What was Parker aiming for when they brought out the 17? It was a lower-priced pen, not quite a school pen but one that filled a niche where quality was desired at a lower price. The hooded nib harks back to the highly esteemed Parker 51.
The earliest, open-nibbed Parker 17 was only two years in production and has become quite uncommon. Such a simple change as exposing the nib – a very different nib – changes the pen dramatically and probably appeals to a different person from the buyer of the hooded nib version.
One thing that makes it really stand out from other pens of the period is that many of these open nibs are flexible, some extremely so. Perhaps this was from a simple intent on Parker’s part to keep the cost down by using thinner gold but it gives the present-day writer a much sought-after flex nib that will lay down a very variable line.
Not all of these nibs are quite so flexible and some are quite firm but the proportion that do flex is quite high, giving the buyer a good chance of getting a pen with a very variable line. Even those that are not particularly flexible – or even quite firm – are splendid writers. The somewhat angular nib that hints at the Parker 75 is one of the best of its time.
What of the rest of the pen? It’s an aerometric filler. I think it’s an elegant design in either form but that falls within the field of personal preference. The cap fits firmly and is appealing with its broad cap band. Though the hood can crack on either version this failing is not all that prevalent.
In some respects it’s a forgotten gem of Parker’s production but I feel that it is a pen that deserves more notice.