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Parker - Made In China, Taboo Subject?


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#21 leopet

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 20:25

Just buy the old ones=)

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#22 Newb

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 00:09

the Chinese are now in full capitalist mode. Like Japan and Germany in the 50s/60s (remember those poorly made manicure/toiletry/sewing kits and diecast toys?), they will suffocate in an increasingly saturated market for economy lines. Their main consumers, in the domestic market, have now owned the basics and are now looking to upgrade. I think it's a capitalist mandate for the more capable Chinese firsm (say Hero in the pen industry) to shift production to the high-end. If this transition is successful, you will see most of the remaining European pen manufacturers join the hall-of-famers like the US made Parker, Sheaffer, Wahl, Moore, Carter and so on in pen heaven.
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#23 ReverendPen

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 03:08

Are pens like all other (or most other) consumables. There was a time when people bought 1 or 2 items that would last seeminnly forever, or close to forever (parker 51, a table top radio or TV). But now consumers for the most part want cheap throw away items that are easily replaceable. Consumers are not satisfied with what was new yesterday we only want what is new this minute. Just look at cell phones, ipods, to a lesser extent cars, DVDs, computers and software. Hence I do not think most people (FPN folk exempt of course) care where their pen is made just as long as it works, its cheap and they can get a replacement asap. How many people really debate (like we are here today) where their 20 pack of bic pens were made and are they any better then they were 5 years ago?

This is why I like buying and using old pens. They are usually better quality, they can be repaired, they last a life time, they are unique, it is a form of environmental stewardship (recycling).

I do think, in America at least, the "made in China" stamp has a very negative view even if no quality difference could be seen.
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#24 Glenn-SC

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 03:49

I think it's a capitalist mandate for the more capable Chinese firsm (sic) (say Hero in the pen industry) to shift production to the high-end.

I don't believe it for a moment.

#25 Parker51

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 04:32

I have pens that are made in China, both Mainland and Taiwan. I have Parker Pens made in U.S., Canada, U.K., Denmark and France. Could a high quality pen be made in China? Maybe. Would it make sense to preserve the Parker Brand by making high quality pens? Yes. So the question is will high quality Parker branded pens be made in China? Maybe.

The Mainland Chinese made fountain pen that I have that was made many years ago while not up to Parker Quality writes quite well. The Mainland Chinese fountain pens that I have which are of more recent vintage look better, but do write as well and are still not up to historic Parker quality. The Taiwan Chinese fountain pens I have are all contemporary, are well made and write well, but are not up to historic Parke quality though they are slightly better than the Mainland Chinese fountain pens.

To be fair however I have to admit that Parker historically made lower quality pens as well. They are comparable to the Chinese made fountain pens I have, or are of lower quality than some current Chinese production. I have a several of these which were made by Parker and were sold under one of their sub brands.

If the current owners of Parker want to make high quality Fountain Pens in China they can, but they will need a partner whom knows how to produce high quality items and whom has a commitment to quality. This will not be cheap, though it may be cheaper than making them in any of the other countries that Parker has made them before.

Given the small size of both the facilities needed for fountain pen production and the limited staffing size needed, if I was to look for a place to make fountain pens of the highest quality for a low cost, it would not be China. Labour costs there are rising and there are many opportunities for employees to leave for alternative better paying jobs and thus the work force while often highly skilled is not stable.

I would suggest locating production in Tanzania. Locating there, one could get the best of the local workforce and hold on to them. Also, English is widely taught and legally recognized. This would reduce ones training costs. And as there are limited employment alternatives using the skill sets that would be developed, this would allow for a stable workforce for many years, possibly a decade or two. And as Gold is a product of Tanzania, and the government would like to move from raw material export to finished product export, nib production could be done there as well possibly with government supports. Yes, export costs would be higher than from China, but given the small size and weight of pens this should be quite manageable.

#26 kuno

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 12:25

Tanzania...interesting :bunny01: shall we be seeing some gazelle-and-zebra-themed pens there?

I disagree with the idea that the Chinese can't make good pens. As many other members were quick to point out, quality control is the #1 issue. Audis and iPods are made in China, and I don't hear a lot of people complaining about shoddy construction on those.

Didn't Parker make "51"s in Brazil and Argentina in the 50s-beyond? As long as Parker (or Cross or Sheaffer) are willing to spend the time and money to "get it right" I think it could work. The problem being...Rubber-Newmaid and Sanford probably won't.

Whether we like it or not, the modern fountain pen market has gone the way of the bespoke suit and mechanical watch -- luxury. Cutting costs with cheap manufacturing will not get them far with Hero and Jinhao not far behind. Most people I met in China who use fountain pens (a surprisingly large number) use Chinese brands (cheaper and available) or carry a large, blingly German/Italian manufacture (status symbol). The middle group is thin. And arguably rollerballs do just as a good job as a low-mid range fountain pen in putting down ink on paper with perhaps less fuss.

