The complete history of the

Parker Pen Company

From its inception to present day

George Safford Parker

1863

To supplement his teaching income, George Safford Parker starts selling pens for the John Holland Pen Company.

t hese pens were prone to breaking, and Mr Parker felt obliged to repair them. After being inundated with repair work, he decided he could do better and invented his own fountain pen. Fast forward to…

1888 - The Parker Pen Company was born.
1889 - George Parker patents his first fountain pen.
1894 - Lucky Curve feed system becomes a breakthrough.
1899 - Parker launch the first jointless hard rubber pen

Into to the 20th Century...

1905
Black Giant
Parker Black Giant

There’s a growing trend in the writing instrument industry for oversized fountain pens, meet Parker’s Black Giant.

1907
The Snake
Parker Snake Gold Parker Snake Sterling Silvwer

Parker introduces the Snake pen - available in sterling silver and solid gold.

1911
Lucky Curve
Parker Lucky Curve

Improvements to the Lucky Curve feed system see it patented.

1912
Safety Cap
Jack Knife Safety Cap

A new version of the safety cap is introduced, further minimsing the likelihood of Parker's fountain pens leaking.

1914

WW1, Parker sign a contract with the US War Department for the Trench Pen, a pen holding black pellets that when added to water transformed to ink. The economic depression meant that many resources were tied up in the war effort; this allowed Parker to continue to grow.
Parker Pens WWI

1921 - The Parker Duofold

Quite possibly the most significant and influencial time in Parker's history - the launch of the Duofold fountain pen. Still in production today, the reliability of this model gave Parker its reputation for the most dependable pens on the market.

Duofold Junior
Duofold Junior
1922

As the full-sized Duofold became the most popular premium pen on the market, Parker introduced the Junior; this was simply a shorter version than its senior predecessor.

Duofold Lady
Duofold Lady
1922

To target Parker's female audience, the Duofold Lady soon followed which had a chatelaine (ring top) in the top of the cap so it could be hung round one's neck.

Parker Duofold Colours
Duofold Colour Options
1926-1927

To capitalise on the Duofold's popularity, new colours are introduced, most notably Jade Green, Mandarin Yellow and Lapis Blue.

1933 - Parker introduces the Vacumatic; it held twice the amount of ink as the Duofold.

Parker Vacumatic 1936 Parker Vacumatic 1940 Parker Vacumatic 1940 - 2 Parker Vacumatic 1940 - 3 Parker Vacumatic 1945

The Vacumatic was originally known as the Golden Arrow which referenced the new design of the arrow on the clip (the creator of which was Joseph Platt); still part of Parker's iconic branding to this day. The Vacumatic featured a totally different filling mechanism - all previous Parker fountain pens had a collapsible sec for drawing the ink - the Vacumatic featured a diaphragm that expanded into the barrel of the pen. Releasing it created a vacuum which filled the entire barrel with ink; hence the higher ink capacity than the Duofold.

1941 - the Parker 51
With its contemporary cigar-shaped design and hooded nib
the Parker 51 won countless awards for design.
It didn't take long for demand to completely outstrip the supply.
7 years later, Parker also introduced the Parker 21;
a less expensive version for its more budget-conscious audience.
Parker Jotter 1954 - Green

1954

The Parker Jotter was launched and remains in production to this day.

Parker Jotter 1954 - Red

High Capacity Refill

Unlike many other ballpoint pens, the Jotter possessed a large cartridge ensuring a long writing experience.

Parker Jotter 1954 - Stainless

Rotating Point

The rotating writing point prevented wear and tear plus it enabled the user to write more than five times longer than other ballpoint pens.

Parker Jotter Bronze - Present Day

Over 750 million made.

Spanning three continents, the Jotter has been manufactured in Janesville, Wisconsin, USA, Newhaven, England & Nantes, France.

1957- the tungsten carbide textured ball, or T-Ball for short, was introduced. This refill was essentially a stainless steel sphere that gripped the paper in a manner that prevented the ink blobbing when writing. This writing tip define the way almost every company manufactures its ballpoint pens today.

1962Parker was awarded the Royal Warrant from the British Royal Household as its sole supplier of pens, pencils and inks. A reward synonymous with integrity and quality, Her Majesty the Queen favoured an English-made Parker 51 pen. A second Royal Warrant would later be granted by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.

1964 - Parker's 75th Anniversary

1964 - Parker 75

Parker 75 Fountain Pen

To celebrate Parker's 75th anniversary, it launched the Parker 75. This limited edition fountain pen was crafted from sterling silver and boasted a 14 carat solid gold nib.

1966 - Parker Touche

Parker Touche

Parker's first foray with rollerball pens began with the Parker Touche. Although it wrote more like a fibre-tipped pen, they are still popular today as highlighters (despite production not lasting particularly long)

1970 - Big Red

Parker Big Red

With fountain pen popularity dwindling and the ballpoint pen's meteoric rise, Parker (after much deliberation) introduced the Big Red, which was similar to the Duofold in terms of appearance. It was an instant hit, and as a result a fibre-tipped Touche model soon followed.

1975 - Parker Systemark

Parker Systemark

"You've got to feel it to believe it" - the Systemark was Parker's first true rollerball pen. As it did with the Jotter, Parker waited almost 10 years before introducing a product which it truly felt was superior.

