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The Parker Patrician

from the fountain pen of Daniel A.Zazove
It appears as if the first use of the name 'Patrician' relates to the Patrician Pen Company of Janesville, Wisconsin, whose brochure for eyedropper pens is reproduced as Figure 1. The patent date on the pens displayed in the catalogue is January 3, 1905. which corresponds with the patent issued to George Parker for the spearhead ink feed. This leads me to believe that Mr. Parker was the owner of the Patrician Pen Co.

The next occurrence of the name is in 1921 when the U.S. parker Duofole advertisements tout the Parker Duofold as the 'Patrician' of them all (Figure 2). The advertisement reproduced in the WES Journal No.58 appears to be of the same vintage (bandless Duofold).

Finally I possess a Parker internal memorandum from 1927 which explains Parker's offering of the Patrician as a cheap line of pens from inferior parts.

"The Directors of the Company have decided to put out a new line of pens known as the Patrician Fountain Pens, to be made from seconds- that is, pens now thrown out for minor defaults" (Then follows a list of the catalog numbers and descriptions of 41 pens.) "In this connection, the holder of the pen and the gold nib will not have the Parker stamp. The gold nib will be stamped 14K and will be made of less weight of gold and cheap iridium. The holder of the pen will be stamped PATRICIAN. The clip will be blank and will be made of very thin plate stock."

Whether Parker Pen Company offered the Patricians to disparage the Waterman Patrician remains unknown, although a great deal of animosity existed between George Parker and Louis Waterman dating back to the dispute over a slip cap on eyedropper fountain pens. However, Parker Pen Company never advertised the Patrician line.

Over the years I have collected several Parker Patrician pens sold in both the United States and the U.K. The examples I have from the U.K. appear to be of higher quality with slightly different clips, and have blind caps and inner cap of different color from those distributed in the U.S.

This article originally appeared in the Journal of the Writing Equipment Society (WES), No 59 Autumn 2000. A further article on this pen appeared in the previous issue No 58.

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