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

Parker Vacumatic Major "Long" Fountain Pen, Golden Pearl, F, Semi-Flex

(On Hold) This is a 1943 Blue Diamond Parker Vacumatic Major "Long" in Golden Pearl celluloid, with gold-filled trim, and a 14k gold two-tone, 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 (by hand). This is a full-size pen, longer than most of the later Major models, measuring about 5.3" capped and 0.48" in diameter. 

Parker Vacumatic Major "Long" Fountain Pen, Golden Pearl, F, Semi-Flex, uncapped

When it comes to flex, the conventional wisdom is that the best performance is to be found among vintage pens, particularly those that have not been abused. Finding such a pen "in the wild" is becoming more and more difficult, and, as a result, the prices of restored vintage pens with flex nibs have gone up substantially over the past few years. There's a lot of variability among vintage flex pens, even across the same model, and each pen is going to have its own unique feel and performance characteristics. Quantifying flexibility is, therefore, rather difficult. I always tend to to cautious and conservative in my assessments of flex, paying special attention to a nib's responsiveness, rather than total tines spread.

Parker Vacumatic Major "Long" Fountain Pen, Golden Pearl, F, Semi-Flex, nib profile

What you want in a quality flex pen is its ability to respond to your hand's subtle changes in writing pressure, direction, and speed. You want to be able to create a subtle transition between a hairline and swell, as that is the very foundation of Ornamental Penmanship and most other similar styles. The pen I'm offering today would be an excellent addition to a calligrapher's tool box. A pen that doesn't have a huge range, but it does have enough of it to be a superb instrument with which to create awesome calligraphy. The nib writes a Fine line of about 0.4 mm (on my paper), and opens up easily to at least a BB. The nib is smooth, soft, and feels as though it has a shock absorbing mechanism built into it. It offers you a comfortable, yet agile, ride across the paper, with that highly coveted gliding sensation. It will allow you to bring out the beauty, shading, and sheen of your favorite inks, thanks to its wet flow under pressure. And, it's the more rare two-tone variant to boot!

The pen is in excellent condition. Being the "Long" model, it should feel comfortable in most people's hands, with a high-capacity filing mechanism, and the timeless, gorgeous Golden Pearl celluloid, this pen is sure to put a smile on your face. The material has such depth, vibrancy, as if it's alive, with hundreds of tones of brown, gold, and yellow. The transparency is a bit ambered, but you can still see your ink inside the barrel with ease.

Parker Vacumatic Major "Long" Fountain Pen, Golden Pearl, F, 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 Fountain Pen, Azure Pearl, XF

(Sold) This is a 1945 Blue Diamond Parker Vacumatic Major in Azure Pearl celluloid, with gold-filled trim, and 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). The pen measures about 5.1" capped and 0.48" in diameter.

Parker Vacumatic Major Fountain Pen, Azure Pearl, XF, uncapped, with the blind cap removed

The Parker Vacumatic I'm offering today is everything I want in a fountain pen. It all starts with the design. It's a handsome, graceful, streamlined shape with superb ergonomics, posted or not. Next, the material, in this case, the gorgeous, highly coveted Azure Pearl celluloid, which has incredible depth, vibrancy, and excellent barrel transparency. The gold-filled trim is elegant, sparse, and adds a touch of luxury. The vacuum filling mechanism goes beyond today's ubiquitous C/C filler, and provides a large-capacity system that is as simple as it is efficient, a writer's dream. Finally, the nib and feed. One of the best such units ever made. No, it's not as technologically advanced as Sheaffer's Triumph, but it has amazing ink flow latitude, allowing a broad variety of tunings, to satisfy even the most discerning writer. 

