Parker 61, the self-filling almost perfect pen

Parker’s most iconic pen model is of course the Parker 51, but even Parker knew it wasn’t going to last forever so eventually they tried to improve on it. The Parker 61 was the first fountain pen that didn’t require any mechanics to be filled, whenever the back end of the pen was dipped in ink, it simply filled itself, pure magic (well not really). It depended on a natural phenomenon called capillary action:

Capillary action (sometimes capillaritycapillary motioncapillary effect, or wicking) is the ability of a liquid to flow in narrow spaces without the assistance of, or even in opposition to, external forces like gravity. The effect can be seen in the drawing up of liquids between the hair of a paint-brush” (Source: Wikipedia)

Inside the pen is a rolled up sheet with tiny holes, when exposed to ink it quickly spreads out to fill this sheet. Hence it will suck up ink that will be lead to the nib to be able to write. The Parker 51 was a great success but some people complained that it was sometimes unclear what was the front or back, so the 61 received an arrow near the tip to help people find the direction.

But sadly the 61 had two small problems, the added arrow would come off and get lost, but more importantly the filling system would get clogged with dried up ink rendering the pen useless unless properly cleaned which is far from easy.

What I have for sale this week is a very nice example of a Parker 61 with the rolled gold cap that comes in the original box and even retains the original manual. And worry not, the arrow is present, and the pen was cleaned and tested prior to sale. Or check out all my other items for sale, including a second 61 with a rainbow cap.

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