Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Parker Comes By

Before I got so smitten by white fountain pens, I wished to focus my collection on Parkers, in honor of the maroon Parker Vector which happens to be my first FP. As I read the available literature about Parker pens, I realized the vastness of the sea I was letting myself into. Let me just say that I got very intimidated by the number of pens I must get to legitimize a collection. And so I became enamored with white pens and been like that since I laid my eyes on a white Parker Duofold I saw at my first pen meet.

As pens filled my ice trays (yes, they are ice trays), only 1 Parker made it there: a white Parker Vector. But only because it is white and I feel that my collection will be lacking without it. After that, no more Parkers. Until I saw an ad about a vintage Parker 25 with a 'brushed steel body'. I contacted the seller out of curiosity, and he replied fast. And then we lost communication because I was not interested in the pen by the way it looks on the photos sent to me. It was several days later that he went back to me to offer to sell the pen at a lower price. I wasn't interested still, even if I was told it had a Medium nib. I didn't want a strange-looking pen even at that price and nib (I'm a sucker for medium nibs.). Then the seller informed me that another buyer is eyeing the pen and they are finalizing the sale. Great, I thought. Hours later, he was back to me again.

I felt bad for the pen that I began to pity it. It was like a child that nobody wants to take in and was being passed around. Poor Parker 25! Again, I looked at the photos sent to me, and despite their poor quality, which didn't show the pen any better, I bought it.

UK-made Parker 25, profile of nib.

I got the pen the following day in a pitiful state. It came in its original plastic box with the original paper wrap with the Parker logo, but both plastic box and paper wrap are old, dirty, and about to fall out. Closer inspection of the pen revealed that the nib is gunked with old, dried ink, and though I know that the nib can be removed from the section, it won't even move. It got stuck because of the dried ink. The barrel has tiny brown flecks which scared me because I thought of them as rust. But the worst part is the pen's converter. It came with a squeeze filler, but the metal part that should be squeezed is stuck to the rubber (I'm not sure if it is rubber, though), which is totally unusable.

The underside of the nib.

As soon as I got home, I soaked the nib in soapy water. After an hour, I tugged at the nib and it easily went off. Hurrah! For several hours, I kept changing the water in my soaking tub every hour. I did this until past midnight and I was up so early in the morning to check on the pen. The nib looked a lot better after the overnight soak. While I was airdrying it (using an electric fan), I cleaned the barrel and cap using an all-around metal polish. After two hard scrubbings, the barrel and cap are gleaming. Hurrah!

Parker 25 cap and barrel.

It's obvious that I couldn't wait to test the pen. So I placed a cartridge of Parker Penman Mocha on the pen and tried it. I was very surprised at how easily it wrote after being kept unused and dirty for so long. The Penman looked perfect on it as it wrote smoothly. The pen does not write as wet as I would have wanted it to be, but that's fine. I love its balance now, so there is nothing to worry about. The brushed steel barrel and cap are both very sturdy, I don't need to worry about accidental falls breaking it.

Another shot at the cap and barrel. They definitely look better than in this photo. The pen looks like new!

And here is a writing sample of the pen on a page on my Moleskine. There's feathering and bleed, but that's okay.

There is a lot written about Parker 25 and other Parker pens, but I didn't want to rewrite what has been written. For more reading, ParkerCollector.Com has a lot of valuable information, and there is a long conversation and review of Parker 25 at Fountain Pen Network. Check them out!

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