Parker Vacumatic Major Fountain Pen, Azure Pearl, F, Semi-Flex

(Sold) This is a 1943 Blue Diamond Parker Vacumatic Major fountain pen in Azure Pearl celluloid, with gold-filled trim, and a 14k gold Fine Semi-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 typical specimen of the model, measuring a little over 5" capped and 0.48" in diameter.

Parker Vacumatic Major Fountain Pen, Azure Pearl, F, Semi-Flex

I am often asked for advice regarding vintage fountain pens. One of the most frequently asked questions is what pen do I recommend as a "safe bet," a pen that can easily be considered a top-tier pen, yet one that sells for a lot less than a modern pen with comparable features and performance. Those of you who follow me on Instagram probably know how much I love Sheaffer pens, but, to be honest, it is the wartime Parker Vacumatic Major that makes the best premium vintage pen for beginners and advanced collectors alike.

The Major is a larger pen in Parker's line-up, but it does appear somewhat smaller, compared to most modern luxury pens. Still, it has superb ergonomics, posts extremely well, and feels very comfortable, regardless of your grip. The material is gorgeous, particularly in Azure! The barrel has very nice transparency, which allows you to gauge your remaining ink level with ease. Speaking of ink, the Vacumatic holds a lot of it, up to 1.7 ml (with some variation across models), and comes equipped with one of the most ingenious and reliable filling mechanisms ever made.

With all that being said, the Vacumatic really excels as a writing instrument. It comes with a fantastic 14k gold nib, one that writes at the lightest touch, and when pressed harder, rewards you with a hint of line variation, instantly adding character to your handwriting. It's precise and yet it has excellent performance latitude, laying down a satisfying line in virtually all directions, with luscious long curves and steadfast rapid upstrokes. A fantastic tool with which to take your handwriting to the next level.

Parker Vacumatic Major Fountain Pen, Azure Pearl, F, Semi-Flex, capped

Sheaffer Triumph Valiant Oversize Fountain Pen, Golden Brown, F

(SOLD) This is a mid-1940s White Dot Sheaffer Triumph Valiant Oversize Fountain Pen in striated Golden Brown celluloid, with gold-filled trim, and a 14k gold, two-tone Lifetime Triumph Fine 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. The pen measures about 5.2" capped and 0.48" in diameter.

Sheaffer Triumph Valiant Oversize Fountain Pen, Golden Brown, F, uncapped, with the plunger partially extended

Sheaffer's longtime leadership in the pen industry can be demonstrated most poignantly demonstrated in the Lifetime Triumph pen, such as this Valiant Oversize. A product utterly new, far ahead of anything in the field and yet it employed many of the basic fundamentals that were engineered by the Iowa company throughout the 1940s. The pen is truly a product of Sheaffer's "progressive engineering and watch-like precision" approach to pen making. As an industry leader, Sheaffer expanded its plant, added machinery, hired new personnel, all leading to the extremely successful launch of the Triumph vac-filler. The company had such incredible engineering prowess that the U.S. Government with manufacturing high-precision components for the war effort, including mission-critical fuses.

Sheaffer Triumph Valiant Oversize Fountain Pen, Golden Brown, F, nib close-up

What makes the Triumph pen so successful as a writing instrument is its precise and dependable writing performance. Each pen was given personal attention from a team of highly skilled technicians, so when it left the factory it was ready to write, the instant it was put to paper. I hope to restore this incredible functionality with every Sheaffer pen that comes across my desk so that you can be sure to get a fantastic experience, as good as any top-tier modern fountain pen. In fact, many of my customers who dared try the somewhat unusual Triumph nib, reported back their utter joy with their new pens' dependable performance.

The pen I'm offering today is one of the nicer specimens of the Valiant I've seen. Made of the gorgeous striated Golden Brown celluloid, with excellent gold-filled trim, a high-capacity filling mechanism (up to 1.8 ml using the two-stroke filling method), and the awesome Triumph nib, this is a writing instrument unlike any made today. Give it a try and you will be amazed at how easily it puts ink on paper, how consistent its line quality is, and how resolute it is in delivering dependable performance day in, day out.

The nib writes a true-to-size Western Fine line (about 0.5 mm on my paper), so it probably sold as a Medium, which makes it a particularly rare model. I tuned it to writes somewhat wet, so you get that desirable gliding sensation, but without too much ink pooling or smearing. This pen would make an awesome workhorse, daily carry, office or school kind of pen. It comes with an additional writing surface, accessed simply by flipping the nib upside-down, for a much finer line, perfect for quick notes and marginalia.

The pen is in fantastic condition, without any flaws or defects, with excellent, vibrant celluloid, equally good gold-filled trim, and a strong imprint. A beautiful specimen!

Sheaffer Triumph Valiant Oversize Fountain Pen, Golden Brown, F, capped

Parker 51 Vacumatic Fountain Pen, Cordovan Brown, F

(Sold) This is a 1947 full-size Blue Diamond Parker 51 Vacumatic in Cordovan Brown, with a two-tone stainless steel cap, gold-filled trim, and 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, nib tuning, and a gentle polish with a soft cloth (by hand).

Parker 51 Vacumatic Fountain Pen, Cordovan Brown, F, with the cap and blind cap removed

Having such a huge variety of awesome fountain pens available today (both vintage and modern), it's becoming more and more difficult to put together one's "Top Five" lists of favorites. However, no matter how I shuffle my "Top Five," the Parker 51 Vacumatic is always there, and close to the very top. Apparently, I am not crazy, as the "51" has been "the world's most wanted pen."

