Left-to-Right: Parkette, Parkette Deluxe, Parkette Zephyr
and 1950's Parkette
A Peek at
the First Tier:
of vintage pens go for the gold, hunting only the best -
first tier- pens produced by their favorite manufacturer.
when they attack the 1920's- 1950's, collectors of Parker pens
are seen hunting the Duofold,
the Vacumatic, and
"51". Gazing at these
premier Parker lines- not to mention
handling them and writing with them- one is not surprised
that Parker's best are well collected
Parkette, Parkette Deluxe, Parkette Zephyr and a late non-celluloid
The bulk of this discussion will
focus on the the two core lines of pens, produced for the longest runs
and offering the most challenge. For most of
the Parkette run, two
core lines of pens can be found: the
proper, and the Parkette
the latter occupying a
slightly higher price point and featuring more fancy
trim. Note that
the very first pens from the regular
Parkette family carried a different name, the Parco.
Parco became the Parkette and here is lumped together with the
regular Parkette line:
|Parco/Parkette:||Produced in one size and in several key evolutionary forms. 1932-40|
|Deluxe Parkette:||Produced in two sizes and two key evolutionary forms. 1934-40|
prevalence of Parkette and Parkette Deluxe dwarfs that of the two
remaining core models of the Parkette Family, the Parkette Zephyr- which
consolidated and succeeded the previously mentioned models- and a
late non-celluloid Parkette,
features the mapping of the Parkette name to a markedly different pen.
|Parkette Zephyr:||Produced in one size and in one form for about one year: 1941. A legacy to the defunct Parkette and Parkette Deluxe.|
|Non-Celluloid Parkette:||A 1950's pen representing a reintroduction of the Parkette name after a nearly 10 year absence. Little in particular in common with the earlier pens save for the lever filling system.|
The Parkette family was produced from 1932 through 1941, though the name was reintroduced in 1950 in a model that ran a couple more years.
The earliest (?) reference noted for the regular line Parco/Parkette family is ad template aimed at dealers from an August 1932 Parker Proxy. The text perhaps is a bit liberal, as the pens appear not to have been trimmed in solid gold, perhaps not even in the heavy gold filled metal seen on more expensive Parker pens. Go figure. But, the early pens did have true 14k nibs.
Image 6: Parco ad template. August 1932
The early name Parco gave way to the more familiar Parkette during 1933. The November 1932 Parker Proxy still calls the pen a Parco. By December 1933 Parkergrams address it as Parkette. The switch likely took place between the issuance of those two publications. By 1941 the Parkette and Parkette Deluxe were discontinued and the line was consolidated into the 1941 Parkette Zephyr. The Parkette Deluxe seems to first appear in 1934 Parker catalogs and is known to have run through 1940. During the war years Parker clearly cut back on its low line pens in favor of higher profit margin items, and from 1940-1942 or so appears to have eliminated all pens below the $5 price point. Parker references the elimination of lower price point items in a 1944 business magazine article.
reintroduced the Parkette name around 1950 to a new line of lever-fill
pens. Just as the 1930's Parkettes featured materials and styling of
the day- celluloid caps and barrels, open nibs, and chunky
contour- so too did the new 1950's Parkette feature- in somewhat
characteristics of Parker's premier pen of the day, the Parker
"51". With solid color injection molded barrels, metal caps and
hidden nibs, this new Parkette maintained continuity with the old via
its filling system, which was used in very very few lines of Parker
pens. The tendency to reuse model names hardly was limited to
Parker. Waterman, too, in the early 1950's brought back the
venerable 1930's name Lady Patricia for a line of inexpensive metal
capped pens. Sheaffer reused many of its 1930's model names over the
A Parker with a Lever? So what? :
the late 1910's through 1948, Parker's self-filling fountain pens
generally employed either a button-fill
system or the vacumatic-fill
system, the latter of which gets its name from its appearance in the
Parker Vacumatic. Most of Parker's competition used the
for their best pens. Waterman's Ripple and Patrician pens, Wahl's Gold
Seal pens , Sheaffer's Lifetime, etc., all were lever-fill
pens. It is interesting and a bit provocative that Parker
introduced the lever-filler to its
brand, long after the others had, whilst choosing to employ it
humble and flimsy pen, the Parkette.
filler would find its way into other Parker pens- also of the humble
flimsy sort- the Duo-Tone
(not to be confused with Duofold) and the Writefine, produced at the end
of the 1930's. This writer is unaware of other lever-filling Parkers.
