Parker Vector Fountain Pen

A while back, I ordered three, in different colors, for roughly eleven federal reserve notes each including shipping. Different colors have different prices. Go figure. I’ve had them for a couple weeks.

They are shipped from India, and arrive in Parker retail packaging, written in English, but labeled to be sold in India. The listing says that a converter is not included, and makes no mention of ink cartridges. However, all three of mine arrived with one converter and two cartridges of blue ink each.

They are a simple yet attractive design, and seem well made for an inexpensive pen. The barrel and cap are plastic.  They have a true fine nib, on par with other fine to extra fine nibs that I have on other pens. They are less picky about nib angle than most. The nib quality is average – neither ultra smooth, nor particularly scratchy. Unfortunately, that’s about all the good things I can say for them.

All three were stone cold bitches to get the ink flowing. I wasted over half a cartridge of ink each before I got them writing. Squeeze the cartridge (which is hard on the fingers, since it is not designed to be squeezed) until an ink bubble appears on the underneath side of the tip, catch it in something, dip top side of the tip into said bubble, and release the pressure on the cartridge, hoping that it will suck enough ink back up inside and in the right place to make it work. Once you finally get it working, don’t even think about wiping off any excess ink or nib creep for at least two days. It’ll go dry, and you’ll have to repeat the process.

None of mine would post properly. Sure, I could put the cap onto the end of the barrel, but there was no friction to hold it in place. Turn it upside down and give the slightest of shakes, and the cap falls off. It’s designed with a post and a defined lip instead of a smooth  bevel, so you can’t just push it down more and get a tighter fit. I improved this somewhat by applying a couple coats of clear fingernail polish to the post.

The ink that is included is considered “free” according to the packaging. This is a good thing, because that’s exactly how much it’s worth. I don’t know what it is, but I’m reasonably sure it’s not Quink. I’ve used that before, and while I wasn’t particularly impressed, it performed fine. This crap looks good while wet. It’s a nice, full medium blue. But it fades into a sickly, washed-out light blue as it dries. Most inks fade as they dry, but this stuff becomes a pale blue that is not at all appealing like a baby blue or Carolina blue. But since colors are a personal taste item, you might think it’s the most beautiful color ever.

All in all, the pen is easily worth the price of admission, especially since it came with a converter. Purchased separately, converters cost more than these pens do. With the fingernail polish modification that allows for proper posting, I can see it giving good service indefinitely. Align your expectations to the cost, and I think you’ll find it a good value.

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6 Responses to Parker Vector Fountain Pen

  1. Once you get the Vectors adjusted to your hand (or your hand to the pen, whichever comes first), I think you’re going to like them much, much better. And once the first cartridge goes through, it usually does a lot better.

    Have you tried cleaning the nibs with the converters, cool water, and a drop of dish soap? Sometimes that will straighten things right up by getting the manufacturing oils and/or dust/dirt/plastic shavings out of the works.

    • alaskan454 says:

      No, I didn’t clean them first. Was on my way out the door towards work, found them in the mailbox, and brought them with me. When I found the cartridges, I was too anxious to try them to think of anything else. I’ll post a consolidated review of all my pens after another month or two of using them.

      • Just noted that you’d said they’re a little bit scratchy…I fixed that with mine by drawing figure eights on a fingernail buffer board–not an emery board, since that’s too rough, but the rough side of the buffer.

      • alaskan454 says:

        I picked up a buffer a while back after reading about your success with it, but I completely forgot about it with everything else that I have going on. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. GarandGal says:

    They sound like a great beater pen. I got the kids some platinum preppy pens for that purpose, and have been looking at some of the refillable rollerballs for school. How well do the Vectors fit in your hands?

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