Thursday, September 22, 2022

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 425

As promised, here's that review of the rarer vintage Parker 'Vacumatic' fountain pen Christopher brought to our in-person meeting last week! Many thanks to Christopher for sending in this informative review and the accompanying photos.

Christopher: "Collecting vintage Parker Vacumatic fountain pens seems to be an endless trek of discovery. Just when you think you have seen it all, something new appears out of the woodwork. For me, several weeks ago it was the last in the line of the long-lived Parker Vacumatic Standard model, a model which was subsequently replaced, due to very strong sales, by the Vacumatic Major. And with this last model of the standard, you really can see the transition."

 (all photos courtesy of Christopher ~ please click on images to enlarge)

"Originally, the Parker Vacumatic Standard was introduced as part of the 1932 Vacuum filler Laminated Pearl line. In essence, it was the largest Vacuum filler model and referred to as the Senior Vacuum Filler. Although the filling mechanism was the Vacumatic type, these early Vacumatic models differed from what was to follow, in that their barrels and grip sections were one piece. Plus the Vacuum fillers were not transparent, but opaque.

When the metamorphosis took place, and the Vacuum filler became the Vacumatic, the Standard model evolved in 1934 as the second in size to the Oversized Vacumatic. As much as their sizes differed greatly, the Standard kept the same tubular design and mirrored the Oversized, but just as a smaller model. Further evolution as the Vacumatic Parker line of pens became prime, the Standard model became to be known, as far as identity was concerned, as the Vacumatic with the three distinctive cap rings.

Still in 1937, when pen styling was changing, Parker followed suit with streamlining all of their Vacumatic models including the Standard. It was also the introduction of Parker’s new Speedline Vacumatic Filler. This filler differed from the prior lockdown Vacumatic filler by being fully extended when not in use. Of course, this well-suited the streamlining design because it called for a longer blind cap, bringing the Standard’s overall length to all of 130mm. Also in that year, Parker introduced what was to become the most popular Vacumatic model, ‘The Major”. By 1939 the Standard and Major were competing for market share , but the overall size of both pens in the Streamline design was quite similar. Still, even with the passing of George Parker’s son, Kenneth (who had brought the Vacumatic to the forefront), the Major was out-selling the Standard by far. In 1942 with the war measures act, the idea of continuing with a filler for the Vacumatic which involved aluminum was just out of the question, so a plastic plunger Vacumatic filler was introduced and the blind cap dropped its metal tassie and end jewel. Now the Major and the newly designed Standard were more or less identical save their cap bands."

"While the Major lived on to the end of the Vacumatic run in the US in 1948 and in Canada to 1953, the Standard only survived as long as the stock was available. This makes my 1944 Streamline Vacumatic Standard quite a rare and desirable item. It is also a fountain pen I am enjoying using currently, before being added to my collection."


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