Fountain Pen Restoration

Parker 51 Damaged Filler Units

Happy New Year!

This past week I worked on a Cordovan Parker 51 Vacumatic.  I have each of the primary 51 Vacumatic colors in my collection, but not Cordovan Brown.  When I had the opportunity to acquire this one to complete the four color run ~ India Black. Cedar Blue, and Dove Grey being the other three ~ I jumped at the chance.  The price was very reasonable, and the photo below will confirm why.  After taking the pen completely apart, I discovered that someone had already attempted to repair it, as is evidenced by the filler unit below.  The top unit is what I found after I removed it from the barrel.  There was no sign of a diaphragm in the barrel which confirmed to me that the pen had been taken apart at some point and an attempt at repair had been made.  It is always a good idea to have extra filling units if you are going to work on 51s and Vacumatics, as this is not a rare problem.  As you can see from the top photo, the cup that holds the diaphragm pellet has been damaged and will no longer hold the pellet and thus the vacumatic filling system will not work.  This usually occurs when attempts to remove the old pellet are done incorrectly or with lack of care.

Fortunately, I had some spare units, accumulated over the years.  The bottom unit was a perfect fit and you can see that it is in fine shape.

I inserted a debutante diaphragm on to the filler and inserted it back in to the barrel.  I have covered 51 vacumatic restoration in many posts and if you would like a more detailed description of the entire process, here are a few links to prior articles:

Black And Gold Parker 51 Vacumatic September 25, 2008

Parker Vacumatic June 13, 2008

This pen is interesting for another reason.  As you can see by the imprint below, it was Made in the USA, but bears a T7  imprint with three dots.  This indicates that is was assembled in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in the first quarter of 1947 from parts that were manufactured in Janesville, Wisconsin.

The following was taken from my article of June 9th of this year, and summarizes some of the US /Canada Parker 51 relationships ~

The Canadian division of Parker was started in Toronto, Ontario in 1923.  It began strictly as an assembly location, assembling pens to be distributed in the UK.  At the time, laws prevented product to be produced and shipped from the US to Great Britain, so the Canadian solution was devised.  Eventually, the Toronto location began to manufacture as well.  During WWII it manufactured war parts for Britain.  By the time the 51 Vacumatic came along, during and after WWII, these pens were manufactured in Toronto, as well as simply assembled there.  This pen (well, at least the barrel) was assembled only in Toronto, based on the T6 (edit: T7 for this pen) imprint.  Had it been manufactured there it would have had a “Made in Canada” imprint and no “T” before the date code.

Business must have been good in Canada, as Parker expanded after WWII and opened up an ink production facility in London, Ontario.  They also began making 51 Vacumatics in England in 1947.

Below are photos of the final result – a full sized Parker 51 / Vacumatic from 1947.  Keep an eye out for the more rare colors ~ Tan, Mustard, and Nassau Green.  They are much more difficult to find, quite expensive if sold as restored, but very desirable, especially with double jewels.


January 4, 2010 - Posted by | Parker 51, Parker Pen - Canada, Parker Pen Company | , ,


  1. Four colors? What about Buckskin Beige, Yellowstone Yellow and Nassau Green?

    Comment by retrojoe | January 4, 2010 | Reply

    • Hello Retrojoe ~ read down a little farther (or in my other 51 vac posts) and I refer to these rarer dj colors. At this point the old budget is just suited to the common ones. If you have these, I congratulate you. Best Regards….

      Comment by all of us | January 4, 2010 | Reply

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