Parker 51 Vacumatic Fountain Pen, Cordovan Brown, F, nib profile

To me, what makes the "51" a favorite is its writing performance. Period. Yes, you can argue that it has supreme ergonomics (no step, no threads, a slight taper), and that it comes with a sophisticated, high-capacity filling mechanism, but, at the end of the day, when the rubber meets the road (insert your favorite cliche), and the pen has to perform consistently, at the highest level, regardless of ink, paper, writing technique, the "51" never lets me down. It writes where most other pens refuse to. It produces the most splendid, silky smooth monoline that other pens are jealous of. It is firm, without feeling harsh. It has that awesome, resolute willingness to deliver ink to paper, without fuss, without hesitation. 

The pen is in fantastic condition, without any flaws or defects. The material is vibrant, with a deep, rich color, and a pleasant glossy finish. The cap and gold-filled clip are in equally great shape. Truly, a fantastic specimen, and, interestingly, the "last year" model of the Blue Diamond lifetime warranty. The following year, Parker began a transition toward the new variant of the "51," the Aerometric.

Parker 51 Vacumatic Fountain Pen, Cordovan Brown, F, capped

Sheaffer Triumph Statesman Tuckaway Fountain Pen, F

(Sold) This is a mid-1940s White Dot Sheaffer Triumph Statesman Vac Tuckaway fountain pen in Black, with a 14k gold Triumph Fine 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). The pen measures around 4.5" capped, 5.2" posted, and 0.45" in diameter. It writes a line of 0.4 mm (on my paper) and holds 0.6 ml of ink.

Sheaffer Triumph Statesman Tuckaway Fountain Pen, F, uncapped, with the plunger partially extended

So many of us use fountain pens on the go. Whether it's at work, school, a coffee shop, a sturdy, dependable pocket pen is a must. Today, a handful of pen brands make such pens, including the TWSBI Mini and Kaweco Sport, both extremely popular models. If you like these pens, you're going to love the Sheaffer Tuckaway.

Sheaffer Triumph Statesman Tuckaway Fountain Pen, F, nib close-up

A compact pen when capped, the Tuckaway converts into a full-size pen when posted, measuring 5.2 inches, right in the vicinity of large modern pens, such as Pelikan M800 and Aurora Optima (unposted). The Sheaffer writes a fantastically smooth, reliable line of about 0.4 mm (on my paper), delivering confident strokes in virtually all directions, without impeding its writing ability. A gold point that's extremely forgiving of angle, rotation, grip, and writing pressure, the Tuckaway will write on all kinds of paper, including small, thick notebooks that don't lie perfectly flat. The vacuum filling mechanism is a lot of fun to use and holds a respectable 0.6 ml of ink (using a one-stroke method), possibly more if you are not intimidated by the two-stroke method (practice first with plain water!). And the pen's very affordable!

Sheaffer Triumph Statesman Tuckaway Fountain Pen, F, capped

Sheaffer Triumph Statesman Tuckaway Fountain Pen, F, posted

Parker Vacumatic Major, Golden Pearl, F

(SOLD) This is a 1946 Blue Diamond Parker Vacumatic Major in Golden Pearl celluloid, with gold-filled trim, and a 14k gold Fine 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, without chemicals). The pen measures about 5.1" capped and 0.48" in diameter.

Parker Vacumatic Major, Golden Pearl, F, uncapped, with the blind cap off

When I work on vintage fountain pens or write with them, I seem to experience the world as a better place. A place that it could be. I feel the same way about the pen community, which is an enclave of sanity for me, a place that's peaceful, welcoming, full of tolerance and optimism. A place full of fantastic people who find utter joy in the simple act of handwriting. A place where "all the doors are red." I am very thankful for being a part of it.

Parker Vacumatic Major, Golden Pearl, F, nib close-up

Today, I have a pen that epitomizes my love of fountain pens. It's a Parker Vacumatic Major in Golden Pearl celluloid. To me, it's one of the most beautiful pens ever made. The shape is so simple, streamlined, graceful, and yet so comfortable to hold. The lines are gentle, flowing, undisturbed by a filling contraption; the blind cap flawlessly incorporated into the barrel . The section is slightly tapered, with a gentle lip, and supremely ergonomic. Posted or not, the Vacumatic remains well-balanced, feeling like an extension of my hand. The gold-filled trim is subtle, distinguished, but without overpowering the gorgeous, shimmering, gleaming celluloid.

The nib writes a confident Fine line of about 0.4 mm (on my paper) with a pleasant amount of "spring." It's tuned to write at the lightest touch, which I strongly believe is crucial to a satisfying writing performance. The nib starts writing the instant you put it to paper. It seems to develop an relationship, a physical and emotional bond with the paper, a mechanism that provides a seamless transition between your thoughts and the page. There's no more barrier between you and your writing, no excuse for not picking up the pen. And when you start writing, the world becomes a better place and "all the doors are red."

The pen is in fantastic condition, without any flaws or defects, with a gorgeous, vibrant celluloid, excellent barrel transparency, and great gold-filled trim. The filling mechanism works efficiently and holds a lot of ink. The imprint is slightly faded, but still crisp. If you wish to buy this pen as a present, please, let me know and I will include a gift box with the pen. Thanks!

Parker Vacumatic Major, Golden Pearl, F, capped

Parker Vacumatic Major Fountain Pen, Black, F

(SOLD) This is a 1946 Blue Diamond Parker Vacumatic Major fountain pen in Black celluloid, with gold-filled trim, and a 14k gold Fine 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.

