Parker 51 Vacumatic Fountain Pen, Dove Gray, XXF

(Sold) This is a 1947 Blue Diamond Parker 51 Vacumatic full-size fountain pen  in Dove Gray, with a 14k gold XXF 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 51 Vacumatic Fountain Pen, Dove Gray, XXF, uncapped, with the blind cap off, showing the plunger

I'm often asked for recommendations regarding pens that are most suitable for cursive handwriting. While it's rather difficult to make broad recommendations that would suit everybody, I think it's fair to say that some pens are more suitable for the task than others. First, of all, the pen must be extremely comfortable, which means a long, slightly tapered section, without a sharp step-down from the threads, or without threads altogether. Next, the pen must have excellent balance, posted or not. It's important for such a pen to have a small nib, so that it's easy to maneuver, especially for beginners. The nib must be very fine, at least an extra-fine, possibly, an XXF. It's always great if the nib has a large "sweet spot" and allows for strokes of equal width and ease in virtually all directions. Cursive requires rapid strokes, including curves, long, short, and everything in-between. Finally, the pen must be tuned to write at the lightest pressure, under its own weight, but it should also be able to take increased pressure without increasing line width, which is particularly important for beginners. Other features, such as a large ink capacity, good looks, etc., are a bonus.

Parker 51 Vacumatic Fountain Pen, Dove Gray, XXF, cap detail

If you want a modern pen to meet these criteria, realistically, your only option is a Japanese XXF pen, such as Platinum #3776, or Sailor 1911. The only problem with these pens is that they are tuned specifically for Japanese handwriting, which requires short, rapid strokes, mostly downward. These pens sometimes struggle with long curves, esp., upstrokes, and have a somewhat narrow sweet spot. Your best bet is buying a modern pen you like and sending it off to a nib meister to grind an XXF nib for Western cursive handwriting. Or, better yet, buy a restored vintage pen.

Many vintage fountain pens, esp. the Parker 51, were designed specifically for cursive handwriting, such as the Palmer Method. As a result, they should be good to go, out-of-the-box, or, rather, straight from the restorer's bench. The pen I'm offering today is a fantastic business cursive writer, and it's ready for your favorite ink. It writes a gorgeous XXF line of about 0.2 mm (on my paper), with a smooth feel, and a large sweet spot (relatively speaking). And, it writes under the lightest touch, which is required for cursive.

Cosmetically, the pen is in excellent condition, except for some fading. Parker's plastic, however resilient it turned out to be, is susceptible to fading, and you can see it most clearly on the lighter colors, such as Dove Gray. The fading is slight, difficult to see with the naked eye, in normal light, but you can see it more clearly in a high-resolution digital image. Therefore, I am offering this pen at a 25% discount.

Parker 51 Vacumatic Fountain Pen, Dove Gray, XXF, capped

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

(SOLD) Parker 51 Aerometric, Burgundy, Broad Stub (Italic)

This is a 1951 Parker 51 Aerometric fountain pen in Burgundy, with a stainless steel cap and a Parker "factory" 14k gold Broad Stub-Italic 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 (by hand). I work according to current "best practices" in pen restoration and I use high-quality replacement materials. Though I restored the filling mechanism, you might be interested in knowing that I kept the original breather tube, as it was in a pristine condition.

Parker 51 Aerometric, Burgundy, Broad Stub. uncapped

Parker 51 was, truly, the world's most wanted pen. Thanks to its timeless design and extremely high quality of materials and craftsmanship, we can still enjoy this amazing pen, particularly if restored well. The vast majority of Parker 51s come with Fine or Extra-Fine nibs, though Parker did offer a broad array of special-order nib grinds. This particular nib is a a very rare Parker original "factory" Broad Stub. The distinction among different types of italic nibs is relatively recent, so the terminology can be a bit confusing. Therefore, the best way to define such a nib is by empirical testing (i.e., writing) and stroke measurements.

Parker 51 Aerometric, Burgundy, Stub Italic, close-up of the nib

The nib writes a 1.2 mm downstroke and 0.2 mm cross-stroke, which, according to current nomenclature, puts this nib in the vicinity of a "cursive-italic." What it means, in everyday writing, is that you can get very good line variation, but without the sharpness and small "sweet spot" associated with "formal italic" nibs. This is an extremely smooth nib, ground in a way that allows making confident strokes in virtually all directions without ever catching the paper. The corners are slightly rounded, but without sacrificing line variation. It is, therefore, an ideal nib for anyone wishing to write a variety of styles, ranging from formal italic, through cursive italic, business cursive, and can even be used as a dedicated "signature" nib.

Parker 51 Aerometric, Burgundy, Broad Stub. capped

If you take a closer look at the close-up photograph, you will notice the incredible precision with which this nib was made. Though Parker had excellent automation in place, a lot of the steps in the making of the 51 were done by hand, including nib grinding and polishing. Every nib was submitted to a meticulous process of quality control, including machine testing, visual inspection, and writing tests by a team of experienced technicians. What you can also see in this photo is that the nib is in fantastic overall condition, virtually as good as new.

Parker 51 Aerometric, Burgundy, Stub Italic, the aerometric filler, showing a clear, new Pli-glass sac

Cosmetically, the pen is also in excellent shape, without any flaws or defects. The color is deep, rich, and vibrant, the material smooth with a nice semi-gloss type of finish. The cap is in equally great condition.

Parker 51 Vacumatic in Cordovan Brown, XF Nib

(SOLD) This is a full-size, late 1948 Parker 51 Vacumatic in Cordovan Brown, with a 14k gold-filled cap, a 14k gold XF nib. The pen has been restored, which included a complete disassembly, thorough cleaning, an overhaul of the filling mechanism (using best practices in pen restoration and high-quality replacement components), ink flow adjustment, a nib tune-up, and a gentle hand polish.

Parker 51 Vacumatic with an XF nib

This is a beautiful, interesting Parker 51 Vac. It is a late, last-year Vacumatic 51, with a newly redesigned cap (and clip), soon to be replaced with the Aerometric 51. As such, I think this pen is rather attractive to 51 collectors, as it was in production for a brief few months, as far as we know.

The phrase I wrote comes from a Parker 51 advertisement. It is no secret that the 51 was the world's best selling fountain pen, and, in addition to its excellent every-day-carry (EDC) potential, it also made for a beautiful gift, particularly the model with a gold-filled cap. I believe that a restored 51 in excellent condition, such as this one, could be a fantastic gift today. If you've wanted to give a close friend or family member a memorable gift, look no further. I will even give you an attractive gift box, if you like.

The pen is in excellent cosmetic condition, without any flaws or defects. The material is very slightly translucent in the section, so you might see a very slight lighter band, which I noticed only in high-resolution close-up images. This is not a flaw, you're seeing the white collector inside the section. Otherwise, I cannot see it with the naked eye. It's is a truly beautiful, classy, handsome-looking pen.

Functionally, the pen works as well as it did when it left the factory. Clearly, this pen had not been used much in the past. The filling mechanism is efficient and holds a lot of ink. The ink delivery system works perfectly, providing steady and consistent flow. I tuned the XF nib to be a touch above average in wetness, so you can experience that pleasant gliding sensation, but without flooding the page with ink unnecessarily. The XF nib is smooth and very pleasant to use. It's a firm, forgiving nib, that's going to work on any paper, with any grid, whether you're right or left-handed.