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Vintage Vacumatics: Too Small For Big Hands?



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Vacumatics prices seem to be pretty stable. Why not just buy one and see how it feels? You can always resell it for what you paid if you don't like it, though you might be out the cost of shipping.

 

I have pretty big hands and I hate posting pens. It feels a little small but not uncomfortably so...I've done a fair amount of writing with mine.

 

It's a good idea, and your experience is very valuable; I don't know many people who use pens and I don't live in a market in which it would be as easy as posting on ebay; so: sunk cost! I am pretty happy with my several Lamy Vistas, Mujis, but have seen the light of more interesting pens, and nibs in particular. I have a couple of better pens, the m400 and a Man 100, but while their nibs are nice, they are not as inspiring as my Sailor pro gear HM.

 

If I do go for it my current thinking is taking me to decide between a Vacumatic and a very different Pilot 912 with a WA nib: jaw dropping, classic design, riskier nib, perhaps not as easy to clean and less forgiving of inks; vs more comfortable, boring design, easier to use with many inks, with the promise of a special nib. I have two or three inks coming, I might already have enough pens, so it might be a moot question.

 

I just keep shaking my head in amazement at all this useful info, it's when I realize we're experiencing a change of era: remember when you would go to a brick and mortar store, once every blue moon, to see what they had, and then take the plunge without really knowing what you got yourself into...? Sounds like the dark ages.

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

 

B. Russell

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I find the M200 slightly larger in diameter than the Vac. But there is a slight taper to the Vac whereas the M200 is a straight cylinder.

I can't find my caliper or I would measure them for you.

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

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Hi,

 

A Parker Sonnet is my daily writer at the office, so when I want to write personal stuff I switch pens.

 

I find that having an 'adaptive' grip allows me to write enjoyably with pens slender as the Parker Newhaven Slimfold or plump as my MB149. A big part of that is to use the sweet spot of the nib as the pivot point, then adjust your grip and where you grasp the pen on the section.

 

I find the Vac very well balanced, so no need to 'pinch' the pen - just let it ride: a wand not a chisel, unlike my rotring 600 which is IMHO best suited for jotting field notes, not a dedicated daily writer.

 

Believe me, after writing for hours on end with a Sonnet, a pen so nimble and luxurious as a Vacumatic is a joy. Almost off-setting the tedium of clean-up. (Can we have hot chocolate before bed time?)

 

Bye,

S1

Edited by Sandy1

The only time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.

 

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Hi,

 

A Parker Sonnet is my daily writer at the office, so when I want to write personal stuff I switch pens.

 

I find that having an 'adaptive' grip allows me to write enjoyably with pens slender as the Parker Newhaven Slimfold or plump as my MB149. A big part of that is to use the sweet spot of the nib as the pivot point, then adjust your grip and where you grasp the pen on the section.

 

I find the Vac very well balanced, so no need to 'pinch' the pen - just let it ride: a wand not a chisel, unlike my rotring 600 which is IMHO best suited for jotting field notes, not a dedicated daily writer.

 

Believe me, after writing for hours on end with a Sonnet, a pen so nimble and luxurious as a Vacumatic is a joy. Almost off-setting the tedium of clean-up. (Can we have hot chocolate before bed time?)

 

Bye,

S1

 

Interesting as always! I have no problems writing with my two Sonnets, well one's a hard starter, and they both evaporate like crazy, but the other one is a dream to write with. I'm starting to think I might be missing the Pelikan's sweet spot entirely and that's why I find so "meh". I'll try to adapt.

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

 

B. Russell

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I find the M200 slightly larger in diameter than the Vac. But there is a slight taper to the Vac whereas the M200 is a straight cylinder.

I can't find my caliper or I would measure them for you.

 

I see what you mean from TheRealMikeDr's pics...

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

 

B. Russell

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I don't know many people who use pens and I don't live in a market in which it would be as easy as posting on ebay; so: sunk cost!

 

You're here on FPN...I suspect that if you created an ad in the classifieds, you could find a buyer. This is an international market, after all. :)

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inkstainedruth

Well, to answer the OP -- I have small hands and I find Pelikan M400s and Vacumatic Majors (and the Vac Junior Lockdown filler Red Shadow Wave) to be a perfect size for me. I would not look at smaller pens like the Debutante size, though, if I were you -- especially since the sections on my Debs and Sub-Debs is a little short in comparison to the rest of the length and to other pens).

