Pen posse

Pick up a Parker 51, and the first thing you'll probably remember is your school days. Especially folks born before the '90s. You'll remember them. After Parker came out with the 51 in 1940s, it gained popularity in the Asian markets in the 60s. Soon, copies were being made in China and South East Asian markets. One such brand was the Sanghai Hero Pen Company, which still makes Hero and Wing Sung fountain pens. You'll probably remember them for their distinctive hooded nibs, and hit-and-miss quality control that would often leave you with inky fingers.

But this post is not about Chinese pens. This is about the pen that, quite literally, started it all. Having started its production run in 1941, the Parker 51 is still considered the most advanced fountain pen technology ever developed.

Our story though, started in Hyderabad, Old City to be precise. As some of you would know, the Hipposaur was seen lurking around the Sunday flea market in Charminar, looking for odds and ends a year back. One such snoop yielded a teal green Parker 51 with a 12 Carat Gold cap for 600 Rupees. While the nib had been pilfered long ago; the pen was still in reasonably good shape. The barrel and cap were clean, taking on a gorgeous sheen after a bit of polish. The date code indicated the pen was made in England in the Autumn of 1956. UK made Parkers being considered a bit of a rarity, the pen was pocketed deftly.

But there was a problem - it simply would not write.

Solution: A year later. The scene was an old pen shop in Calcutta. Turned out they repaired and refurbished old Parkers. Two weeks later, the pen writes like a dream with a retrofitted 14k nib, sourced from old Parker stocks, the rest of the pen simply needed a heavy rinse to get things going. The 51 is being used every day. At home, at work, just about everywhere.

Not too bad for a 55-year-old, eh?

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