I like the Parker 61 and have a bunch in my collection. I think the 61 has received some bad press over the years and I am writing in its defense. The downside to using fountain pens was that the process of filling them with ink was a messy business. Hence the ballpoint pen gained popularity in the 1950s. To address this problem Parker introduced the 61 in 1956. To fill the 61 you unscrew the barrel and place the back end of the pen in a bottle of ink for a few seconds (the length of time is debatable). The pen contains a porous material and fills thru capillary action and when you remove the pen from the bottle of ink there should be almost no ink to wipe off (this is debatable as well). You then screw the barrel back on and the pen is ready to write. Now, in my experience there always seems to be a small amount of excess ink which needs to be wiped off with a tissue. I’m willing to live with that minor issue. One of the major concerns about the filling mechanism was it clogging when not in use. True, but any fountain pen that has not been flushed and left for a period of time unused will have issues. In a later version of the 61 Parker did switch to a squeeze style converter for the filling mechanism. Another concern was that the decorative inlaid arrow on the gripping section was prone to falling off. That’s true, however, I’ve collected a number of them over the years and that has not happened to the ones I own. In comparison to the very popular 51 the 61 is a little shorter and smaller in girth. Like the 51, the 61 did come in a variety of colors and you can find them with both lustraloy and gold filled caps as well as a very attractive rainbow cap. There are pencils to match and both flighter (cap and body are stainless steel) and signet (cap and body are gold filled) versions. I think they write nicely and with proper care will serve you well. For more detailed information check out parkercollector.com. Happy collecting!
Neil and Vicky Lander are happy to share their thoughts and news here!