Parker Vacumatic Major Fountain Pen, Black, F, uncapped, with the blind cap removed

My ultimate goal in restoring vintage fountain pens is for my customers to enjoy writing with them. I, therefore, carefully select suitable candidates from among fountain pens made between the early 1930s and the late 1950s by the four major U.S. brands, as I believe most of the models made in that era can be fantastic daily performers, even for the discerning writer. 

To me, writing with a restored vintage fountain pen is all about the joy it brings me. The pen I am offering today is a great example of such a pen, yet it is also quite affordable. Because it has a small blemish on the cap and the imprint is a bit faded, the pen's available at a 25% discount, which makes it one of the most affordable Vacumatics today. I am guessing the pen will sell quickly, so if you're interested in ordering it, please do not delay and contact me as soon as you can.

Parker Vacumatic Major Fountain Pen, Black, F, nib tune-up

If you like pens that write a conservative, dry line for use on poor-quality office paper, this pen is not for you. However, if you enjoy soft, gold nibs that dampen vibrations, joyfully grab onto the surface of the paper, and lay down a juicy, enjoyable line, look no further. The nib is tuned to write wet, which means that it will help bring out the color depth, saturation, shading, and even sheen out of your most beautiful inks. If you use it on great paper, such as Tomoe River, the ink is likely to pool slightly, giving you that luscious, velvety smooth look that you, no doubt, have seen in the awesome work by @gourmetpens , @attilasultis , and @catharinemisook (among others). Such a line is the reason why I, and many other pen fans, reach for the vintage fountain pen, as modern pens are, typically, tuned to write with quite a bit more restraint. This pen, however, is anything but shy. It brims with self-confidence and will take your creative, characterful handwriting in stride, giving it the flair it is capable of and deserves.

Parker Vacumatic Major Fountain Pen, Black, F, capped

Sheaffer Triumph Valiant Tuckaway Fountain Pen, Marine Green, F

(On hold) This is a mid-1940s White Dot Sheaffer Triumph Valiant Tuckaway in striated Marine Green celluloid, with a wide gold-filled cap band, and a 14k gold, two-tone, Triumph Lifetime Fine 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). The pen measures 4.48"capped, 5.15" posted, 0.4" section and 0.45" barrel diameter. The White Dot is located on the top of the cap.

Sheaffer Triumph Valiant Tuckaway Fountain Pen, Marine Green, F, with the cap off and the plunger partially extended

Sheaffer designed the Tuckaway to be a "lady" pen, which was fairly common at the time. Today, however, pen companies use a very different narrative for such "pocket" pens, but the fact remains these pens are incredibly practical, and, hence, very popular. If you're a fan of the Kaweco Sport, a TWSBI Mini, or a Stipula Passaporto, you're going to love the Tuckaway.

Sheaffer Triumph Valiant Tuckaway Fountain Pen, Marine Green, F, capped

To me, personally, the Triumph Tuckaway is the perfect pocket pen. Designed to be, equal parts, beautiful and sturdy, the pen excels at practicality and sheer performance. Capped, it will fit in your pants pocket, your purse, or backpack, but when posted, it converts into a full-size pen. In its posted configuration, the Tuckaway has fantastic ergonomics,  measuring about 0.51" in total length, with a very comfortable section of about 0.4" in diameter, which makes it nearly identical in terms of proportions and "heft" to the Pelikan M800 unposted. If you write with your M800 with the cap off, the Tuckaway is going to feel very comfortable in your hand, and with the portability that those larger pens are often jealous of.

Sheaffer Triumph Valiant Tuckaway Fountain Pen, Marine Green, F, comparison with the Pelikan M800

The pen's functionality and performance are first-rate. The vacuum filling mechanism is efficient, holds a lot of ink, and it's a lot of fun to use. The ink window lets you gauge the remaining ink level with ease. The section has a subtle texture, so a secure grip is always assured. The cap merges with the body seamlessly, with excellent balance in the hand. The large nib extends the section, giving you an incredibly versatile pen in terms of grip. Add to it the Triumph nib's large sweet spot and forgiving nature, and you have a superb writing instrument, able to accommodate a broad variety of grips, holding angles, rotation, and writing pressure. I am not sure I'd be able to find a modern pen that can boast such a combination of features and performance.

The pen is in beautiful condition. The shimmering, gleaming celluloid  has awesome depth and vibrancy. The gold-filled trim is spotless, and the imprint is strong. It's a pen that should satisfy even the most discerning high-end collector, but it will give a dedicated writer lots of joy and performance to match. The nib writes a Fine line of about 0.4 mm (on my paper).

Sheaffer Snorkel Statesman, Black, F

(Sold) This is a White Dot Sheaffer Snorkel Statesman fountain pen in Black, with a palladium-silver Fine Triumph 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.

Sheaffer Snorkel Statesman, Black, F, uncapped

The Sheaffer Snorkel is broadly considered one of the most advanced fountain pens ever built. Most fountain pen enthusiasts are familiar with the meaning of the term "Snorkel" so I will spare you the story. However, what a lot of people are not aware of is that  a well-restored, well-tuned Snorkel is a phenomenal writer. In my opinion, the Snorkel is among some of the best performing fountain pens I've ever used, vintage or modern. The filling mechanism is easy to use and downright fun, but it is the nib (a nib and feed system, really) that really takes the cake.

