View Full Version : The Little One that could...

January 1st, 2013, 03:07 PM
[No, I'm not going to try to do a boring (in my opinion) standard review of this pen. I'm going to try to cover its triumphs and failures in a more poetic manner.]

I always wanted a Parker Vacumatic. Something about the celluloid, the silly filling system, and the age intrigued me. In the summer of 2011, I got a little green 3rd generation Debuante from Tyler Dahl. I liked it, but it really wasn't the pen for me: the section was too short and curved, the design was sorta ugly, and because of it's size, it didn't hold much ink (more on that later though)... But then I discovered 1st Generation vacs. If any pen went through a complete transformation through it's generations, it is the Vacumatic. The first generations are wonderfully proportioned, beautifully designed pens. For me, the design of the 1st generation 3-ringed (upper "cachet") pens is right up there with the Vintage Aurora 88 or the Lamy 2000. No frills, crazy blue diamonds on the clip, or over-fluted sections. Just a wonderful pen that writes. And writes. And writes.
One may wonder, how could such a small pen (it is just over 4.5 inches long capped) be comfortable? Do I have tiny hands? No, not at all. My hands are actually above average size for my age. I have very long spidery fingers though. The pen is comfortable because of the section shape: a subtle curve--not too short, but not too long either. The threads are another thing this pen does perfectly--they are curved, small, and low...instead of digging into your hands, they provide a nice grip point. The pen posts nicely, though the cap does wobble ever so slightly if you push it. I don't post the pen (it is well weighted because of the large ink reservoir). I have a feeling many people would never even think to try this pen because it is small, and isn't even that fat. But I think that a well designed small pen like this one can be just as comfortable as a OMAS Paragon, Aurora 88, or a m800. Now, for people who really have gargantuan hands, I totally understand--the pen is just too tiny. But for average sized hands, I actually think this pen works very well...even for long writing sessions (this is going from my own experience.)
Now what about the famous gimmicky filler? Well, on the first generation pens, it is a bit different...the filler is classy-with a nice gold plated tassie topping off the aluminum filling rod (much better than the ugly cheap fillers on the 3rd gen. pens). Filling involves a lot of pumping...probably 6-7 to get the pen totally full. And then you have to lock the filler in place by twisting it ever so slightly to the right. O.K, it is a bit more complicated that the later version's fillers, BUT it also holds MUCH more ink. The barrel is much longer because the blind-cap is shorter because of the lock-down feature. What other pen under 5'' long holds about 2.1ml of ink? Maybe an eyedropper, but they burp. If you are someone who uses pens daily for "real" things, and doesn't need to switch inks a lot, this filling system is really good. The ink view windows are great, though after nearly 80 years, are no longer clear on almost all pens.

About the nibs...they are almost always not flexy or springy at all (unless you get a canadian version), but they are very smooth, wet, great writers when tuned properly.
I know Dan (from FGeeks) thinks otherwise, but I think the early Parker Vacumatics are some of the best vintage pens around...for daily use! They give you a lot of pen for the >$100 you can spend on one. My Grey Vac, filled with Diamine Asa Blue, goes in my pocket every day. It is a pen that will never leave my collection.

Thanks for reading!