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It was released in 1941 as "51" ink, along with the Parker 51 pen; in 1947 it was made somewhat less corrosive, and renamed "Superchrome".

Parker was careful to print prominent warnings on caps, labels, and boxes that the ink could only be used in the 51 (and, later, its economy version, the 21), and would damage any other pen.

In 1955, a matching 51 Jotter ballpoint was introduced, along with the so-called Liquid Lead pencil -- a nonretractable ballpoint using a graphite slurry.

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Sterling silver and coin silver caps were also available, but were discontinued before the introduction of the simplified arrow clip and Aerometric filler.

Perhaps no other fountain pen has been so unanimously acclaimed as a classic.

Nor is it merely a triumph of styling -- though it has a place in the Museum of Modern Art's design collection, and Lazlo Moholy-Nagy found it worthy of praise -- for it is also one of the most robust and practical writing instruments ever made.

Parker also manufactured 51s in Canada and England, and later in Argentina.

Some 19-dated 51s bear date codes with a "T" prefix, which has led to (incorrect) speculation that the "T" stood for "Toronto" -- even though such pens are all clearly marked "MADE IN U. A." In fact, the "T" surely denotes pens from Parker's new Janesville production line, set up to meet postwar demand in the former Townsend Tractor building.

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