So what makes it such a great writer? First of all, the ergonomics. It seems like such a simple thing, really, yet time and time again, pen designers get ergonomics wrong. Not at Sheaffer's! The Snorkel has a gently streamlined shape, a long, slightly textured section, not appreciable step-down, and excellent balance, posted or not. The ink delivery system is rather complex in terms of engineering, but what's important to us, writers, is that the overall surface area of the ebonite material that makes contact with the ink is massive, especially for a pen of this size. A large surface area means an excellent ink buffering capability. Regardless of atmospheric conditions, your writing technique, the paper or the ink used, the pen delivers a generous, yet controlled and consistent flow of ink. Again, a feature that many pen designers often get wrong.

Once the ink reaches the nib, the real magic happens. The Triumph nib is made of palladium-silver, an alloy very similar to that used by Visconti on most of their high-end "Dreamtouch" nibs. the alloy is similar to gold in both its fluid dynamics and vibration dampening properties. As a result, you're getting a nib that's both firm and soft. Yeah, I know that sounds like a contradiction, but it really is not. The nib will perform very well both in the hand of an experienced calligrapher and a complete novice. Sheaffer made sure of that by giving the nib a large sweet spot and a slightly upturned tip, which gives you that desirable sensation of smoothness, but without impediment to ink flow. A really ingenious design! Finally, if you need a thinner line, simply flip the nib upside down. On the reverse side, the writing surface is significantly finer, yet without much loss in smoothness or flow.

Cosmetically, the pen is in excellent shape! The material has a nice, deep color and a smooth surface. The gold-filled trim is in equally great condition, the imprint is strong. This pen would be a fantastic first "serious" vintage pen for a fountain pen novice, and it would be excellent as a tool for cursive handwriting. It lays down a 0.4 mm line (on my paper), and it sold as  Fine, though, by today's standards, it close to a Western XF (e.g., as in a Pelikan M800, Montblanc LeGrand, etc.). 

Parker 51 Vacumatic Fountain Pen, Blue Cedar, Gold-Filled Cap, F

(Sold) This is a full-size, Blue Diamond Parker 51 Vacumatic fountain pen in Blue Cedar, with a 14k gold-filled cap, and a 14k gold Fine nib. The pen has been restored, which included a complete disassembly, a gentle, but 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).

Parker 51 Vacumatic Fountain Pen, Blue Cedar, Gold-Filled Cap, F, uncapped

Since today is Thanksgiving, a special day for millions of Americans, I thought I'd celebrate the occasion with a special pen. The year 1947 was interesting at Parker. It marked the introduction of the Demi Vacumatic (a cute, though short-lived pen), the beginning of the phase-out of the 51 Vacumatic, and the discontinuation of the Blue Diamond warranty program. These "transitional" pens are somewhat rare, and valuable among collectors. Even if you're not particularly keen on the pen's heritage, you'll probably agree that the 1947 Parker 51 Vacumatic I'm offering today is a gorgeous pen.

The pen is simply flawless, beautiful! Made of the vibrant Blue Cedar plastic, with a 14k gold-filled cap, decorated with a subtle guilloché pattern, and a partially gold-filled clutch. The awesome thing about the 51 is that despite its long, rich history, its prevalence at pen shows, its well-known features, it manages to look every bit as modern as it did back in the 1940s. A truly timeless design, the 51 has proven to be a faithful companion for millions of people over the decades.

It's a rare pen that fits virtually any writing scenario. Do you need a pen to write a novel with? Sign your marriage license with? Take it with you on your honeymoon? Use it to take notes with in college? Jot down lab notes? Take advantage of its large ink capacity for your urban sketching? Need to practice penmanship? Keep it by your side, doodle with when you need the reassuring calm of your favorite fountain pen? 

Parker 51 Vacumatic Fountain Pen, Blue Cedar, Gold-Filled Cap, F, nib profile

This particular pen writes a fantastic Fine line of about 0.4 mm (on my paper), which makes it a superb all-rounder. The nib has a large sweet spot and is fairly forgiving of one's handwriting technique quirks (we all have them!). It is tuned to write at the lightest pressure, but will take a heavy hand in stride. The long, slightly tapered section, makes it ideal to hold for people with unconventional grips (e.g., left-handed overwriters, "death grip" users, etc.), and it can be used equally well whether it's posted or not. The filling mechanism works efficiently and holds a lot of ink (up to 1.7 ml in my test).

Parker 51 Vacumatic Fountain Pen, Blue Cedar, Gold-Filled Cap, F, capped

Sheaffer Triumph Vac Fountain Pen and Pencil Set, F

(On Hold) This is a 1942 White Dot Sheaffer Triumph Vac-filler fountain pen and mechanical pencil set in striated, semi-transparent Black celluloid, with a 14k gold, two-tone Triumph Lifetime Fine 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. The pencil has also been restored to full functional and cosmetic condition. The set comes in the original box, also in great condition.

Sheaffer Triumph Vac Fountain Pen and Pencil Set, F, uncapped and with the plunger partially extended

In the 1940s, as the U.S., joined World War II, the fountain pen industry was faced with severe material shortages (including rationing), labor shortages, and a difficult economic and political climate. In addition, Sheaffer was tasked by the U.S. Government with the manufacturing of high-precision armament components, such as bomb fuses, testament to the Iowa company's superior technological prowess. Despite all that, Sheaffer came up with one of its most successful fountain pens ever, the Triumph vacuum filler.

The set I'm offering today is a superb example of the Triumph. Made of Black celluloid, with a semi-transparent barrel, a wide gold-filled band, and vested with a phenomenal Triumph nib, the pen is a beautiful writing instrument, capable of incredible performance. The filling mechanism, which has just been completely rebuilt, works efficiently and holds a lot of ink. The nib writes an utterly enjoyable Fine line of about 0.5 mm (on my paper) that is smooth and consistent. The genius of the Triumph nib is that it feels smooth regardless of (reasonable) variations in holding angle and rotation about the page. The nib has a large "sweet spot," which allows its user to write rapid strokes in all directions, without ever skipping, skidding, or catching the paper. The oversize ebonite feed provides generous, yet controlled flow that will never run dry.

