Parker Vacumatic Major Fountain Pen, Emerald Pearl, XF Semi-Flex

(Sold) This is a 1946 Blue Diamond Parker Vacumatic Major fountain pen in Emerald Pearl celluloid, with gold-filled trim, and a 14k gold XF Semi-Flex nib. The pen has been restored, which included a complete disassembly, a thorough cleaning, an overhaul of the filling mechanism, ink flow adjustment, a nib tune-up, and a gentle polish with a soft cloth (by hand). I use only very gentle restoration techniques and use only the highest-quality replacement materials and specialist tools. The pen measures slightly over 5" capped and 0.48" in diameter.

Parker Vacumatic Major Fountain Pen, Emerald Pearl, XF Semi-Flex, uncapped

In the late 1930s and throughout the 1940s, the pen industry underwent a major shift toward sturdy, dependable, always-ready, consistent, self-filling pens that were supposed to perform equally well regardless of one's ink, writing technique, paper, air pressure and temperature, and other, sometimes extreme, conditions. Each major brand offered a lifetime warranty on their flagship models, and made sure their pens would not require servicing often.

Parker Vacumatic Major Fountain Pen, Emerald Pearl, XF Semi-Flex, nib profile showing excellent tipping geometry and alignment

In terms of nib manufacturing, there was a definite transition toward less flexible, larger, thicker nibs with plenty of tipping material, so that they would comply with the dominant handwriting style of the era. For most people, including office professionals, Ornamental Penmanship was quickly becoming less practical and was gradually phased out in favor of the more rapid and legible business cursive, such as the Palmer Method. Flexible nibs were still available as special-order items, but the vast majority of gold nibs made at the time were semi-flexible or firm.

Parker Vacumatic Major Fountain Pen, Emerald Pearl, XF Semi-Flex, nib close-up

Parker's nib design focused on improving the gold point's ability to absorb vibrations caused by dragging the tip across the surface of the paper. Such vibrations are often perceived as unpleasant, and nib makers went to great lengths to minimize them. The Vacumatic nib was a great example of this new type of design. The nib has variable thickness (strategically distributed), which further improves its "compliance," its ability to seamlessly conform to the writer's movement, responding to even the slightest variation in pressure, direction, and rapidity, while soaking up microscopic paper bumps with ease. This particular nib lays down a line of about 0.3 mm (on my paper) and spreads easily to about 0.7 mm with slight increase in writing pressure. This is not a fully flexible nib, so please do not try to push it beyond its limit, but it can be used rather effectively to instantly add character to your handwriting.

The pen is in excellent condition, without any flaws or defects. The Emerald celluloid has incredible depth, vibrancy, and still very good barrel transparency. The gold filled trim is in equally good shape, and the imprint is strong. The filling mechanism holds up to 1.8 ml of ink.

Parker Vacumatic Major Fountain Pen, Emerald Pearl, XF Semi-Flex, capped

Parker Vacumatic Major Fountain Pen, Emerald Pearl, F

(Sold) This is a 1946 Blue Diamond Parker Vacumatic Major fountain pen in Emerald Pearl celluloid, with a 14k gold Fine nib. The pen has been restored, which included a complete disassembly, a thorough cleaning, an overhaul of the filling mechanism, ink flow adjustment, a nib tune-up, and a gentle polish with a soft cloth (by hand). This is a full-size pen, measuring around 5.1" capped and 0.48" in diameter.

Parker Vacumatic Major Fountain Pen, Emerald Pearl, F, uncapped

Most fountain pen enthusiasts, even those who do not currently own a vintage pen, would agree that the Parker Vacumatic is utterly beautiful. Most people are also aware of its ingenious, high-capacity filling mechanism. However, fewer people are aware of the pen's incredible writing performance. Quite simply, the Vacumatic is one of the best writers ever made. There, I said it.

Parker Vacumatic Major Fountain Pen, Emerald Pearl, F, nib profile

What is it exactly that makes the Vacumatic such an awesome performer? As with most things, it's a combination of factors, including its superb ergonomics, the ink delivery system, and, of course, the nib. Made of 14k gold, the nib might look like modern nibs by the likes of Pelikan, Montblanc, Bock, etc., but the similarities are superficial only. The nib has a continuously varying thickness, which combined with the properties of the alloy (developed by annealing, tempering, and hammering) gives the nib incredible elasticity and vibration dampening ability.

