There seems to be a rather ravenous bunch in the fountain pen world that simply must collect every Parker Vacumatic ever made. Luckily, I haven’t been bitten by this bug yet but I now have my first working Parker Vacumatic and I thought I’d share it with you.
I picked this Vac up at an antique store in Houghton Lake Michigan, it came in a pen box with another Vacumatic, a Wahl Eversharp with a nice flexy #2 nib, and a broken Eversharp pen/pencil set. I picked all those up for $40 so I count my purchase price of this pen as $10. Of the two Vacs, the 2nd gen was in the best shape so I sent it off to Daniel Smith to be restored. More on that later.
The pen in question was made in the 4th quarter of 1939 and it sure doesn’t look like it. I showed it to a couple coworkers today and they both couldn’t believe it was a ’39. Let’s take a look shall we?
This color is what I believe to be called “Golden Pearl”. There’s some transparency to the barrel although I’m not sure how it stacks up to better examples. The body was in decent shape but the blind cap had some teeth marks on it but Dan managed to polish those out. It turned out pretty darn nice!
The nib is a two tone with the Parker arrow. I think it’s a fine but it’s not so fine that I don’t like it (I’m a medium kind of guy). If it were up to me, I’d rather it be a fatter line but I’ll be happy with what I have.
Here’s the whole pen in the 3 pieces. The blind cap jewel and the cap jewel don’t match, not sure if that’s how it should be or not. Feel free to hit the comments and tell me.
How does it work? Well, it’s pretty much everything I expected from a vintage Parker. The nib has a nice size to it, slender but with a bit more size to it than the other nibs I’m used to. There’s a slight spring to the nib as well which you don’t get from a lot of modern pens. I haven’t really tried to put any pressure on it since it’s not a flex nib but a little bit of pressure does cause the line to fatten up. Ink flow is on the wet side which I very much enjoy.
Now a note on the restoration. I sent this pen out to Daniel Smith for restoration and I can’t say enough about the service I received. The pen arrived to him on Monday night and I had a message on StyloForum on Tuesday morning saying it was on the way back. Yes, less than 24 hours turnaround. Obviously your mileage will vary but I can’t complain. I had the diaphragm replaced, the nib/feed straightened, and had the body polished. I’m very happy with his work and he has my recommendation from now on.
If you want to contact Dan, you can find him on Twitter as @mr_maxim or at his website dannzeman.com.