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Thread: Parker 51 from the 40s

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    Default Parker 51 from the 40s

    Hi all,

    I'm new to the forum. I've come across my Grandmother's trove of well-used fountain pens and am working my way through them, trying to identify what they are. She had a Parker 51 from the 40s (pretty sure it's from 1946 but I'll need a magnifying glass to validate that tiny little number stamp). I'm cleaning it up and decided to check if it'd write with a quick dip into ink (rather than using its filling system, which might be in terrible shape after all these years, right?).

    So, I soaked the nib in some lukewarm water for about a half-hour and quite a bit of blank ink seeped out. Removed it from the water and dried it as best I could and thought, "I'll write with it" expecting to get a few very faded words out on paper only.
    One and a half pages later, it's still writing (well, I'm writing with it and ink is still coming out of it). I set it down for several minutes, pick it up again and it's still writing.

    My Grandmother died in 1985, this pen has been in a box since at least then. I don't ever remember seeing her use it, so my conservative guess is she probably put it away in the early 70s.

    How is is possible that ink in a pen, stored for decades, could still be flowing onto the page on January 10, 2020?

    -Carolyn

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    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Parker 51 from the 40s

    Congratulations on discovering a fine pen that's also a family heirloom. Please share a photo, so we can see the barrel, the color and the cap! The "ink" is surely reconstituted dried ink from the soak in water.

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    Default Re: Parker 51 from the 40s

    Here are two quick photos from my phone. Thanks!

    Parker51_1.jpgParker51_2.jpg

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    Default Re: Parker 51 from the 40s

    Quote Originally Posted by seattlec257 View Post
    How is is possible that ink in a pen, stored for decades, could still be flowing onto the page on January 10, 2020?

    -Carolyn
    Fred is exactly right. Dyes (and other components) that make inks start out as powder until water is added to them. Then they become liquid inks. The water in the ink in your grandmother's pen evaporated after all of those years, and your soaking the pen in water reconstituted the dried up ink. Once you get it completely cleaned out, and the filling system working properly, I bet it will write much better with a new ink fill.
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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    Default Re: Parker 51 from the 40s

    Also, the Parker 51 was known for holding an enormous quantity of ink in the feeder so you may be good to go for quite awhile. Can you post a picture of the other end of the pen as well? If it's really from '46 it will be a plunger filler and that should get rebuilt. If it's a '48 or later it's likely an Aerometric and believe it or not, if it is it's likely good to go. If you need to get it fixed, Danny Fudge at The Write Pen is fast, easy to work with and very reliable.
    Last edited by jar; January 11th, 2020 at 06:29 AM.
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    Default Re: Parker 51 from the 40s

    Wow. Some pens are pernickety little so and sos, and some like the Parker 51 are indestructible, ever-ready, marvellous beasts! That's a lovely story, too.

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    Default Re: Parker 51 from the 40s

    Quote Originally Posted by jar View Post
    Also, the Parker 51 was known for holding an enormous quantity of ink in the feeder so you may be good to go for quite awhile. Can you post a picture of the other end of the pen as well? If it's really from '46 it will be a plunger filler and that should get rebuilt. If it's a '48 or later it's likely an Aerometric and believe it or not, if it is it's likely good to go. If you need to get it fixed, Danny Fudge at The Write Pen is fast, easy to work with and very reliable.
    Here's a photo showing the other end. Thank you for the information and recommendation. I'd like to get this pen all fixed up and will check out your suggestion!
    Parker51_3.jpg

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    Default Re: Parker 51 from the 40s

    As suggested it is a Vacumatic, so it will need a professional repairer to replace the filling mechanism.
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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    Default Re: Parker 51 from the 40s

    Seattlec257, you have the best pen ever made, and one that will last forever, except the sac. You won't need another fountain pen, no matter what the rest of us post that tempts you to find your second, or twelfth fountain pen, or those amazing Esterbrook J pens, or that 1960-ish Pelikan 400NN, or the latest Japanese pen. When your grandmother bought her pen, most people had one fountain pen that they used for anything needing ink, and, perhaps, might have kept their previous pen.

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    Default Re: Parker 51 from the 40s

    Quote Originally Posted by welch View Post
    Seattlec257, you have the best pen ever made, and one that will last forever, except the sac. You won't need another fountain pen, no matter what the rest of us post that tempts you to find your second, or twelfth fountain pen, or those amazing Esterbrook J pens, or that 1960-ish Pelikan 400NN, or the latest Japanese pen. When your grandmother bought her pen, most people had one fountain pen that they used for anything needing ink, and, perhaps, might have kept their previous pen.
    I am pleased you mentioned the Esterbrook J pen. These don't get enough attention.

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    Default Re: Parker 51 from the 40s

    Quote Originally Posted by welch View Post
    Seattlec257, you have the best pen ever made, and one that will last forever, except the sac. You won't need another fountain pen, no matter what the rest of us post that tempts you to find your second, or twelfth fountain pen, or those amazing Esterbrook J pens, or that 1960-ish Pelikan 400NN, or the latest Japanese pen. When your grandmother bought her pen, most people had one fountain pen that they used for anything needing ink, and, perhaps, might have kept their previous pen.
    All I'm only going to say is that it's good we all have our own opinions of what the best pens ever made were or are.
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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