I don't know how well Parker is doing their marketing research but I hope they're right (as distasteful as I find their current lineup) and I'm wrong; we don't need another pen company going down.

I think I'm ranting too much :rolleyes: I'll go play with my lovely new converging-lines-gold-cap "51" now.

#27 pkoko

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 02:49

I normally don't have problem with Chinese goods as long as they are priced lower than their better built competitors or made just as well. The problem is the declining quality with no reduction in prices. Explain how every electronic product I ever owned from Japan has been very dependable and lasts for a long time? Or how every swiss-made watch lasting decades? Or how any US made tools lasting forever? Where an item is made has a big effect on Quality and dependability because of the availability of high quality raw materials and high tech production facilities in industrialized countries.
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#28 Robert Alan

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 01:30

Two recent parker acquisitions have got me thinking about Parker's strategy with its Made in China products. The items I purchased were a Parker Facet FP and a Jotter Premium Stainless Steel Chiseled ballpoint. The Parker Facet is a well finished pen and I like it. What I don't like is there is no "made in .." stampings anywhere on the pen. The Premium Jotter and I stress Premium Jotter is also a nice pen (for a ballpoint) but the finish where the cap meets the barrel is rough with numerous "nicks" around the rim. This pen also lacks a "made in ..." stamping. Gone also is the Parker Logo from the top of the button - some may think that is a good thing. Now I'm guessing that both these pens are MADE IN CHINA - so PARKER why not disclose this on the pens - do you have something to hide? Are you not proud and stand by your product quality? On the basis of the Premium Jotter at least, I suspect that Parker has some way to go before claiming that their China made products are equal to the standard of their established facilities elsewhere - why else would they neglect to put the country of origin on the pens?. Perhaps I'm totally wrong and they are not made in China - thats not my fault either - a lot has to be assumed when trying to analyse the strategies of big corporations.

The pot has been stirred.


Hello! I am glad you are "stirring the pot." Also, I don't think any subject should be taboo.

The issue, regarding Parkers being manufactured in China is serious for a number of reasons. To me, it represents corporate greed. Also, I am not convinced that corporate management and the people in charge of the Chinese factories, now making Parker pens, and, possibly, the workers, have any sense of pride regarding the product (am I stirring?). I will use A.T. Cross and Sheaffer as examples. Both these, traditionally, American companies now manufacture products in China--including the iconic Cross Century. Personally, I can tell the difference in the new products, and fit and finish are not up to the old standards (e.g.,I have compared Chinese Sheaffer Preludes with USA Preludes, etc). To me, it is sad that such an icon, as the Century, is no longer made in Rhode Island. It matters to me. It matters that people--skilled people--are out of work so profits could remain high.

Regarding Parker, a great number of fine craftspeople are now out of work in the UK, as a number of craftspeople were let-go in Janesville, Wisconsin when the original Parker USA factory was closed. However, Parker UK had already been an established part of an iconic company and their high-quality products were well-respected and accepted worldwide. This has included products made at the well-established factory in France which has, also, been an important part of a venerable establishment (it was the "new" home of the well-loved, iconic Parker 75) . This is not the case when an operation is moved to China or another country purely for reasons regarding profit.

In places like Italy, I understand certain iconic products, like Vespa scooters, are still manufactured in the same factories. Something has been done, in terms of maintaining and/or raising the quality of the product, that has guaranteed the survival of the company. People are willing to pay more for a high-quality product that was traditionally manufactured there.

Much of what I have mentioned, so far, is either technical or economic, but there are also the serious political issues. I am concerned about human rights, including slave labor, and the injustice in places like Tibet and the Urumqi area of Western China. Creating a climate that nurtures inordinately low "overhead" in order to increase sales and profits while jeopardizing the health and welfare of fellow earthlings is wrong. I certainly know my own country could be found guilty of many similar offenses, but I wish there was an end in sight to such injustices.

To me, the loss of the American-made Cross Century or UK-made Parker Jotter are like "spotted owls," indicating a much larger, serious problem.

BTW, I shared this information with a good friend from England. He proudly identifies with Parker Pen as a traditional product of the UK, and he was saddened by this news of the closing of the Newhaven facility.

/Robert

edited for html problem

Edited by Robert Alan, 20 January 2011 - 01:36.

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#29 streeton

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 02:12

There are numerous articles online about the intended closure of Newhaven example, but I am yet to see any article confirming the plant has now CLOSED. Can anyone help??.

Edited by streeton, 20 January 2011 - 02:15.


#30 mr T.