The Duo-Tone and Writefine will not be addressed at length in this
Image 7: Parker Writefine and Duo-Tone
With the introduction of the
Parker featured three
different filling mechanisms
1933. Did this allow less costly manufacture for the new pen
line? Perhaps. Still... one might imagine
that Parker found a certain charm bringing out its lowest line pen in
1932 utilizing the same mechanism found in the best from its
competition. Waterman Patrician, Sheaffer Balance, Wahl Doric
and... Parker Parkette??!! A serious in your face to the other
The Parkette and Deluxe Parkette were third tier products. During the early-mid 1930's the streamlined Parker Duofold- a button filler- was ceding the premiere position at Parker to the Vacumatic; indeed it would cease appearing in catalogs altogether after 1934. The button-filler would continue use throughout the 1930's, largely in the Parker Challenger family, comprising the Challenger, Deluxe Challenger and Royal Challenger. Generally of quite good quality, the Challengers were rendered 2nd tier (compared to the Vacumatic) by virtue of price point, by presence of the old fashioned button filling system, and by lack of transparency of pen barrel. With the 1st-tier Parker Vacumatic priced at $5-10, the various Challengers ran $2.25-$5.But, whilst the Challengers were solidly built pens, the 3rd-tier Parkettes (regular and Deluxe) made obvious sacrifices in quality. Priced at $1.25-$1.95, the pens' metal trim was markedly lower quality than that found on the Vacs and Challengers. The pens lacked Parker's vaunted washer clip. Brassing and pitting are common enemies of the Parkette, reflecting what appears to be flimiser finish (gold plate/wash vs goldfilled?), though perhaps the lower price of the pens led to less careful use/preservation as well. Indeed, today it is easier to find clean examples of Vacumatic or of Challenger than of Parkette; this both lowers the overall collectability of the Parkette but also enhances- relatively- the value of the occasionally seen really clean Parkette.
While most Vacs, Duofolds and Challengers from this period were readily convertible to Desk Pen with addition of a black end taper, the Parkettes generally made fairly weany desk pens, with catalog pages showing desk sets in which one simply removed the cap of the parkette and plunked it into the receiving trumpet... not very elegant. The Parkettes were the first Parker pens eventually to feature nibs not made of solid 14k gold.
to the taxonomy of the
Parkette and Parkette Deluxe experienced frantic evolution during their
run in the 1930's. The bulk of our efforts will be directed toward
categorizing these pens. A peek at the tables below will make clear the
relative complexity to collecting these two pens vs collecting both the
Parkette Zephyr and the non-celluloid 1950 Parkette. Both the
Parkette and Parkette Deluxe experience minor and major evolution. An
attempt at a rational taxonomy is presented below. It is based
largely on shape of the pen and on trim features. Nib style does not
contribute. New information of course might lead to subsequent
the reader need to know 9 Types or Subtypes of the Parkette and
Parkette Deluxe models produced from 1932-1940? Will
knowledge of these Types
and Subtypes appear in casual pen chat? Will folks hear, "John,
guess what? I just found a nice Type 3B Parkette in Red celluloid to
match my Type 1C Parkette Deluxe."? Perhaps not. However, a
stab at classification allows the interested collector to get a sense
the evolution and context of these pens, and provides a basis for
scan the tables below. Do not worry if the details do not make sense.
The gaps will be filled when each model is reviewed. Apparent is that
the Parkette and Parkette Deluxe require the bulk of attention
Introduction to the
The Parco/Parkette family, proper,
evolved frantically during its 9 year run, and was the first of the
Parkettes family to appear. During the survey of the
Parkette, the reader will be introduced to several types and
subtypes. Some nuanced variants will not be promoted to full subtype.
|Type-0 pre-Parkette. The Parco.||First reference August 1932
Likely already in production
|Type 1- Early Parkette
||Probably introduced late 1932-early 1933. Latest possible introduction is late 1933. It is noted that as many as three clip styles appear on the Type 1 Parkette during its roughly 1 year run. At this time these clip variants will not be assigned formay subtype status.|
|Type 2- Parkette with stepped
||Shown in 1934 Parkergrams/Catalog|
|Type 3a- Parkette with smooth truncated black ends*||Shown in 1935 Catalog. it is uncertain if regular USA-made production pieces were produced with the truncated ends.|
|Type 3b- round ends, ball clip 1935||Found with 1935 date codes and illustrated in the 1936 catalog|
|Type 3c- round ends, arrow clip 1938||First illustrated in the 1938 catalog. The final Parkette, proper. It is suspected this style continued through 1940.|
Type 0: The
Introduced probably in 1932, the
regular line Parco- first member of the regular Parkette family-
actually is a fairly
pen, at least when it is found in decent condition. It
features dual top gold-tone end rings, celluloids
in the Duofold tradition, gold nib,
nicely stepped clip and overall a fair
bit of flair.
The Parco was cited in Parker
literature. Whilst hardly Parker's prime focus, it did have its
role. A Parker Proxy from October 1932 discusses sales
Image 9: The $1.25 Parco. Start of the Parkette era.
Was it mentioned that Parco
pulled the low end for
Parker during this time? Well, yes it was. Here is more company shmooze.
Image 12: In late fall 1932, Parker did not have any illusions about its PARCO.
Parkette: A name-change
away from Parco:
seems to have occurred in late 1932-1933. The first of the
Parkettes bore great resemblence to the Parco. The nibs still were gold. Indeed, at first and
for the modified nib and barrel imprints- the new Parkette might appear
identical to the Parco. Clip evolution proves more dicey.
Most, perhaps all of the Parkette Type 1 pens appear with at
least two different clip styles, both of which are subtly different
from the Parco clip. Adding some confusion is the possibility that the
earliest clip style (as seen on the Parco) bridged the the model's name
transition perhaps appearing as a third (earliest) style clip on the
roughly 1 year run of the Parkette Type 1. Keep in mind that for Parker
pens in which several features evolved during a limited time, it
remains uncertain today that all such features changed the same day of
production! This problem plagues analysis of the Parker
Vacumatic, in particular.
