How to Fill a Parker 51

Written by barry index
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How to Fill a Parker 51
The Parker 51 is a highly sought after classic pen known for its design style and deep reservoir. (Fountain pen image by Alex Dascalu from

The Parker 51 is a classic pen first introduced in 1941. It remained a best seller for decades and found a place in the Museum of Modern Art's design collection for its styling. The 51 was also voted fourth as having the best industrial design of the twentieth century in a poll held by the Illinois Institute of Technology. Collectors avidly pursue this classic writing instrument, and many are found still in usable condition. Filling the pen requires an ink bottle from which ink is drawn, using the original internal diaphragm and reservoir.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Ink bottle
  • Blotting paper

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  1. 1

    Twist off the cap at the end of the barrel covering the plunger mechanism. Immerse the nib into the ink bottle. The nib is the sharp point of the pen tip.

  2. 2

    Press down on the plunger at the top of the pen and then release it to activate the diaphragm. The diaphragm draws in the ink into the reservoir with the aid of a breather tube. This pump action creates a reliable siphon through which the ink well is filled.

  3. 3

    Press the plunger up to nine times to completely fill the pen. Wait a few seconds between each pump. If bubbles escape from the nib, continue pressing the plunger and pumping ink into the reservoir.

  4. 4

    Hold the plunger down on the last stroke when the reservoir accepts no more ink. The pen is completely filled when there are no more air bubbles being produced at the nib.

  5. 5

    Lift the pen from the ink bottle and release the plunger. This allows the breather tube to continue sucking up ink from the collector and around the nib. Wipe the nib with blotting paper to remove excess drops of ink. Replace the cap over the plunger. The pen is ready to write.

Tips and warnings

  • A professional overhaul of the internal parts is a good idea since the rubber in the old diaphragm may begin to deteriorate due to age. A pen in this condition is prone to ink flow irregularities or a sudden release of ink while writing.

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