Diamonds in the Rough


Today my friend gave me a couple of pens that she found while cleaning her office. At first glance, the pens are super-rough and hardly held out any hope that they’re still working. A cursory inspection showed them to be Parker 75s (gasp). I opened up one of them to check out the squeeze converter; one of them was intact and still soft. The other crumbled as soon as we opened the pen. Here’s a photo of how rough they both looked. (The ballpoint pen is my friend’s, she asked if I could clean it out and see if it still works. It does.)

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I can understand why my friend thought she should just throw these out, but I said that I could see if I can still do something with them. She graciously just gave them as a gift. Perhaps a little bit weirded out that I was so excited about such dirty-looking pens.

Fast forward to a few hours later…

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Tadaaaa! A lot of rubbing with a damp jeweler’s cloth revealed the beautiful pens hiding underneath all that grime and oxidation. From the design clues of the pen, the fountain pens were manufactured sometime between 1965-1967.

The sterling silver cisele pattern and the all-plastic section was introduced in 1965. The end of the section’s nib angle indicator still has the number “0” inscribed on it to show the pen’s center mark. This “0” was removed on 1968.

One of the nibs worked well and did not need to be cleaned. The other one was in a rougher state. It was obviously inked and then kept without cleaning because the ink dried up. The nib was fused in place and there seemed to be the beginnings of brassing around the collar.

I soaked the nib and section for an hour, gave it several ultrasonic baths to take out the (stubborn and highly saturated) blue ink that dried up in it until I could turn the nib in the section again. I pulled out the nib and feed and gave it a few more rounds in the ultrasonic cleaner. I reassembled the pen, popped in a modern Parker converter and loaded it with ink.

I now have two perfectly-working Parker 75s! I am a happy camper. ^_^ It’s a great feeling to see these pens restored and used again. I’ll write a review about them soon. They’re both superb writers. The nibs are fine and extra fine, but they’re wet writers so I don’t really mind. ๐Ÿ™‚ What a wonderful gift from a wonderful friend.

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Now my vintage Parker pen wishlist has been reduced to:
1. Big Red
2. Green Vacumatic
3. Burgundy or Blue Parker 51

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6 thoughts on “Diamonds in the Rough

  1. Jo says:

    Those silver 75s are wonderful. And they really do polish right up, I bought an ugly looking one of eBay, a few seconds with my good silver polish and it was good as new. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

  2. Danna says:

    The changes from the first photo to the last are dramatic! I recently acquired one and have been polishing away for quite some time now. The one thing that bugs me is the tarnishing under the clip. Were you able to remove the top of the cap and the clip to clean underneath it?

    Like

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