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Dating a Parker 51 Flighter


Paul-in-SF
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I have just received a Parker 51 Flighter, stainless steel body and cap of course, gold-plated clip ring, clip and cap band. The barrel inscription says "MADE IN U.S.A. 9" very clearly with a strong imprint, it is not possible that it once said "59" for example.  

 

At Parker Penography, it says this: "Also in 1950 the Parker "51" Flighter was introduced. This pen was made of steel with GF trim and survided (sic) until 1960. In the late 1950's the gold cap ring was deleted from the Flighter pen." It also says this immediately prior to the above: "From 1950 the single "year" digit on the body became 2 digits. "MADE IN U.S.A. 50"" This information is repeated on the page about dating Parker pens in general. 

 

In addition, the aerometric filling instructions say to squeeze 6 times, and the filler sleeve is made of chromed steel rather than brushed steel. The arrow clip measures 42 mm long, and stops about 18 mm above the bottom of the clip. I don't know if that makes it one of the transitional clips or not (there is no blue diamond). The barrel threads (where the section screws into the barrel) appear to be raised above the level of the inside of the barrel. Based on Parker Penography, these things all point to the Mark II-A version, which was made in 1948-49; all those items changed with the Mark IIB version in 1950. 

 

So there seem to be some contradictions here. Could the pen have been made, say, in late 1949 even though it wasn't sold until the next year? That would account for the single digit year code, and the other features. 

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2 hours ago, Paul-in-SF said:

Could the pen have been made, say, in late 1949 even though it wasn't sold until the next year? That would account for the single digit year code, and the other features. 

 

It had to be made before it could be sold, so a 1949 date code seems well within the realm of possibility.

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1 minute ago, gyasko said:

 

It had to be made before it could be sold, so a 1949 date code seems well within the realm of possibility.

 

Logically, yes. I guess that would make this a very early Flighter. I wonder if there are any sales figures anywhere for USA-made Flighters for that first year. 

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Also, other sources (e.g., the 51 book) have the date of introduction as late 1949.  

 

 

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The first advertisements for the Parker 51 Flighter appeared in November and December 1949 in local newspapers such as the Janesville Daily Gazette, Billings Gazette, San Francisco Examiner and Philadelphia Inquirer. The ads specifically mention that the 51 Flighter was available as a set (FP + pencil). From these ads one can assume that the 51 Flighter was for sale from at least November 1949. This agrees with the observation that 51 Flighters with date code 3d quarter 1949 exist: see the last replies in this FPN thread.

 

It is a bit odd that the first full page colour advertisement mentioning or (correction, see below) showing the 51 Flighter appeared as late as October 1950 (Saturday Evening Post, October 7, 1950). That is probably where the confusion on the introduction date of the 51 Flighter stems from. But the introduction year is definitely 1949.

 

Addition:

I just checked my Parker advertisements and found that the list of available Parker 51 models includes "All-metal custom sets in Lustraloy, $29.75" in ads from December 3, 1949 onwards. This is the 51 Flighter set.

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Well, that makes sense then. Thanks for the other, more precise, sources of information (which is what I was hoping to get by posting this). 

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The 1949 51 Flighter would be a Mark I Type 1.  It has a 40 mm gold filled arrow clip, a rolled gold trim band on the cap, a press 6 times Aerometric filler, a single digit date code, and the barrel threads are extended.

The 1950 51 Flighter would be a Mark I Type 2. It has a 36 mm gold filled arrow clip, a gold filled band on the cap, a press 4 times Aerometric filler, a two digit date code, and the barrel threads that are indented.

And since Parker was not always clean about transitions there are 1950 pens & pencils with the longer 1949 clips out there.  I have a 1949 in my collection and have sold two of them in the past.

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