Parker Pens

Quality Parker Pens for people loving real luxury pens from famous German Pen maker Parker Company.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Parker Fountain Pen Use and Care

Never let anyone else write with your Parker pen, not even to try it out for a few seconds. Really. High-quality nibs adapt to your (unique) hand position and writing style, and even a little trial scribbling from someone else can compromise this. It is especially important not to do this if the other person writes with the opposite hand than yours.

Don't overfill the Parker pen with ink. When filling it, get into the habit of drawing a full amount of ink into the pen, then releasing three or four drops into the inkwell and drawing back air. This will pull the huge pool of ink that is clinging to the nib from being dipped into the inkwell back into the pen. Flooded nibs can bleed or just drop pools of ink onto the paper. A flooded nib can also get jostled when the pen is closed and spray ink all over the inside of the cap, which will end up on your hands when you next use the Parker fountain pen.

Store Parker pen vertically (nib up, eg: in a shirt pocket), whenever you can. Leaving it horizontal for long periods of time can cause excess ink to flow into the nib.

Leave your Parker writing instrument at home when you fly - the changes in cabin pressure can cause pens to leak and discharge ink all over your luggage, shirt pocket, or whatever. If you must take your pen with you, empty it completely first. Travel with a small ink bottle with a really tight cap, and put the entire ensemble in a sealed plastic baggie wrapped in a paper towel, in case it leaks.

Leave the cap on whenever you can. The nib will dry out and clog if the cap is off for long periods.

If your Parker fountain pen does dry out (symptoms: ink doesn't start right away, pen seems to write badly or skips), empty it out and soak it in cold water, preferably with a few drops of ammonia. (I use a squirt or two of ammonia-based window cleaner like Windex). Draw the water in and out several times, and (ideally) let it soak for a while. Then empty it out and fill with ink as usual.

Use Parker pen for regular writing. The more you use it (correctly), the better and smoother it will write. If you leave it unused for weeks, it can take a while to get the ink started again.

A good fountain pen (which Parker definitely is) should glide effortlessly over the paper, which is the whole joy of using it. If it shows resistance, skips or has trouble getting started, you're either out of ink, or it has dried out and clogged, or both.

Don't lose it. Most fountain pens of acceptable quality are expensive, and since they're small they are quite easy to lose or misplace. Get into the habit of having a regular place for the Parker pen.
Monday, November 05, 2007
The Parker T1 is an extremely collectible fountain pen, despite it being one of the biggest failures to come out of Parker's R&D Department. The titanium nib was difficult to produce and did not write as well as advertised.

Parker did however, finally get the integrated nib concept right with the introduction of the Parker 50 (aka The Falcon).

The pen featured is the Flighter version of the Falcon and like all Flighters (IMO) a gorgeous pen. I was very impressed with this pen when I first picked it up and I normally do not like small diameter pens.

One of the things that Parker got really right was the development of the Flighter style of pens. It features a brushed stainless steel body and cap and the section is matte finished and leads to a high gloss integral nib. The clip is gold and it has a gold cap tassie with a black ring inset into it. All in all a very attractive pen.

The pen looks very much like the Parker T1 and the un-educated might mistake it at first.
The pen is slightly shorter than a Parker 45 and thinner in diameter. The stainless body puts in just about the same weight range (I had no way to measure the actual weight other than feel). It has a snap on cap, like the 45, and features a gold ring at the joint of the body/section that the cap snaps to. After a couple of weeks use, the cap still snaps on securely and shows no sign of coming off without effort on your part.

The nib is the part of this pen that is the most interesting. The nib is one piece with the section, unlike what most of us are used to when we look at a fountain pen. As mentioned the section is matte finished, but the nib itself has a high gloss finish that just looks so right on this pen. This pen has a medium nib and there is a big old ball of iridium at the end of the nib. It writes with a very smooth line and about 6/10 wetness loaded with Waterman Black ink. Out of curiosity, I tried the nib upside down and it still wrote smooth, but now produced a line about xf/fine in width and a bit drier.. but that was to be expected...
This is one sweet writing pen that allows you to use it just like you would a Parker 180, but IMO a lot nicer to hold. The Parker 180 is way to skinny for me to use comfortably.

Filling System
The pen is a cartridge/converter filler and came with a press bar converter. Since I was not sure I was going to keep the pen, I put a slide converter in it and have been using that. There is not much to say about the standard C/C filling system that you don't already know..

