Parker

Web Site: http://www.parkerpen.com

Parker 75 Sterling Silver pensGeorge Safford Parker sold pens for the John Holland Pens Company as a means of supplementing his teaching salary. When the pens broke, he would fix them. From repairs he moved on to making his own pens in 1889. He is noted for saying if he " ... made a better pen, people would buy it". He found an investor and, true to an American success, with the $1,000 investment, the company was born and Parker as been a pen company of recognition ever since.

The famous "Lucky-Curve" feed was patent in 1894 -- it meant that when a pen was carried upright the ink would not flood through the nib. It was drain back into the reservoir. Thus, Parker became known as the "clean pen".

In 1993, Parker held approximately 19% of the premium fountain pen market, and it became part of the Gillette stationery group, along with Waterman (which held 21% of the premium fountain pen market). After than, the stationery group was sold to Sanford.

Since 19231 Park has been based in Newhaven. In 2007 Parker announced a reduction of operations at its Newhaven Plant as part of a restructuring. Production of its most popular lines such as the Jotter, Vector will continue its facility in Fradley Park, near Birmingham in the UK. The manufacturing of the Duofold may be done in France.

Parker was acquired by the Sanford Group, and as of 2009 there are indications that the Janesville centre will be closed and production of Parker Pens will be moved to sites with capacity. As of August 2009 the company says no final decision has been made, discussions are underway with employees.

"A careful and thorough review of our office products business indicates a need to further improve efficiencies in order to remain competitive in a challenging economy," the company said in a statement. "As a result, we are considering the consolidation of administrative and manufacturing operations from our Janesville, Wis., facility into other company locations with excess capacity."

At one time the Janesville plant employed more than 1,000 workers. Today the plant has 153 employees. All waiting for a decision to be made.

My first purchase of a fountain pen was the Parker 75.