|Filling Instructions: Parker Vacumatic|
Pens that use the Vacumatic mechanism include not only Vacumatics but also some late Duofolds and the first seven-odd years of 51 production. Earlier plungers are metal; plastic was introduced in 1942. The earliest Vacumatics came with a lock-down filler (shown below), which is released by being depressed slightly and turned. After filling, the filler must be locked down again in order for the blind cap to be replaced.
Regardless of plunger type, all Vac-fillers fill alike: the blind cap is removed, the nib is immersed, and the plunger is depressed several times until no more air bubbles come out from the nib hole. Note that with 51s, it is essential that the plunger be held down while the nib is withdrawn from the ink. When the plunger is then released, the contents of the capillary ink trap surrounding the nib (the "collector") are sucked back into the barrel. If this is not done, the pen is likely to flood when first used.
Vacs are emptied much as they are filled. Slowly depressing the plunger will express droplets of ink from the nib; repeat until the pen is empty. The 51 collector is such an efficient ink trap, however, that emptying these pens becomes rather difficult. Touching the nib to the side of the ink bottle or to an absorbent tissue will help extract more ink from each stroke of the plunger, but it is often faster simply to shake out the ink over a sink, with a motion like that of shaking down a thermometer.
Click here to see original Vacumatic instruction sheets from the late '30s