Overall I am very impressed with the design and writing ability of this pen. Parker really got the integrated nib right on this design. It is a shame it did not last longer than it did or it would have really given the Parker 45 a run for the money. Brand new these pens sold for $30.00 in the Flighter version.
Definitely more than a 45, but a much nicer pen and IMO a better writer.
I was fortunate to obtain a couple of Falcon Flighters brand new in the box with the original oversleeves, including 2 FP/BP combinations. The Flighter was introduced in 1977 and ended production in 1983. It should have enjoyed a longer run, but fountain pens were falling out of favor by then.
Titanium in pens is not exactly new, the Parker T1 was introduced in 1970, and was the first pen to offer the use of this metal as a main selling point. But it's only of late that titanium has become hot, turned into a real marketing commodity. OK, I'm told that advances in manufacturing technology that make it easier to work with titanium might also have something to do with the fact that it's being used more often now.

Titanium works well in pens for a number of reasons. It's light, strong, and can be finished in a number of colours. The trendy fascination with titanium is actually only a part of it's attractiveness. For the most part, titanium pens feature the use of the metal in the cap and barrel. In some cases however, the nib itself is made of titanium. It happens to work pretty well for nibs, the Stipula 22 features a plastic cap and barrel, but a rather nicely flexible titanium nib. The OMAS T2 was also made with a titanium nib.

We tried to assemble a good selection of the available titanium pens, some are obviously more available than others, but you should be able to find an example of just about any of the following pens. This really isn't a comparison piece, per se, so we didn't want to be ranking the pens against each other, but comparing various advantages of each one to the others was allowed. SO, with no further ado, the great titanium roundup of 2003!

To begin at the beginning seemed like a good idea, hence we start with the Parker T1. This pen is at first glance, very 1970s. It's relatively slim, and has a very sleek look to it, like many of the best pens of this era. Slim and sleek was "in". The T1 was one of those pens that was a pretty substantial flop when introduced, that has since become something of a collector's "holy grail" pen. Since it wasn't a huge success commercially, limited numbers were made and sold, making them harder to come by today.

At the time it was made titanium was a much more exotic metal than it is today, and one of the main reasons for the commercial failure of the T1 was the fact that it cost so much to manufacture. The titanium simply wore out the conventional metalworking tools of the day. As a result of the high manufacturing costs, the retail price tag was high enough to make selling the T1 very tough.

This was despite the fact that the T1 was being marketed as the "space age pen".... "Hold the metal that's going to Mars in your hand. And write" and so forth. The T1 was seen as being the most up to date of Parker pens, and the advertising of the time reflected this. Still, it wasn't enough to make up for the high price point, and the pen was made for only a year or so.

As you might imagine, this short production makes the T1 a difficult pen to find "in the wild", haunting your local antique shop is not likely to produce one for your collection! They're not what I would call a "rare" pen, it's easy enough to find one at any of the larger pen shows, and in fact, you should have your choice of examples, from "user grade" to mint.

Actually using the T1 might be another matter. It's the only vintage pen of the batch, and they're tough enough to find that putting one into daily use might not be everyone's idea of comfortable. The tipping material is prone to breaking off the nib tines, and once broken off, you're out of luck since retipping the T1 is very difficult, if not impossible. In addition, they are often not the best writing of pens, not as smooth as some of the more modern titanium pens in our group.
Friday, November 02, 2007
The Parker family long had an interest in aviation and aerospace. The Parker 51 had been compared in advertisements to the P-51 Mustang, elsewhere being called "like a pen from another planet". In the wake of the moon missions of the late 1960s, Parker decided to make a pen of the consummate aerospace material, titanium. The result was the T-1, released in 1970 and discontinued shortly thereafter.

Titanium is not an easy material to work, and Parker never managed to get production costs down to a reasonable level. It is probable that it was not just the reject rate that was excessive, but also the degree of wear and breakage to the tooling. Attaching tipping material to the integral titanium nib-shell was also very difficult, as nib repair specialists have come to appreciate when attempting to retip damaged T-1s.

The value of T-1s has been steadily increasing over the past ten or fifteen years. Not made as a limited edition, but made in very limited numbers, T-1s surviving in top condition are few indeed. Examples with original packaging are particularly scarce; the pen below rests on a nonproduction display stand designed to simulate the lunar surface.

Parker T-1 fountain pens are the most desirable, but ballpoints and cartridge pencils (ballpoints with pencil convertor inserts) were also offered. Two finishes are commonly seen, both with a brushed texture: one is quite dark, while the other, seen on the pens shown above, is a brighter, natural finish. Distinctive features include a nib adjustment screw on the underside of the shell and transparent red inserts at the end of the barrel and the top of the cap.
After the demise of the T-1 fountain pen, remaining stocks of titanium parts were used for ballpoints, cartridge pencils, and rollerballs which were incorporated into the Parker 75 line.