Image 13: Type 1 Parkette. Very similar to the Parkette, the nib and imprint now are marked, "Parkette". The clip has
Two clip styles and perhaps a third (which would be the earliest) appear on the Type 1 Parkette. Given the short run for this Parkette- roughly a year- and given lack of documentation for serial evolution to the exclusion of use of these clips in parallel, I have opted not to call these pens Type 1A, Type 1B and Type 1C Parkettes. For now, we will consider these clip variants to be... interesting nuances in the realm of Type 1 Parkette collecting.
In current collecting circles, no
clip style conveys greater or lesser value to the Type 1 Parkette. I am
most charmed by Clip Style B. It appears not to be found on the earlier
Parco, is different from the Clip Style C seen on the later Type 2
Parkette or on the Parkette Deluxe pens, and perhaps is less common
than that later clip.
The earliest reference i've seen
naming the pen Parkette is the December, 1933
Parkergram. If the text is accurate with no lag for printing time, the
pen was called Parkette at least one month earlier, giving a November
1933 latest possible date for the appearance of the new name.
name could have appeared anytime since the last known reference to
November, 1932). Thus, the run time for the Type 1 Parkette remains a
bit unclear. In turn, the latest it was supplanted by the
Parkette Type 2 is
image 15: Point of Sale and catalog info from December 1933 Parkergram
The Parkette Type 1 is
found in the same colors as the Parco, Burgundy (red/black chunks),
Green, Gray (chunky Gray/black-with-Red-veins) and of course solid
The pens look very much like the Parco. Value hierarchy is poorly
defined, though again i favor a descending sequence of Gray, Red, Green
Image 16: Four colors of Type 1 Parkette, featuring two of the two to
three clip styles appropriate to this pen
Finally, peek at catalog copy from 1933 for a Parkette Desk Set. Whilst Parker desk sets based on other Parker pen lines from this era employed long black tapers to complete the desk pens, the Parkette obviously could not accomodate a taper because- unlike other Parkers- this lever filling pen lacked a bottom blind cap to remove and had no barrel threads at blind end of the barrel to which to attach such a taper. Keep in mind this notion of a Parkette Desk Pen, as this will be addressed again later.
TYPE II PARKETTE:
A convertible Type 2 Parkette:
Also, this Type 2 Parkette era featured something uncommon amongst the Parkette and Deluxe Parkette range- a Convertible pen, able to switch from pocket pen to true desk pen with the addition of a taper. Unlike other Parker pen lines of the time, which allowed for conversion to desk pens by removal of the blind cap covering the button or vacumatic plunger and with addition of a black taper, the Parkette generally had no blind cap to remove, because the Parkette was a lever filler. We saw that situation illustrated in earlier sections. But, Parker did produce some Parkettes able to follow the conversion-to-deskpen pattern set by higher line pens. Such Type 2 Parkettes feature a black stepped blind cap, one that is removable to allow attachment of a taper. Threads are present beneath, but of course no button is to be found. It is emphasized that not all Type II Parkettes could convert. Only those with a blind cap, indicated by an extra-wide swath of black at the bottom of the pen.
below the two Type 2 Parkettes are not quite the same. The green pen at
the bottom has symmetric steps at top and bottom. The Gray
pen has a disproportionately large black region at the bottom. Indeed,
whilst most Parkettes- including the green one shown- have a single
piece barrel, this Gray pen has a true blind cap (a removable
bottom cap) reminiscent of the blind caps which cover the button or
vacumatic filling mechanisms of higher line Parker pens. Let us call
this Parkette a Type 2 Convertible. The
only examples of convertible pen I've seen are Type 2 Parkette. It is
Type 2 Convertible will be addressed later. Don't forget the pen.
Image 23: Gray Type 2 Convertible pen with black blind cap, and more typical dedicated pocket pen in green.
Type 3 (3B, 3C and... perhaps 3A):
now move to what is perhaps the most commonly seen form of regular
one that ran at least 1935-1939, though I do wonder if some late
1934 pens were produced in Type 3 form. The Third Style
by non-stepped black endpieces. Smooth endpieces are
to differentiating this dominant and final type from its immediate
predecessor, the stepped-end Type 2. Type 3 pens generally pack a
barrel imprint different from earlier pens, though sometimes even
late Type 3 pens crop up
with Type 1-2 Parkette barrel imprints, not explicable by
invoking "someone swapped a barrel"- date codes and shape preclude such
aftermarket parts swaps. It seems Parker did not want us to find this
easy. Due to some catalog information, at
least one anomalous Canadian and a single neat off-catalog USA-made
consideration is given to the
possible existence of a Type 3A pen, whose endpieces- whilst smooth,
pack a somewhat different shape from the prevalent Type 3B pens. One
would expect the Type 3A to
exist- given that it was catalogued- but the things just don't seem to
crop up! More data will be needed to pin
down the Type 3A Parkette.
