Parker 61

late 1950s-1961
About This Model

The Parker 51 was a hard act to follow, but Parker in the 1950s was determined to move ahead with a technologically advanced successor. So, starting in the mid-1950s, Parker developed prototypes. Parker and Sheaffer both thought clean filling was the next step, so while Sheaffer created the Snorkel, Parker went for a capillary filling unit in the 61. You turn the pen upside down and dunk the filler end into ink; it absorbs ink; you wipe it off and put the barrel back on. It was a wonderful idea that really never succeeded, although one can’t tell today if the problem was the filler or the 51’s durability or continued success.
At any rate, the MKI appeared in 1956, with small decorative shields riveted to the caps; rainbow “Heritage” caps also appeared then. These were luxe pens. Over time, more ordinary versions appeared, with plastic barrels and Lustroloy caps. In 1962, a slighter more slender version, called MKII, appeared; then MKIII in 1969, when the capillary filler was replaced by a cartridge/converter unit. 61’s were made in diminishing varieties and quantities through the 1970s, and were finally discontinued altogether in 1983. It was a highly successful model history, but that success was dwarfed by the 51 and the contemporaneous 45.

About This Pen

This 61 is a MK1 Classic, from the late 1950’s-1961. It has a Lustraloy cap with chrome clip, and a black plastic barrel. The barrel is personalized for R.O. Edwards, but the personalization is small and professionally done. The plastic is very clean, generally without marks and scratches. The capillary filler fills and drains well. Know that capillary filling 61s are best handled with one kind and color of ink. They are wonderful writers and hold a great deal of ink, but flushing ink completely is a job. This pen’s challenge is that the section/hood would not come off for love or money; after a week of heating and attempts, I decided it wasn’t coming off. As a result, the pen’s price accommodates this condition. All of that said, this 61 is a very nice writer; the nib is a typical wet-enough fine, firm without being stiff.

Price: $65