Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 335

You're in for a treat today, courtesy of Christopher---a rare vintage fountain pen and a short history lesson about one of their most innovative filling systems, too!

Christopher writes:

"In a decade and a half of vintage pen collecting, there have only been a handful of pens which have grabbed me. Oh sure, there have been contenders, but when I first saw a vintage Parker Stubby, I knew eventually I would have to have one. Actually, the first time I laid eyes on one was one of two Parker Stubby pens owned by another member of the Vancouver Pen Club. He had brought some Parker Vacumatic parts that I desperately needed but, along with the parts, he treated me to a few of his upper end vintage Parker Vacumatic examples. Amongst these fine Parker Pens were not one but two Parker Stubbies. I was so taken with them at the time that I immediately started turning over stones in hopes of finding one. Alas, the Parker Stubby is one rare item and not a pen which turns up that often

Turning the clock forward, it seemed that I did have an item that this Vancouver Pen Club Parker Stubby owner really was enamoured with. Subsequently, a deal came together and I drove home with a magnificent vintage Parker Stubby. But this begs the question, what exactly is a Parker Stubby?"

(photo courtesy of Christopher ~ please click on image to enlarge)

"Well, after the famous Parker Duofold, that had brought much success to the company for the better part of 11 years, it was time for a new Parker pen to take the company into the future. With this in mind, the company turned its attention to developing a new fountain pen with an extremely advanced filling system. A pen that would, in fact, be able to hold more ink, which was something that their Duofold with a rubber sack inside the barrel was-- as other similar pens-- not capable of. The sack limited using the full extent of the inside of the barrel to hold ink. The solution was to be able to seal the barrel at both ends and use an ink drawing mechanism which took up very little of the barrel’s interior. Parker not only designed and applied such a system, but placed most of this new innovation outside of the barrel covered with a screw on blind cap.

The first experimental model of this new pen was called the Golden Arrow. This really related to the clip being beautifully rendered in the shape of an arrow, as with a similar arrow being applied to the nib. There were few of these Parker Golden Arrow pens produced by the company because the model was more of a marketing test by Kenneth Parker, George Parker's (the company founder’s) son. A short time later, the Golden Arrow was dropped but improved and released as the Parker Vacuum Filler. This name directly related to a rubber diaphragm which had been part of this new modern Parker ink filling system. But the Parker Vacuum Filler pen definitely differed with advances over its predecessor, in that the barrel and grip section were one piece and instead of a small metal arrow being soldered to the nib, re: the Golden Arrow model, the arrow shape was engraved directly onto the nib’s surface. There were other differences as well, in that the finish on barrel, grip, cap and blind cap as well as the jewels all matched but was made up of horizontal bands of coloured pearl integrated with horizontal bands of black laminate. This rendered the finish totally opaque.

The Parker Vacuum Filler was released in 1932 and the model that first saw the light of day was the stubby at 110mm. It was accompanied by only one other size, a larger contender at 126mm. Both sizes first came out in silver pearl and black laminate, but were shortly followed by similar sized models in a rich burgundy pearl and black laminate. The main difference with these two were that the silver was sold as a standard model with steel fittings and a sold 14K gold nib, while the burgundy was sold as the deluxe Parker Vacuum Filler with 14K rolled gold fittings and a 14K gold nib with a beautiful platinum mask. The Vacuum Fillers had the lock down style filler mechanism, which most are familiar with re: the later Parker Vacumatic, but whereas the silver pearl had an aluminum filler tube for its filling mechanism, the burgundy had a nickel plated one. There was also, for the more conservative fountain pen user of the time, an all black laminate model but in just nine months, Parker dropped the entire Vacuum Filler line in support of their new Vacumatic, which was somewhat similar but did differ at least in a few ways.

So as you might have guessed, my Parker Stubby is a Vacuum Filler and the Deluxe model. A little different to restore and service with the one piece barrel and grip, but once up and running just a wonderful addition to my vintage pen collection. A closing word to the wise: If you ever run across a Parker Vacuum Filler Stubby as a vintage pen collector, make sure it finds a way into your collection. Trust me, you will not be sorry."

Our thanks to Christopher for sharing this rare and beautiful vintage fountain pen with us! :)

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