Fountain Pen Restoration

Parker 51 From Alabama

This pen came to me from a pen friend in Alabama who has done a remarkable bit of research on Artcraft Fountain Pen History.  He stumbled upon a Parker 51 in an Antique Store and could not pass up the great deal for this vacumatic fill model.  I did not take this photo until after I had cleaned the parts a bit.  You can tell by the clear collector – they never look like this…

One part jumps out – the cap.  It is clearly a replacement.  You can not see the cap jewel, but it is black and I suspect that somewhere along the line this Parker 51 Special Cap was put substituted.  I contacted my friend and offered to replace it with a spare cap that would be closer to the correct cap.  He agreed and now I have an extra 51 Special Cap that I did not have before.  One never knows when it might come in handy.

You can see that the components are all in good condition and a simple restoration awaits.

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I polished the nib and scraped the inside of the barrel until I was certain there were no remaining remnants of the old diaphragm.  After I was certain that all of the parts were cleaned and polished I turned to the vacumatic filler unit and trimmed a debutante sized diaphragm and installed it into the filler.  I was lucky with this one as the old pellet had split up and was easily removed.  Once the diaphragm was cemented to the filler and allowed to dry, I inserted the filler back into the barrel and made sure that the seat was a good one and there was plenty of suction.  Then the feed and breather tube were inserted into the collector followed by the nib.  This was then fit back into the barrel and the hood was screwed back on – carefully making sure that it lined up correctly with the nib.  I tested the pen with water and it filled up – held water – and expelled it correctly.

Below is the pen after completion with a new cap.  I really like gold caps with India Black bodied 51s.  The cap is a “transitional” cap.  These appeared on Vacumatic 51s after 1947, toward the end of Vacumatic production and the introduction of the Aerometric 51 in 1949 ~ thus the term “transitional”   I have no way of knowing if this is the correct cap for this pen as the date code is worn off the barrel, but it looks nice.  It is a much better fit than the cap shown in the first photo above.  As I mentioned, I believe this to be a 51 Special Cap.  Parker began to produce a budget minded 51 in 19500 called the Special.  Without going into a lot of detail, one of the things that set this pen apart from the more expensive 51 was that it had an Octanium nib (in lieu of gold) and a smooth lustraloy cap with a black jewel.  I have a few of these in my collection and the cap above is definitely a Special cap.  So, the substitution is a step up.  It is not a Blue Diamond 51 Cap, but I did not have a clean one of those available.

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Here is the pen uncapped.  The nib appears to be a fine.

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So, the pen is done and on its way back to Alabama – in a little better shape than when it was found – ready to use.

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September 9, 2010 - Posted by | Parker 51, Parker Pen Company | ,

1 Comment »

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