There's a chart someone posted a couple of years ago which shows the relative sizes of various model Vacumatics through the run of the line, and IIRC also includes measurements like girth. Mind you, I post all my pens (vintage AND modern) except for a few that have issues (a Rotring Art Pen, for instance -- that tapered back just is not the right shape to put a cap on it...). Do a search for "Vacumatic's Scheme" in the Parker Forum (not sure what it's originally from).

Remember that the Vacs are celluloid, so they're pretty lightweight to hold while using them.

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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The Vac is like the 45 and Lamy 2000.

Any pen with a taper is difficult to measure the diameter. Because where would you measure?

At one point I was measuring the middle of the section, but soon realized that would not work, as that point was different distances from the tip of the nib on different pens. So I will be changing to a method that I read "someplace," where the diameter is taken at X distance from the tip, to correspond to where I hold the pen.

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Bo Bo Olson

Anthony, that is close.

Would do....but I think there is too much fore finger bend and it is a tad deep at 11:30 on the section.

 

Fore finger up.....the thumb is most important. It is flat to the pen, and at 08:30/09:00/...9:30 at max resting on the barrel (actually the pen rests on the thumb)...I prefer instructing to hold at 09:00 (this is the first description using 8:30 which is also ok...better than 9:30. Maintains the gap between thumb and forefinger.

Tripod often has no gap, depending on how scrunched up one's grip is. In 10:00 is where the Tripod holds. 10:00 pushes down. Tripod 02:00 pushes down.....that is why the Tripod can be a death grip.You are adding pressure by pushing down.

 

Thumb flat and long. There must be a nice gap between where the thumb is on the side of the barrel and the forefinger laying on top.

 

Pinching with the tip of the thumb is out :angry: ...no killer Kung Fu Thumb Pinch allowed.

 

The flat thumb is a dam only....one don't press it at all. The pen rests against it. It is flat....can tilt a tad....as long as most is still at 09:00..........actually if the thumb is at 08:30..that is 'better', then the angle of your holding can make the edge of the thumbnail and pad at 09:00.

 

The pen 'rests' in the hand. If I have the thumb nail even with the forefinger first joint crease, I expect the pen to rest at 40 degrees at the start of the web of the thumb.

 

If I move the thumb down the pen in the same line, to where the thumbnail is 1/3 past the first finger joint, it will rest the pen at 45 degrees, just behind the knuckle, above of the web of the thumb............could be the bow of the forefinger will be a slight tad higher; not the end of the world. Comfort is part of it.....but a big bow in the fore finger is not what one wants. Small slight angle bow.

 

Forefinger is also laid close to flat, with the finger pad resting on the section at 12:00/12:30 max at 13:00 in again being off to the side can put a tad of pressure to the side. The finger can not be totally flat, there will be a slight bow...the slighter the bow the better. It can not have a 'knee' bend in the middle of the finger like the tripod. (Another reason the tripod can be the death grip...the huge amount of pressure a 'knee' bend applies.) The finger just rests there on top of the section.... just enough to to keep the pen from doing somersaults. ;)

 

In many of us used the Death Grip we have nerve damage, dents or calluses at the nail joint of the middle finger. I moved where the pen rests down into the meat of the finger side...1/3 of an inch....and the pain went away.

 

Getting use to writing with the new grip....take two sheets of paper, fold in half. The first sheet front and back, write large growing smaller on the back side. The second sheet continue a bit large until the back of that sheet. By then you should be close to your regular size of script.

 

If one uses a pen with some flex....semi-flex or even superflex with a tad of practice increasing the pressure on the nib is easy to learn.

 

Took three minutes to learn, three days to switch over to it, switching back and forth seeing what was what.

I find the size of the pen makes little difference. One should IMO post medium-small pens like the 140, standard pens like the Estie, 400, P-75 and medium large pens like the P-51 or 600.

One can post the large P-45...because of it's thinning end of the barrel is fairly well balanced posted. (Is as long as the Safari. It really shocked me to find out the thin Snorkel was a large pen...IMO balances so much better posted. There it has perfect balance.

Back in the day, Perfect balance was a major plus point on the top of the line vintage standard/medium-large vintage pens. Pens with poorer balance didn't sell well, even the cheap Wearever had fairly good balance posted.