1976 - 1978

Parker 25

1976 - Parker 25

In an effort to appeal to younger audiences, Parker released the 25. This futuristic-looking fountain pen made from steel and plastic proved to be popular owing to its sturdiness and attractive price.

Parker 50 Falcon

1978 - Parker 50

In the early 70s, Parker attempted to produce the T1 - a pen made almost completely of titanium. The toughness of the metal eventually meant the cost to produce each unit was more than its selling price! The Parker 50 (also known as the Falcon) borrowed many ideas from the T1, with the main exception being that the pen was made from stainless steel. The pen went on to be a huge success.

Parker Swinger

1978 - Parker Swinger

The Parker Swinger (or Slinger) was an unusual, novelty-style pen with an oversized cap which had a length of string through the top acting as a lanyard to be worn around the neck.

1982 - Parker Vector

Initially launched in rollerball form only, the Parker Vector enjoyed success as an affordable, no-nonsense for private use and (to this day) enjoys terrific success as a corporate or promotional gift. Available with plastic or stainless steel barrels, the range comprises fountain, rollerball, ballpoint and pencil.
Parker Vector
Parker Premier

1983 - Parker Premier

It had been some time since Parker had launched a new premium range of pens. Part of the 75 family, each exquisite writing instrument was handcrafted from precious metals and took up to six weeks to produce.

Parker Duofold Centennial 1988 1988 - the Parker Duofold was relaunched as the Centennial for Parker's 100th Anniversary
Parker Duofold Centennial 1988
Parker 88 Rialto 1988 - Parker release the 88. Modelled on French fashion and, more specifically, the Place Vendome, this model eventually became known as the Rialto.
Parker Duofold International Marble Fountain Pen 1990 - Parker introduces the Duofold International; a shorter, slimmer version of its Centennial counterpart.
Parker Duofold International Ballpoint The International range included a rollerball, ballpoint pen and pencil.
Parker Duofold International Nib The 18 carat gold nib was smaller than the Centennial and was available in Extra Fine, Fine, Medium & Broad line widths.
Parker Sonnet 1993 Parker introduce the Sonnet (our best-seller!) with eleven different nib sizes. During the same year, Gillette acquires the Parker Pen Company.
Parker Sonnet Cisele They are currently available with stainless steel, brass and sterling silver barrels.
  • 1996 - Parker introduces the Frontier Collection

    Parker Frontier Translucent Red Fountain & Rollerball Pens
    The Frontier was an audacious offering from Parker in terms of its appearance. The barrel was made from ABS thermoplastic and was available in translucent red & black, green & black and grey & black. The contrasting stainless steel cap made this one of Parker's best-selling lines until it was discontinued in 2012.
  • 1999 - The dawn of a new millenium sees significant changes to Parker's branding with the logo and packaging given refreshes. In the same year, Parker closed the doors of its original factory in Janesville, Wisconsin moving all production to Newhaven, UK.

    Evolution of the Parker Pen logo
  • 2002 - The Parker 51 reappeared in the form of one of the most sought-after special edition pens in Parker's recent history. This model's facade was based on New York City's Empire State building.

    Parker 51 Special Edition

2009

Parker release the IM; one of its most functional, affordable ranges yet.

Parker IM Black Gold Trim Ballpoint Pen

Contemporary & Sleek

The Lubriglide technology ensures long-lasting performance and writing comfort.

Parker IM Brushed Metal Gold Trim Rollerball Pen

Wide range of colours

Available in a wide range of finishes to suit all tastes - Black, Blue, Brushed Metal, Gun Metal & Silver.

Parker IM Blue Chrome Trim Fountain Pen

High Performance

The stainless steel, irridium point nib has excellent durability and provides optimal comfort for left and right-handed users.

2011 - Parker Ingenuity

The new age in pen innovation. With its contemporary design, the Ingenuity glides across the paper for an effortless writing experience thanks to Parker's 5th Mode Technology. Like a fountain pen in appearance, the refill offers the best of a ballpoint, fountain, rollerball and porous point writing experience.

Parker Ingenuity

2013 - Duofold Mandarin Senior

For its 125th Anniversary, Parker launch the Parker Duofold in Mandarin Yellow. The colour scheme was inspired by George Safford Parker's visits to China in the 1920s which lead to the original Mandarin Duofold's creation.

Parker Duofold Mandarin Yellow Limited Edition
Parker Duofold Mandarin Cap

Lucky Curve Homage

The 2013 Limited Edition Duofold has the same Lucky Curve ribbon imprint as its original predecessor, whilst the cap boasts an 18k solid gold decal containing the original Parker logo.

Parker Duofold Yellow Limited Edition Box

Just 1088 Worldwide

If you were fortunate enough to find one, hang on to it! There were only 21 available for the UK market and each one was individually numbered on the barrel.

Parker Duofold Gift Box 2

Not one for the purists?

The consensus amongst many Duofold connoiseurs is that the excessive gold is somewhat 'shine over design' and bears little resemblance to the original.

And that's it! We hope you've enjoyed the history lesson
and look forward to more of Parker's innovations in the future.
Ink

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