For me the Parker Duofold “Big Red” has always been the classic fountain pen. That was even before I knew what a Parker Duofold was and I still considered it orange. In 2011 I added a Bexley Poseidon in “Duofold Red” and figured that was the closest I’d get.
This year I discovered vintage pens and expanded my horizons. I just added a 1928 Parker Duofold Senior with an eBay purchase, The dual bands and flat tops date it around 1928 or 1929. Another pen considerably older than me so clearly vintage.
It doesn’t make much sense to do a formal review of a vintage pen. Both because each one would be different and because I just starting my vintage education.
I filled the pen with Pelikan Brilliant Black and have been using it since. It holds a lot of ink which it drinks in using a button filler. Thanks to all that ink I’m still on the first fill.
The pen is in good shape, especially considering its age. I hope I’m in such good shape when I get to be its age. But it’s not perfect. I’ve found ink inside the cap.There’s also ink along the wings of the nib and along the slit. It doesn’t seem to be an outright leak, but it also seems to be too much for simple nib creep, especially since I haven’t experienced any nib creep with Brilliant Black in other pens. There hasn’t been so much ink that it’s leaked onto the paper or my fingers. I have trusted the pen enough to use it at work, but not to bring it into meetings or carry it in my pocket.
The pen is very comfortable to write with. Being made of plastic, it’s light despite its size. Even posted its light and well balanced. I’d have not trouble using it posted if I wanted to. The nib is stiff which is a quality I like since flex is wasted with me. The pen fits comfortably in my hand. Flow is consistent without skipping or hard starts. It’s a fairly wet writer for a thin nib. The nib is about as thick and wet as I would want in a daily writer. I’d actually prefer it to be a little drier but I can probably handle that with a different ink.
The nib is 14kt. gold and labelled “Parker Duofold Pen”. I don’t know it’s official designation but it writes like a fine which is my nib of choice. As mentioned, it’s also a stiff nib.
The pen is still on its first fill. Well, first fill for me. The Pelikan Brillant Black does evaporate off this nib fairly quickly. Pauses over a minute can cause skipping on the first letter after the pause. But just placing the cap on the pen, without bothering to tighten it, solved this problem.
I love this pen. I want to avoid saying “favorite pen” every time I write about a pen. And I have to acknowledge the thrill of having this his classic pen hasn’t worn off. But I’m going to say it – this is destined to remain one of my favorite pens. I can clearly see myself getting additional Parker Duofolds, even a similar model. I’ve crossed over from accumulating to collecting, at least for vintage Parkers. Although, if I think about it, maybe I’m just a more focused accumulator.
There’s a lot of information about Vintage Parkers out there. Jim Mamoulides’ PenHeo.com website is one great source of information including a nice article about the Parker Duofold Flattops of the 1920′s.
ParkerCollector.com (aka ParkerPens.net) also has a lot of good info.
I was able to find a used copy of the out of print “Parker Duofold” by David Shepherd and Dan Zazove at a reasonable price. Lot’s of good info.