Sheaffer Triumph Vac Fountain Pen and Pencil Set, F, capped

The pen and pencil set would make a great gift; it even comes in the original box. Why not consider it as a Christmas present for a family member or a friend? I think it would be a more interesting and original gift than even the latest and greatest electronic gadget.

Sheaffer Triumph Vac Fountain Pen and Pencil Set, F, boxed

Sheaffer Craftsman Fountain Pen, Carmine, F

(sold) This is a mid-1940s Sheaffer Craftsman lever-filled fountain pen in striated Carmine red celluloid, with a 14k gold, two-tone Feather Touch Fine 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 (by hand, with a soft cloth). The pen measures 5.1" capped and 0.45" in diameter.

The vast majority of modern fountain pens are made of injection-molded plastic. Such pens are relatively inexpensive, as the manufacturing process lends itself to the usual cost-saving thanks to mass production. If you wish to own a more visually interesting  pen, you need to pay more, and your typical material choices include acrylic, ebonite, wood, and celluloid.  Each material has its pros and cons, but there seems to be a consensus in the pen community that celluloid is the royalty of pen materials.

Celluloid is truly an organic material, made from natural cotton seed fibers, colored with natural dyes, created in a painstakingly long, intricate, and tightly controlled process. Today, only a handful of pen companies use celluloid due to the incredibly high cost of the material and the inherent manufacturing complexity involved. Still, many discerning customers are willing to pay a substantial premium for modern Montegrappa celluloid pen. The material's beauty, its depth and chatoyancy, it's shimmering quality are simply irresistible.

If you are interested in owning a celluloid pen but are discouraged by the price, may I offer you an alternative? Here is a beautiful, restored, vintage Sheaffer Craftsman, made of the famous striated Carmine celluloid, a lever-filler, vested with a fantastic 14k gold Feather Touch Fine nib. A pen that's truly as beautiful as it is functional, and, best of all, it costs a fraction of a modern Italian celluloid fountain pen.

The pen is in excellent condition, without any flaws or defects, with gorgeous, vibrant, smooth celluloid, excellent gold-filled trim, and a strong imprint. The nib is tuned to write at the lightest touch, laying down a Fine line of about 0.4 mm (on my paper). The pen provides an enjoyable, smooth, confident writing experience that would be very hard to match by a modern pen, regardless of price. It would be an ideal first vintage pen for a fountain pen enthusiast, but, in the hand of a skilled fountain pen writer, it would produce the most graceful handwriting, and, most importantly, give you lots of joy and a great reason to just write.

Sheaffer Craftsman Touchdown, Burgundy, F

(Sold) This is a late 1940s Sheaffer Craftsman Touchdown fountain pen in Black, with a 14k gold, "33" Fine 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 medium-size pen, measuring 5.08" capped and 0.44" in diameter.

Sheaffer Craftsman Touchdown, Burgundy, F, uncapped.

The price range between $50 and $100 is somewhat odd in the modern fountain pen market. The vast majority of the pens are likely to be mass-produced, plastic, C/C filler pens with a stainless steel nib. Some exceptions do exist, with nicer acrylic or metal bodies, but the steel nib is the constant fixture on those pens. What if you could find a pen that's just as well made, with a unique, high-capacity filling mechanism, and a gold nib? Impossible? Well, yes, unless you consider pens such as this awesome Sheaffer Craftsman Touchdown.

The Craftsman is a very interesting pen in its own right, but its key feature is the 14k gold nib. The least expensive gold-nibbed pen on Goulet Pens is the Pilot E95S, priced at $136. Though it's a very interesting pen, it's way outside our range of interest. If you're in the market for a new, economically priced pen, perhaps a gift for a friend, under $100, may I suggest that you consider this Craftsman?

It is a fantastic pen in excellent condition! In true Sheaffer fashion, it is well-balanced, posted or not. It's built to last, and holds a lot of ink. The nib writes a gorgeous, smooth, luscious Fine line of about 0.5 mm (on my paper), and has a very pleasant springy feel. It's tuned to write at the lightest touch, but it will take increased pressure in stride, giving you a hint of line variation. The nib is a dependable writer, without any hard-start, skipping, or ink starvation issues. It would be a perfect school or office pen, and it will put the fun back into note taking. Do you enjoy writing in a journal? This pen will deliver a superb performance on the go.

Parker 51 Vacumatic Demi Fountain Pen, Blue Cedar, F

(Sold) This is a 1947 Parker 51 Vacumatic Demi in Blue Cedar with a 14k gold Fine 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. The pen measures 4.9" capped and 0.46" in diameter.

Parker 51 Vacumatic Demi Fountain Pen, Blue Cedar, F, unposted

It is not difficult to come up with superlatives regarding the Parker 51 and its heritage. Clearly, one of the best fountain pens ever made, and certainly the most popular. There was a time, when the "51" was in short supply and customers had to wait for weeks to get one. The pen's success was very much deserved. A superbly comfortable writing instrument, a fantastic performer, and a beautiful, classy, timeless-looking pen, a restored "51" is one of the best deals in the vintage pen market. A pen that's like a gift that keeps on giving. You buy it today, and it will continue performing at the highest level for years and years to come.

