Saturday, November 26, 2011

Day Twenty-two: Parker 51 with Greune Cactus Eel

Earlier, when I tried a Parker 51 Special, I noted that I wanted to try the better 51 as well. For day twenty-two, I chose a Parker 51 that my father bought when it was new. I don't know the exact year this pen was made, but I believe it is one of the earlier aerometric models. I decided to fill the pen with Noodlers Greune Cactus Eel ink.

It was a little more difficult to fill this pen, compared to the Special I tried earlier. This was due to a very small "window" in the metal guard surrounding the ink sac, in which you could squeeze the pressure bar. This was probably designed to limit the potential for accidentally squeezing the bar before screwing the section and the filler back into the barrel, but it was a surprisingly awkward arrangement. That is one of the reasons I suspect this is an early model.

This pen has a gold nib with an extra fine point. It did have a bit more tooth, but for an extra fine nib, it was a wonderfully smooth writer with excellent ink flow. Despite my trouble in filling it, it easily held enough ink to last throughout my writing session. The difference isn't huge, and the budget minded might be satisfied with a Special, but this pen did behave better than the other one. It amply confirmed my conclusion that every writer ought to have at least one or two Parker 51s on hand, for those times when you just need the writing to go smoothly.

I can understand how revolutionary they must have appeared when they were introduced, with the sharp contrast between these pens and the models that came before them. Today, however, the Parker 51 isn't an exciting pen. It is understated, and few would give it a second glance. But it is a reliable, low profile workhorse. In that respect, it is just as excellent a choice today as it was the day it was made. And the fact it is so reliable, so many years after it was made, speaks volumes.

The filler on this pen even specifies the dreaded "Superchrome" ink, and since my father had a bottle in his desk, I presume it drank at least some of that corrosive brew. Yet in spite of that, it is in fine shape, still fitted with the original ink sac and working without any problems whatsoever. For any object that is sixty or so years old, that is a testament to how well they made them.

The Noodlers Eel series inks are primarily meant for use in piston fillers, plunger fillers, and other pens with internal moving parts exposed to the ink. (Lever fillers, button fillers, and so on may have internal moving parts, but they are outside the ink sac. If ink gets on them, it is because the sac has failed.) However, it is fine for use in any pen, and in this case, it was one of the inks I had left to try, and it was convenient when I needed to fill my pen quickly.

It flows very well, and lubricates the nib nicely. It is a darker green, easy to read and perfectly suitable for a manuscript. It probably wouldn't work well for markup in most cases, although if you had written the original in a bright enough or light enough ink, it would do fine. I won't say that this is an ink every writer needs, but if you like green, it could be a nice one to have on hand.

On day twenty-two, I wrote 1,512 words for a total so far of 47,029 words. I had hoped for more, but this was a very busy day. In addition, I was interrupted by all the dragons of Pern, keening for their creator, Anne McCaffrey. After learning of the death of an author I had enjoyed reading and admired for years, I lacked the heart to continue. I'm still safely ahead of where I need to be, so this shouldn't pose a problem.

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