Fountain Pen Restoration

Black And Gold Parker 51 Vacumatic

I have always wanted a black Parker 51, and vacumatic fillers are my preference.  When I found this one I was a bit skeptical as it was not very attractive.  The cap was quite dirty and stained as was the nib assembly and barrel.  But, the price was right, so I decided to go to work on repairing it.

Below is the pen after I took it apart.  I did take the clip, jewel and bushing out of the cap, but after the picture.


Repairs on 51 Vacumatics are similar to the Parker Vacumatic, with the exception of the nib, feed, and collector.  As you can see above, the cap was very tarnished and I questioned whether it had been damaged by contact with a cleaner or chemical that had done irreparable damage.  The nib, feed, and collector were stained by red ink as you can see above.  This was confirmed as the ink of choice for this pen, as the inside of the cap was caked with red ink.  The filler was in good shape as you can see in the bottom left of the above picture.

First the cap was taken apart and all parts (jewel, clip, trim ring, and cap) were polished.  My fears about the cap were not true and it polished up beautifully.  I used Pentiques polish and a dremel on low speed to apply the polish and the buffed to a nice bright shine.  The blue diamond was well preserved and stands out.

I then soaked the collector, feed and nib in an ultrasonic cleaner until stain free.  The nib is a medium, which is a pleasant surprise, as so many of the 51s that you see are fine nibbed.

The speedline filling unit is repaired exactly as I have covered in previous Vacumatic repair posts which can be reviewed here –

Parker Vacumatic Lockdown Filler
Parker Vacumatic
Striped Duofold

As you can see, Parker used the vacumatic filling system across a wide range of pens from the Vacumatic, to the Striped Duofold, to the 51.

I really enjoy this filler as the pen hold lots of ink and it is very dependable, if restored correctly.

After restoring the filler with a new diaphragm (debutante size), I polished the black barrel, hood, and blind cap, removing minor scratches and blemishes.

The new filler unit was screwed back into the barrel and checked for proper seating and suction.

I reinserted the feed and nib into the collector and inserted the breather tube into the collector prior to inserting into the barrel.  It is important to always use the old, cleaned breather tube in your restored pen.  If the old tube is missing, or damaged, tubing can be purchased from some of the suppliers listed on the right of this page.

I tested the pen using water and it correctly sucked up the water and expelled it to show that the filler unit is working well.

Here are photos of the completed pen, posted and closed. The correct Parker Color designation is India Black.  Parker 51 Vacumatics were produced between the years of 1941 to 1948, at which time they began to produce 51s with an Aerometric Filling System.

India Black was one of four common 51 Vac colors, the others being Dove Grey, Cordovan Brown, and Cedar Blue.  Rarer colors are Tan, Mustard, and Nassau Green.



Parker 51s have a large following in the fountain pen collecting community. Double jeweled, first year models command a high price in good condition.  This is neither a double jewel or early version, but I am very happy with the outcome of this restoration.


September 25, 2008 - Posted by | Parker 51, Parker Pen Company | ,


  1. Nice work on that Parker 51! It looks like a new pen. Did 51s with a gold filled cap normally have a silver clutch ring or a gold clutch ring that matched the cap?

    Comment by jonro | September 25, 2008 | Reply

  2. Jon, The clutch ring is actually silver with a gold wash trim, but (unfortunately) the gold has worn off. Originally, when purchased, it would have been a nice silver/gold finish.

    Comment by all of us | September 25, 2008 | Reply

  3. What a great finish. What polish did you use on the body and the cap?

    Comment by David | March 26, 2009 | Reply

  4. Phil,

    Thanks for the very prompt info. I’ll give it a try.


    Comment by David | March 27, 2009 | Reply

  5. Can you give me some idea of the cost of repairing a Parker 51 Vacumatic. I think that it is only the ‘sac’ that needs replacing.
    The pen is dove grey with a gold plated cap. The pen is in good condition. Could you give me some idea of its value. I live in London England.
    Thanks for your help


    Comment by Arnold Greenwood | June 15, 2010 | Reply

  6. I have the same exact pen. I would love the barrel and hood to look like yours. What did you use to shine up the barrel? It looks great!!!!!!!

    Comment by Alec | January 6, 2011 | Reply

  7. […] […]

    Pingback by Details Of The Fountain Pen Bushings | January 1, 2012 | Reply

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