While searching for the perfect matching desk base trumpets for his special Parker Vacumatic and radio desk set, Jaime A. found this great ad from 1936. We love these classic Vac desk sets from Parker. The 1930s might have been a miserable time to live, with the economy in the tank, but, man, they had style.
Not too long ago we were approached by a radio restoration expert named Jaime A. for help on his special 1938 Detrola radio desk set. One of the two Parker Vacumatic trumpets had broken and he needed a replacement. We just so happened to be lucky enough to have a replacement trumpet set.
The set fits perfectly, but he wants to get one of the rarer chrome-based, ribbed trumpets to better match what originally came with the set. He also wants matching Parker Vacumatic desk pens (or a matching pen and pencil for such a desk set.). If you can help him out, please reach out to us in the comments, and we will hook you guys up.
In the meantime, feast your eyes on this set. Jaime completely refinished the wood and stain, replaced the vacuum tubes in the radio and got the clock and weather station portions working. That’s a lighter in the center of the wooden base!
Clearly, those Sheaffers are not the original pens for the set. They are just temporary place holders until he can find the right set of Vacs.
Still, it is one of the rarest and most handsome desk sets we’ve ever seen!
You have successfully put a new diaphragm into your Parker Vacumatic. The celluloid and gold trim gleam from expert polishing. Now, how do you go about making the finishing touch and repainting the old blue diamond in the clip?
Some clips still have their enamel…or at least some of it. Most these days, do not have it.
Some purists say you should never paint in the blue diamond. Other experts say it is no big deal.
Me, I like finishing the look of the pen as close to factory fresh as I can make it. If you have an ultra rare model with partial paint, perhaps you should leave it as is. But for most of the working pens I deal with, fresh paint won’t effect the value.
The big trick is finding the right color paint to get the blue diamond as close to accurate as possible.
Having spent all of my teen years as an avid model airplane builder, I ran straight to the nearest hobby shop to turn to trusty Testors paints. I took a handful of clips with me and began comparing and contrasting the paint options.
That is when I noticed not all blue diamonds in the Parker Vacumatic clips were the same. Some were lighter and some were darker blue. I let the remnant paint/enamel in the old diamond guide me. I finally settled on two Testors blue paints from their myriad shades.
If you look on the bar code sticker on the back of the paint bottle, you will notice the name of the color and a number. That color number should be universal in any Testors paint display.
For the lighter blue diamonds, I found that the 1110 Blue by Testors is a near perfect match. The next shade darker Â is the 1111 Dark Blue, which is a near perfect match for the darker blue diamonds. It sounds intuitive, but there are so many blues from which to pick.
Painting the diamond takes a steady hand and only a teeny-tiny amount paint. You can use a single-hair brush, but I find I prefer using a toothpick that I’ve whittled to an extra-fine point.
Dab in the paint until you have filled in the diamond. Use a magnifying glass to make sure you have filled in the corners. There is bound to be some spillage outside the raised lines of the diamond. I try to clean it up with the dry edges of the toothpick by rubbing a clean, dry edge of the toothpick along the edge of the diamond. If the paint gets down into the feathers of the arrow logo, a little paint thinner on a Q-tip can help get it out before it sets. Remember to make sure the Q-tip is not sopping wet with thinner, as spilling the thinner into the wet paint of the diamond can mess things up, too.
Best of luck on painting your diamonds blue!
Celebrity endorsements don’t come cheap, but it appears that Santa has been in high demand with every brand who has approached him over the years.
In 1904 he says Waterman is the best. In 1939 he was hooked on the Parker Vacumatic. In between those years, and well after, old St. Nick has been quick to shill for just about every major and minor pen maker in the world.
At first I thought I should chastise Father Christmas for his inability to pick a favorite vintage pen.
Then I got to thinking about the bigger picture. That’s when I realized what a bloody genius Santa truely is.
Santa has to deliver presents to all of the good boys and girls around the entire planet in just 24 hours. This year alone we’re looking at approximately 3 billion children. True, not all of them are good, but for now we’ll give most of them the benefit of any doubt.
In many cases, Santa delivers more than one toy per child. Even if we average it out to just 3 toys per child, that’s 9 billion toys.
That is more than a boatload of toys. Perhaps in a bygone era Santa could get away with 9 magic reindeer, but the jolly old elf will need rockets and more on his sleigh to cart that type of tonnage around the world. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to imagine such a modern sled as that runs up to $500 million or even $1B.
Even a living saint can’t magically generate enough cash for a rocket sled and 9 billion toys in one year…unless…
Unless he cashes in on his celebrity endorsements! By advertising every brand of every product imaginable, St. Nick could easily gin up trillions every year! Coca Cola alone has likely paid him hundreds of billions. Why else would a single bottle of Christmas Coke cost nearly $2?! A dollar of that must go to pay for Santa’s likeness on the bottle and packaging.
As inspired as Santa’s marketing and fundraising is, he can always use a little extra help from the rest of us.
Thank you, and have a Merry Christmas!
If you find that your favorite fountain pen won’t write any more or the nib is starting to skip and have trouble writing, it is quite possible your nib and inkfeed are clogging with old dried ink.
Infrequent use where you let your ink dry out inside the pen can often lead to clogged nibs and inkfeeds. Sometimes heavy use also leads to the same problem. If you fill and write your pen dry twice a week for years on end, the ink still builds up over time.
As a repairman, I find this is actually one of the most common problems pen users face. Whenever possible, I try to save my customers money with this simple advice.
Try to never let your pen dry out. If you know you won’t be using it for a while, empty it back into the inkwell or out in the sink. Of course, even constant use or careful emptying can lead to ink build up, eventually.
Always remember that room temperature tap water is your friend. (Hot and cold water can ruin your pen.) I find many repairs are easily avoided with a little H2O. Simply soak your pen overnight in a small cup or baby food jar, as in the photo. Don’t immerse the entire pen. Just soak the nib up to the section. The section is the part by which you most likely grip the pen. It is the black grip on this Parker Vacumatic. You can already see the old ink leaching off the nib.
After you let the pen soak for a few hours, the old ink remaining in the pen is softened. Empty out the container and fill it with more room temperature water. Then fill the pen with water several times, until the water is a uniform ink color. Empty and repeat until the pen starts running clear.
Empty the pen of water, and then shake out the remaining water over the sink. Be careful, that slightly tinted water sprays all over. Try your best to keep it in the sink. Wipe down the nib and inkfeed underneath with a paper towel. This helps drain out the last of the ink. I usually let the pen air dry for the remainder of the day. This way, when I refill the pen, the ink doesn’t seem watered down.