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Thread: About that new Parker 51 (2020 edition)

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    Default Re: About that new Parker 51 (2020 edition)

    So, is someone better off with the original vintage 51, say the aerometric version, or is someone better served by the new release of the Parker 51?

    I will say that I am still mostly using my first vintage 51 bought in July, 1970. The other 51s I bought are a collection. I don't need a new 51, but I wonder if you think the typical writer would be better off with a pen made in the modern idiom, designed as pens are today, as with a C/C filling system or with an integral filling system like a squeeze filler, etc.

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    Default Re: About that new Parker 51 (2020 edition)

    Quote Originally Posted by pajaro View Post
    So, is someone better off with the original vintage 51, say the aerometric version, or is someone better served by the new release of the Parker 51?

    I will say that I am still mostly using my first vintage 51 bought in July, 1970. The other 51s I bought are a collection. I don't need a new 51, but I wonder if you think the typical writer would be better off with a pen made in the modern idiom, designed as pens are today, as with a C/C filling system or with an integral filling system like a squeeze filler, etc.
    There are only a few types of people to whom I could recommend the 2021 version over the original (aerometric): 1.) those who plan on frequently switching inks 2.) those who greatly prefer screw caps (some do) or 3.) those who prefer non-tapered sections and find the original uncomfortable. Other than those cases, there's no good reason to get this pen, the way I see it. It is far less elegant, refined, and practical, and it will likely be more difficult to repair/maintenance long-term.
    Will
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  5. #103
    Senior Member pajaro's Avatar
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    Default Re: About that new Parker 51 (2020 edition)

    Quote Originally Posted by fountainpenkid View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by pajaro View Post
    So, is someone better off with the original vintage 51, say the aerometric version, or is someone better served by the new release of the Parker 51?

    I will say that I am still mostly using my first vintage 51 bought in July, 1970. The other 51s I bought are a collection. I don't need a new 51, but I wonder if you think the typical writer would be better off with a pen made in the modern idiom, designed as pens are today, as with a C/C filling system or with an integral filling system like a squeeze filler, etc.
    There are only a few types of people to whom I could recommend the 2021 version over the original (aerometric): 1.) those who plan on frequently switching inks 2.) those who greatly prefer screw caps (some do) or 3.) those who prefer non-tapered sections and find the original uncomfortable. Other than those cases, there's no good reason to get this pen, the way I see it. It is far less elegant, refined, and practical, and it will likely be more difficult to repair/maintenance long-term.

    Thanks, all that makes a great deal of sense. One thought that I have is that some Parker 51 vintage parts for Vacumatic and Aerometric models are hard to find now, including nibs, caps, barrels and the innards of the filling systems. While they are not unobtainable now, that might come about. Parts for P51 were easy to find in the 1970s when I started collect P51s, but they have become harder to find over time. I have enough good P51 aero models to find a donor pen if I had to. None of my Vac 51s work, so all are donor pens, and I am 72 anyway. Younger collectors without pens they can or would be willing to cannibalize for parts might face some hurdles. So, I wondered if some collectors or writers might be better off going modern. While P51 aeros last a long time, like mine from 1970, I have had issues with used pens I bought like ruined hoods and barrels, caps dented or with broken cap jewels. nibs with no tipping and other stuff. People dealt with personalizations by trying to grind them off and cratering the barrel. I was able to replace those. That is harder to do now. I suppose the repair parts issue is really the only problem with going vintage 51.
    Last edited by pajaro; March 2nd, 2021 at 10:58 PM.

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    Default Re: About that new Parker 51 (2020 edition)

    Quote Originally Posted by pajaro View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by fountainpenkid View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by pajaro View Post
    So, is someone better off with the original vintage 51, say the aerometric version, or is someone better served by the new release of the Parker 51?

