Parker Pens

Quality Parker Pens for people loving real luxury pens from famous German Pen maker Parker Company.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
I’ve never worked on a newspaper. I imagine it to be exciting but stressful. There would be editors barking things into phones, like “Get me rewrites!” and “Stop the presses!” If I went out to cover a story, I’d wear one of those hats with the PRESS card stuck inside the band. Then I’d rush back to write it up, typing furiously to meet a deadline. An interesting way to make a living, I’m sure.

I did have a taste of newspaper writing, just once. It was the spring of 1970, and I was a student at Parker Elementary School in a suburb of Boston. My fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Fay, had given us the unusual assignment of creating a newspaper.

I probably would have forgotten all about it had I not cleaned out a bookcase this past weekend. As I read the masthead, “Parker Pen Writes Again!” I had to smile. All the other kids and I knew that Parker Pen was the nickname we used for our school, “pen” being short for “penitentiary.” Not that we really felt as if we were in jail. But the old building with its creaky floors had a formal, institutional feel to it. And like many schools, the rules were strict.

Our class had a talented artist named Anne. For the paper’s cover, she drew a feather pen with a fluffy, voluptuous shape to it, which might be why Mrs. Fay let us use the name. Maybe she was aware of our inside joke and decided to let it go.

We had a meeting to decide who would do what. “I’ll do sports!” said Doug. “I want to do fashions,” said Mary. “Hey, I can do jokes,” piped another kid. We then wrote up the articles, carefully copied them using carbon paper, and gave them to our teacher for mimeographing (now there’s an old-fashioned word!)

The Pen’s table of contents revealed six sections spread across 26 pages: News, Astrology, Sports, Entertainment, Gourmet, and Fashions.

Here’s an example of some earth-shaking News of the Day, complete with missing words and misspellings, by John. “On Wednesday the March 4th there is going to a spaghetti dinner for PTA. This is only for the fathers of Parker and helpers. Believe me, this is good spaghetti.” Mmm. I can taste it now.

Somehow, I’ve never put the same stock in astrology since then.

Sport news was all about the Maple Leafs and Red Wings. Apparently there was a championship that hadn’t been played out by press time. Doug’s analysis: “I figure Johnny MacKinney will win the most goals this year. Michael Sutherland is the Maple Leaf’s goalie, and a great one he is.” A future sportscaster?

The Entertainment section had lots of fill-in-the blanks and other fun games. A joke page, contributed by me, had this gut-buster: Wife to her electrician husband arriving home at 3 a.m.: “Wire you insulate?” Husband: “Watts it to you? I’m ohm, ain’t I?”

I probably don’t need to tell you that stand-up comedy wasn’t in my future.

More joke pages were provided by other kids as well. A different kind of humor page was called Children’s Letters to God, presented by Gabrielle and Kathryn. The one I like best is “Dear God: Please make my sister prettier so she can get married.”

The Gourmet section had great-sounding recipes for Mexican Cookery and Vanilla Creams, although I can’t imagine any ten-year-old preparing them alone. One dish has enough chopping, slicing, and dicing for a kitchen full of Japanese chefs. Yikes!

At the end of our newspaper is an array of 1970 Fashions that even my friend Sally could love. An excerpt from Thigh Boots: “High boots are getting more and more popular by the year. Especially with teen-age girls. The mod, mod ones go up to about your thigh.” The piece concludes with this sage advice: “If you want to go sightseeing for these mod, mod boots, go to Boston.”

The next page contains another fashion tip, by Mary: “Big, groovy rings are in. I think the big ring would weigh my hand down.” More than likely.

The last page displays fashion drawings accompanied by spirited captions. “Maxi skirts are in, man!” “Maxi coats are real in.” “Bell sleeves are REALLY in.” And lastly, a commentary on the male side of things: “Boys have long hair today.” This drawing shows a round boy face with a shaggy rat’s nest of hair scribbled on top. I get the feeling the artist didn’t approve of this trend.
On August 22, the Xiangfan Intermediate People's Court in Hubei Province ruled that a supermarket in Xiangfan should compensate 30,000 RMB yuan to Parker Pen (Shanghai) Limited for selling counterfeit Parker pens .

In 2006, Parker Pen Limited started a campaign against counterfeit Parker pens in China. In June 2006, Parker Pen (Shanghai) Limited bought a Parker pen in the defendant's supermarket with the presence of notary officials. The plaintiff later tested the pen and confirmed that the pen were counterfeit pens bearing the trademark representation of Parker.

The supermarket argued that it sold the pens on consignment by a stationary company and it did not know about the trademark infringement.

