"Anyone walking into a stationery shop today is greeted by a myriad of different pens in every size, shape and colour imaginable. The choice is almost limitless, whether you want a simple ballpoint or a space age gel ink pen which writes upside down. Like so much technology that we now take for granted, such innovations were unthinkable only a few years ago. Yet at the same time, the anticipated demise of the fountain pen, like that of the printed book, has failed to fully materialize. No one would for a moment suggest that fountain pen use is as widespread as it was 50 years ago, but for many, it is one invention that will never be superceded no matter what new products appear on the market.
The ultimate symbol of this enduring popularity is the Parker 51. Not only has this undoubtedly been the most successful fountain pen in history, with sales figures exceeding $ 400 million, but it also rivals many other items for the accolade of being the most successful consumer product of its time. Such was the penís popularity that it enjoyed a production run spanning four decades, with models being sold in every corner of the globe. As a result many people still possess working examples of the 51, with many more having memories of having used one in the past.
Whether you are a serious collector or just have a passing interest in the subject, the story behind the development and evolution of the 51 is a surprisingly interesting and complex one. The obvious assumption when talking about one model of a pen is that these will only be a limited number of different examples and that there will only be a limited number of different examples and that these will all be very similar to each other. In fact, the number of different models that can be found is absolutely staggering and even the most dedicated of collectors would struggle to find every example ever manufactured. The reasons behind this are various, ranging from the Parker companyís belief in the concept of artificial obsolescence and its desire to constantly enhance its position in the market to the fact that the penís development was not entirely linear with new models being produced before the demise of older ones and a combination of different parts often being used.
This book aims to provide not only a comprehensive guide to the penís history but also a guide to itís position today, ranging from information on how to identify different models to details of pensí value and age. We hope that it will offer an interesting insight into the workings of one of the worldís most famous companies and help inform and guide those with an interest in the huge range of 51s which can still be found so readily today. "
Available from: www.parker51.co.uk and from: http://1001pens.com
A review by Jon R. on "Zoss Pen List":
I just purchased the new Parker 51 book by David and Mark Shepard today, and
have spent the last hour and a half devouring the first 41 pages out of a
total of 169. This is, without a doubt, one of the best books on pens ever
written! I recently had the pleasure of purchasing another collector book, the
Illinois Watch Book by Fredric J. Friedberg. At the time I felt that this book
was truely the best book on a collectable that I had ever seen. Its layout,
photography, and gobs of informative text was to my way of thinking,
unparalleled. I only wished that someone would produce a similar book about fountain
pens. Paul Erano's 2nd edition of his terrific book comes close, but it is more
of a survey of many brands of collectable pens, both past and present. But the
Shepards' book focuses, like the Illinois book, on just one manufacturer and
in fact, just one model pen--the Parker 51.
"The Parker 51" is not only the best book on fountain pens I have ever had
the pleasure of reading, but is the equal of the Illinois Watch book, in quality
and its comprehensiveness, no mean feat, indeed!
This is truely an all-encompassing document, detailing virtually every
aspect of 51 design, range of models, presentation and marketing, and valuation.
Not only American production, but Canadian, and UK production are also detailed
with the subtile differences highlighted. Outstanding photographs, true
color graphics (the first time I've ever seen a decent picture of a "plum" 51 that
looks like it should-different from Cordovan. Simply stated, there is
nothing left out of this book! If you have a serious interest in collecting 51's
then this book is absolutely necessary and will cover many aspects and tidbits
of 51 lore that even the most advanced collector may not be aware of. If you
are only mildly interested in 51's, this book may just push you over the edge
into a true obsessive-compulsive collector. While I characterize my interest
level as moderate, it will be all I can do now to prevent myself from becoming
an o-c collector of these interesting writing instruments!
I urge anyone with an interest in any brand of vintage pens (not just Parker
51's) to get this book! It is a wonderful achievement in research and
composition! Thank you David and Mark, you've done a fantastic job bringing the
Parker 51 to life!