Parker Vacumatic Major Fountain Pen, Azure Pearl, XF, nib profile showing excellent tipping geometry and alignment

The pen is awesome, yes, but it is the nib that steals the show. It's a beautifully made 14k gold nib, with ample tipping material, of perfect geometry. The incredible property of this nib is its ability to provide a smooth, cushioned ride, without compromising writing ability. While a lot of modern gold nibs are optimized for smoothness, their overly polished writing surface is prone to develop flow issues, particularly hard-starts. Parker came up with just the right kind of tipping geometry for the Vacumatic nib. It's a nib that never falters, never skips, never starves for ink. If you write with a light touch, it will give you a superb, consistent monoline. If you press harder, it will reward you with a hint of line variation, and will instantly add character to your handwriting. You put it away for a few minutes uncapped, no problem, it will start back up the instant you put it to paper. The oversize ebonite feed, with its broad ink and air exchange channels, does a great job buffering ink and regulating its flow, delivering just the right amount of ink to the nib's point, responding to your most subtle variations in pressure, angle, and rotation. With light pressure, the pen writes an XF line of about 0.3 mm, but will open up nicely with increased pressure, giving you an almost semi-flexible character.

The pen is in excellent overall condition, without any flaws or defects, with gorgeous color and very nice barrel transparency. The gold-filled trim is in equally great shape. The imprint is strong.

Parker Vacumatic Major Fountain Pen, Azure Pearl, XF, capped

Parker Vacumatic Major, Golden Pearl, XF Semi-Flex

(Sold) This is a 1945 Blue Diamond Parker Vacumatic Major in Golden Pearl celluloid, with a transparent barrel, gold-filled trim, and a 14k gold XF 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 (by hand). The pen measures 5.1" capped and 0.48" in diameter.

Parker Vacumatic Major, Golden Pearl, XF Semi-Flex, uncapped, with the blind cap removed

In 1945, the U.S. fountain pen industry was thriving, despite a severe economic crisis, including material and labor shortages. Parker continued making its highly-successful Blue Diamond Vacumatic pens, perfecting their design and manufacturing process. The pen I'm offering today is a great example of the model, made out of the gorgeous Golden Pearl celluloid, with an awesome 14k gold XF semi-flexible nib. The pen looks virtually as good as new. The shimmering, gleaming celluloid has incredible depth and vibrancy. The gold-filled trim is in equally great shape. Barrel transparency is so good, it looks as though the pen had never been filled. The imprint is strong. And the nib, oh the nib!

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

Despite some obvious similarities, each pen I restore is unique. I select from among vintage pens that can, potentially, make excellent daily writers, even for people who are new to the fountain pen hobby. Sometimes, I come across a pen that's special. This pen is one of those pens.

Parker Vacumatic Major, Golden Pearl, XF Semi-Flex, nib close-up

What makes it special? Yes, it's in amazing cosmetic condition and has been overhauled, serviced, and ready for your favorite ink. But what makes it truly awesome is the nib. The nib will be particularly appealing to those of you who like Japanese fine and extra-fine nibs. It lays down a confident, self-assured line of about 0.3 mm (on my paper) when writing with a light hand (0.6" with increased pressure). It's been tuned to perform flawlessly at the lightest pressure, grabbing onto the surface of the paper and not letting go until you command it otherwise. If you press harder, the nib is going to respond with a pleasant "give," opening up just enough to give you a hint of line variation, adding character to your handwriting. No, it's not flexible enough for Spencerian or Ornamental Penmanship broad swells, but it will be great for a business cursive, and virtually any modern "small" handwriting.

The nib makes it a fantastically versatile tool. If you fill it with a dry ink, you'll be able to use it as a dedicated office writer. If you ink it up with a wet, saturated ink, you're going to get that awesome juicy flow, which, combined with the line variation, is going to bring the best out of your inks, particularly shading, even sheen. It's a very fine point, yet it's very smooth and easy to use. Quite honestly, this nib is likely to outperform a lot of modern gold nibs, unless, of course, you prefer very firm nibs, such as those on a Platinum #3776.

This pen would be an ideal first "top-tier" vintage pen for a fountain pen enthusiast, and it would make a fantastic Christmas gift for a family member or close friend. If you intend this to be a present, please, let me know and I will include a nice gift box with the pen.

Parker Vacumatic Major, Golden Pearl, XF Semi-Flex, 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 Blue Diamond Vacumatic Major, F Semi-Flex

(SOLD) This is a 1946 Blue Diamond Parker Vacumatic Major fountain pen in Golden Pearl celluloid, with a 14k gold Fine semi-flexible nib. The pen has been restored, which included a complete disassembly, a thorough cleaning, an overhaul of the filling mechanism, an adjustment to ink flow, 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 use high-quality replacement materials.

