(Sold) This is a 194 Blue Diamond Parker Vacumatic Major fountain pen in Golden Pearl celluloid, with a 14k gold, two-tone XF Full-Flex nib. The pen has been restored, which included a complete disassembly, a gentle cleaning, an overhaul of the filling mechanism, ink flow adjustment, a nib tune-up, and a gentle polish with a soft cloth. This is a full-size pen, and it measures 5.1" capped and 0.48" in diameter.
Parker make a few kinds of nibs for its highly successful Vacumatic line. They all share one thing in common - a superb writing performance. The nib's ability to write a consistent, juicy line and its soft, gliding feel rank among the best ever made. Today, decades after the last Vacumatic left the factory, very few modern nib makers can boast a similarly high level of nib design, engineering, and craftsmanship. Most Vacumatic nibs are of the firm variety. After all, the pen was guaranteed for life (the Blue Diamond series), and a firm nib was more resilient to heavy-pressure writing. The Janesville company also made a semi-flex nib, which is less common, but equally good in terms of performance. A discerning customer was also able to special-order a fully flexible nib that was designed specifically for Spencerian and Ornamental Penmanship. Such nibs are very rare today, and, understandably, remain highly sought after by calligraphers and collectors alike.
The pen I am offering today comes vested with a rare, two-tone XF Full-Flex nib. With light pressure (i.e., "normal writing"), the pen writes a fantastic XF line of about 0.3 mm. With increased pressure, the tines open up with ease to produce a wide and juicy line of up to 1.3 mm, with excellent snap-back. Many flexible vintage nibs on the secondary market have signs of having been abused, flexed outside of their normal range. This nib, however, is perfect, virtually without any signs of use. It has ample tipping material, of excellent geometry. The tines are perfectly aligned, and I tuned the nib to write a somewhat wet line with light pressure so that you can take advantage of its ability to write a beautiful hairline with a light hand. For the best calligraphic effect, I recommend that you use a dry-writing ink (here, a KWZ IG Violet #3), which will enable you to get very subtle gradations of line width, necessary for the graceful transitions between hairlines and swells in Ornamental Penmanship.
This pen will perform at its best in a skilled hand. If you don't have much experience with vintage flex nibs, I recommend that you go slowly and gently, at least at first. High-quality flex performance is not about how soft the nib is or how wide it opens up. Rather, it's about the nib's responsiveness to minute variations in pressure, and this nib excels at that.
Cosmetically, the pen is simply gorgeous, without any flaws or defects. The celluloid has a vibrant color of incredible depth and chatoyancy. Barrel transparency is very good, the imprint is strong, and the gold-filled trim as good as new. Quite honestly, this is a beautiful pen. The only issue is a very slight plating loss on the nib, which happens to the vast majority of 1940s Vacumatics, and it has no bearing on performance.