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Pens That Hate Me, I: Parker 25



alexander_k

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When I was young, there were few fountain pens in the shops and even fewer I could afford. I had a few gaily colored plastic cylinders from the Sheaffer NoNonsense range but they felt too light and insubstantial. And I had a couple Parker 25 pens. I was not taken with the form of the nib or the barrel but at least the 25 felt more solid and balanced in my hand. Unfortunately, just like the NoNonsense, the 25 was too dry, with frequent flow problems. Quite often there was little difference between writing with a 25 or a ballpoint pen.

 

Many years and many pens passed until a 25 reappeared among my pens. It was by accident: the 25 was in a lot of 20-odd pens that I bought online. It immediately disappeared in a drawer and resurfaced only recently when I decided to experiment with nib grinding. So, I cleaned and inked it. The first letters I wrote with it brought back all those memories of agony and disappointment. The ink flow was too stingy and the pen was too unresponsive. I went ahead with the grinding, which went well, but turning its nib into a decent CI did little to improve the writing experience.

 

Never one to abandon an underdog, I took out the nib and feed, and tried everything I could to improve flow but for the first time I had to accept defeat. No improvement was noticeable. Even worse, the other pen I used in the grinding experiment, a Parker Vector, wrote so much better both before and after - and the Vector is a pen that seems far less appealing than the 25.

 

The only conclusion I can reach is that the 25 simply hates me but Id like to know why. Was it something I did?

 

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"I keep eating fish but it doesn't taste like steak. How can I cook my fish to get it to taste just like I like my steak to taste?"

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Yeh, a pen should write well with any ink you put in it. Did you try cleaning the pen in Rapidoeze or Rapidoeze with an ultrasonic? Your basic pen flush might work, but if there is dried ink in the internal collectors and feed, I wouldn't count on it. A good soak over night in the pen cleaner might work....

 

OTOH, I've had a couple of the 25s. Note the past tense. They wrote OK, but I've always thought the shape was a little weird.

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I get what you say about the design, Ron Z.

Yet, back in the day, at school, we thought these were the coolest pens!

I never had one, then ( but I did have a black harlequin, so I was doing okay in the cool pen stakes, anyway)

 

I've had a few since and they were never spectacular performers - and as I've headed more into vintage pens, over the decades, the design has lost its charm for me.

alexander_k, Nice work. I appreciate your efforts for the underdog, but I'd shift it on and get another underdog - there's plenty about!

Just my 2 cents (much increased, at current exchange rates)

 

Good luck

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Thanks for the advice, Ron and CS388. This post was meant as a tongue-in-cheek farewell to a pen model that fails to meet my basic expectations. I'll pass my last 25 on, probably to someone who writes with fountain pens as if they were ballpoints.

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Did you ever try to widen the slit, Alexander_k?

 

I have a P25 nib that apparently was bent after dropping on the point, it has been bent back to almost a straight shape and… it wrote again although wet as a river.It's slit is wider than it used to be.

But I replaced it for a Sonnet nib&feed and it's resting now in my chamber of horrors.

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Did you ever try to widen the slit, Alexander_k?

 

I have a P25 nib that apparently was bent after dropping on the point, it has been bent back to almost a straight shape and… it wrote again although wet as a river.It's slit is wider than it used to be.

But I replaced it for a Sonnet nib&feed and it's resting now in my chamber of horrors.

 

This is the best advice I have ever read on taming stingy pens: drop them hard so that the nib bends. If they haven't learned their lesson after that ...

Joking apart, this has happened to me, too, only with a different pen, also with a steel nib (I forget which): the imperfectly straightened nib worked much better than before the accident. As for the 25, I consider it a lost cause (for me) because the behaviour of this latest instance is typical of what I remember from the 1980s. Only, foolishly I assumed that now I know more and can so improve this misguided, stubborn pen.

 

PS Recently one of my children pointed out that my jokes are often lost on some because they take them seriously. That's where emojis are useful, she explained. Hopefully the tongue-in-cheek nature of the above is discernible in this forum, even without emojis.

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  • 1 year later...
lisadan

As opposed to what others have written, my Parker 25s love me (most of the time). I rarely have flow issues with them and am still impress by their toughness. I once forgot one in my pants' pocket and it went through a whole washing machine cycle. It came out of the pocket during the wash but did not open and did not leak, bend or got scratched at all. There were a few ink drops in the cap when I opened it, but that's all and it was ready to write. I admit the shape is different, but that was one of their selling points when they were introduced in the 1970s - something modern that resembled the Saturn V rocket of the Apollo space missions.  That is when I got hooked on the 25. I was in high school in the late 70s and remember them being advertised and thought they were so cool! Then my high school principal had one, which was the first "live" 25 I saw, other than in adds. Over the years I purchased several lighter ones in blue, black and green trim and a few black ones.  Till this day it is my favorite among my many other fountain pens. More of a nostalgic reason than anything else.

I hardly use pens anymore (FP or ballpoint) as my main work tool is a computer and I work in a paperless environment, but I still have inked Parker 25 on my desk, just for those few notes (or the grocery shopping list) that need to write every once in a while.

Dan

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