Parker's 1935 catalog offered dealers point of sale
Image 24: 1935 catalog image of point-of-sale display
One can divide the 3rd style pens into earlier and later variants based on the clip (for now, consider them Type 3B and Type 3C), which evolved whilst the rest of the pen stayed stable. The Type 3 Parkette is catalogued in early 1935, though perhaps the switch in look occurred as early as late 1934. The type 3B pens had a faceted ball-clip. In 1938 the clip was switched to an arrow style clip. This clip marked the type 3C pen. The 3C would be produced at least through 1939-1940, when the Parkette, proper, appears to have ceased production. Before we address- briefy- the earliest subtype, the possible Type 3A, let us examine the better known Type 3B and Type 3C.
Image 25: Type 3B and Type 3C Parkette. Not shown is the tentative Type 3A, which is suggested by catalogues.
Deluxe shares with the Parkette the
lever-filling system. Until the introduction of the Duo-Tone and the
Writefine ~ 1938-1940, the Parkette and Parkette Deluxe were Parker's
only lines to utilize the lever. Parkette
Deluxe pens (Type 1) have a fluted (scooped-out facets) structure
plastic Parkers. But, the final form (Type 2) of
the Parkette Deluxe- introduced in 1938- sees the return to a typical
sans flutes. The Parkette Deluxe was priced at $1.95. Unlike the
Parkette, proper, the Parkette Deluxe was produced in two sizes:
standard and slender. In common with other sub-Vacumatic series, the
Pencils come in but one size.
Collectors tend to
be more familiar with the fluted pens, which were in production perhaps
4 years. However, the round model carries no small charm for the
collector, as it is not so easy to find, even if it lacks some of
stylistic "oomph" of the earlier pen. The
Parkette Deluxe generally is found in the same four color schemes as
Parkette- Red, Green, Gray and Black, though as with Parkette,
Parker did make advertising and display materials
available to dealers, as is shown in this 1936 catalog page.
Image 30: More point-of-sale items from the catalog.
Image 31: The venerable display easel.
TYPE 1 PARKETTE DELUXE- Three forms:
The Parkette Deluxe Type 1 (Fluted Barrel and Cap)
appears to have seen manufacture from 1934 through at least the start
1938. The barrel imprint remains unchanged during this period. The
contour of the pen grossly is stable, though the trim evolves. As
always, it is risky to claim a trend based on examining
a few examples. Still,
observation does suggest a few stages of evolution. Unlike the Type 1
Parkette, proper, which we did not differentiate into subtypes based on
clip style, for the Parkette Deluxe Type 1, clip will contribute to
Three trim forms can be identified for the Type 1 Parkette Deluxe.
TYPE 1A PARKETTE DELUXE:
As noted, the earliest of the Parkette Deluxe pens
have stepped clips (reminiscent of the regular Parkette Types 2 and
3A), triple cap bands and decorative end rings. But, unlike later pens,
those decorative endrings appear
to be of white plastic rather than of metal to match the clip.
endpieces are a bit more rounded than what are found on later
pens. Frankly, this writer likes the look of the white rings;
they hold up
much better than the metal rings found on later pens. No brassing
is possible. Two sizes exist:
Standard and Slender. It is suspected that the Type 1A trim mix ran
from early to late 1934. The Type 1A appears in the 1934 catalog (image
34). Note, too, the typical Gray color (gray/black/red) shown in the
catalog for these pens.
Image 34: 1934 Parker Catalog showing Type 1A Parkette Deluxe
Note the crude desk pen in which a pen with posted cap
makes the "desk" pen.
Amongst pens manufactured in the USA, this writer has seen the Gray/Green variant only in the Parkette Deluxe Type 1A. Canadian pens likely crop up in more trim configurations. The two grays thus yield five colors for the Parkette Deluxe Type 1A. Enough of these have been found that this color mix likely saw a substantial run. The pen has increased value relative to typical Gray (Gray/Red/Black) even if- and the following is not known to be so- it is more common in this style than is the typical Gray. The color is just so funky. It is my suspicion that the gray/green is an... early... from of Gray.
Image 36: the Gray-with-Green-Specks Parkette Deluxe Type 1. A non-catalogued color.
1B PARKETTE DELUXE:
The Type 1B
Parkette Deluxe represents a mix of the Type 1A's stepped clip and the
later Type C's metal (vs white plastic) end rings. Amongst the 20
or so images of Parkette Deluxe Type 1 pens reviewed for this
monograph, only one demonstrates this cocktail. This
sampling is too small to draw sweeping conclusions. One might
hypothesize that the plastic end rings were replaced by metal before
the clip was switched to the Type 1C Parkette Deluxe style (faceted),
creating a probably brief manufacturing window for the Type 1B shown
here. See also the images of three Parkette Deluxe clips shown a few
images back. This appears to be the most rare trim cocktail found
amongst the Type 1 Deluxe Parkette pens. Barring its existence being a
quirk of production- in which case perhaps it is overgenerous to
elevate it to its own subtype- this pen indeed saw a short production
period. It will help to identify more such pens and to correlate date
codes to this trim style. I'm guessing these will turn out to be late
1934 to early 1935 production. Time will tell. It is imagined
that the pen will appear in the four standard colors and in both sizes.