Parker Blue Diamond Vacumatic Major, F Semi-Flex, uncapped, showing the filling plunger

When Parker created the Vacumatic, it was truly a revolutionary pen (the phrase I wrote comes from a Parker ad). First of all, the graceful lines of the pen are not only ergonomically sound, but they are also undisturbed by any visible filling contraption such as a lever or a crescent. The filling mechanism is accessed by unscrewing the rear (blind) cap to expose a plunger mechanism. Next, we have the laminated celluloid, created by stacking up overlapping layers of clear and opaque celluloid, thus creating this timeless pattern of breathtaking beauty and great functionality. It allows you to clearly watch the pen fill and gauge remaining ink level with ease. Speaking of ink level, the Vacumatic has a huge ink capacity, easily holding up to 1.7 ml of ink. It was a lot then, and it is a lot now. Very few modern pens can boast such as large ink reservoir. Finally, there's the 14k gold nib. It's one of the best nibs ever made, in my opinion. Made in a process that's largely lost to us, the nib has an impressive ability to absorb vibrations coming from dragging the point across the paper. The nib feels soft and smooth, but without inhibiting its writing ability. The point is ground such that it writes under the lightest pressure, laying down a consistent line, regardless of stroke. Again, very few modern nibs can match this level of writing ability.

Parker Blue Diamond Vacumatic Major, F Semi-Flex, nib profile, showing excellent tipping geometry and tines alignment

When I tune a vintage nib, I try to preserve its original character as much as possible. It would be easy to just polish the writing surface with Micro-Mesh, but it would alter the nib's personality and hinder its original writing ability.  If you write with a heavy hand, this nib is not for you, as the tines will spread, increasing line width and ink flow. This nib really shines when writing with a light touch, and pressing harder only to add character to your writing, a little bit of line variation. I'd rate this nib as a semi-flex, meaning that it will easily produce a line of F-BB width. However, be careful not to spring the nib. If you're used to writing with a Noodler's Ahab or Konrad, you might be tempted to press hard, but I caution you not to do that. Start by increasing pressure in very, very small increment, and you will be rewarded by a beautiful line!

Cosmetically, this is one of the nicest Vacumatics to come across my desk in a while. The gleaming celluloid is rich, deep, and vibrant. Barrel transparency is excellent, and there are not flaws or defects of any kind. The gold-filled trim is in equally great shape. A beautiful pen! It would make an awesome daily writer (except on cheap office paper), and would be a fantastic gift for a close friend or family member to celebrate a special occasion. If you do buy it for a gift, please let me know and I will include a nice box with the pen.

Parker Blue Diamond Vacumatic Major, F Semi-Flex, capped. The orange tones in the barrel result from the background showing through the transparent material.

Parker Vacumatic Major Black

(SOLD) The week before the DC Pen Show 2016, I have been offering special, discounted fountain pens for those pen lovers who aren't able to attend the show. Sometimes, at the show, if you are fortunate, you can get a really good deal on a restored vintage pen. Well, I am trying to give you a bit of that experience.

Today's DC Pen Show Special is a really nice example of the Parker Vacumatic from the 1940s in Black celluloid, available at the discounted price of $119, with free shipping in the US. The pen is really interesting, whereby the cap and the blind cap are opaque, but the barrel is translucent, in a laminated, Parker fashion. The pen is in very good condition, has been restored, which included an overhaul of the filling mechanism, ink flow adjustment, nib tuning, and a gentle hand polish.

Parker Vacumatic Major in Black

I was also able to restore the pen's transparency, though not completely. Still, you can definitely see the filling mechanism do its magic, and you can very accurately gauge ink level. These pens hold about 1.7 ml of ink, which is more than even the largest modern piston fillers.

Functionally, the pen works as well as it should. The filling mechanism is efficient (you fill the pen up in four to five strokes), and the nib writes a beautiful fine line, which borders on extra fine. If you like Japanese nibs, you're going to love this pen. It writes in a confident, self-assured manner, always ready, never skipping or skidding. There's a bit of feedback, but it's just there to let you know you're connected to the paper. A really pleasant writing experience. Please, contact me if you're interested in ordering. Thanks!