The Parker Pen Company-American manufacturer of luxury writing pens, founded in 1888. George Safford Parker in Janesville, Wisconsin, United States. In 2011 the Parker factory at Newhaven, East Sussex, England, was closed, and its production transferred to Nantes, France.
George Safford Parker, the founder, had previously been a sales agent for the John Holland Gold Pen Company. He received his first fountain pen related patent in 1889. In 1894 Parker received a patent on his "Lucky Curve" fountain pen feed, which was claimed to draw excess ink back into the pen barrel when the pen was not in use. The company's first successful pen, released in 1899, was the Parker Jointless. The Lucky Curve feed was used in various forms until 1928.
From the 1920s to the 1960s, before the development of the ballpoint pen, Parker was either number one or number two in worldwide writing instrument sales. In 1931, Parker created Quink (quick drying ink), which eliminated the need for blotting.In 1941, the company developed the most widely used model of fountain pen in history (over $400 million worth of sales in its 30-year history), the Parker 51. Manufacturing facilities were set up over the years in Canada, United Kingdom, Denmark, France, Mexico, USA, Pakistan, India, Germany (Osmia-Parker), Brazil and Argentina.
Parker Duofold desk set, 1930
Parker Jotter pen
In 1954 Parker released the Parker Jotter ballpoint pen with its original nylon body and inverted "V" clip. The Jotter would go on to sell over 750 million units during its history. In 1955, the company introduced its Liquid Lead pencil which used liquid graphite to write like a pen. Unfortunately, the Scripto company had introduced a similar product called Fluidlead a few months previously. To avoid a costly patent fight the companies agreed to share their formulas with each other.
The company bought retailer and catalog company Norm Thompson in 1973, and then sold it in 1981. In 1976 Parker acquired Manpower just as the temporary staffing market was surging. In time Manpower provided more revenue than the pen business. A 1982 spinoff, Sintered Specialties, Inc., became SSI Technologies, a manufacturer of automotive sensors.
Products offered by the Parker Pen Company as of 2012
5th Technology I.M., Ingenuity, Sonnet, Urban
Fountain pens Duofold, Premier, Frontier, Sonnet, Facet, Esprit, Urban, I.M., Vector, Jotter
Ballpoint pens Reflex, Facet, Executive, Esprit, Frontier, Urban, I.M., Vector, Jotter
Inks and refills Quink, 5TH Mode