TYPE 1C PARKETTE DELUXE:
The Parkette Deluxe with metal end rings and
faceted clip appeared in 1935 and ran to late 1937 or maybe early 1938,
when it was replaced by the non-fluted
Type 2 pen. Compared to
the year-or-so for the Type 1A and the who-knows-how-brief Type 1B,
this was a hefty run and accounts of the dominance this style amongst
available Parkette Deluxe pens. This 1936 catalog page
demonstrates the line quite nicely, and the four catalogued colors are
shown in the photo-montage (image 39)
seems that no fluted Parkette-Deluxe ever featured the mix of fluted
arrow clip, the latter being found on regular Parkettes of Type 3C and
on the later Parkette Deluxe Type 2. This is consistent with the
appearance of the arrow clip in 1938.
2 Parkette DELUXE:
1938 Parker introduced a radically revamped Parkette-Deluxe. The flutes
and end rings
went bye-bye. Instead, a more conventionally shaped pen with round
cross-section appeared and which featured the arrow clip familiar to
the reader from the Parkette
Type 3C. It featured a new concentrically ringed cap-band
that many today choose to
the "stacked-coin band".
Image 40: 1938 Catalogue page
illustrating Type 2 Parkette Deluxe
These final Parkettes appear to have run through 1940. They appear in the four typical colors, namely Red, Green, Black and Gray, with Gray most often being the Gray/Red/Black mix seen on earlier Parkette Deluxe and Parkette pens. However the "Pearl Gray" color does appear as well, constituting a fifth available color.
Again, i suspect- but cannot prove- that the Pearl
represents later production pieces than the Gray which is
gray/red/black . Still,
other possibilites exist: the Pearl Gray could have been used in
parallel, for short run or special order, or might've been used whilst
the other plastic was not available. More important though is that the
presence of both gray plastics in this model suggests that both also
might be present for the regular Parkette Type 3B (similar era) for
which i've photographed the Pearl Gray but do not have the
Gray/Red/Black on hand. Again, the best reasonable hope collectors have
to establish the truth of this model is to examine many pens and to
correlate the date codes to the plastic.
The following picture shows a variety of Type 2
Deluxe Parkettes in both slender and standard size, demonstrating the 5
colors (counting two types of gray) that typically appear in this
model. At the far left and far right are Slender pens. The center three
are Standard. Note the presence of two different types of Gray. The
pearlescent gray- whilst perhaps less attractive- probably gains an
edge in value over its variegated brother, due to rarity.
An enlarged color chart is as follows. Do note the
marbled/mottled/chunky characteristics of the colors. We will consider
this again a bit later, when some anomalous colors are considered.
Let's take a final peek at
that table outlining the Parkette Deluxe evolution. Now, it should make
more sense. This marks completion of our analysis of core
features of Parkette and Parkette Deluxe.
Image 42: Frequently seen Parkette Deluxe Type 2 Colors.
|NIB ISSUES for PARKETTE and PARKETTE
nibs have unpartitioned contour
Deluxe nibs have a partitioned look, often with two tone effect
|Image 49: 2nd quarter 1935 Parkette Deluxe
nib. Hint of white color by the section
||Image 50: 4th quarter 1935 Parkette Deluxe nib. Hint of white color by the section|
Deluxe vs Parkette
||Parkette Deluxe nibs are bi-colored
and have a partition separating the white from yellow portions. Rarely
(perhaps indicating very early nibs) the white plating is on the distal
(far end) and the proximal area by the gripping section is gold.
Usually the proximal area is white, the distal area gold.
|1932 perhaps to early 1934||Nibs are of 14k solid alloy and are marked 14k|
||The April catalogue still describes
solid gold nibs. Nibs from at the latest mid 1934 (maybe earlier) no
longer are marked 14k, this perhapss being more in keeping
with Parker's general approach to its gold nibs.
||The catalogue no longer references solid
gold points for Parkette and Parkette Deluxe.
nibs have been observed for both Parkette and Parkette Deluxe that are
of white base metal with gold tone plating.
||Desk Pen catalogue for 1939 product cites
the Rador nib, presumably a fancy name for a basic white metal nib.
|1938-1940||Are Parkette (and Parkette Deluxe) nibs
now produced in white metal with no attempt at gold tone plating?
You knew there had to be a "however".
In discussion of the Type 2 Parkette, proper, an
image (image 23, waaay above) was shown of a Type 2 typical pocket pen
(in green) juxteposed
with a Gray pen claimed to be a Convertible. Back in the section
on Type 2 Parkettes, the term "Convertible" was not explored. Take a
peek again. The gray pen indeed does not have symmetric black steps at
top and bottom, but seems to have a larger swath of black at the blind
end (bottom). This is not just unusual color distribution The gray pen
is a convertible. The bottom black area in fact is a blind cap.
Image 62: A 1934 Parkette (Type 2) both in typical
pocket pen (green) and convertible (gray) forms.
The blind cap on the Type 2 Convertible pen can be unscrewed and removed, revealing threading that looks disturbingly similar-again- to the sort that houses the button unit of Parker's Duofold, Challenger, etc. But of course no button is present, as all Parkettes are lever-fill pens. However, the threads very happily accept the taper- a desk pen tail unit- similar to that used to convert Duofolds and Challengers from typical pocket pens into desk pens. The Convertible Type 2 pen can become a desk pen.
