Parker Jotter

That many people may consider the pen at left to be a "good" (read: expensive and substantial) pen may be as deeply puzzling to us pen geeks as our habit of writing mortgage-payment-sized checks for limited edition fountain pens is to those same folks. We must recognize, however, that pens like these keep companies like Parker in business making the instruments we really covet.

Parker wisely stayed out of the very messy early ballpoint wars; their Biro-style pen, the Jotter, was not released until 1954, some eight years after the unholy squabble between Eversharp and Reynolds. The Jotter benefitted from the delay, however, as it quickly became one of the best writing and most reliable of the breed.

The example at left, rescued from certain death in a parking lot, is typical of the millions upon millions of Jotters that Parker has sold over the past forty-plus years. It is distinguished externally from the original by having a smooth styrene barrel (rather than the original striated nylon), with a steel reinforcement at the point. It also has an arrow clip rather than the blade clip on the 1954 model. The pushbutton retractor is smooth and reliable, and is designed to give the refill a quarter-turn at each press to promote even wear.

The Jotter continues to sell very well, and is offered in "dressup" brushed stainless steel with gold-tone trim as well as plastic.

Parker's superior T-Ball refill, introduced for the Jotter, is now a standard in the industry. While most early ballpoints used smooth ball bearings, the T-Ball's textured ball greatly improved the writing feel and the the quality of the written line.

This file last posted on:
2005-Jan-20 17:50:26 CST
MCMVIII, the red network
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