Parker Pen Company

Parker Pen Company

The Parker Pen Company is a manufacturer of pens, founded in 1891 by George Safford Parker in Janesville, Wisconsin, United States.


George Parker, the founder, had previously been a sales agent for the John Holland Gold Pen Company. He received his first fountain pen related patent in 1889. In 1894 Parker received a patent on his "Lucky Curve" feed, which was claimed to draw excess ink back into the pen body when the pen was not in use. The Lucky Curve feed was used in various forms until 1928.

From the 1920s to the 1960s, before the development of the ballpoint pen, Parker was either number one or number two in worldwide writing instrument sales.Fact|date=February 2007 In 1931 Parker created Quink "quick drying ink" which eliminated the need for blotting and led to the development of the most widely used model of fountain pen in history (over $400 million worth of sales in its 30 year history) the Parker 51.Fact|date=February 2007 Manufacturing facilities were set up over the years in Canada, United Kingdom, Denmark, France, Mexico, USA,India and Argentina. Parker pens were frequently selected (often as favorite pens of the signers) to sign important documents such as the World War II armistices, and commemorative editions were sometimes offered.Fact|date=February 2007

In 1976 Parker acquired Manpower just as the temporary staffing market was surging. In time Manpower provided more revenue than the pen business. A 1982 spinoff, Sintered Specialties, Inc., became [ SSI Technologies] , a manufacturer of automotive sensors.

A management buyout in 1987 moved the company headquarters to Newhaven, East Sussex, England which was the original location of the Valentine Pen Company previously acquired by Parker. In 1993 Parker was acquired by the Gillette Company, which already owned the PaperMate brand, one of the best-selling disposable ballpoints. Gillette sold the writing instruments division in 2000 to Newell Rubbermaid, whose own Stationery Division, Sanford, became the largest in the world owning such brand names as Rotring, Sharpie, Reynolds as well as Parker, PaperMate, Waterman and Liquid Paper.

The old Parker Pen factory remained empty until around 2003 when it was converted to a industrial park called Arrow Park. Panoramic, Inc, which was once the packaging division of Parker Pen currently takes up most of the old building, which also houses Kandoo. TOGAS leadership academy, a charter school, takes up an old warehouse behind the main building.


Key models in the company's history include Jointless (1899), Jack Knife Safety (1909), Duofold (1921), Vacumatic (1932), 51 (1941), Jotter (1954), 61 (1956), 45, 75 (1964), 25 (1975), Arrow (1982), Vector (1986), Duofold International (1987), 95 (1988), Sonnet (1993), and the Parker 100 (2004).

Martini formula

Parker pen an advertising campaign in the early 1970s, simply showing a hand using a Parker Pen to write the following 'mathematical' formula on a piece of paper:

:frac{(3.5G + frac{V}{2})}{4(H_{2}O)^3} + 3(360^circ) = M

The result was that they received numerous inquiries by chemists, mathematicians, and physicists, asking for the meaning of the formula, as they could not figure it out. The formula is actually a humorous representation for the recipe of a Martini: 3.5 shots of gin and half a shot of vermouth over 4 parts H2O3 (water cubed = ice), finished off with three stirs (the 3×360°).

Apparently the campaign received one very critical letter asking "Who ever heard of a martini without an olive?".Fact|date=February 2007

External links

* [ Parker] (Official site)
* [] (Unofficial fan-site with tons of information about vintage parker pens. Run by artist Tony Fischier.)
* [ Parker 51 Special Edition] (Originally official site for re-issue of Parker 51, but seems to have other news about Parker pens, too.)
* [] (Hobby site with great amount of information on how to date a Parker 75)
* [ Pengallery: Parker]

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