Missing from the
picture (image 63) is the taper (tail) that would turn the pen into a
pen, but the open pen conveys the idea reasonably well. A taper
used for the Vacumatic Standard, Challenger Standard or Duofold Junior
will fit the
convertible Type II Parkette, though the Parkette appears to take the
less fancy Challenger style taper (no metal ring at threaded end of
|When first introduced,
both Parkette and Parkette Deluxe in inelegant fashion
could become desk pens if placed into standard Parker desk
pens- unlike all other Parker lines- could not accept tapers because-
as lever fillers- they lacked removable blind caps.
|As early as 1934, variants of
the regular Parkette type 2
(steppeed ends ends) appeared with an extra large swath of black at the
bottom, which in fact repersented a blind cap which could be removed to
allow attachment of the desk taper. These pens were true Convertables,
either as Desk Pen or Pocket Pen. Parkette Deluxe dedicated desk pens
appeared, which appear not to be able to cleanly convert back to pocket
pens, due to lack of production of an appropriate blind cap.
|Poorly characterized are
circa 1935-1938 dedicated desk pens. Like all
non lever filling pens from this era, they had tapers which could be
removed from threaded ends of barrels, but the pens apparently could
not serve as pocket pens. No bottom piece (blind cap) has
which would serve to allow such pens to serve as pocket pens. We have
minimal catalog data for these, but it seems likely that most colors
from that era were produced. I own one Type 3 (absenting cap and blind
cap, one cannot say 3A, 3B or 3C) desk pen in Green. it is conceivable
that Type 3 Pens could serve as convertibles, but none has yet been
seen with a removable blind end such as was shown, above, for the
Type 2 pen.
|In 1938, catalogs do show a decent image Parkette desk pen, produced supposedly only in black.|
|I am unaware of Parkette Zephyr or 1950's Parkette desk pens.|
Introduced at a slightly higher price than the now defunct Parkette Deluxe, Parkette Zephyr replaced both the Parkette and the Parkette Deluxe at the bottom of Parker's line of celluloid pens. The Zephyr was a more slender pen than the previous pens. Its plastic was different, too. The blade style clip shared style with what had appeared on the Challenger, Deluxe Challenger and "geometric" Duofolds produced during the prior couple years, and the single capband was reminiscent of Challenger. Today, most seen are very worn, and one cannot help wondering if despite the shared style shape, the trim finish on the Parkette Zephyr is far more fragile than what is place on the other cited pens. The Zephyr is the final iteration of the celluloid Parkette.
Image 67: Parkette Zephyr. One Size, Four catalogued colors. Return of the solid 14k nib
The nib on this pen perhaps is an earlier Parkette Deluxe nib
Parker restored the solid gold (14k) nib to the
Zephyr, which was cataloged in the 1941 Parker Catalog. Note the single
size, four available colors and an increased price relative to
defunct Parkette and Parkette Deluxe. Jewels
of Pendom was a popular Parker theme during 1940-1941. Whether
or not the Parkette Zephyr
warrants the label will be left to the reader.
Image 68: Parkette Zephyr in the 1941 Parker catalogue. Note the return of
reference to a 14k nib. The nib is lacks the partition and bi-color effect seen
on the earlier Parkette Deluxe
Image 69: Zephyr's barrel imprint
Whether we name it the metal-capped Parkette, the injection-molded Parkette or just the 1950's Parkette, Parker introduced one last model of the Parkette around 1950. Pen companies had a habit to recycle old names during later eras. Waterman, around 1953 recycled the Lady Patricia name for a metal capped, injection molded, and solid-color-barrel pen that bore little resemblence to the lovely 1930-1940 celluloid Lady Patricia. Sheaffer recycled old names. So too did Parker around 1950 resurrect the Parkette name for a... you guessed it... metal capped, injection-molded and solid-colored barrel pen. At least for the continuity of the name, the pen had a lever filling system in common with its older brethren.
Image 72: Parkette from 1950's. The poor brother to other Parkers with hooded nibs.
Here, view the
manufacturer's imprint as it appeared at this late date. The "52"
represents the year of production- 1952.
Image 73: Imprint on 1950s Parkette
And, another Parkette
imprint. Apparently a doubled-die effect has mutated "Co." for
"Company" and the date code. Rare error pen no doubt not worth zeelions
Image 74: Mutated imprint
Shown here are three of the
perhaps four colors of the 1950's metal-capped Parkette. It
is my belief that a burgundy pen was produced, too, though I lack
evidence for this. With image 75, we complete our examination of the
four pens to carry the name Parkette: Parco/Parkette (1932-1940),
Parkette Deluxe (1934-1940), Parkette Zephyr (1941), 1950's Parkette (
In my recent purchase of a large Parkette collection, were a couple interesting Type 3 Parkettes, both of Canadian origin. Those of you who follow 1930's Parker know that when a pen is from Canada, anything can happen ;-) Here is a Parkette set in a color not seen in USA catalogs and never seen by me on a Parker manufactured in the USA, Green-Blue Pearl.
Image 76: Parkette set from Canada in Blue-Green Pearl
Too, the green-blue mixture is not
commonly seen on better pens by any major manufacturer. But, at one of
many photography sessions at pen shows throughout the country, another
pen was found with the same plastic. Manufactured by Wahl- one of their
Oxford line- it is a second to third tier pen even by that high quality
pen company. That pen
probably was positioned for a similar or slightly higher price point
market than the Parkette. Still, placed side by side with this
it makes for nice vintage pen eyecandy.