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 13:56

I think it's a capitalist mandate for the more capable Chinese firsm (say Hero in the pen industry) to shift production to the high-end. If this transition is successful, you will see most of the remaining European pen manufacturers join the hall-of-famers like the US made Parker, Sheaffer, Wahl, Moore, Carter and so on in pen heaven.


That is not a very likely scenario. I don't believe Chinese manufacturers can even compete on quality with European or Japanese manufacturers. If Chinese manufacturers had to produce fountain pens with the same quality standards, social standards and environmental standards as in Europe or Japan, they would simply disappear. Chinese manufacturers are only good in the mass production of low quality goods at minimum prices. Even in that field 'quality fade' is common.

#31 jgoodwin1

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 18:44

More than 750 million Jotters have been made, most in Janesville and the European ones in Newhaven.

How many Jotters are still existing? Some are daily writers and others repose in desk drawers or pen boxes stored away in drawers or boxes in the attic ready to be discovered.

And a great many lost due to accident or thrown away once the ink refill stopped working.

Still there are people willing to sell you their Jotters on Ebay or retail sites they run to sell other products.

So, the Chinese want to make Jotters as well as other Parker pens. For them to acquire the quality we are used to will take them time.

Still there is plenty of float as far as surplus Jotters are concerned.

The Chinese still have their work cut out for them. Whether they will succeed or not will depend on how high they keep the quality of the product.

Jim

#32 Chemyst

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 18:57

I think it's a capitalist mandate for the more capable Chinese firsm (say Hero in the pen industry) to shift production to the high-end. If this transition is successful, you will see most of the remaining European pen manufacturers join the hall-of-famers like the US made Parker, Sheaffer, Wahl, Moore, Carter and so on in pen heaven.


That is not a very likely scenario. I don't believe Chinese manufacturers can even compete on quality with European or Japanese manufacturers. If Chinese manufacturers had to produce fountain pens with the same quality standards, social standards and environmental standards as in Europe or Japan, they would simply disappear.


I haven't seen anything to indicate that the fountain pen market cares about social or environment standards. Certainly, adverts are not plastered with the "carbon neutral", "fair trade", "made from 90% post-consumer content" logos that you see on many other products.

On the contrary, the "everyday luxury" portion of the fountain pen market seems obsessed with getting the lowest price. FPN is full of posts asking where to buy, whether an unknown seller with lower prices is a reliable source and posts asking for the "best price" or maximum discount at XXX retailer.

Chinese manufacturing certainly can meet any quality standards requested and they can do so for pennies on the dollar. At least in the near term, they are a likely loci for many writing goods manufacturers. They have the capital to buy up struggling marques and the infrastructure to manufacture items cheaply in house. In the long term, rising quality of life and income are driving prices up and starting to shift manufacturing to other Asian countries and Africa.
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#33 Chemyst

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 19:03

Two recent parker acquisitions have got me thinking about Parker's strategy with its Made in China products. The items I purchased were a Parker Facet FP and a Jotter Premium Stainless Steel Chiseled ballpoint. The Parker Facet is a well finished pen and I like it. What I don't like is there is no "made in .." stampings anywhere on the pen. The Premium Jotter and I stress Premium Jotter is also a nice pen (for a ballpoint) but the finish where the cap meets the barrel is rough with numerous "nicks" around the rim. This pen also lacks a "made in ..." stamping. Gone also is the Parker Logo from the top of the button - some may think that is a good thing. Now I'm guessing that both these pens are MADE IN CHINA - so PARKER why not disclose this on the pens - do you have something to hide? Are you not proud and stand by your product quality? On the basis of the Premium Jotter at least, I suspect that Parker has some way to go before claiming that their China made products are equal to the standard of their established facilities elsewhere - why else would they neglect to put the country of origin on the pens?. Perhaps I'm totally wrong and they are not made in China - thats not my fault either - a lot has to be assumed when trying to analyse the strategies of big corporations.



The first and obvious question is: Are you sure that your new acquisitions are authentic?

I don't think this poor quality has anything to do with the country of origin. Rather it has everything to do with declining standards in the company. Certainly, Chinese factories can turn out beautiful precision made items. So, either the directors in the Parker label don't think you'll notice the lower quality, don't want to spend the money to pay for better quality, don't think that customers will pay the supplement needed for higher quality or just don't care.


Chemyst is not and never was a representative of Noodler's Ink. As misrepresentations like this are not allowed on FPN, Chemyst's right to participate on our board was therefore withdrawn, as from March 2016.
 
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The FPN Admin Team

#34 cartieruk

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 15:03

Regarding to the MADE IN CHINA products:

IPAD, IPHONE are all made in china. Let's throw them away now...