As the nib moves across the surface of the paper, it begins to vibrate. These vibrations, let's call them "paper buzz," are experienced as "roughness" or "toothiness." Modern pen makers try to minimize these unwanted sensations by polishing the writing surface (the tipping material) to an extreme degree. While that might give the user a momentary sensation of smoothness, it also compromises the nib's writing ability, reducing friction and impeding capillary flow. Parker's solution to the "paper buzz" problem was radically different, and it involved engineering a vibration dampening mechanism into the nib, but, crucially, without overpolishing the writing surface. The result is a nib that writes consistently at the lightest touch, feels smooth, including rapid upstrokes and cross-strokes, and will give you a hint of line variation if called upon to do so. It's really is a genius piece of writing technology! 

The pen's in excellent condition, without any flaws or defects, with gorgeous, gleaming celluloid of incredible depth and vibrancy. The gold-filled trim is in equally great shape. A beautiful specimen! 

Parker Vacumatic Major Fountain Pen, Emerald Pearl, F, capped

Parker Vacumatic Major, Emerald Pearl, XF

(SOLD) This is a 1945 Blue Diamond Parker Vacumatic Major in Emerald Pearl celluloid, with a 14k gold XF 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 (by hand). 

Parker Vacumatic Major, Emerald Pearl, XF, uncapped, with the blind cap off

In 1945, the world lay in ruins. I grew up in a country ravaged by wars, suffering decades of unrest and poverty following the conclusion of WWII. It's difficult for me to imagine a parallel world in which the Parker Vacumatic could have been conceived, brought to market, and enjoyed by millions. The magnitude of Parker's success is staggering, though, today, with the pen industry being a mere shadow of what it once was, it might be hard to appreciate it.

Parker Vacumatic Major, Emerald Pearl, XF, nib profile showing excellent tipping geometry and alignment

The Janesville company ran a successful series of advertisements highlighting the new filling mechanism. Indeed, the Vacumatic mechanism was revolutionary at the time. It's easy to use, efficient, and holds a lot of ink. Moreover, the plunger is hidden by a cleverly designed blind cap, which does not disturb the graceful lines of the pen, as a lever mechanism unavoidably would.

Today, in the market dominated by C/C fillers, the Vacumatic seems like a pen from another era, an almost ancient piece of technology. It's only natural, particularly for new fountain pen enthusiasts to wonder if it works well, if it's durable, easy to use, and if it's superior to disposable ink cartridges. I can assure you that a well-restored Vacumatic filling mechanism functions perfectly and will give you years of dependable service. Just be careful not to let ink dry up inside your pen repeatedly, or the internal pieces may become inoperable.

The pen I'm offering today is a beautiful specimen of the Vacumatic Major. Made of the gleaming, shimmering Emerald Pearl celluloid, with superb gold-filled trim, and a large 14k gold nib, the pen looks virtually as good as new. If you saw it in a display case next to the latest Montegrappa or Visconti, you'd absolutely think it belonged alongside those expensive modern gems. 

The pen comes vested with a fantastic XF nib that lays down a consistent, juicy line of about 0.3 mm (on my paper). The nib is firm, yet feels soft on paper. There's ample tipping material, of perfect geometry. Clearly, this pen did not see much use back in the 1940s, and must have spent the subsequent decades put away safely, in favorable conditions. The pen writes a line that never hesitates, never skips, never starves for ink. It is smooth without being overly polished. It writes excellent upstrokes, at the lightest touch. It would be a perfect nib with which to writes a business cursive or American Cursive Handwriting. It would probably not make a great office paper, as ink flow is a bit too wet for the poor-quality office paper, unless you use a dry ink, such as Diamine Registrar's Blue Black. You would be hard-pressed to find a modern nib of equal performance and enjoyable feel on paper. Even the best Japanese nibs aren't as efficient at absorbing vibrations resulting from dragging the point across the paper. A superb writer!

Parker Vacumatic Major, Emerald Pearl, XF, capped