Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Parker 51 Dark Blue Fountain Pen

What a cougar!
I suppose I've been on a bit of a fountain pen tear lately, but after the recent discovery of a veritable trove in my basement, I've been itching to try them all out so this is the first in a sequence of six pens (more if I can get all of them to work).  There is always that exciting feeling that you get when you try a pen for the first time, laying down line after line of pure bliss or agony, depending on the pen.  What makes the experience with the fountain pen different is that it was used by someone else.  This was when pens were made to last and be reused countless times.  A vintage pen hearkens to a time when people had a "go-to" pen and they actually carried it with them at all times. The excitement I feel is that someone lovingly filled this pen with ink,  just like me, all that time ago. I used Noodler's Polar Black by the way.

It was in this era the Parker 51 1/10 12k Gold Filled Cap Dark Blue Fountain Pen was made and purchased by my grandfather or grandmother in Singapore.  As it turns out, in the 50's, my grandmother worked at a department store in Singapore as a fountain pen salesperson.  That also explains the excellent quality that the pen was in when I found it, despite the fact that it is guaranteed to have not been used for almost 40 years.  The reputation of this pen is undoubtable and the quality has so far proven to be unmatched.

The true worth of a pen is that which the owner puts in it.  This pen by modern standards writes very well and lays down a nice wet line, in a pleasant way of course.  I'm personally a bit more of a fan of EF, but this is a case where F is quite fantastic.  We all need to remember that the nib is the most important part of the pen, and here, Parker combined a very good nib with a cheap body and an extremely smooth filling system.  The weight of this pen is great with the cap posted and a little on the light side without it.  The grip is non-existent, but the barrel tapers and fits well in the hand.  So far after a few days of carrying it around with me, there have been no leaks or any problems or issues to speak of.

Sorry, I didn't have the time to take a different picture with the paper.
I wish I had more Rhodia paper!

 They just don't make 'em like they used to.  If you're a user of modern fountain pens, I highly recommend picking one of these up.  I have heard that the best way to find one is to go to garage sales and estate auctions.  Antique stores will usually cost a bit more, but will have them.  Talk to family members and friends first though, because they just might have one sitting around.  Most likely it hasn't been used in years and they'll be happy to let you have it. There is nothing more exciting for me than following the path that a pen has travelled, being a part of that history and then ensuring that it continues.

Salvete omnes!


  1. This pen has a good following for a reason. I bought a 51, of unknown vintage, about a year ago, and the medium nib is writes like a dream. The quality of materials and the thought put into the design make this an all-time classic.

    Even though vintage pens are more a gamble - and time-sink, depending on the amount of restoration needed - they are really worth the effort.

    After reading this post, I went to go ink up my black 51 with Private Reserve American Blue. :)

  2. Great pen! Also wanted to say love the color layout of your blog. Very soft and fuzzy looking. Well done.