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Parker Fountain Pens
The first Parker fountain pen was patented by George Safford Parker of Janesville, Wisconsin in 1889. Parker, who had invented his pen in response to his frustration over leaking fountain pens, continued to improve his product and introduced the Lucky Curve system in 1894. The Lucky Curve returned ink to the reservoir by capillary action, greatly reducing leaks.
In 1905, Parker introduced the Black Giant in response to public demand for larger pens. This model was followed in 1921 by the red Parker Duofold nicknamed Big Red. Other colors of the Duofold include jade green, mandarin yellow, and lapis blue. These colors are more valuable to collectors. The Vacumatic fountain pen was first produced in 1933. This pen held twice as much ink as the Duofold due to its expanding diaphragm.
Parker introduced its most famous pen, the Parker 51, in 1941. This pen used quick-drying ink that had to be well protected to keep it from drying out. The resulting design was a sleek cigar shape with a hooded tip. Collectors who wish to write with a Parker 51 should look for models manufactured after 1948.
The rarest model of the Parker Duofold fountain pen is a specialty model created for the Zaner-Bloser handwriting publishing company. The pen was specially curved to better fit the hand of young handwriting students and now sells for about $2,000
To collectors, mandarin yellow is the most desirable color of Parker Duofold fountain pens. Vintage fountain pens in this color sell for up to $1,000
In 1972, Parker produced five pens out of titanium including a special plate mounted to the barrel of each pen that was made of powdered gold and moon dust collected during the Apollo 15 mission. The Parker 75 fountain pen version of these space pens was sold by Bonham's in 2001 for $26,500