Pen Review: Parker 45

I posted recently about the Parker IM, which I bought for a friend through the ebay seller lewertowski. Of course, I took advantage of the opportunity to test out a Parker for myself, so I also purchased a blue Parker 45 with a medium nib.

The Parker 45

Parker 45 in package

Interestingly, the (gold-nibbed) Parker 45 came in cheaper packaging than the steel-nibbed IM. I guess I always assume that a gold nib means higher quality overall, but that’s certainly not true. The IM came in a solid plastic case, almost like a glasses case, while the 45 came in this thinner clear plastic case. I appreciate less packaging as a general rule, but the plastic is wasteful in both pens’ packaging.

Cartridge included

So the Parker 45 includes both a converter and a cartridge, while the IM came with only a cartridge. However, the cartridge included was one of those pull-catridges, as opposed to the twist (piston converter) that I’m used to. I also have no idea what the little metal ball is for– does it help with the physics of the suction, I wonder? If anybody has an answer, I’m curious to know. In any case, I ended up purchasing two higher-quality piston converters, one for the IM and one for this pen.

The included (lower-quality) cartridge

Old converter (top) and newer converter (bottom)

So here’s the catch. I was under the impression that the standard Parker converter would fit the Parker 45 (maybe I mis-read something in the ebay description). And certainly the newer converter fits, but I don’t think it fits quite perfectly. It seems to “plug in” fairly well at the very top, but then leaves a gap between the cartridge and the body of the pen, which leads to it seeming a bit loose. I think you can see in the picture below:

That slight gap causes a "wiggly" converter

Nonetheless, the converter worked– I’ll have to switch them out in the future to see if the other converter performs any better. On to the writing experience…

Parker 45 nib

Ah, a lovely semi-hooded nib. I don’t often write with medium nibs, so this is a bit of a new experience for me. I’ve found that I have to adjust my handwriting, because otherwise a medium nib obscures all the smaller letters. Still practicing! But this nib makes for a lovely writing experience, not flexible but definitely soft enough to have some nice line variation. The medium nib almost has some stub-like qualities, with the downstrokes being wider than the cross-strokes. and it leaves a wide enough line for some lovely shading. I also found that this nib allows for a big difference between writing at a low angle and at a more upright angle (with the pen being more perpendicular to the page).

The only drawback I’ve found is that, compared to the Parker IM’s steel nib, this nib sometimes has trouble starting up at the beginning of a stroke. I can’t tell if I’m rotating the nib, or if the flow just goes dry, but it is a bit obnoxious in any case. You can see an example of this in the last picture.

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