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The Parker 75 “Cisele” & Sheaffer Silver Imperial


SimiaeParvus
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The Parker 75 “Cisele” & Sheaffer Silver Imperial

 

After a few years in the hobby of collecting fountain pens I’ve reached a point, where my acquisition of pens gravitates towards a preferred style of pens. After some deliberation, I´ve come to the long term goal of acquiring a pen in sterling silver from each the “Big Four” American companies: Parker, Sheaffer, (Wahl-) Eversharp and Waterman. I´m currently halfway to that objective, having hunted down a Parker 75 in the “Cisele” (or “Cicelé”) pattern and a Sheaffer Silver Imperial in a diamond pattern. There’s no doubt that both represent the top-of-the-line in terms of design and materials. Aesthetically, they both share similar characteristics, being sterling silver pens sporting gold trim and a distinctive pattern engraved into the body of the pen.

 

The Parker 75, released in the early 1960´s was a hit on the market. Since the ballpoints increase popularity and the eventual decline of the fountain pen, the purpose of the 75 was to be one of revival and prestige. The pen was aesthetically innovative attempt to catch the higher end. Earlier, Parker had tried to appeal to the broader market with pens such as the 21, 41 and 45 which was in the low end range.The 75 borrows design elements several other lines of Parkers pens. The idea of an adjustable nib had been tossed around since 1962 VP´s user-adjustable nib and the cartridge-converter was borrowed from the Parker "45". The Parker 75 Sterling Cisele hit the market in 1964, although being finished in 1963 for Parkers 75th anniversary. Decades later, the design is still as eye catching as when it was released and the quality shines through. It follows the basic design of the 75, which haven´t changed in decades. It´s a classy, conservative design that has aged well. Where it differs, is that the body of the pen is made of sterling silver, with a grid pattern. The body of the pen is rather slim, tapering from 11mm to 8mm. The cap is a “slip-on” which is solidly seated and post well. Because of it´s size and weight, posting is probably needed. The clip is simple but very distinctive and the details are simply beautiful. The tassies at either end is applied and is most likely gold plated. The black plastic section has a triangle-shaped grip and the nib can be rotated to different angles. That helps users which grip tend to rotate the pen. The upper part of the of the section, has several indices designating how much the nib is rotated. On earlier versions a “0” marked the center, but that was discontinued in 1968. Lacking that, this is probably made post-1968, just a few years before the introduction of the Sheaffer Silver Imperial. The nib is It writes really well, though it´s slightly dry and runs a nib gauge finer than the designated medium. The filling system is the simple and reliable cartridge-converter system. This system has been covered extensively elsewhere, so I won´t go over it here.

 

Sheaffer did what any competitor would do. After the success of the Parker 75 they attempted to gain some of the market share, a few years later. The pen follows the design of the Imperial series, but instead of the typical it´s sterling silver in a lively diamond pattern. The pen is a classical, robust cigar shape with flat tops. It transitions with a slight taper from 12mm at the center of the barrel to 9 mm at either end. The body of the pen, is unibody with no particular step down from the cap. particularly the tapering section reminiscent to the Parker “51”. The shape of the body/section allow a variety of grips, which allows best writing angle for a wider group of users. The cap is a slip-on (“snap-cap”) is held on by friction. To keep it in place, there is three small tabs on the section, just between the section and barrel. It stays in place quite well, but doesn´t quite “click”. It can be posted, but I would not recommend it, as it throws off the balance and mar the finish. The gold filled clip has the white dot, indicating the lifetime guarantee. The clip is rather flat in colour, and seems slightly out of place. It is also is quite stiff. It seems poorly attached to the cap, so if you play with the clip a lot, be aware that it might snap off entirely with little to no force. The Touchdown filling system was introduced by Sheaffer in 1949, and is quite unique. It utilizes pneumatic air pressure created by down stroke of a cylindrical plunger to compress the sac inside the cylinder and fill the pen. For a proper fill, the entire nib and section must be immersed in the ink. Albeit for its innovativeness the Touchdown takes some getting used to, at it is slightly finicky. The system is quick to fill once you have the hang of it, but very slow to clean out. If you are a serial ink sampler, this might become slightly infuriating. But, if you like me, stick to the same inks it won´t be a problem if you stick to the same ink and the occasional maintenance cleaning. According to the sources, the pen is also available as a cartridge-converter, which should solve this disadvantage. Then there is Sheaffers infamous inlaid nib, unique to Sheaffer. Aesthetically, the design compliments the diamond pattern of the body quite well and is certainly anything but traditional. I suspect, although this is unfounded (I have done no work on this particular style of nib), that adjusting the nib shouldn´t be much trouble compared to a “standard-shaped” nib. Replacing it would another case though! The nib is where this pen really shines though: It´s a smooth experience with a slight bounce to it and the ink flow is almost perfect. Because of its wet nature, it runs slightly wider than the designated medium, bordering on a broad.

 

In comparison, the 75 and Imperial are, albeit their similar aesthetics, quite different animals. Both pens have looks and the weight is pleasantly substantial because of the materials used, but where the 75 is slender and conservatively elegant, the Silver Imperial is slightly more hefty and bolder/flamboyant in its expression. In terms of construction, the Parker comes out slightly ahead, as the clip doesn´t seem as brittle and the Cartridge-Converter is more reliable in terms of use, maintenance and longevity. I´m aware that Silver Imperial is available in an C/C-incarnation, which nullifies this disadvantage. The diminutive size of the 75 and the forced tripod grip is too narrow for writing for more than a few minutes at a time before my hands cramp. The outcome is, a matter of preference. The Parker 75 isn´t quite as finicky or high maintenance as the Silver Imperial but the narrow, triangular grip is a minor but deciding gripe (No pun intended) for me although the adjustable nib angle a clear advantage as I have a tendency to rotate the pen.