Parker 51 Vacumatic Demi Fountain Pen, Blue Cedar, F, nib profile

The Demi was specifically designed for women. As more and more women were entering the office, white-collar workforce, the "51" was an ideal pen with which to accomplish daily writing needs. A pen so comfortable, posted or unposted, so easy to fill, and enjoyable to write with. A pen that never feels or looks gaudy or out of place. A true workhorse of a pen. This particular Demi writes a confident, smooth Fine line of about 0.5 mm (on my paper), with a large sweet spot, a firm, yet soft feel on paper, and that incredible gliding sensation that only a well-tuned vintage pen can provide. With the Holiday season approaching, the pen would be an ideal gift for a family member or a friend, even if they're not particularly experienced with fountain pens. Let me know and I will include a nice gift box with the pen.

The pen is in very good condition, with some wear to the clip, but, otherwise, without any flaws or defects. Functionally, the pen works as well as it did when it left the factory back in 1947. A superb writing instrument.

Parker 51 Vacumatic Demi Fountain Pen, Blue Cedar, F, capped

Sheaffer Triumph Crest Fountain Pen, Golden Brown, F

(On hold) This is a 1942 White Dot Sheaffer Triumph Crest ("1500") fountain pen in striated Golden Brown celluloid, with a 14k gold-filled cap, and 14k gold, two-tone Triumph Lifetime Fine 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). This is a full-size pen, measuring 5" capped and 0.47" in diameter. The Crest was the "flagship" of the Sheaffer catalog in the 1940s.

Sheaffer Triumph Crest Fountain Pen, Golden Brown, F, uncapped, with the plunger partially extended

In the early 1940s, Sheaffer was the leader of the U.S. pen industry, with an extensive catalog, where even the entry-level pens were of outstanding quality. At the top of the catalog, sat its the Crest, the Iowa company's flagship model. The pen I am offering today is a beautiful, immaculate Crest that dates back to 1942, the early days of the Triumph line. The pen has two important characteristics that set it apart from later Triumph models. First, the barrel acts as an ink reservoir. It's semi-transparent, so you can easily see the ink inside it. Second, the pen has a matching striated section, which is as beautiful as it is functional, with a  pleasant, "warm" feel that only vintage celluloid can provide.

Sheaffer Triumph Crest Fountain Pen, Golden Brown, F, nib profile showing excellent tipping geometry and alignment

Sheaffer attributed a large part of the success to their R&D laboratories. While most modern high-end pen makers focus on creating highly decorative, luxury pens, Sheaffer's attention was primarily on features that enhanced the pen's utility as a writing instrument. The Triumph truly was a triumph of ingenuity and engineering, yet it was also beautiful. The Crest is perhaps as much "bling" as you're ever going to get on a 1940s Sheaffer pen. It's a classy, handsome implement, made of extraordinarily beautiful striated celluloid, with a gold-filled cap with a subtle Art Deco guilloche decorative pattern. And it's in excellent condition, without any flaws or defects. The material has great color, depth, vibrancy, and chatoyancy, the gold-filled trim smooth and glossy, free of imperfections.

Sheaffer Triumph Crest Fountain Pen, Golden Brown, F, nib close-up

A full-size pen, the Crest posts very well, so it should be comfortable even for people with large hands. The pen is perfectly balanced, posted or not, with a large, comfortable, gently ribbed section and a wrap-around, two-tone nib. The Crest comes equipped with a vacuum filling mechanism, which has been completely rebuilt, functioning smoothly and holding a lot of ink. 

The 14k Lifetime nib is a delight! In true Triumph fashion, it has two writing surfaces, a large sweet spot, and a soft feel on paper. It lays down a standard Sheaffer Fine line of about 0.5 mm (on my paper), and writes self-assured strokes in virtually any direction. The nib is perfectly smooth, but its smoothness is achieved by clever engineering and superb craftsmanship rather than by polishing the writing surface to an extreme degree. As a result, the Crest is a dependable writer that will never let you down, and, unless you're a fan of extra broad nibs, will bring you a lot of joy and help take your handwriting to the next level.

Speaking of handwriting, the Triumph nib is a fantastic tool with which to practice penmanship. Because of its forgiving geometry and a slightly upturned tip, it excels at writing long, rapid strokes that are needed for cursive handwriting. It truly is a precision tool, and it will not hard-start, skip, or starve for ink, rewarding you with a line that you can rely on for that smooth, flowing, graceful handwriting you want. And, did I mention it writes at the lightest pressure? It does, indeed, and, as importantly, it will take  a heavy hand in stride.

Sheaffer Triumph Crest Fountain Pen, Golden Brown, F, capped

Sheaffer Triumph Valiant Oversize, Chocolate Brown, XF

(SOLD) This is a mid-1940s White Dot Sheaffer Triumph Valiant Vac Oversize ("1250") in Chocolate Brown with a 14k gold, two-tone Fine  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 model was the largest in Sheaffer's wartime catalog. 

Sheaffer Triumph Valiant Oversize, Chocolate Brown, XF, uncapped, with the plunger partially extended

Sheaffer claimed that a large part of their "leadership" in the pen industry was thanks to the use of gold, "one of the finest raw materials." Today, the role of solid gold nibs is often questioned, particularly by pen companies, who have a significant business interest in selling steel-nibbed pens. The price of gold has gone up in recent years, and pen makers are finding it difficult to justify (and afford) putting gold nibs on their pens. In fact, a modern 18k gold nib alone costs a lot more than most decent fountain pens. Fortunately, we can still find wonderful vintage gold-nibbed pens at affordable prices.

Sheaffer Triumph Valiant Oversize, Chocolate Brown, XF, nib profile, showing excellent tipping geometry and alignment. Also, note the crisp imprint.