 

There were large light hard rubber pens of the '20s...and perhaps a few in the '30's. In the 40-60's pens were standard or medium-large. I never saw that thick clunky PFM in real life.......back then. Folks were still writing all day long, not just making notes or signing things like today in the office.

 

Most large pens are clunky again my opinion, and too long, heavy and ill balanced posted. Ill balanced un-posted. Goes cubed for giant pens like the 1000 or 149.

Large un-posted pens could be a bit 'short' when using the forefinger up. :P Something to get use too. But it does give you an automatic light Hand. :thumbup:

 

Sometime today pictures come. Plugging in camera now.

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.

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany & https://www.peter-bo...cts/nib-systems,

 

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

 

 

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Interesting as always! I have no problems writing with my two Sonnets, well one's a hard starter, and they both evaporate like crazy, but the other one is a dream to write with. I'm starting to think I might be missing the Pelikan's sweet spot entirely and that's why I find so "meh". I'll try to adapt.

 

 

Hi,

 

As my Sonnet has been my daily writer for years, I have developed a certain 'muscle memory' when writing. It took me more than a bit of time to adapt to other pens.

 

I found that older pens/nibs have a rather distinct sweet spot, whereas more recent nibs often have a wishy-washy vague sweet spot.

 

For quite some time the quill was the writer of the day, and quills are incredibly slender. So did Friar Tuck abscond to the Sherwood Forest because he didn't have an adaptive grip - taking-up a staff rather than a quill?

 

See also: Lighten Up http://www.richardspens.com/?page=ref/ttp/lighten_up.htm

 

Bye,

S1

Edited by Sandy1

The only time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.

 

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You're here on FPN...I suspect that if you created an ad in the classifieds, you could find a buyer. This is an international market, after all. :)

 

True!

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

 

B. Russell

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Well, to answer the OP -- I have small hands and I find Pelikan M400s and Vacumatic Majors (and the Vac Junior Lockdown filler Red Shadow Wave) to be a perfect size for me. I would not look at smaller pens like the Debutante size, though, if I were you -- especially since the sections on my Debs and Sub-Debs is a little short in comparison to the rest of the length and to other pens).

There's a chart someone posted a couple of years ago which shows the relative sizes of various model Vacumatics through the run of the line, and IIRC also includes measurements like girth. Mind you, I post all my pens (vintage AND modern) except for a few that have issues (a Rotring Art Pen, for instance -- that tapered back just is not the right shape to put a cap on it...). Do a search for "Vacumatic's Scheme" in the Parker Forum (not sure what it's originally from).

Remember that the Vacs are celluloid, so they're pretty lightweight to hold while using them.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

 

Thanks! I've seen some size comparisons, that's why I'm thinking the major might be a safer choice... Some sellers don't specify the size though... And I would be interested in the silver colour only... Which limits my choice of course.

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

 

B. Russell

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Bo Bo Olson

'90-96 in they didn't make Germany Tortoise M400 Standard sized, no ring in '97 the last year of that model in green stripes. Medium Large 605 Pelikan the blue one.

 

The forefinger lays lightly on the section at @ 12:30. The flat thumb @ 9:00/8:30. Thumbnail even with the crease....so should sit at the start of the web of the thumb.

http://i1339.photobucket.com/albums/o707/boboolson1/SAM_0932_zps0zicdto2.jpg

 

Just resting the forefinger at 12:30. The pen resting on the meat of the middle index finger....not at the nail junction.

 

http://i1339.photobucket.com/albums/o707/boboolson1/SAM_0931_zpsruznomuu.jpg

Flat thumb...bow of the forefinger about where I want it, with the thumbnail at the crease of the first forefinger joint.

http://i1339.photobucket.com/albums/o707/boboolson1/SAM_0930_zpsw7ckodaj.jpg

 

Sorry one handed didn't get all the picture I wanted. There is a bit more bend...bow so, had the thumb 1/3 into the first joint pad of the index finger. Pen should be resting just behind the big index finger knuckle above the start of the web of the thumb.

http://i1339.photobucket.com/albums/o707/boboolson1/SAM_0929_zpsegzcem27.jpg

 

Holding at the crease. Good gap...could be resting the thumb at 8:30.

http://i1339.photobucket.com/albums/o707/boboolson1/SAM_0928_zpsjboxf0in.jpg

 

The thumbnail (Think thumbnail, it is more precise.) is 1/4th to 1/3rd in the finger pad, a bit more bow to the forefinger. Thumbnail, 1/3 inside the finger pad......you of course can use only 1/4th if you wish.

http://i1339.photobucket.com/albums/o707/boboolson1/SAM_0927_zpsb2ccnxs3.jpg

A 'long' look.Forefinger at 12:30.....you can of course lay the finger at 12:00 or 13:00. There are times when I end up at 13:00 but it can be held at 12:00 if that is more comfortable.

