Parker 51 Vacumatic Fountain Pen in Cordovan Brown, XXF

(SOLD) This is a 1947 Blue Diamond Parker 51 Vacumatic in Cordovan Brown with a stainless steel cap, a gold-filled clip, and a 14k gold XXF nib. This is a rare, "last year" Parker 51 Vacumatic. 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 51 Vacumatic Fountain Pen in Cordovan Brown, XXF, uncapped

This is a beautiful, rare, "last year" Parker 51 Vacumatic, made in 1947, as the Janesville company began its transition away from the Blue Diamond lifetime warranty and toward the Aerometric filling mechanism. The gorgeous Cordovan Brown makes it a particularly desirable model, not to mention, the XXF nib. Here's your chance to own this timeless classic, in excellent condition, functioning as good as new.

Parker 51 Vacumatic Fountain Pen in Cordovan Brown, XXF, nib profile

The Parker 51 is a pen that epitomizes the American pen industry of the 1940s perfectly. In my opinion, all four of the major U.S. brands, Parker, Sheaffer, Wahl-Eversharp, and Waterman, were at the peak of their technological capabilities, bringing their customers exceptional writing instrument during a very difficult time in history. Parker was a mighty brand, with a worldwide reach, its name, in many countries, synonymous with the fountain pen. A superb tool for the discerning writer, even today, a restored Parker 51 is unique in its dependable performance, day in, day out. If you've never tried a 51 or have had a mediocre experience with one of uncertain provenance, I encourage you to give it another chance. A well restored 51 is likely to become one of your favorite daily writers.

This particular 51 has a phenomenal XXF nib. The nib lays down a confident line of about 0.2 mm on my paper, which puts it easily in the needlepoint vicinity, yet it does not have any of the typical "toothiness" and paper catching of conventional, modern needlepoints. The nib is smooth, with an excellent ability to absorb vibrations, and an ability to write equally well in virtually all directions. That makes it an excellent pen for cursive handwriting. Your strokes will feel effortless and dependable. You will not experience any hard-starts, ink starvation, or flow irregularities that plague modern needlepoint nibs.

Cosmetically, the pen is simply outstanding, without any flaws or defects. A beautiful, vibrant color, along with a flawless cap and gold-filled trim, this is one handsome pen, yet without being gaudy. A rare pen that is as beautiful as it is functional. The Vacumatic filling mechanism is easy to use, reliable, and holds up to 1.8 ml of ink.

Parker 51 Vacumatic Fountain Pen in Cordovan Brown, XXF, capped

Sheaffer "Fat" Touchdown Sentinel Deluxe, Needlepoint (NOS)

(SOLD) This is a rare 1949 Sheaffer "Fat" Touchdown Sentinel Deluxe in Pastel Green with a 14k gold, two-tone Triumph needlepoint nib and a stainless steel cap. The pen is in a new-old-stock (NOS) condition. However, since the internal components have hardened over time, I restored the pen's filling mechanism, adjusted ink flow, did a nib tune-up, and polished the pen gently with a soft cloth. The pen came with original Sheaffer stickers, but I removed them, as they were unsightly.

Sheaffer "Fat" Touchdown Sentinel Deluxe, Needlepoint, uncapped, with the plunger partially extended

The pen is a very rare, "first year" Touchdown, also know as the "Fat" Touchdown. It was in production for only a year, and later replaced by the Thin Model (TM) and the Snorkel. Sheaffer replaced the venerable Vac filler with the Fat Touchdown, as the former proved expensive to manufacture and service. The Touchdown filling mechanism really is the simplest way to fill a pen (the phrase I wrote comes from a Sheaffer ad). In a one-stroke operation, the pen gets filled to capacity. It holds more ink than the Snorkel and most modern C/C pens. It's reliable and enjoyable. The mechanism is making a small but significant comeback with the Edison Beaumont and Wahl-Eversharp Decoband.

This is a beautiful pen, yes, but it is also an extremely good tool for the calligrapher or anyone wishing to write with an excellent needlepoint nib. The problem with most modern needlepoint nibs is that they are designed for short downward strokes, as needed for Japanese handwriting. They are not as good for rapid upstrokes and long, curved cross-strokes. The other option is to buy an  XF nib and send it off to a nib meister to regrind it into a needlepoint. It's probably your best way to go, though it tends to increase the total cost of your pen.

Sheaffer "Fat" Touchdown Sentinel Deluxe, Needlepoint, nib profile showing excellent tipping geometry and alignment

Thankfully, we can still find the Sheaffer Triumph XXF nibs, and, if restored well, these nibs are wonderful performers for Spencerian penmanship, business cursive, the Palmer Method, M. Sull's American Cursive Handwriting, etc. The Triumph writes a very fine line (0.2 mm on my paper) but without the toothiness or paper catching, typically associated with a conventional XXF nib. Thanks to Triumph's "rocker" design, the nib never feels scratchy and writes equally well in virtually all directions, producing consistent strokes and flowing lines, as required by cursive handwriting. The nib is extremely consistent, tuned to lay down a somewhat wet line, so you can experience that effortless gliding sensation, but without losing control of your writing. A very precise tool. If you want an even finer line, you can flip the nib upside down.

So what's so special about the "Fat" Touchdown? Well, in addition to it being rare, the pen is significantly larger than the TM and the Snorkel. Today, people appreciate larger pens, and there aren't that many large pens among Parker's and Sheaffer's vintage catalogs. The pen measures 5 1/4" capped, with a barrel diameter of 0.45 barrel diameter, which puts it in the vicinity of the Montblac 146 (LeGrand), so it should feel comfortable even for people with large hands. This is the only Sentinel Deluxe I've restored that has gold-plated cap threads. It's a detail, but it's rather cool.

Sheaffer "Fat" Touchdown Sentinel Deluxe, Needlepoint, capped

Cosmetically, the pen is in excellent condition. Being an NOS item, that's what you'd expect. Still, the pen spent over sixty five years in storage, so there's some really minor surface "handling" wear, but it's difficult to see it with the naked eye. The gold-filled trim and the cap are both in excellent condition. The ink window is clear, the imprint strong. Here's a chance to own this rare, beautiful pen that's as good as new.