So what is the deal with gold nibs? Are they inherently better than stainless steel? No, stainless steel nibs can be very good, but the magic of vintage gold nibs is in the intricate combination of several important factors behind a high-quality vintage gold nib, such as this Sheaffer Triumph. The manufacturing process, which is largely lost to us, was focused on creating the best writing instrument possible. The gold alloy, its processing (incl., annealing, tempering, hammering, etc.), the design itself, and, most importantly, the finishing technique used, all contributed to creating a fantastic tool that remains unmatched by most gold nibs made today.

Sheaffer Triumph Valiant Oversize, Chocolate Brown, XF, nib close-up

The Triumph nib is firm, by design, yet it feels soft on paper. It provides that cushioned ride across the paper, as if hovering above the surface of the paper, yet without feeling disconnected from it. The material excels at dampening vibrations resulting from dragging the point across the rough paper, which gives the writer that highly desirable sensation of smoothness. But it's smoothness done right, i.e., without compromising the nib's writing ability, without the hard-starts and skips that plague overly polished modern "luxury" pens. A lot of my customers who have given the Triumph nib a chance, report back how much they love their Sheaffer nibs, how different they feel, how well they write.

The Valiant I am offering today is a large pen in excellent condition. The Chocolate Brown material is smooth, with a rich and vibrant color, a clear ink window, a strong imprint, and virtually no signs of use. The gold-filled trim, including the cap threads, is in equally great shape. Quite simply, a handsome, beautiful pen.

Sheaffer Triumph Valiant Oversize, Chocolate Brown, XF, capped

Parker Vacumatic Major, Silver Pearl, F

(SOLD) This is a 1945 Blue Diamond Parker Vacumatic Major in Silver Pearl celluloid, with nickel-plated trim, and a 14k gold Fine 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 hand polish. This is a full-size pen, measuring 5.1" capped and 0.48" in diameter.

Parker Vacumatic Major, Silver Pearl, F, uncapped, with the blind cap removed

Stealthy-looking pens are in vogue these days. However, stealth was not a common look in the vintage pen world. The pen I am offering today is as close to a monochromatic color scheme as it gets for pens made in the first half of the 20th century. I hope you find it interesting.

Parker Vacumatic Major, Silver Pearl, F, nib profile showing excellent tipping geometry and alignment.

The Vacumatic is in fantastic condition. The Silver Pearl celluloid is smooth, deep, and rich in color. The barrel has nice transparency, so you can see the Vacumatic filling mechanism work its wonders and gauge remaining ink level with ease. The nickel-plated trim is in excellent condition, particularly given how poorly it typically wore over time. Simply put, this is a beautiful writing instrument that should satisfy even the most discerning fountain pen connoisseurs.

The start of the show here is the 14k gold nib. It writes a generous Fine line (about 0.5 mm on my paper) that is wet and luscious. It's the kind of nib that brings out the beauty in your favorite inks. You're going to see your inks shade and sheen better than in most modern pens. The large nib, along with the two-channel oversize ebonite feed, are going to provide a superb writing experience. The nib is tuned to write at the lightest pressure, as Parker intended, but it will take a heavy hand in stride, rewarding its owner with a pleasant, cushioned ride across the paper, but without the feeling of being disconnected from the page, without skipping or skidding out of control. If you use a dry ink, such as Rohrer & Klingner Salix, the nib will write a slightly thinner, more conservative line, suitable for office use.

Parker Vacumatic Major, Silver Pearl, F, capped

Sheaffer Balance in Marine Green, F

(Sold) This is a c. 1935 Sheaffer Balance Lever-filler fountain pen in Marine Green celluloid, with a 14k gold Fine nib. The pen has been restored, which included a complete disassembly, a gentle cleaning, an overhaul of the filling mechanism, ink flow adjustment, nib tuning, and a gentle polish with a soft cloth. The pen measures 4.7" capped and 0.42" in diameter.

Sheaffer Balance in Marine Green, F, uncapped

Do you ever wonder if your handwriting would improve if only you had that special fountain pen that does what your hand commands? I know I do, and this pen does. What joy this pen is to write with! Being part of the Balance family, its ergonomically sound, very comfortable (posted or unposted), it fits my hand like a glove, though if you are a lover of the Delta Dolcevita OS, this pen is probably not for you.

Sheaffer Balance in Marine Green, F, nib profile

The nib writes a true-to-size Fine line (about 0.5 mm on my paper), laying down a silky smooth line with generous ink flow. The nib conforms to your movement perfectly, obeying your subtle shifts in movement in any direction. The downstrokes are as self-assured as upstrokes, the cross-strokes feel as smooth and as confident. It writes at the lightest pressure, and will reward you with a gentle "give" if pressed harder. This would be an ideal "first vintage pen" for a person who loves to write in their journal, for someone who loves inks, their color and shading, for someone who enjoys long writing sessions in a coffee shop, interspersed with delicious bites of tiramisu.

Sheaffer Balance in Marine Green, F, nib close-up

The pen is in excellent condition. If you saw it in a display case next to a modern Italian beauty, you'd think they absolutely belong together. This celluloid tends to be discolored on most pens of this era, but this particular pen is free of any discoloration or flaw. The gold-filled trim is excellent. The imprint is strong. A beautiful specimen of this fantastic model! 

Sheaffer Balance in Marine Green, F, capped

Parker Vacumatic Major, Golden Pearl, F

(SOLD) This is a 1945 Blue Diamond Parker Vacumatic Major in Golden 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, nib tuning, and a gentle polish with a soft cloth (by hand). The pen measures just over 5" capped, and 0.5" in diameter.