My opinion, the quality of a product is not determined by 'WHO MADE IT', but the materials and the technology. For any parker pen, it is the materials and the technology supplied by PARKER PEN COMPANY determined its final product quality.

Parker has chosen China to produce some low-end products and these products are all made by machine and from my experience that materials that parker has chosen is not as good as what they have chosen in the past.

For example, I have got both some old jotter and new jotter, old vector and new vector. It is quite easy to tell the difference. Eventhoug, the new jotter is also made in UK.

How can we turn some plastic material to some solid gold product? It is impossible. The only way to enhance the quality of parker pens is to use good material and good technology. It is not where it is made.

Anyway, I have own some latest duofold fountain pen which are produced in UK nowadays, they are NOT MADE IN CHINA, but their quality, compared with the old ones, are really really bad.

#35 cartieruk

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 15:18

I have a current series IM Rollerball that likewise has no origin markings. It is indistinguishable from any other black matte and chrome rollerball that comes out of China. It's also heavy; certainly heavier than the Sonnet Rollerballs that I have. I wonder if the folks at Parker have succumbed to the weight = quality approach. I haven't had it/used it long enough to say how it will hold up over time.

I also have a 3 in 1 that is marked "Taiwan", which can only be described as a lousy pen that doesn't function well at all.

I'm not sure how consistent Parker quality has been since the waning days of Arrow Park. I've got UK Jotters that work great, and French made Sonnets that show wear on the gold trim after a year or so. On the other hand, I've got sixty year old 51's that get daily use and work & look great. I also question Sanford's commitment to the Parker line beyond the high end Duofolds, Cisele Sonnets and the new Premier line; all of which are clearly priced and directed to the gift market. I don't think Sanford cares much about Parker beyond this market, and is willing to put out lesser quality products that trade on the Parker name and reputation in the lower price points. Therefore, I would imagine that there has to be a lot of pressure to move production on all but the higher end products from the UK to China, where the economies of scale work in Sanford's favor.




Because business men only cares about money, profits. They can see how much profits they could obtain by producing their products in CHINA.
Actually not only Parker, some other brands all have chosen CHINA to produce their products due to the chinese low standard salary.

If in the UK, to produce a vector i need to pay you 1 dollar to the worker, but in China I just pay 1 cent to the worker. Then where I should go? Of course they will Choose China. In order to obtain more profits, they will choose poor materials.

At the same time, like the other person has pointed out that people are always have bad attitude towards the MADE IN CHINA products.

Therefore, once you are not satisfied with your products, the first thing you are going to blame is not the business company but the chinese worker...

It sound a bit of unfair to the chinese, but, it is just the truth.

#36 M@rtin

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 15:22

I avoid pens 'made in china'...

#37 Markthetruck

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 09:29

Chinese pens? Interesting debate. It is important to note that many products now come without country of origin labels. This is not an accident. Free trade has allowed companies to eliminate the "MADE IN..." stamp to avoid consumer prejudice. It also eliminates the public's ability/right to know how such goods or commodities are produced. I have a friend in the machining business whose chief complaint is that he requires high quality stock as is produced in North American mills, and yet he is unable to specify country of origin because the material is considered "commodity" and therefore not divisable under those parameters. He pays exactly the same amount for material whether of chinese (and subsequently inferior) origin or English, German, U.S., or Canadian.
Chinese pens? At the risk of appearing the Luddite; I'd sooner revert to cuniform!!
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#38 PF95

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 21:27

I think it's a capitalist mandate for the more capable Chinese firsm (sic) (say Hero in the pen industry) to shift production to the high-end.

I don't believe it for a moment.


Neither Do I :P
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#39 ildbig

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 13:48

The most logical response I have seen on this topic.

We who like fountain pens -- especially high quality fountain pens with a history and some artisanship -- are subject to the whims of the rest of society.


Are pens like all other (or most other) consumables. There was a time when people bought 1 or 2 items that would last seeminnly forever, or close to forever (parker 51, a table top radio or TV). But now consumers for the most part want cheap throw away items that are easily replaceable. Consumers are not satisfied with what was new yesterday we only want what is new this minute. Just look at cell phones, ipods, to a lesser extent cars, DVDs, computers and software. Hence I do not think most people (FPN folk exempt of course) care where their pen is made just as long as it works, its cheap and they can get a replacement asap. How many people really debate (like we are here today) where their 20 pack of bic pens were made and are they any better then they were 5 years ago?

This is why I like buying and using old pens. They are usually better quality, they can be repaired, they last a life time, they are unique, it is a form of environmental stewardship (recycling).

I do think, in America at least, the "made in China" stamp has a very negative view even if no quality difference could be seen.



#40 ildbig

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 13:50

This is an old thread.

But, does anyone know if the Parker Super 21's were made in USA, or were they made in UK?
thanks!






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