Image 77: A Wahl Oxford (USA production) matches the color of this Canadian Parkette
Then we have Copper Pearl. I've seen a few Canadian production Parkette and Parkette Deluxe pens produced in thiss lovely copper-pearl color. On seeing the first, I wondered if it might be a discolored red pen, and whilst the following does not rule out that possibility, it is noted that the color is very even on the pens and that it appears on pens of different style. Whether this was an intended color, a batch variant which did look different at time of manufacture, or some batches of red plastic that color shifted over time, i cannot say. I suspect that the color is different from the Burgundy Pearl and carries extra cachet because of that. However, because the pen is Canadian, the anomalous color does not have quite the same impact it would would were it an off-catalog USA production item.
Image 78: Parkette Type 2 and Parkette Deluxe Type 1C, both of Canadian manufacture, in an unusual copper pearl
Canadian Parkette (image 79) appears in a most unusual green/brown mix.
a bit the Green-Bronze color best known in the vaunted Waterman
Patrician, in fact the brown panels lack the metallic appearance found
in Waterman's pens. This is the only Parkette i've found in this color,
though i have seen one Safford Fifth Avenue (a Parker product) in
Note too the interesting black endpieces. Neither stepped like a Type II Parkette nor rounded like the Type 3B or Type 3C, the ends- these are smooth and truncated- look disturbingly like the April 1935 Catalog images of the Parkette- my hypothesized Type 3A form. As i noted much earlier in this treatise, catalogues suggest a pen like this- probably the earliest of the Type 3 pens, but i have yet to see an actual pen of USA manufacture. Either my experience is too limited in this arena, or these pens either were not produced in the USA or were produced but briefly before the switch to more rounded endpieces. Still, finding even a Canadian pen to match that catalogue page supports the notion that Parker might have produced some such pens in the USA, too. Time will tell. Certainly, the clip is consistent with Type 3 production. This pen is dateless, but then it is Canadian.
Some Parkette Deluxe Type II Low Run/
Lunchtime Special/ Prototypes. More Exotica and Anomalies:
At the Chicago Pen Show in May 2006 i overheard two collectors discussing the Parkette. I ambled over and mentioned that i'd just purchased a collection of 60-odd Parkettes. One of the other collectors promptly responded, "Well Good! Then perhaps you'd be interested in buying a dozen or so low run/prototype Parkettes". He pulled out the pens and made me an offer i could not refuse. So... i did not refuse. Indeed, i bought the pens on the spot. Most of the odd-duck pens were Parkette Deluxe, in the final (type 2: Round, Arrow-Clip, Stacked-Coin Capband) form. All were fully imprinted and packed "28" date code for 2nd quarter, 1938 manufacture. Most lacked nibs. No matter.
large cohort of 1938 Parkette Deluxe pens all are in non-catalogue
colors and reportedly were found in Janesville, WI, Parker's
home. Uncatalogued colors and typical colors but
in atypical patterns (swirled vs patchy) rule this lot. Before
special colors, peek
again at the standard color spread for the Type 2 Parkette Deluxe
Image 80: Parker's common and catalogued colors
for Type 2 Parkette Deluxe (1938-1940)
Now we will
consider 5 Deluxe Parkette Type II pens done in most unusual
plastics. All the pens in this lot are fully imprinted, and all lacked
nibs, feeds and sections when purchased. From top to bottom we
see: Copper Helical Swirl, Red/Black Helical Swirl, Green
Longitudinal Swirl, Fuschia Helical Swirl, and Copper Longitudinal
Swirl. I've never seen these colors aside from this cluster of
pens. Prototypes? Experimental pieces? Low-run rodstock for
niche market? Who knows? What is known is that they are charming and-
to my knowledge- unique, one of kind, only ones out there, etc.
Even if a few more of each crop up, these i really like.
Some Parkette Type 3 low-run/lunchtime special/prototype pens. More USA-made anomalies.
Also included in this lot were three fully imprinted
Parkettes, generally of Type 3 appearance. Whilst one will be saved for
end of this monograph, here are two for the readers consideration.
First, consider this golden pearl longitudinally
Parkette Type 3C, with appropriate date code (2nd quarter 1938)
The second ineresting Parkette from this second lot is shown below.
Second, peruse this most unusual
Type 3B Parkette, one which largely is
a typical Burgundy Pearl specimen, but what happened to the opaque
From the What the Heck
is This? pile:
the three regular Parkette pens (one yet to be seen) and five Parkette
Deluxe pens in
unusual colors- and a few Parker-manufactured Safford pens, the pens
shown below rounded out the Chicago purchase last year. Frankly, this
writer does not know what to make of these pens. The clip and shape
evoke the Parkette. The barrels are not imprinted. No nibs are present.
Thee pens have a crude feel.
These are reported to have come from the same spirce who owned all
the other pens. Prototypes? Fun time on the lathe?
Chazzerei done decades later at home and having nothing in truth to do
with Parker? Your guess.
COLLECTING and VALUING PARKETTES:
OK. So lots of pens were produced during during the 10 years or so which encompassed the run of the Parkette, the Parkette Deluxe and the Parkette Zephyr. The 1950's metal-capped Parkettes add a few more to the mix. Substantial evolution and a nice color palette offer the collector many pens. But, how does the newly interested collector go about collecting these?
