Fountain Pen Restoration

Shadow Wave Vacumatic

Parker Shadow Wave Vacumatics were not a special type of Vacumatic, but rather a new pattern of plastic used by Parker beginning in or about 1938. Initially, it appeared in the Junior line of Vacumatics.

I must apologize at first for the lack of my usual “before” photo. I took one, but deleted it before I had the opportunity to download it to my computer. I can assure you that it was not a pretty sight.  The silver was tarnished, the diaphragm in pieces, the grey celluloid stained, and the speedline filler had pieces of the diaphragm remaining on its collar.  The nib was also ink stained and dirty.

With that out of the way,  I performed the standard Vacumatic repairs.  I used a debutante size diaphragm and fit it to the filler unit after removing the old pellet.  The filler on this is the metal, before the transition to plastic.  Most of the earlier shadow waves were double jewel lockdown fillers.  The feed, breather tube, and nib were removed from the section and thoroughly cleaned.  Make sure to unclog the breather tube and make sure the channel in the feed is clear.  I had to redo this step as there was a clog in the tube.  Thin wire works well in solving this problem.

The silver trim cleans up well, but is not perfectly.  As with several other silver trimmed vacs I have restored, there is often some degree of minor pitting or scratching to the silver.  This set is minor, but does exist upon careful review with a loupe.

The pencil (note different clip indicating a mixed set) required no restoration, other than a good cleaning and polishing on the outside.  I placed new piece of 0.9 lead in the front feed and it is ready to go.

The pen measures 5 inches closed and 5 15/16 inches posted.  The pencil is 4 3/4 inches.


Shadow Wave Vacumatics were produced into the early 1940s, though they were not evidenced in Parker literature.  This pen, as noted in the photo above came with a fourth quarter of  1941 imprint (1).  So, it was produced at the end of the Shadow Wave design run.

Vacumatics and their history can be a bit muddled.  This pen is no exception when trying to pin down its place in the Vacumatic timeline.  The only thing that is certain is that the barrel is from 1941.  Research often becomes difficult for several reasons, two of which stand out.  First, no production is definite.  Parker may have produced variants at times to use up parts.  Second, over the course of 67 years, repairs may utilize replacement parts which can further confuse the collector.

My confusion on this pen is that the cap would seem to be wrong (from what I have read) for this pen.  It fits, and looks correct, but I have read that this should probably have a single band cap.

I will never know, as late 1941 was near the end of the run for shadow waves and they may have used other parts, or it may be correct.  Or, it may have been switched by a repairer or collector at a later date.  This is part of what makes pen collecting fun and aggravating at the same time.


Shadow Wave designs came in five colors ~ Black, Green, Grey (shown here), Burgundy, and Brown.  The blind caps were always black, and fillers were both lock-down (early) and speedline.  Another interesting variant in the Parker Vacumatic Timeline.


August 27, 2009 - Posted by | Parker Pen Company, Parker Vacumatic, Shadow Wave Vacumatic | , ,

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