George Parker patented his first pen in 1889 when he was still teaching telegraphy students how to transcribe Morse code. In 1894, he invented and patented his "lucky curve" feed system, which greatly reduced the leakage that was a common problem of early eyedropper fountain pens. By 1905, Parker’s Lucky Curve pens were a force to be reckoned with in the growing fountain-pen industry.

The Parker Jack Knife Safety pen arrived in 1911. Its cap could be screwed down to the pen’s body, making it ink-tight. One especially prized model had a transparent, amber, Bakelite body. Other Parker pens from the 1910s include the no. 15, a ladies model with a mother-of-pearl barrel and black hard-rubber caps that were either crowned by a semi-precious stone or covered in gold-filled filigree. The Parker no. 16 was a very small pen with gold-filled filigree, while the descriptive name of the Black Giant pretty much sums up its utilitarian design.

The Jack Knife evolved into the "Big Red" button-filler Duofold in 1921, which was advertised to "rival the beauty of the scarlet tanager." Duofolds in Mandarin yellow and lapis lazuli followed in 1927. Vintage yellow Duofolds are extremely collectible, but a blue model named for the Zaner Blouser calligraphy school is one of the most rare Parkers ever made.

In fact, as a group, the vintage Parker Duofold fountain pens from the 1920s are extraordinarily beautiful writing instruments. Jade pens made out of a branded plastic called Permanite were sold in a variety of sizes (Junior, Ladies, Senior) and in sets with matching mechanical pencils. Some Duofolds had pearl handles and caps, veined with black plastic. Apple green and "Modernistic blue" were other popular colors, as were moiré-patterned fountain pens, which ranged from pink to blue.

The Vacumatics followed the Duofolds in 1932. These pens held twice as much ink as those that had preceded them (102 percent more, to be specific), and, for the first time, the clip on the cap was shaped like an arrow, which would become a symbol of the Parker brand. These were also Parker’s first mass-produced pens. Some had horizontal layers of silver alternating with translucent plastic, which allowed the user to see how much ink was left in the pen. Codes were printed on all Vacumatic barrels, making them relatively easy to date today.

A Junior Vacumatic was introduced in 1934—the Golden Web pattern from that series lasted only from 1936 until about 1938, making it a particularly prized Parker for collectors. Even more rare is the Imperial Vacumatic from 1939, which was produced to compete with the Sheaffer Crest.

That same year, 1939, the company finished developing the pen for which it would become best known, the Parker 51. Released in 1941, the pen used a new, quick-drying ink, which m...

The original Parker 51 had a quick-action, vacumatic-type filler, but in 1948, this was replaced with an aerometric filler, which was actually similar to some of the sleeve-filler systems that had been around for 40 years. 1948 was also the year the pen’s arrow clip was redesigned.

Parker 51s are not especially valuable, so collectors who want to actually use one to write with would do well to choose a post-1948 model, since they tend to work better. For collectors who want to find a 51 to put away, look for models with solid-gold caps, Empire 51s, pens with small aluminum "jewels" at the bases of their clips, and the pre-production models tested in Venezuela, Columbia, Spain, and other climates with high humidity to test the tolerances of the ink.

Other notable Parker pens from the post-war era include the Parkette, a low-priced, lever-filler model from the early 1950s that looked like a 51 but was marketed to students; the Parker Jotter, which was Parker’s 1954 entry into the ballpoint pen wars (the 51 Jotter resembled the famous Parker 51); the self-wicking (but, at $20, expensive for its time) Parker 61 from 1956; and the Parker 75 of 1964, whose silver, engraved, grid-pattern body was an instant classic.

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Recent News: Parker Pens

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Raymond Peter Lambert, Murfreesboro, TN (1940-2014)
Janesville Gazette, April 17th

He served in the United States Marine Corps from 1958 until 1961 and then worked for Parker Pen. He, then, worked for General Motors for 42 years, beginning in 1962, until his retirement in 2004. Ray was a member of UAW Local 95 and of the Eagle...Read more

The Love Punch
Irish Times (blog), April 17th

The Love Punch is a kind of grey-pound comedy, which is a little insulting for stars Pierce Brosnan and Emma Thompson, neither of whom are old enough to sign up for a TV funeral payment scam and free Parker pen. If only we could say the same about the ...Read more

LaVerne (Verne) W. Hanson, LaCross, WI/formerly Janesville, WI (1924-2014)
Janesville Gazette, April 9th

Verne was employed by the Parker Pen Company for 37 years before retiring in 1981. Mary Ellen preceded him in death on Dec. 16, 2001. For health reasons, Verne moved to La Crosse in October 2009. Verne was a member of the VFW and the Elks Club...Read more

Scathing verdict on Key Govt's performance
New Zealand Herald, April 9th

Brash still wears the watch his parents and their Sri Lankan boarder gave him for his 15th birthday and still uses the Parker pen his sister gave him on his 21st. Silence of the lamb. Brash had been an MP for only a few months when the National caucus...Read more

Meeting the Commander in Chief and Visiting Katuramu
The Independent, March 30th

He had his Golden parker pen in shirt pocket of his cream prison uniform that was meticulously clean. I could not believe it; the man was in good spirits! "Good to see you Kamara" he said. I said I was happy to see him too. And then there came an...Read more

Loretta E. Krause, Edgerton, WI/formerly Janesville, WI (1932-2014)
Janesville Gazette, March 27th

She was employed in the office of Parker Pen Company for 25 years and was a member of St. Matthew's Evangelical Lutheran Church. Surviving are one son, Douglas (Susan) Krause of Fort Wayne, IN; three grandchildren: Sharon (Eric Fischer) Krause of ...Read more

One Day Deal Discounts on Watches at Flipkart: Get Free Parker Pen Set with ...
AEG India, March 25th

One day deal on watches is available in which customers can get an free Parker pen set on purchase of watches priced Rs. 3000 and more. This is valid on several brands such as Casio, Citizen, Paris Hilton and so on. New Delhi: Flipkart is offering one...Read more

Hornbeam wood rarely used for furniture
Las Vegas Review-Journal, March 20th

A: George Safford Parker founded the Parker Pen Co. in Janesville, Wis., in 1888. The Parker 51 pen was developed in 1939, the company's 51st year. After testing it in other countries, it was introduced in the United States in 1941. The pen has a...Read more