Parker 51 Liquid Lead Pencil


About This Model

The Parker 51 is generally agreed to be one of the genuinely iconic fountain pens, for its timeless design, revolutionary construction, efficiency, unparalleled durability, and for being a great writer. It is also among the most sold pens of all time, having been available from 1941 until the early 1970’s, manufactured in plants around the world, and sold millions. Within each major model there are myriad combinations of color, cap, and other details that have made collecting 51s a serious sport around the world. 51s are available in two lengths: the typical 51 is 5.4" long, but demis, a half-inch shorter in cap and barrel, were also produced. They are excellent writers, hold a great deal of ink, and are great shirt/jacket pocket pens. Parker 51s are readily available today, although some of their colors and cap patterns are rare.

About This Pen

The Parker Liquid Lead pencil, although largely forgotten today, was a Parker invention that succeeded during its time but didn’t last. Developed in the early 1950’s in a shotgun-marriage partnership with Scripto, “LL” used powdered and reprocessed pencil lead and released it through a ballpoint-like ball. It was an ingenious result, with the eraseable advantages of a pencil but unbreakable like a ballpoint. They were marketed both by Scripto and Parker as standalone lower level writing instruments, and by Parker in sets with their much nicer fountain pens. Ultimately, they passed away as a result of pricing that was thought to be too high, the cost of replacement cartridges, and the internal competition from the incomparable Jotter ballpoint. This Liquid Lead pencil is one of the higher level models, most likely sold as part of a set with a 51 MKII fountain pen. It is in Midnight Blue, with a gold-filled 1/10 cap, and is in nearly perfect condition. I suspect it received very light use, for it looks new. The “LL” imprint is fresh and deep. This pencil does not write: if stored point-down it will write for an inch or so, and perhaps can be brought back to life, but this is intended to join a Parker collection.

Price: $50

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