Fountain Pen Restoration

Parker 51 Pencil

It is time for another pencil post to break up the fountain pen stuff…though they are all related. This week’s find is a very neat Parker Vacumatic 51 Writefine Pencil, dating sometime between 1940 and 1948, the Vacumatic 51 run.

These pencils were sold to match the corresponding Vacumatic 51 in both barrel color and cap design.

Here is the photo of the pencil before I had a chance to clean and polish it. The twist mechanism works perfectly and the eraser and lead supply are full.

I polished the lead cone and cap with a jewelers cloth.  I then polished the barrel with scratch remover, finishing polish, and buffed on a coat of carnuba wax.  Below is the finished product.   The lighting does not do the pencil justice.  It is the Cordovan Brown color.  Remember that the four standard Vacumatic 51 colors were India Black, Cordovan Brown, Dove Grey, and Cedar Blue.  Measurement is 5 3/16 inches long.

These pencils were usually not date stamped (until the Aerometric 51 pencils came along) so I have no idea of the date of the pen.  It is marked that it was made in the U.S. and as it is a Vacumatic pencil, the 1940 to 1948 date range is as precise as I can get.  During WWII some of these were produced with plastic internals to save materials for the war effort.  As I mentioned above, the lead is advanced by twisting the cap clockwise.  This method changed as the pencils paired with Aerometric 51s came in the late 1940s.  These aero pencils advanced the lead by pushing, or clicking the cap.

I do not have the corresponding Vac 51 for this pencil, but I do have a Cordovan Brown Vacumatic (Canadian Production) that comes quite close.  Here they are together in a few different poses.  The pencils were made of celluloid and the pens of lucite, causing the pencils to age darker than the corresponding pen.(see for this information)   This is certainly true of the pen and pencil below, though they are not an original pair.

In perusing the various writing instrument websites, I often come upon questions as to what types of modern mechanical pencils are recommended.  Many opinions exist, but at $15 USD this came as a good alternative with some good history behind it.  Most 51 pencils are found in a set with the pen, but occasionally one can be found on its own, and if priced right, I would grab it..

For further Vintage Pencil Articles, please revisit ~

Did He Say Pencil? Dated April 2, 2009, which covers a Junior Vacumatic Pencil and a Belmont Pencil.

Sometimes a diversion into pencils is a good thing, but I promise to get back to Fountain Pens next time.


April 17, 2010 Posted by | Fountain Pens and Pencils, Parker 51, Parker 51 Writefine Pencil | , , | 6 Comments


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