The Parker Striped Duofold Senior is a pen I’m conflicted about. It’s in the best condition of any of my vintage pens and I love the color. But it has taken some getting used to and I’m still not comfortable writing with it. The pen is from the third quarter of 1945 and it’s the red/gray model, which I’ve seen called Dusty Red or Dusty Rose which both seem appropriate. It has a fine nib and is equipped with the plastic plunger. The Senior is the largest of the Striped Duofold models.
I’m still extremely ignorant about vintage pens so I wouldn’t have pegged this as a Duofold, figuring it to be a Vacumatic. It seems that this was also a problem in it’s day, with confusion between the top of the line Vacumatic.
David Isaacson’s site says of the 1945 Striped Duofold:
Senior is the largest model of the Striped Duofold … which features the marble striped celluloid on a pen which is essentially a Parker Vacumatic.
Richard Binder’s site says the Parker catalog called my pens color “Dusty Red (Maroon)”. Like many sites, he refer’s to these pens as “Striped Duofold” to set them apart from the classic (in my mind) Duofold.
The book “Parker Duofold” by David Shepherd and Don Zazave says Parker called the material “Laidtone”. It also says there were 8 models, 4 colors and over 100 variations.
The Senior is the largest of the Striped Duofolds, but just barely big enough for me to find comfortable. As my hands age I’m finding small pens more and more uncomfortable. If this is the largest model I won’t be buying the other variations. My biggest issue is that the section is short, much shorter than I’m accustomed to using. This makes the pen a bit awkward to hold with my natural grip, especially longer writing sessions. My natural grip puts my thumb above the section and my finger on the threads. I’m getting used to holding the pen above the section which is more comfortable.
I’ve only inked the pen once, with Rohrer & Klingner Leipziger Schwarz. The pen holds a lot of ink and filled easily with one push of the plunger. The pen is nearly mint. Transparency is excellent, without any signs of ambearing, making it easy to see the level of the ink. Only the threads seem a little less than mint. I have to apply a little extra pressure to get a good seal when I close the cap, otherwise the pen can open while being carried in the case.
The 14K V-Design find nib is stiff like my other vintage nibs, which is my preference. It’s a smooth writer with a consistent flow and no hard starts. It’s not my smoothest nib, but I like a nib that I can tell is touching the paper. It doesn’t bite into any paper I’ve used.
The pen posts and remains well balanced, but that’s the opinion of someone who doesn’t post his pens.
I’m conflicted when using this pen. As mentioned, the short section is uncomfortable with my natural grip. I’ve been holding the pen above the section which isn’t as awkward as it seems. Since the section is short I’m not holding the pen very far from the nib and it helps that the threads aren’t sharp. My main concern is marring the finish over time.
It seems every time I get a new pen I want to call it my favorite. But that’s not the case here. It’s certainly one of my favorite looking pens, vintage or modern. It’s the vintage pen I have that’s closest to “new” condition. I’ve gotten used to writing with it, but it loses points for making my adjust my grip even though I’m getting used to it.
Despite looking like I measured things to the 1/1000th of an inch, these aren’t that accurate. I don’t want the calipers touching/scratching the pen so there’s some wiggle room.
- Length (Capped): 5.318″ (135.08 mm)
- Length (Uncapped barrel): 4.841″ (122.98 mm)
- Diameter (barrel): 0.486″ (12.36 mm)
- Diameter (at cap band): 0.533″ (14.05 mm)
- Section Length: 0.424″ (10.77 mm)
- Section Diameter: 0.320″ (8.14 mm)
- Manufacturer third quarter of 1945 (date code 5 with one dot)