An Unexpected Discovery: the Parker 45 Flighter (I think)

Slight warning: Bit of an unstructured read today.

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I don’t know exactly where I got this pen. I think it came from my mum; she must’ve given me a pencil case and said, “you can have this and everything in it.” It might’ve even come from my grandfather/her father. I don’t really know. All I know is that I did not buy it myself. I found it in the pen roll/case thing I keep most of my fountain pens in, pulled it out, cleaned it up and then did a little research on it.

Apparently, it’s a Parker 45 Flighter – the UK version (due to the lack of a black bit on the end? I don’t know). It does have “made in the UK” stamped on the lid as well as a “45” and “Parker” with the little logo. There’s no mistaking that arrow shaped clip though. I’m not sure exactly how old this particular one is, but I think Parker started producing the Flighters in 1964? But, I think this particular one is from the 1970s. Again, I’m not sure, so feel free to correct me if you know.

Let’s see. It’s about 136mm when it’s capped and… just under 130mm uncapped. According to the research I’ve done, it’s “brushed stainless steel with a 14ct nib and gold trimmings” (that’ll be the clip and the ring around the black plastic grip section). The nib is a Medium on this one. It’s in pretty good condition actually. You can still see the “brushed” part of the stainless steel, but it’s got a few little marks on it. As one would expect for a metal pen that was kicking around inside a pencil case alongside who knows what.

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When I was given it… Or when I re-found it, there wasn’t a cartridge or a converter in it, but that’s no big deal to me. I have a lot of cartridges and a couple of the Parker converters kicking around. Because it’s a fairly old (to me!) pen though, I think I’ll stick with Parker cartridges.

I’m not going to lie, I didn’t expect to put the cartridge in, give it a minute and then for it to work as soon as the nib touched the paper. Not with how long this pen had been sitting around, unclean and unused for (a long time. A very, very long time. Easily more than five years. Probably more than seven.) To be honest, I didn’t expect it to work at all, but after a couple of minutes holding the pen nib down and after a couple of gentle dips in water, the ink started flowing. Paler than it was supposed to be, naturally due to the water, but it was working.

Man, using it was a struggle though. I was writing on the Arc paper from Staples and I had to keep going back over my letters. Only a couple of letters at a time though, not whole words or anything. But it seemed to be struggling considerably, thus making the writing sample very difficult to get through. So, I tried it on some cheap printer paper. That worked like a charm, so I don’t know. Maybe it’s to do with the coating on the Arc paper, maybe it’s because the pen hasn’t been used in donkey’s years and needs awhile to get going.

I am really sorry for my utterly horrible handwriting in this, by the way. It’s even more terrible than normal.
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Can I blame the pen for being… Disagreable? I don’t think I can at this point in time – mostly because I literally stuck a cartridge in and wrote the samples with it – I didn’t use it for about a week or so like I normally do. I personally think that as soon as the ink starts flowing through the feed a bit more, it’ll work just fine. And if it doesn’t like more expensive papers? That doesn’t bother me – not every piece of paper I write on has to be Rhodia or Clairefontaine or whatever. I have plenty of paper that isn’t.

I’m surprised I own this thing, to be honest. Well, actually, no. If it came from my mother or my grandfather, I’m not. My grandfather is the type of man to use a fountain pen, and my mother is the type to pick up on her dad’s habits. Plus I think fountain pens were just… The things you used, when she was at school. It seems like the sort of pen he would’ve given her, and she’s the type to pass things down to me so, no I guess I’m not surprised I’ve got it. That is, if it came from my family at all. I think it did; I’m not entirely sure where else it would’ve or could’ve come from. But! That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

I’m going to put it through some more vigarious use soon and then I’ll see how it does, but if I can only use it on cheaper paper, that’s no big deal – I care more about where it came from. I really am more of a sentimental kinda gal.

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