We've had several threads over the last year or so discussing fountain pens. These usually begin with someone asking a simple question like, "I'm new to fountain pens and would like some recommendations on a decent one to try for my first one...", etc., etc. This is routinely followed by many helpful posts offering advice regarding modern pens, both nice (Lamy, Pelikan, Pilot), and (in my opinion anyway) not so nice (Chinese knock-offs of the Parker 51, like Hero).
Inevitably, however, the common theme among these threads is that many folks will throw their enthusiastic recommendation in for the classic, venerable Parker 51, made between 1941 and about 1965. I confess to being one of the Parker 51 "holy rollers," for I think it is the best fountain pen ever made. In its aerometric version (i.e., squeeze filler), made from 1949 to the end of its production in the mid-1960s, it is virtually indestructible, and a well-used pen from that era found in a flea market will likely need only to be rinsed well and soaked in water for awhile to be able to write good as new.
So, today I decided to pull out one of my more special 51s that I hadn't used in quite awhile. This is a custom-made pen I purchased from a Brazilian pen maker. He crafted the cap and barrel out of sterling silver, with aluminum end jewels (these are the jewels used in the 1941 first-year Parker 51 pen). The incised pattern he used in both the barrel and cap are an all-over "Empire State" art deco pattern that is just gorgeous. My lousy photos (taken with my cell phone) don't do it justice but do give you a hint of what it looks like in person. The clip is a vintage clip from a Parker Vacumatic pen (similar to the Vacumatic 51 but with a slightly larger diameter on top to be able to fit this particular cap). The innards of the pen are a vintage Parker 51 aerometric pen with a beautiful, smooth medium gold nib that writes like butter. I will NEVER sell this pen! Here are the pics: