraSonic Cleaner (USC), that will work best to get dried ink out. But even with an USC, you still have to soak.

San Francisco Pen Show - August 28-30, 2020 - Redwood City, California


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