Parker Vacumatic Major, Golden Pearl, F, uncapped, with the plunger showing

The Parker Vacumatic was a revolutionary pen. The statement seems even more poignant today, decades later, as the pen continues to impress, for its good looks, quality of craftsmanship, the technology built into it, and, most importantly, its performance. A pen with a large, "ever-visible" ink capacity (this pen holds over 1.5 ml of ink), excellent ergonomics, and a nib to die for. It doesn't get much better than this!

Parker Vacumatic Major, Golden Pearl, F, nib close-up showing excellent tipping geometry and alignment

If you are a person who loves to write. If you find comfort in doodling. If you enjoy your pen's company,  you're likely to fall in love with this pen. Today, we don't have to write with a fountain pen - there are several more efficient and usable modes of written communication - and yet we write a lot, we develop an emotional bond with our pens. They, in turn, give us this extraordinary sensation of being connected to our thoughts, our senses, in a unique and thoroughly satisfying manner.

This particular Vac is in excellent condition, with deep, rich, gleaming celluloid, excellent barrel transparency, fantastic gold-filled trim, and a glorious 14k gold nib. 

Parker Vacumatic Major, Golden Pearl, F, capped

The nib is smooth, but without compromising its writing ability. I tuned it to write at the lightest pressure, to lay down confident strokes in virtually any direction, and to be responsive. The nib is not flexible, but it feels soft, without feeling mushy. I cannot think of a modern gold nib that gives you that incredible ability to absorb micro-shocks coming from the surface of the paper, without disconnecting you from your writing. The tipping material is ground to a typical Fine point, producing a line of about 0.4 mm on my paper.

If you are a fountain pen enthusiast, you should try a well-tuned, restored Vacumatic. You might find it hard to go back to modern pens afterwards.

Parker Vacumatic Major, Black, F

(SOLD) This is a 1946 Blue Diamond Parker Vacumatic Major in Black, 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). I work according to current "best practices" in pen restoration and I do not use aggressive restoration methods, such as nib grinding, machine buffing or removal of deep blemishes and monograms.

Parker Vacumatic Major, Black, F, uncapped

By 1946, the Parker Vacumatic has become a popular and well-respected fountain pen. The model I am offering today is its final iteration, as far as design is concerned, and it remains one of the more popular Vacumatic variants today. It's a beautiful pen, made of "laminated" Black celluloid, with decent barrel transparency (the red "rings" you see in the photographs), and a fantastic 14k gold nib. It's also a rare opportunity to purchase a Vac in excellent condition at a more affordable price.

Parker Vacumatic Major, Black, F, capped

The pen is a phenomenal writer! When I started tuning the nib, the firth thing that struck me was how soft it felt on paper. No, it's not a flex nib, but it gives you a cushioned ride across the paper, and it absorbs the sensation of roughness (a.k.a., "feedback") very well, but without disconnecting you from the page. It's a pen that becomes one with you, an extension of your hand. It's as if it's begging for you to pick it up and write. I, therefore, tuned it a bit more wet than I usually do (but without increasing line width), so you can further enjoy that luxury ride. The nib lays down a Fine line of about 0.4 mm (on my paper), and it will bring out the beauty, shading, and sheen of your favorite inks.

Parker Vacumatic Major, Black, F, with the blind cap removed, showing the filler.

Speaking of inks, since the pen is made of celluloid, please avoid permanent cellulose-reactive inks, as they may permanently stain the material. However, many other inks are safe to use with the Vacumatic. For example, I used the amazing Sailor Kobe # 51 Kano Cho Midnight ink for the writing sample. The phrase I wrote comes from an old penmanship book.

Cosmetically, the pen is in excellent shape, without any flaws or defects, and just the faintest surface wear. The gold-filled trim is in equally great condition. Quite simply, a beautiful pen!

Parker Vacumatic Major, Black, F, nib close-up showing excellent tipping geometry and alignment.

Parker 51 Aerometric, Black, F

(SOLD) This is a 1950 full-size Parker 51 Aerometric fountain pen in Black, with a stainless steel cap, and 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, nib tune-up, and a gentle polish with a soft cloth. Note, that I replaced the Pli-Glass sac with a modern replica, but kept the original breather tube, as it was in excellent shape.

Parker 51 Aerometric, Black, F, uncapped

If there's one classic pen of the 1950s, the Parker 51 Aerometric in Black with a Lustraloy cap is it. A timeless writing instrument that is as functional as it is beautiful, this Parker 51 will not disappoint. 

Parker 51 Aerometric, Black, F, the Aerometric Filler

If you've ever wanted a vintage fountain pen but were uncertain about what pen to choose and where to buy it, look no further. The 51 is the one vintage pen that every fountain pen enthusiast should try. Most people who have tried a nicely restored 51, will love it, keep it, and enjoy writing with it, day in, day out. The pen will make an ideal business writer, with its elegant but toned down, almost stealthy appearance, and a writing performance to match.

Parker 51 Aerometric, Black, F, nib profile showing excellent geometry and alignment

The pen is in excellent condition, without any flaws or defects. The plastic spotless, has a deep, rich color and a nice glossy finish. The cap is in equally excellent shape. The nib writes a confident, controlled, and precise Fine line. The nib feels firm but soft. It's smooth and forgiving of angle and rotation. I tuned the nib to write just north of average in terms of ink flow (wetness) so you can enjoy that pleasant gliding sensation but without making a mess on regular office paper.

Parker 51 Aerometric, Black, F, capped