The court held that, although the defendants signed a sales agreement on consignment with the stationary company, it should not be exempted from the liability for infringement. In the agreement with the stationary company, the defendant did not request the company to provide trademark registration certificate and other essential certificates for the goods, which demonstrated that the defendants did not fulfilled its duty to check the source of the goods. Therefore, the court ordered that the defendant should bear the civil liability for trademark infringement and make compensation to the plaintiff.
Friday, August 17, 2007
‘Make Something Better and People will buy it' - George Safford Parker, 1888

In 1636 William Parker left Dover, Kent with his wife Mary and set sail for the New World. Their dream was to make a better life in a new country. They settled in New England.

Over two hundred years later George Parker's parents, in the best frontiersman tradition, trekked out of New England to the Mid West.

Born in Shullsberg, Wisconsin on the 1st November 1863, George Safford Parker started his working life in 1880 at the Valentine School of Telegraphy at Janesville, Wisconsin (where he was to later open the first of his three major manufacturing plants). After answering an advertisement for a position at the school, he saved up the $55 for fees and enrolment, and within one year he was on the staff.

In order to supplement his poor wage, George Parker became an ?Agent? selling fountain pens ? primarily to his students ? for the John Holland Fountain Pen Company. Like most of the pens at this time, they often had technical problems. Amongst these were leakage of ink from the barrel and nib, as well as an inadequate flow of ink to the nib.

After receiving many complaints from his students, Parker felt obligated to repair the pens and his reputation for after-sales service grew. He would dismantle the pens, repair them and then return then to his students.

Eventually Parker decided that he needed to eradicate these faults rather than just fix them. So, armed with his knowledge of the mechanisms and with his philosophy, ?Make something better and people will buy it? (a philosophy he followed passionately throughout his life), he designed and finally built his own fountain pen. Less than a year later, George Safford Parker was in the pen business.

Since 1888 the Parker Pen Company has been devoted to making the Better Pen. With the tradition of excellence born of George Parker's determination to make something better, his legacy of pride has only been strengthened over the years.From teacher to pen maker and corporate founder, from student to President and Royalty, the Parker story, from its humble beginning, has developed into a classic tale of how one man's determination and inventiveness has shaped an industry.

1889 George Parker took out his first patent

1891 George Parker entered into partnership with W.F. Palmer, an insurance man who wanted in on the pen business. Palmer persuaded Parker to sell him half his shares in both the patents and the business for a cost of $1,000. The check was made payable to the Parker Pen Company, thus starting the successful and very profitable partnership between Parker and Palmer.

1892 On the 8th March the Parker Pen Company was legally incorporated.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Parker Penman ink is one of my all time favorite inks. The intense saturation is unlike any other ink I've ever experienced. Since Penman hasn't been made for a while and my last bottle of Sapphire is running low I decided to attempt to find as close of a replacement as possible. My hope and desire was that somebody had finally filled the niche left for all of the Penman fans out there. Omas had issues a limited edition color that a number of folks raved about as being similar to Sapphire but I never got around to trying any of it. Perhaps, I held out a small bit of hope that the new owners of Parker would see the light and re-issue Penman. With these two opportunities not in the realm of the realistic I was left with only one choice – go find a new ink as close to Penman Sapphire as possible. What I didn't know was that my hunt would take me so far beyond the mall pen store.

Now some of you might be reading this and thinking why on earth would anyone want to use anything like Penman let along actually use that stuff. There's a whole different group who just love the stuff. Frankly, I have always felt that Penman gets a bad wrap in the area of clogging. It is a very intense color which means that it has a higher saturation of dyes which if left to dry or used in a pen that allows a lot of air to get to the nib the pen will be hard to start or it may just “clog”. The bottom line is that some pens simply cannot use Penman ink unless you are committed to a higher level of maintenance. In my experience, I have found that certain pens perform at their best with certain inks. A lot of it comes down to the pen and the magical interaction between the feed, the nib, and user.

My first stop was at the largest indoor mall in the Chicago land area and the pen shop within. The women who assisted me has worked at the shop for quite some time and is generally quite helpful. I told her what I was looking for and she said "oh you need to try some Aurora Blue - you'll love it". While Aurora blue is a nice enough color it is not at all similar to Penman Sapphire. I took out a Lamy Safari loaded up with it and showed her the color I was wanting to get close to and asked if she had another suggestion. She then said that I should try the Visconti blue but I found it too purple and it didn't have the brilliant color I wanted. At this point, I decided that maybe I had better do some research myself and see if there were any better suggestions out there.

The next logical step (it seemed logical at the time) was to look for color samples from the popular ink companies and compare them to my personal sample of Penman Sapphire. There ended up being a few issues with this idea. The first was that as many of the sites state – the colors on the monitor might not accurately reflect the color of the ink. Printing these ink samples brought a compounded issue - not only were the colors on the monitor potentially different than those used on the monitor that created and reviewed the color swatches but additionally my color printer was probably calibrated differently. It quickly became obvious that while the color swatches were nice from the standpoint of comparing color families they were not useful for truly accurate color matching. Before I threw up my hands in disgust and gave up on my quest and attempted to find the last bottle of Parker Penman Sapphire on the planet via e-bay, I decided maybe I should let my fingers do the walking.

