I know this blog is called Flex & Other Follies and I always rattle on about vintage flex, but:
I was at the London pen show in October and spent a grand total of £201 on a variety of things: a pen case/box, more pens, more inks, and stuff… and the largest purchase I made was the Vacumatic. At £75, freshly restored, it’s a good deal! Exactly what you’d expect at a pen show.
It was the nib that sold it for me: an original Parker nib that wrote very very fine. I jumped when I saw it writes finer than a Japanese fine, though I was mucking about with it later with my new 60× loupe and saw that there were a couple of very small stress cracks on the nib. Apparently the cap screws just a little too far down, pressing against the tines. Doesn’t matter: I keep it lightly screwed on, and it looks too good to bring around, so it stays at home in my new case.
The best thing about this pen is that its filling system is new to me. I’ve never previously had the chance to actually try filling a Vacumatic, even though I’ve handled them, and I can safely say that there’s something quite satisfying about air going skrrrt and making bubbles in an ink bottle. Very fun indeed. The end of the pen unscrews to reveal this plunger, which compresses a diaphragm, causing ink to go into the pen when released.
The pen dates from after 1939, due to the blue diamond on the clip (see the topmost photo), but the material is still clear and there is really good transparency when held against the light. It’s very stunning, and the first ink I put into this pen was Pelikan Edelstein Amber: a surprise find at the show — for only £15!
Most importantly, though, it’s a very consistent writer, with a feed dry enough to keep the line fine. Every other vintage pen I own has a flex nib, with the exception of the tiny Peter Pan, so their feeds are necessarily very wet.
The nib is very firm, though not quite manifold level. It has no variation at all, which I was prepared for, and the plunger mechanism lends it a little bit of weight, since it is after all a fairly small pen (think Pelikan M400 size). Now that I own one, I can safely recommend it to everyone: this is an excellent pen to have!
Finally: look at how good a match it makes with Amber:
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Trying out my newest acquisitions: my first Parker pen and an impossible-to-find Edelstein! The Vac has such clarity in the material and real transparency in the gaps, and a wonderful vintage extra fine nib. That Amber is beautiful — a rich and warm colour — and that ends my quest to find a substitute. I have the real deal now! . Pen: Parker Vacumatic Golden Pearl EF Ink: Pelikan Edelstein Amber Paper: Tomoe River (Nanami Seven Seas Standard) . #fountainpens #penmanship #penandink #lettering #parker #vacumatic #goldenpearl #pelikan #edelstein #amber #matchymatchy #tomoeriver #inkyfingers #ink