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Parker 17 Open Nib

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.

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6 thoughts on “Parker 17 Open Nib

  1. Paul Stirling says:

    I agree with you Deb – the nib in particular lifting the design out of the ordinary and into something quite interesting – I’m a big fan.
    As you say, this open nib version was the earliest of the Parker 17 pens, and comes in the Super version showing here with its wide cap band, and the slightly less attractive ordinary style with standard thin cap band.
    As well as the P75, this open nib reminds me of the Parker VP – another very nice and less than common f.p.
    If you wanted to part with this 17 some time, do let me know.:-)

    • Yes, the nib is similar to that of the VP, a pen now more desired by collectors than writers because of the fragile filling system. I will keep you in mind if I ever decide to let this 17 go but it won’t be soon. It needs work and also, I’ve been trying to get one for quite a while!

  2. Paul Stirling says:

    sure – I more than understand and it’s a great pen to own – enjoy as they say:-).

    Have to admit that I never touch my Very Personal pen, for writing that is – very good looking pen and nib, and I’d hate to ruin the thing by filling/cleaning/using – so it lays there in the cabinet draw and occasionally I hold and admire – but never write with it.
    You can hear the steam coming out of some ears I guess – but I’m just destined to be a collector I’m afraid.

  3. Paul Stirling says:

    bit of a coincidence, but this morning’s foray around the charity shops produced a Matte Dark Green P88 (no engraving on the nib, which I’ve learned means it’s not a Rialto) – and a dark blue Parker 17 propelling pencil (with the chalk marks still) – to go with my red, green and black examples;-) It’s noticeable how these Parker propelling pencils from the 60s are surfacing at quite a rate of knots – presumably because no one wants them.

    • I read in the Parker Pens Penography that it may be that the name 88 was dropped in favour of Rialto because the 8th letter of the alphabet is H, giving HH for Heil Hitler, making the pen most popular among Neo-Nazis! I’ve no idea whether that’s correct but the 88/Rialto strikes me as the typical ’80s pen, straight, slender and elegant but not very easy to write with over a protracted period.

      It’s a shame about mechanical pencils. There seems to be little call for them but I’m very fond of them. Not that I use them myself…

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