After looking over the ink swatches I figured I would try and give the folks at Private Reserve a ring. I was able to get a hold of Terry for a quick conversation about what I was looking for and we had a nice conversation about his products and ink. He recommended their Lake Placid Blue. I asked him about the American Blue and he said that his customers seemed to think the Lake Placid Blue was a better alternative for a Penman Sapphire like color without some of the potential Penman issues of clogging. Terry was extremely helpful and I have been a long time user of a number of the green colors that they make. I thanked Terry for his advice and told him I would check out Lake Placid Blue as well as some other colors.

Living in the Chicago area I am very fortunate to have a variety of nice pen shops and retail stores to shop for ink, paper, and even the occasional modern pen. One of the truly friendly stores in the area is located in a wonderful town called Elmhurst. West Suburban Office Products has a pen lover who carries a nice supply of ink by the Sheaffer's, Parker's, Waterman's, Pelikan's, and other major manufacturer's as well boutique brands such as Private Reserve and Noodler's. He echoed Terry's comment that the closest ink he had seen to Parker Penman Sapphire was the Private Reserve Lake Placid Blue. As fate would have it, I had been in the shop a couple of weekends before and picked a blister pack of Midnight Blue cartridges, a bottle of Lake Placid Blue, American Blue, and a couple of bottles of the 2004 DC Super show Blue. Maybe the answer to my quest was already in my house. Why hadn't I tried the new inks yet? If you collect pens you already know the answer to that!

One of the advantages of collecting pens is that once in a while people unload some wonderful items (and sometimes a lot of worthless junk) on you. Thankfully, my in-laws fall into the former category rather than the later. The dip pen hadn't actually been used in at least 30 years and it needed a little cleaning before it was ready for duty. I figured the best way to compare colors would be to use the dip pen for each color with a thorough cleaning between colors. This gave me a nice set of baseline results and put me on the road to closing the case on my quest.

After finishing up with the dip pen, I figured it was time for some real world tests. My modern Sheaffer Balance stepped in for the dip pen and I created the samples included.

Parker Penman Sapphire has a certain tint at the edges of it that is quite noticeable in the right light. It is a dark blue with a hint of purple to my eyes. Waterman Florida Blue on the other hand is almost washed out looking in comparison. I also looked at a couple of vintage inks but both of them seem to have faded noticeably in the 40 or 50 years since they were made. I also tried out one of the all time great cheap pens – a Pilot with blue ink and another modern cheap – the Parker Reflex with permanent blue. The Parker permanent blue was actually a little nicer than the Waterman Florida. The Pilot ink had a noticeable violet cast to it and wasn't very interesting.
Sunday, August 05, 2007

This is a collection of Fountain Pen Articles, Fountain Pen Histories and Fountain Pen Essays that have been published either online or in obscure books or jorunals. Things that I found while doing research on other pen topics and I thought were too good to be lost to obscurity and should be put online where a Google search could unearth them easily for the fountain pen enthusiast and fountain pen researcher.. If you know of an article that should be placed here, please let me know.

George S. Parker, of Janesville, Wis., maker of fountain pens in six colors, offered all farmers in six townships surrounding his home 12½% of the cost of painting their barns, provided they would not use red. Said he: "The average farmer's barn is an eyesore. The red paint is monotonous."

Ever since Parker pens worth pennies have proved capable of defeating expensive, steel bike locks, campus cyclists have worried about the safety of their bikes.

$80 to $100 locks are rendered useless by the barrel of a pen. On a campus where the average student is already a victim of bike theft at least once in their four years, this news has many worried.

The lock sabotage method was posted on a San Francisco cycling Web site, BikeForums, two weeks ago and has since prompted a full recall by the leading maker of U-locks with circular keys, Kryptonite. The company plans to give costumers new locks at no charge.

“I just got a brand new bike that I paid $200 for,” freshman Marina Scannell complained. “I bought the lock, which guaranteed that your bike wouldn’t be stolen and now I feel like it could be stolen right away.”

Christian Parker of the Campus Bike Shop affirmed this fear, saying that he has seen a student break a U-lock in about 20 seconds using the pen method.

“It’s crazy that you can break the unbreakable lock with a bit of plastic,” freshman Amy Briggs said.

Parker claims that the bike shop hopes to be able to replace all U-locks on campus, regardless of where the lock was bought. However, they have not yet negotiated a deal with Kryptonite. Also, anyone hoping to exchange their lock needs to register on the Kryptonite Web site.

It will take several weeks until new, alternative locks are manufactured and distributed, and PARKER-resistant brands of locks — including On Guard — are sold out at the campus bike shop.