Parker Senior Duofold “Big Red”
About This Model
Parker's Duofold was the successor to its early pens, the numerous and various Jacknifes and Lucky Curves, appearing first in 1921 and lasting until the late 1930s. Its first transition kept the Lucky Curve name, and its feed, for the first few years, but more importantly effected the shift from ebonite to celluloid, the Dupont brand it called Permanite. Duofolds came in Seniors, Juniors, Ladys, and Juniorettes, as well as desk pens, and are easily recognizable for their “derby” crowns and detailed imprints. Later, starting in 1930, Duofolds adopted tapered barrels and caps, and were now Streamlined Duofolds; their lengths at each model were a few millimeters shorter s well. In the late 1930s, these later Duofolds transitioned into the vertically striped Striped Duofolds, which appeared in two generations, the button-filled models and then, until 1948, as Vacumatic-filled models (now often called Duovacs). There has always been some confusion among the overlapping models of the 1940s, but to me, if it carries a Duofold imprint it’s a Duofold; that plus a Vacumatic-filler makes it a Duovac, the Vacumatic-imprinted vertically striped pens are Vacufolds; but even the experts admit that there are more variants than can be named. Typical for their day, Duofolds generally carry firm to stiff nibs. They were very well-made, solid pens, so are often found today in surprisingly good condition, even after decades of steady use.
About This Pen
This is one of the classics of the classics: the Parker “Big Red” Senior Duofold, from 1925-1926. This pen, from my personal collection, is made of Permanite, Parker’s first use of celluloid in its first year. The details: it’s a full 5.5” (14cm) long capped and 0.5” (13mm) wide just below the cap edge. The trim is all gold-plated, in very good condition, with a bit of thinness on the cap ring. Like all the Duofolds, this is a button-filler, and it fills very well. The nib and feeds are the later Arrow, not the factory-original Duofold nib; it’s been asserted that factory nib replacements often came with Vacumatic Arrow nibs and feeds, which are often better writers than the original, softer, more responsive. Indeed, this one is outstanding writer, wet, fine, and with a touch of softness in a generally firm writer’s nib. The pen shows its age but only has a single scratch on the blind cap and some discoloration in the ebonite crown. The milling on the crown is excellent and unbroken. Its “medium” Duofold imprint is complete and deep enough to read easily. In summary, although it is not a true collector quality pen, as Big Reds again disappear into collections, this is a prized pen to own and use, an affordable, true Big Red.
This pen is not for sale.