No absolutes exist about approaching what sort of collection to assemble. At one extreme, the collector can grab any one Parkette and consider the global Parkette family represented in his collection, or own even no pen whilst simply enjoying learning about them. Since collecting- in collector speak- reference learning as much as accumulating, perhaps it is just fine to have a collection comprising zero pens but to possess knowledge about those pens???!!! Nah... I didn't think so.
At the other extreme, one of course can be a completist, hunting all catalogued and perhaps even uncatalogued colors of all style variants for all four Parkette genera, various species and a plethora of subspecies. Whilst a formal tally has not been run, it is believed this would run easily 100 pens and pencils, not counting uncatalogued colors.
A balanced approach would be to collect one example of each major Type within the four families, with the reminder that Type specifies largely the contour of the pen. Skipping subtypes based on more subtle trim differences (eg. clip type, will limit the scope of the collection. This results in a collection of 8 pens, again ignoring color, size (for the Parkette Deluxe), and trim variation. From there, the collector can but expand his collection, eventually hitting that ~100 item goal.
of Parkettes poses challenges too. Some of the least of the pens are,
we've noted before, rather humble in terms both of quality and of
cachet. In practice
a worn and unrestored (but intact) Parkette probably starts in value
$10-15 per pen. Whilst a professional restoration usually costs around
are easy pens on which to practice restoration if the reader wishes to
try his hand), it is NOT clear that a restored and intact but well worn
is worth $35-45 pen. In fact it probably does not achieve that
Thus, at the low end, pens might have relatively more
value as parts items (nib, clip, lever donor) than as restorable items.
Who wants a worn pen shaped like a banana?!
the higher end, a clean
(emphasis on clean) restored Parkette Deluxe
skirt the $100 range. No doubt some will object that no Parkette should
be worth the price of a basic, clean high end Parker Vacumatic, but the
is a strange place. Clean fluted Parkette Deluxe pens are not so easy
find, are attractive items, and can be nice writers. They are
more difficult to find than basic Parker Vacs, because so many
are so worn and because they have trim that does not well tolerate
wear. This near-mint-in-box Parkette Deluxe Type II Slender set from
Hirsh's collection shows how nice these can be. This set is solidly
$100+ in value. Heck, the box alone is charming and probably worth $30
to the motivated collector of Parker ephemera.
Image 86: A glorious Parkette Deluxe (Type 2) set
Thus, a price range of $10 to $100 seems to span pretty much all the worn, unrestored humble Parkettes, to the very clean Deluxe Parkettes. Obviously, mint condition pens (especially with price stickers and box), non-catalog colors, low run exotica and the like can rest well away from the main sequence and have added value. Value on the exotica can be hard to pin down, but from a strictly personal perspective, i can say that $100 would not touch any of those five off-catalog Parkette Deluxe Type 2 pens shown earlier.
In terms of desirability and cachet, the fluted (Type 1) Parkette Deluxes probably are top of the heap. To me, the stepped-end Type 2 Parkettes (reminiscent of some Monroe and Eclipse pens) have particular charm. I would place them and the late round Parkette Deluxes next in the heirarchy, followed closely by the Parco and early Parkette. The Round-end Parkettes and the Zephyr follow, with those darned ugly 1950's metal-capped Parkettes dead last. Of course, this is one man's opinion and other might disagree.
Where do we go from here?
The heart of this survey is observation, the collating of data gleaned from the examination of many pens and a handful of primary sources. Interpreting such cave paintings poses risks no doubt. Because the various Parkettes are products of the massive Parker Pen Company some company literature exists, so observation is supplemented by company info, but even that has its limitations.
doubt the discovery of data from Parker itself, advertising
materials, and of course more pens will yield more information about
Parkette. I concede doubts that folks will tackle anytime soon a more
comprehensive assault on the Parkette Family, but I am deeply aware
that gaps persist in the data base and hypotheses presented here.
Feedback about this treatise is invited, as is the presentation
of clarifying information.
A going-away gift:
reader. You have traveled long and hard on the road to knowledge
of the Parkette Family. You have learned about colors, about
evolution of trim, contour and nib, and about poorly documented desk
models. You have
gazed at Canadian pens in funky colors and at low-run off-catalogue
pens from the States. In wrapping up the paper, I wish to offer a
peek at my most interesting and charming Parkette.
Having some features of the not-really-seen
USA-catalogued Type 3A pen from the April 1935 catalogue- the truncated
smooth black endpieces. Yet it sports a late 1934 date code and
the usual-to-1934 Type 2 clip and barrel imprint. It lacks cap
bands, perhaps (or perhaps not) never having had any.
David R. Isaacson, MD
January 15, 2006
<>This author appreciates having had the
opportunity to acquired these pens and wishes to recognize Gary
Cola and Daniel Zazove as the sources of two significant collections
which provided most of the pens shown here. At least one pen
imaged is from the personal collection of Daniel Kirchheimer.
Bill Reipl (assuming he survives the process) is thanked for having
formatted this rather long (~ 30+ pages in print, by guesstimate) tome
for the Stylophilesonline website.
Appendix: Acknowledgements and Sources: