Founder of The Parker Pen Company, George Safford Parker, was determined to make a better pen when he couldn’t find one that wrote well and didn’t leak. The name Parker has become synonymous with high quality writing instruments, bringing to mind descriptors such as reliability, dependability, tradition, streamlines, style, prestige, innovation and timelessness. George Parker began his career as a teacher of telegraphy and to supplement his teaching income, he started selling pens for the John Holland Pens Company.
Unexpectedly, the pens he sold, mainly to his telegraphy students, malfunctioned and he felt obligated to fix them. Soon becoming overwhelmed with repair work, he decided to invent his own version of the fountain pen. In 1888 the Parker Pen Company was born. The following year he patented his first fountain pen. In 1891 he found an investor, insurance broker W.F. Palmer, who initially invested $1,000.00 and bought half of Parker’s shares in both the patents and the business.
The first major technological breakthrough for the company came in 1894 with the Lucky Curve ink feed system. The feed system was designed to drain the ink back into the reservoir by capillary action when the pen was upright in the pocket of its owner. Parker became a major player in the fountain pen industry with the introduction of the Lucky Curve. In 1900, The Gold Filigree Lucky Curve Pens were introduced. Also that year, Parker patented the taper on the inside of the outer cap, a design improvement to make it fit more securely. In 1911, an improved Lucky Curve feed was patented and in 1912, a new form of the safety cap was introduced.
There were several precursors (The Black Giant, The Emblem Pen, The Sterling Silver and Gold Snake Pen, The Trench Pen and The Jack Knife Safety Pen) to Parker’s next star: The Duofold. In 1921, the company’s biggest and most important launch to date was that of the Duofold fountain pen that earned Parker its reputation as the pen company that produces the most dependable, as well as the most fashionable writing instruments on the market. The Duofold, nicknamed “Big Red,” embodied the feel of the Roaring Twenties – big, bold and very jazzy. Now synonymous with vintage fountain pens, The Duofold proved its durability and Parker decided to guarantee these pens for twenty five years. Parker’s Duofold family expanded in 1926 and 1927 to include Jade Green, Mandarin Yellow, Lapis Blue and Pearl and Black. All of these pens were available in a first-of-its-kind durable plastic called Permanite. The new material replaced the traditional vulcanized rubber, which tended to be brittle.
After years of intensive research, Parker launched the first self-filling fountain pen, the Parker 61, in 1956. Engineered to “self-draw” ink from the bottle, the Parker 61 could hold enough ink to last for six hours of steady writing. The British Royal Household awarded Parker the Royal Warrant as its sole supplier of pens and inks in 1962. Also in that year, subsidiaries opened in Peru and Columbia.
Celebrating the company’s 100th birthday in 1988, Parker relaunched the most famous Parker pen, the Duofold, now recognized as the Duofold Centennial. Parker established the Platinum Club in 1989 in the United States and Australia for Duofold owners, offering elite privileges and complementary services.
For more than a century, Parker has been a leader in the writing instruments industry. After years of diligent and determined attempts “to make a better pen,” this world famous idea of George Safford Parker came to life. Today, The Parker Pen Company continues their commitment to strive towards scientific improvements and excellency. With the latest technologies, traditional skills, using the finest materials, techniques and craftsmanship, Parker Pens are “beyond words!”