A family of pens manufactured by Parker, but generally considered a third-tier pen. Evolving from the Parco, Parkette produced began in 1932 and ran through 1941. The pen was Parker’s answer to inexpensive competition while providing the Parker name and mystique. The Parkette generally lacked the quality of flagship Parker pens of the time (Duofold, and Vacumatic).
The Parkette was Parker’s first pen to make use of a lever-filling mechanism. A common option amongst other manufacturers but not one Parker pens ever would regularly embrace. Eventually, the lever-fill mechanism would find its way into other “third-tier” Parker pens, including the Duo-Tone (not to be confused with Duofold) and the Writefine.
The 1950s Parkette
It is a common practice for pen companies to reintroduce former names as a means of adding nostalgia. Parker introduced one last model to the Parkette family in 1950. The new pen included a lever-filling system and contemporary styling (a metal cap and a hooded nib). The newest Parkette did not fare well against period Parker’s.
I have a grey 1951 Parkette. It is in very good shape, without any bite marks, or scratches, but it leaks. I know grey is boring but I like it with the shiny metal cap. It appears to have the same “defect” other hooded Parker’s shared – a gap between the hood and the nib. While researching the Parkette, it seems this pen is not favored amongst collectors and is considered cheap and not worthy of the time and effort to repair it – got my attention now.
This seemed odd to me, when I removed the ink sac I found the pen had a breather tube (more on these another day). A breather tube is used in better pens when the filling system fails to completely fill the reservoir with one cycle of compression and vacuum. This is a feature commonly not found in cheap pens and I would know, I have 3 Arnolds.
I replaced the too-short ink sac, being careful not to remove the breather tube. I tried to remove the hood but found it is held firm by glue. I made a valent effort to remove it but when all options failed and applying solvents was the only choice, I stopped. The cap retention ring thingy was a little tarnished, nothing a Sunshine cloth could not remedy. The only real damage is a minute amount of brassing on the cap clip.
Not wanting to leave the feed, nib and breather tube as is, I used a bulb syringe to flush them out. I was surprised to see flakes of dried ink accumulate in the sink. My concern appeared warranted.
All done and ready to ink up and give it a go.
Welp, I’m happy to say it writes well. It is a fine point nib which is not one of my faves but this one does very well. The nib is a little wet but that may be excess ink from the filling fixing in the hood.
- Capped length. 132mm
- Uncapped length. 121mm
- Barrel diameter 11mm
- Cap diameter 12mm
- Weighs in at 16g
For a “cheap” pen not worthy of my time, the only complaint is a manufacturing defect (in my opinion). The cap is secured is pressure the cap retention ring thingy. The pen lacks a clutch ring as found in a 51, thus the cap is not adequately secured. I picked it up one day by the cap and the pen went flying. Luckily I made a good catch.
4 thoughts on “The 1950’s Parker Parkette”
Another insightful look at saving, even the falsely deemed by others, ‘inferior’ pens. Some of my best writers and go to’s are ones that you would buy second hand for a few pound (£) notes. For myself it’s how they feel and perform. Not how they look. I have a very lightweight MS pen. Gold coloured, now fading, printed MS lettering on the cap. It’s a beautiful little writer. And never drops a huge blot of ink out over the cherished words already written. Once again….another great read. Cheers.
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Opinions are just that, opinions. I prefer to pass judgement based on performance. Like you said “how they feel and perform” and this pen writes very well, a specially considering it is 71 years old. I like the weight and it sits well in my hand. My only complaint is the cap does not stay secured.
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My wife bought me a Parker 95 for one of my birthdays. Can’t remember the exact date, but it was a fair few decades ago. Beautiful writer used often. It eventually developed a split around the nib area housing and was never used after that because of leakage. It’s taken apart and housed in the box of ‘can’t be used’ pens in a drawer. I gave a cheap Parker pen, around £30 new, to my granddaughter. She bought herself a calligraphy nibs set with her pocket money. So was finding using ink interesting. A budding fountain pen fan maybe. So, I have no Parker pen at all at the moment. I’ll have to look on eBay to see if I can buy a replacement nib housing for the 95. Secure caps? My Kaweco Brass Sport has a similar problem when posted. Being such a small pen, without the cap posted, it can be a difficult writing experience. But with it on…….’turning and looseness’ is a pain. But what a writing performance! They are amazing pens. All the best.
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