Fountain Pen Restoration

1946 Black Vac

This week I worked on my first Parker Black Transparent Vacumatic. I have always enjoyed writing with vacumatics and restoring them, but have previously owned grey, blue, gold, and green models. This is the first black one I have acquired. I am glad that I did.

Below, in the first photo, you can see the pen after I took it completely apart.  Everything is in quite good condition here.  The breather tube is clogged, which is easily handled by a quick soak in the ultrasonic cleaner.  Someone had attempted to install  a new diaphragm as it was very pliable and had had little use compared to the barrel and nib assembly which had a lot of old ink residue.  The barrel had very little transparency and could almost be thought of as solid black plastic, as the cap is in this model.

The diaphragm had been installed incorrectly as it had bunched up in the barrel, which could be seen when shining a light in the barrel after removing the section/feed/nib.

So, the pen needed a thorough cleaning as well as a new debutante size diaphragm.


I spent quite a bit of time gently cleaning the inside of this barrel. If one can get a transparent barrel on one of these pens, it is very stunning as it contrasts directly with the plain solid black barrel. Luckily I was able to get this one cleaned out completely so that there was little evidence of any residual ink. Be very careful to only use soft sided tools to clean the inside of the barrel (an ultrasonic cleaner is very useful here also) as you don’t want to scratch the barrel insides at all and ruin the transparent view.

I used a debutante size diaphragm on this pen as it is a third generation junior, measuring 5 inches capped. The filler, as you can see, is a speedline filler and the cap is a non-blue dot third generation.  The nib is a monotone gold arrow with a fine tip.

After cleaning and installing a new diaphragm, the photos below shows the completed pen.  It’s marking show that it was produced in Janesville, Wisconsin in the 3rd Quarter of 1946.

As I have mentioned before, Vacumatics were produced by Parker in the US from 1933 to 1948, so this was near the end of the production run for this popular pen.

My favorite part of this particular finish (Black Transparent) is the contrast between the solid black cap and the barrel.  Barrel transparency is always a highlight with these restored pens, but it never stands out as clearly as with this finish.



Finally, sometimes it is fun to play around with Photo Shop on pens.  Here is a “textured” redo.  I will add a few of these from time to time, as my kids think it is far more interesting than pen history!


December 2, 2008 - Posted by | Parker Pen Company, Parker Vacumatic | ,


  1. Just wanted to pass this along to you…

    Comment by Seth | December 2, 2008 | Reply

  2. Wonderful blog/post. So much great info here for someone who is relatively new to the FP world.

    Comment by officesupplygeek | December 4, 2008 | Reply

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