    I will say that I am still mostly using my first vintage 51 bought in July, 1970. The other 51s I bought are a collection. I don't need a new 51, but I wonder if you think the typical writer would be better off with a pen made in the modern idiom, designed as pens are today, as with a C/C filling system or with an integral filling system like a squeeze filler, etc.
    There are only a few types of people to whom I could recommend the 2021 version over the original (aerometric): 1.) those who plan on frequently switching inks 2.) those who greatly prefer screw caps (some do) or 3.) those who prefer non-tapered sections and find the original uncomfortable. Other than those cases, there's no good reason to get this pen, the way I see it. It is far less elegant, refined, and practical, and it will likely be more difficult to repair/maintenance long-term.

    Thanks, all that makes a great deal of sense. One thought that I have is that some Parker 51 vintage parts for Vacumatic and Aerometric models are hard to find now, including nibs, caps, barrels and the innards of the filling systems. While they are not unobtainable now, that might come about. Parts for P51 were easy to find in the 1970s when I started collect P51s, but they have become harder to find over time. I have enough good P51 aero models to find a donor pen if I had to. None of my Vac 51s work, so all are donor pens, and I am 72 anyway. Younger collectors without pens they can or would be willing to cannibalize for parts might face some hurdles. So, I wondered if some collectors or writers might be better off going modern. While P51 aeros last a long time, like mine from 1970, I have had issues with used pens I bought like ruined hoods and barrels, caps dented or with broken cap jewels. nibs with no tipping and other stuff. People dealt with personalizations by trying to grind them off and cratering the barrel. I was able to replace those. That is harder to do now. I suppose the repair parts issue is really the only problem with going vintage 51.
    What an interesting thought. So, as supplies of intact vintage 51s dwindles, collectors still see the pens which need parts floating around, such that demand is stimulated by the constant reminder of something which "can not be obtained" and can not be ignored. I have pens which have sat for years, while I hunt for the missing part. I think about them quite a bit as I hunt. Hunting down parts often involves buying more junk, in order to get a donor pen or part. Too messy and time consuming for most folks. Enter the New "51". Easier to make a favorable side by side comparison with pile of parts. Parker may be a bit early, as a restored plain Jane version can still be easily obtained at reasonable cost, I think.

    Random thought... As the more vulnerable parts to the originals get consumed, what will remain? I think that the clutch ring is the most durable part on the "51". Funny that the new version doesn't use one. Too bad, because you could put your old clutch ring on your new "51" and call the pen a heavily restored original.

    Bob

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    Default Re: About that new Parker 51 (2020 edition)

    There will always be a market for the original Parker 51. The need for parts will create a market for after market replacement parts. Jack Lynch makes replacement pumps, replacement pellet cups etc. for Vacumatic filled pens. Howard Levey made a bunch of aerometric thread/connector bushings a few years ago. Ariel Kullock makes replacement jewels, David Nishimura sells replacement PVC (plyglass) 51 sacs... I repair the thread bushings when the sac nipple is soft rather than replace the bushing. I've trimmed and slit the rods on Vac pumps when I need a replacement. The 1/8" or so lost in length is not significant. The most vulnerable part is the hood, and when the need reaches critical mass, someone will start to sell those too.

    ...I also never throw away broken Vacumatic pumps. You never know when you'll need something from one.

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    Default Re: About that new Parker 51 (2020 edition)

    I want to throw in a non-pen-specific item, but worth noting: generational change.

    For decades, maybe centuries, the concept of hand-me-downs and antiques and 'used goods' seemed obvious and common. Who wouldn't like a nice piece from the past, a bit of history, at a reasonable cost? well, the fact of the matter is that there is a distinct waning of interest in purchasing used furniture, clothes, and most any other item. For anyone in the last decade or two who has had to clean out a parent's house or other, you will know the situation of the thrift stores becoming more and more picky about what their trucks will take, all the way down to refusing the entire load.

    Many thrift/bargain stores no longer take "dark" furniture (i.e. old wooden furniture from the past) because of a lack of demand. All of this is to mention that I have seen on numerous occasions, on various pen forums, a younger audience that finds old pens creepy. That someone else used it is icky and they would far prefer purchasing something new. Yes, there are still those who find an interest in the past, but the other phenomenon has come up often enough it is worth mentioning.

    There are other reasons that a pen like this could find a new audience.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Senior Member pajaro's Avatar
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    Default Re: About that new Parker 51 (2020 edition)

    Then there is the possibility of the previous user picking his nose, etc., before using the pen, or putting it somewhere. This impelled me to clean used pens with Lysol or Scrubbin' Bubbles bathroom cleaners on receiving them. Didn't seem to harm the finish.


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    Default Re: About that new Parker 51 (2020 edition)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    I want to throw in a non-pen-specific item, but worth noting: generational change.

    For decades, maybe centuries, the concept of hand-me-downs and antiques and 'used goods' seemed obvious and common. Who wouldn't like a nice piece from the past, a bit of history, at a reasonable cost? well, the fact of the matter is that there is a distinct waning of interest in purchasing used furniture, clothes, and most any other item. For anyone in the last decade or two who has had to clean out a parent's house or other, you will know the situation of the thrift stores becoming more and more picky about what their trucks will take, all the way down to refusing the entire load.

    Many thrift/bargain stores no longer take "dark" furniture (i.e. old wooden furniture from the past) because of a lack of demand. All of this is to mention that I have seen on numerous occasions, on various pen forums, a younger audience that finds old pens creepy. That someone else used it is icky and they would far prefer purchasing something new. Yes, there are still those who find an interest in the past, but the other phenomenon has come up often enough it is worth mentioning.

    There are other reasons that a pen like this could find a new audience.
    As a member of that younger audience, I had no idea about this. It seems ridiculous and unfortunate that some people would find old pens creepy, but I guess this is what being exposed to this world in the absence of reddit does...
    Will
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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: About that new Parker 51 (2020 edition)

    Quote Originally Posted by fountainpenkid View Post
    As a member of that younger audience, I had no idea about this. It seems ridiculous and unfortunate that some people would find old pens creepy, but I guess this is what being exposed to this world in the absence of reddit does...
    Keep in mind I don't know how widespread or deep this is, nor can I claim understanding of entire generations of people in a particular interest area (like pens). All I can do is chronicle my own discovery and semi-dismay at very many people who exhibit the characteristics I mentioned. Not just reddit, but in pen slacks and discord, and at pen shows, too. Beyond that, speaking with my regular friends at work who happen to be half my age, and getting to know their acquisition habits.

    There are niches within even that strata, smaller sub-groups that have a true love of older items, often embraced within artisanal and retro-curation. For instance, I know a couple of drum shops that are very much focused on vintage gear, almost to a maniacal level (as in, if it is old, it MUST be good, which is not the case).

    But for many others, who continue to be fascinated by glitter and neon acrylics and this months fad finish on a pen, sometimes old is just old.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Default Re: About that new Parker 51 (2020 edition)

    Quote Originally Posted by fountainpenkid View Post
    I guess this is what being exposed to this world in the absence of reddit does...
    Sorry, not following the "absence of reddit" reference. My only extremely limited exposure to reddit made me think it is predominantly focused on new fountain pens.

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    Default Re: About that new Parker 51 (2020 edition)

    Quote Originally Posted by kazoolaw View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by fountainpenkid View Post
    I guess this is what being exposed to this world in the absence of reddit does...
    Sorry, not following the "absence of reddit" reference. My only extremely limited exposure to reddit made me think it is predominantly focused on new fountain pens.
    Actually, you did understand the reference. Poor fountainpenkid grew up without reddit, which is, as you rightly say, focused on new fountain pens. That explains why he can take an interest in old fountain pens.

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    Default Re: About that new Parker 51 (2020 edition)

    Thanks-the obvious escaped me.

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    Default Re: About that new Parker 51 (2020 edition)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    I want to throw in a non-pen-specific item, but worth noting: generational change.

    Many thrift/bargain stores no longer take "dark" furniture (i.e. old wooden furniture from the past) because of a lack of demand. All of this is to mention that I have seen on numerous occasions, on various pen forums, a younger audience that finds old pens creepy. That someone else used it is icky and they would far prefer purchasing something new. Yes, there are still those who find an interest in the past, but the other phenomenon has come up often enough it is worth mentioning.
    Coming events cast their shadows before. To put it another way, this particular canker was in the bud perhaps earlier than some of us would like to believe. My father entered adult employment early in the 1920s. By the middle 1950s a few decades had passed, he had gained preferment, he directed the work of acres of office drones, and he sat at a double partners' desk made of mahogany. Which he loved. Granted, the desk was made for two partners, who could face one another and make top-level management decisions, but my father was OK with this small anomaly.

    As the years passed, the austerities and improvisations dictated by the Depression and World War II faded away. Order could be imposed. A table indicating what kind of desk went with what kind of job was promulgated. Contrite people came to my father and told him with regret that he didn't have the kind of desk his job merited. They took away his vast mahogany desk and give him the right thing, a gray steel object of its time whose drawers tended to stick.

    Reverting to the subject of pens, I may add, with some ambivalence, that the Parker 51 was not always a vintage item that appeals to oldies and the backward-looking few among their juniors. On the contrary. It was advertised as a pen that was ten years ahead of its time. It looked breath-takingly modern. And its appeal was precisely to people who wanted to get away from old things.

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    Default Re: About that new Parker 51 (2020 edition)

    I just noticed that SBRE Brown has the new Parker 51 and reviews it in his own inimitable way;

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    Default Re: About that new Parker 51 (2020 edition)

    An update:
    -So much for Parker's assertion that the screw cap "solves" the (non-existent) dry-out problem of the original "51:" my new "51" does worse when unused for several days than my vintage OMASes and Pelikans. The flow returns quickly but it is hesitant at first. For some this might be unacceptable behavior; there are plenty of new pens in this price range that don't have this issue. To be sure, my $800 GvFC Intuition ebony also has a dry-out issue, but I've chosen to give it a pass because the pen is otherwise so pleasurable.
    -Turns out that posting does NOT damage the barrel as I had thought: looking into the cap, I noticed there are plastic ridges past the cap threads where the barrel actually makes contact. I'm glad, but it seems lazy to me that they didn't manage to eliminate posting wobble.
    Will
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    Senior Member pajaro's Avatar
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    Default Re: About that new Parker 51 (2020 edition)

    Quote Originally Posted by fountainpenkid View Post
    An update:
    -So much for Parker's assertion that the screw cap "solves" the (non-existent) dry-out problem of the original "51:" my new "51" does worse when unused for several days than my vintage OMASes and Pelikans. The flow returns quickly but it is hesitant at first. For some this might be unacceptable behavior; there are plenty of new pens in this price range that don't have this issue. To be sure, my $800 GvFC Intuition ebony also has a dry-out issue, but I've chosen to give it a pass because the pen is otherwise so pleasurable.
    -Turns out that posting does NOT damage the barrel as I had thought: looking into the cap, I noticed there are plastic ridges past the cap threads where the barrel actually makes contact. I'm glad, but it seems lazy to me that they didn't manage to eliminate posting wobble.
    I have found that almost all post-1980s pens I have bought have a hard time starting, or even won't start with less than a soaking under the tap, or even a fill-up from a bottle. The cartridge-filled pens usually need a flush with the ear-washing bulb. Some exceptions: Montblancs, Vintage Parker 51, Sheaffer school pens and Sheaffer Imperials with converters. I have been annoyed by this with many pens praised on FPN and here. I should have stuck with vintage P51s, Montblanc 144s and Sheaffer Touchdown Imperials. The Touchdown fillers were usually kind to me.

    Anyway, I was about to ask if I should sell enough old pens to buy a new P51. After watching SBREBrown's U-Tube video I think the new P51 might be irritating to me because of the screw-on cap (despise them) and what Brown calls "cheapening" as I think he put it of the pen.
    Last edited by pajaro; March 21st, 2021 at 08:02 PM.

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    Default Re: About that new Parker 51 (2020 edition)

    Quote Originally Posted by pajaro View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by fountainpenkid View Post
    An update:
    -So much for Parker's assertion that the screw cap "solves" the (non-existent) dry-out problem of the original "51:" my new "51" does worse when unused for several days than my vintage OMASes and Pelikans. The flow returns quickly but it is hesitant at first. For some this might be unacceptable behavior; there are plenty of new pens in this price range that don't have this issue. To be sure, my $800 GvFC Intuition ebony also has a dry-out issue, but I've chosen to give it a pass because the pen is otherwise so pleasurable.
    -Turns out that posting does NOT damage the barrel as I had thought: looking into the cap, I noticed there are plastic ridges past the cap threads where the barrel actually makes contact. I'm glad, but it seems lazy to me that they didn't manage to eliminate posting wobble.
    I have found that almost all post-1980s pens I have bought have a hard time starting, or even won't start with less than a soaking under the tap, or even a fill-up from a bottle. The cartridge-filled pens usually need a flush with the ear-washing bulb. Some exceptions: Montblancs, Vintage Parker 51, Sheaffer school pens and Sheaffer Imperials with converters. I have been annoyed by this with many pens praised on FPN and here. I should have stuck with vintage P51s, Montblanc 144s and Sheaffer Touchdown Imperials. The Touchdown fillers were usually kind to me.

    Anyway, I was about to ask if I should sell enough old pens to buy a new P51. After watching SBREBrown's U-Tube video I think the new P51 might be irritating to me because of the screw-on cap (despise them) and what Brown calls "cheapening" as I think he put it of the pen.
    Your experience with dry-out is interesting--not my (albeit quite limited) experience with modern pens, but maybe others have found this to some extent..

    For those who enjoy the original "51," I think this pen will almost always be a letdown. It is not nearly as refined or interesting a design*, and in some ways (e.g the brushed cap finish, the barrel-cap transition, the posting situation, and surely the look of the nib area in profile) is downright unattractive by comparison.

    *I feel like this hasn't been mentioned, although it can be apparent in pictures: the new "51" is a totally different 'design concept' when it comes to barrel form: the widest point is at the interface between cap and barrel, it only tapers off as you go down the barrel. In contrast, the barrel of the original reaches its widest point after the cap barrel interface. This may seem subtle but it hit me when I unboxed the new pen: the simple taper-at-interface design is not nearly as elegant. The original barrel form takes a lot more work, I suspect, to get to look right.
    It's these sort of things all over the pen: the end of the 2021's barrel, for instance, is perfectly round, and not the subtle conical shape of the aerometrics--the easy way out. Of course this corner-cutting is most obvious with the nib hood: rather than that incredible caressing form of the original, something carefully hand-shaped and slightly different between each example, something that evokes natural form, it is an evenly-sliced curve leaving the nib and feed exposed...
    Last edited by fountainpenkid; March 21st, 2021 at 09:29 PM.
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    Default Re: About that new Parker 51 (2020 edition)

    The new 51 is now back off their U.S website, for some reason: https://www.parkerpen.com/
    Will
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    Default Re: About that new Parker 51 (2020 edition)

    [QUOTE=fountainpenkid;320513][QUOTE=pajaro;320505]
    Quote Originally Posted by fountainpenkid View Post

    Your experience with dry-out is interesting--not my (albeit quite limited) experience with modern pens, but maybe others have found this to some extent..
    ..
    I don't mean to hijack an interesting thread, but I keep reading complaints from Pajaro and others that they need to moisten a nib with saliva, or hold it under a faucet, or otherwise Take Serious Steps, to get it started. I find to my surprise that I own as many modern as vintage pens. None of them has ever behaved in that way. It's true that my post-1989 Aurora 88 writes a finer line than I'd prefer, but that is commonly observed of Aurora pens and the line is pleasantly wet if not gorgeously thick.

    Is it possible that I'm being saved by using medium or even broad nibs?

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    Default Re: About that new Parker 51 (2020 edition)

    Please forgive my ignorance, but what does "aerometric" mean? What are the features of a Parker 51 Aerometric, and when was it made?
    Dan Kalish

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