 

Parker 75 “Cisele”/ “Cicelé”, USA

Production period: 1964-1966

Material: Sterling Silver in a crosshatch, cisele pattern

Nib: 14k Medium

Filling System: Cartridge-Converter

Appointments: Gold Plated

Length (Capped): 133mm

Length (Uncapped): 122 mm

Section Diameter: 9 mm

Barrel Max Diameter: 11 mm

Cap Max Diameter: 11 mm

Weight, Uncapped (with ink and/or converter): 15 g

Weight, Capped (with ink and/or converter): 24g

 

Sheaffer Silver Imperial, USA

Production period: 1970-197

Material: Sterling Silver in a crosshatch, diamond pattern.

Nib: 14k Medium

Filling System: Touchdown

Appointments: Gold filled

Length (Capped): 142 mm

Length (Uncapped): 124 mm

Section Diameter: 11 mm

Barrel Max Diameter: 12 mm

Cap Max Diameter: 12 mm

Weight, Uncapped (with ink and/or converter): 18 g

Weight, Capped (with ink and/or converter): 27 g

 

Sources:

Fischier. ”Parker 75”. www.Parkerpens.net. Web. 18.08-2018. <https://parkerpens.net/parker75.html>

 

Mamoulides. “Sheaffer Touchdown Filling System”. www.Penhero.com. Web. 18.08-2018. <http://www.penhero.com/PenGallery/Sheaffer/SheafferTouchdownGuide.htm>

 

Thomas. ”The Sheaffer Imperial Family of Fountain Pens”. www.Sheaffertarga.com. Web. 18.08-2018 <http://www.sheaffertarga.com/imperial%20and%20triumph/imperial%20write%20up.html>

 

Wong. “FAQ”. www.Parker75.com. Web. 18.08-2018. <http://www.parker75.com/FAQ/FAQ.htm>

 

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Very nice review and photos. I know what you speak about inking the Sheaffer. The first two times I inked mine it wrote only a few lines then went dry. The third time was a charm and it's the pen I'm using today. I enjoy writing with mine.

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Thanks for this; that's ciselé, and it's a classic, in the sense of timeless design. I don't think the Sheaffer pulls it off. It's a shame they're so skinny, I might just try a mark II section of the Parker with the ciselé finish, although the milleraies also looks nice, if I understand correctly the section and feed / nib are specific, but are compatible with all barrels and caps.

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

 

B. Russell

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My love of sterling silver began as a child when my grandmother gave me a silver bracelet with my name engraved on it. This love extended to fountain pens when I first started the hobby many years later. I am fortunate to own not only the Parker 75 Ciselé and Sheaffer Imperial, but also a Parker Sonnet, Sheaffer Nostalgia, Sheaffer Legacy Heritage Special Edition, Waterman C/F, Waterman Gentleman, Wahl-Evershart Ventura pen and pencil set, Wahl c1920 ring top, Sailor 1911L, Pilot Flying Crane, Pelikan Majesty M-7005, and a Montegrappa Z300, all in wonderful sterling silver.

 

I am always on the lookout for sterling silver offerings when I peruse the pen shows, sites and shops.

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I love the 75 and have a complete set FP, RB, MP, I briefly had the Sheaffer with ballpoint but sold it (wish I hadn't!)

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Nice review, the sheaffer looks fantastic. I couldn't get used to the 75 in the cisel pattern and I looked at about 50 pens. Just not a fan of the gold accents and I spent weeks before I purchased a different version :D Dare I say the cisel just seems toomcommon. :blush:

 

But that sheaffer silver imperial has me going to my wallet.

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Nice review. I have about 80 cisele 75s and half a dozen sheaffer sterling silver. And I like them both. Both the cisele and the C/C version of the Sheaffer SS also came in vermeil finishes ie gold filled over sterling silver.

 

Am I right in assuming that the Sheaffer GF over SS (C/C version) is called Sovereign?

Edited by mitto

Khan M. Ilyas

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[...] it's a classic, in the sense of timeless design. I don't think the Sheaffer pulls it off. It's a shame they're so skinny [...] if I understand correctly the section and feed / nib are specific, but are compatible with all barrels and caps.

Agreed, it´s quite a timeless design! I agree that Sheaffer didn´t get the design quite right with this one, but the size is what decides it for me really. Writing for extended periods of time, which I usually do, I tend to cramp with the Parker - A thing that hasn´t occured as of yet with the Sheaffer.

 

I´ve gotten the same impression with the caps/barrels.

 

 

I am always on the lookout for sterling silver offerings when I peruse the pen shows, sites and shops.

 

I´m hunting down sterling pens as well, although they´re few and far in between where I live. It´s even rare to see a fountain pen at a fair or flea market, but most antique stores have a few around

 

Am I right in assuming that the Sheaffer GF over SS (C/C version) is called Sovereign?

 

To my knowledge, the vermeil version is called "Sovereign", and it´s stamped with a GF on the cap band

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