In America, the pen-making industry officially began in 1809. But, it wasn't until the 1880s that the fountain pen as we know it got its start. Among the early industry leaders was George Safford Parker, a school teacher from Janesville, WI who became frustrated with the unreliability of the writing instruments then available to his students.
To augment his meager teaching salary, Parker pen had a sideline as an agent for John Holland fountain pens. The pens were unreliable, delivering too much ink at times and at other times, no ink at all. In any case, Parker felt obligated to repair the pens he sold to his students. So, he purchased a few small tools, and began to learn the inner workings of fountain pens. As the students learned they could depend on their teacher to keep their pens in working order, the number of Parker pens he sold increased, as did Parker's frustration over the time required for repairs. Finally, he decided he could make a better pen himself. And he did.
Parker patented his first fountain pen design on December 10, 1889. Two years later he entered a partnership with insurance man W.E Palmer and in February of 1892 they incorporated the Parker Pen Company.
In 1891, Parker patented an improved under-overfeed. It was the third patent Parker acquired in a time span of only 18 months. In 1893 he patented yet another feed; this one would be the forerunner to the Lucky Curve.
The Lucky Curve, patented on December 4 1894, was to become the foundation for The Parker Pen Company's first real success. Like many of Parker's innovations to come, this one was designed to solve a problem. The problem was that pens carried in a pocket retained ink in the feed tube. As the ink was warmed by body temperature it expanded forcing ink to the pen point. When the pen cap was removed, the excess ink inevitably soiled fingers. Parker's Lucky Curve employed capillary attraction which completely drained the ink from the feed tube.
Additional product innovations in these early years included the development of the Jointless Pen and the slip-fit outer cap. Parker redesigned the Lucky Curve as an underfeed pen in 1898.
By 1899. Parker pens were successfully selling to the public and the armed forces. In fact, it was a Parker Pen Jointless Lucky Curve that was used to sign the Treaty of Peace ending the 1898 Spanish-American War on February 10, 1899.