My Vintage Parker True Blue Lucky Curve
A special treat today! I don't normally share too much about vintage pens, mainly because I don't have too many and really because I don't know too much about the ones I have. However, I picked up a vintage pen at 2015 Scriptus Toronto Pen Show, and it's a beauty. You can bet no sticky hands are grabbing this one to wave around and drop behind the couch.
I picked up a Parker from the Scriptus Pen Show that ran a few weeks ago. I left it at the show with Jeffry Fridfinnson and his wife Erin, who had a table at the show selling restored vintage pens. Jeffry fixed it up to return to us, which is why there's been such a gap between the show and this post.
We're pretty happy to recommend Jeffry when people stop by our shop with vintage pens to get repaired. Jeffry & Erin live in Cabbagetown, which is a stone's throw from us in Leslieville, his prices and work are reliable, and plus, we kind of just like him and Erin both :) Plus, Jon is always admiring Jeffry's moustache. Jeffry has a YouTube channel where he talks about vintage and modern pens and other pen stuff, which is well worth a night with some snacks and your pen roll. Actually, we first met Jeffry through his father-in-law, Erin's dad, back when we were at 906 Dundas West. Glenn has to be one of my favourite customers, even though he lives out in Winnipeg, so we only see him once in a blue moon. Glenn kind of has a gruff exterior, so when he first said he was getting some pens to send to his son-in-law, I was more than thrilled to participate in what I thought was one of those rites-of-passage-trials-by-fire for a son-in-law attempting to meet the approval of the new dad. "Son-in-law must now pretend to use fountain pens all the time in order to 'share' hobby" type thing. But actually, Glenn is really a big softie at heart, a pile of mush. In fact, he once pulled out a pen for me to write with that had Iroshizuku Kosu-Mosu, a pink ink, in it. And it turns out, Jeffry is actually a real pen guy! Which is perfect, because it meant he could take a good look at this Parker Lucky Curve for me.
At the pen show, Jon and I had been making the rounds, but it was busy and crowded in the best possible way, and we had yet to find a pen that was calling out to me. Finally, in a desperate attempt to find a pen so I wouldn't have to leave the pen show empty-handed and broken-hearted, we managed to find a table of vintage pens in a corner that wasn't too crowded, and we took a look around. Of all the pens, this was the only pen that I really liked the look of, but knowing nothing about the vintage Parkers, I was mainly buying it because I liked how it looked. I have always liked the shape of the Parker Duofold, but I'm not really one for big pens, so this was a nice, smaller-version of it, with some great blue-cream-grey striations along the barrel and cap, its 'True Blue' flavour. It's a button filler, which means you unscrew the back of the pen to remove the cap, and you press on the "button" to compress and release the sac inside, filling the sac with ink. Rather than a Vacumatic, where you pull out the compressor and push it back in, for this pen when you press down on the button, it pushes on a side bar that compresses the sac along the length of the barrel. The sac actually holds a fairly substantial amount of ink.
The best part of the pen is that it's made in Toronto! I think after I saw the inscription on the pen, I just had to have it. I didn't grow up in Toronto, but it's my home now, and having a pen made here is just perfect. I have since learned that the Lucky Curve was made in the 1920s, off the success of the Duofold, although it itself was not nearly so successful.
Jon did some half-hearted haggling and got the price lowered a notch, but of course, we still didn't know what we were getting ourselves into. Jon gave me his patent eyeball-to-eyeball look and said, "I hope you really like this one, Liz..." We left the pen with Jeffry, and I think I meant to say something like "take your time with it, no rush!" but it may have come out like "I need this pen urgently, please bump off everyone else on your list." Jeffry said he would take a look at the insides, buff up the body, tune up the nib, etc. I wasn't sure what was or wasn't wrong with the pen, so Jeffry basically said he would take a good look and just fix it all up for us. I finally got the pen back last week, and I was expecting my beautiful pen to write with a simple fine-medium line, maybe just a bit smoother than when we had tried it out at the pen show. At the show, it was a bit rough, and I could see the tines were misaligned, but I wasn't thinking too much more than that. To my thrill and delight, take a look at what Jeffry has coaxed this nib into!
A beautiful, vintage pen! With a flex nib! It's flexy, however, it's not super flexy. I don't know that I would describe this as a wet noodle. I think the term 'wet noodle' is a pretty subjective term in any case, but it's definitely not the softest or the widest flex nib among vintage flex, and of course with too much pressure there is a risk of springing the nib (when the tines are permanently flexed out and don't come back to the centre again). It's a very wet pen, so the flow keeps up with the flexing no problem. Here's a few shots without flexing.
The ink is Sailor Jentle Blue Black. This ink doesn't get too much attention, but it really gives Iroshizuku Shin Kai a run for its money. The sheen! This ink also shades really well, although this pen is on the wet side, so you don't see as much shading. Jeffry also shot a video on the pen! With much more information on then pen and its specs :) When Jeffry dropped off the pen, he had told Jon that he had "unsprung" the nib. I wasn't too sure what that meant until I tried the pen, and felt just how soft the nib was, which was definitely not how the pen was writing at the show. I think I had to laugh as Jeffry described the nib during the writing sample, saying that he didn't want to push it too far, since he didn't want to spring the nib, and there I was, very likely pushing it, uhm, a bit farther than recommended by the person who just repaired the nib. Jeffry did an incredible job with this pen, I can still hardly believe what I basically lucked into getting, having no idea that the nib was capable of such softness when I purchased it. Jeffry also cleaned up the body, so it's shiny and smooth. I couldn't be happier :)