 

http://i1339.photobucket.com/albums/o707/boboolson1/SAM_0926_zps8kcek96n.jpg

 

Again thumbnail at the crease and resting the forefinger pad at 12:30.

 

http://i1339.photobucket.com/albums/o707/boboolson1/SAM_0925_zpsbpoouv6w.jpg

 

The key is resting the pen against the flat thumb dam. Resting the forefinger pad on the section....lightly. There is no need for any pressure at all.

Comfort is more important than exactly 12:30, though I find it comfortable there. 12:00-12:30-13:00 will do.

Do not drift past 13:00 never ever at 14:00...in you will start adding pressure, like in the Tripod.

Three minutes to learn to do....and some one who could write from the writing section showed that to the com, some 7-8 years ago. Since then I've been pain free from the middle finger finger nail start, have no hand fatigue.

 

Pictures vanished for some reason, when I checked just now...re-incerted.

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.

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany & https://www.peter-bo...cts/nib-systems,

 

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

 

 

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Sasha Royale

Big pens for big hands ? No ! It's a fountain pen, not a shoe. I suggest that you take your "big hands" to a store and try the pens that interest you. Which size is comfortable in YOUR writing hand ? Which of your "mostly cheap" pens do you find comfortable ?

 

I wear a size 9 glove, but my favorite pens are the 1920's Parker Duofold, the Jihnao x450, and the Sheaffer NoNonsense. I also have a vintage Salz Brothers, in similar large size.

 

Write with joy.

Auf freiem Grund mit freiem Volke stehn.
Zum Augenblicke dürft ich sagen:
Verweile doch, du bist so schön !

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I ran into a guy that had BIG hands, but they were "meaty."

So he preferred a slightly slimmer pen than people think he would use.

 

If you want a bigger Vac, there is the "oversized" Vac.

But I understand that they are EXPENSIVE, and hard to find.

In my collecting for the past few years, I only have one oversized Vac, but many standard size vacs.

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

www.SFPenShow.com

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Big pens for big hands ? No ! It's a fountain pen, not a shoe. I suggest that you take your "big hands" to a store and try the pens that interest you. Which size is comfortable in YOUR writing hand ? Which of your "mostly cheap" pens do you find comfortable ?

 

I wear a size 9 glove, but my favorite pens are the 1920's Parker Duofold, the Jihnao x450, and the Sheaffer NoNonsense. I also have a vintage Salz Brothers, in similar large size.

 

Write with joy.

 

All but one of my current pens are comfortable: Lamy Vista, Muji, Platinum Cool, Parker Sonnet, Waterman Laureat and Man 100, Pelikan M400, Sailor Pro Gear, Pilot Penmanship, even the "wheres the section??" Faber Castell Ambition; alas I cannot go to a store and try a Vacumatic. The bigger diameter pens (still not huge) seem more comfortable.

 

Uncomfortable: Parker Vector.

 

I guess more than "big pen for big hands" I meant that the Vacumatic section seems awfully small for what I'm used to, although others have pointed out the shape matters as well, and seems comfortable to them.

Edited by pseudo88

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

 

B. Russell

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ParkerDuofold

THANK YOU VERY MUCH, BO-BO!!

The description was great, but the photos REALLY make the difference. :thumbup:

 

Thank you, BoBo, for going through all of that hassle. :)

 

I'm trying it out here at the office, right now and I'm getting there... like you said, it takes a few minutes to learn and a few days to master.

 

My E.A. finds it all quite amusing... the bitter impertinence of youth. :rolleyes:

 

Thanks again, BoBo! :thumbup:

 

- Anthony

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Bo Bo Olson

Glad to be of help.....as I said one of the big boys over in writing showed us this.

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.

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany & https://www.peter-bo...cts/nib-systems,

 

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

 

 

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ParkerDuofold

I think I'm making progress with it and the new grip is less taxing to hold. :)

 

- Anthony

Edited by ParkerDuofold
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Thanks Bo Bo! Will give it a try.

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

 

B. Russell

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