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1928 Series Duofold Junior


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10 replies to this topic

#1 Ray-Vigo

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 04:36

For review is a 1928 series (double band) Flat Top Duofold Junior in Jade Celluloid



I. Appearance: 9.25/10 (original state) (8.5/10 with discoloration present)
The Parker Duofold has become an all-time classic design. This model is the Junior model in Jade Green celluloid. When in an original state the pen is a beautiful medium-bright green with nice marble effects. However, when the pen discolors the green darkens- reducing the pen's appearance a bit in my estimation. The pen is still a nice looking pen, but discoloration is a definite draw back for the Jade. The black hard rubber ends with the subtle milling effect adds to the mix, I think, with a little variety. These, too, are prone to discoloration which can detract from the looks. In original full black they are great though. This pen ranks right up there with the Sheaffer Balance in terms of its looks. It really depends on whether you prefer a streamlined or a flat top style. Both have their advantages. Also, the washer clip is simple, elegant, and quite effective. The vertical Parker engraving is quite nice, as are the subtle patent dates.


II. Feel In Hand: 9/10
The Duofold Junior has a "chunky" feel to it. The pen has a wide girth compared to its length, but it is not uncomfortably wide. The section is basic hard rubber and adheres to the hand's form well enough. The length of the Junior is satisfactory- not too long and not too short. I would say this pen is somewhat close in size to the modern Pelikan M400- a nice medium sized pen. The Senior is a longer pen by about and inch or so, and is a truly large pen. The Junior makes a nice size, and if you prefer a larger pen you can post the cap to get the longer effect. The celluloid material is smooth and waxy in-hand, which I think is quite nice. This pen has a button filler, which means there is no lever or lever slot in the barrel- it is smooth all the way around except for the imprint. This is a solid 9 on the feel scale, especially if you like a chunky pen.


III. Filling: 8.75/10
The button filler is simple, effective, and quite reliable. It gets a high score for ease of use and simplicity. However it does suffer the drawback that you will need enough pen to hold onto in order to firmly push the button down. On a lever fill you have a bit more freedom in that the lever open perpendicular to the barrel, but the button requires a firm hand on the pen to hold it while you push down the button. As a result it is a bit more inconvenient when filling from a slender, tall bottle than the lever fill. However this is a minor drawback and with a proper ink bottle this can be minimized. It loses a fraction of a point simply for the minor inconvenience in comparison to a lever fill.


IV. Writing: 9/10
But how does it write? The nib is a Parker "Duofold Pen" in fine to medium width. The nib material is 14k gold and the feel is very firm. There really is no flex to speak of- which I think is a good thing for the modern hand. The nib is quite smooth and has an ample sweet spot for its width. It's just a very nice writer overall- no complaints here.



V. Durability: 8.5/10 (overall) (8/10 for Jade) (8/10 for hard rubber models)
The pen is reasonably durable for its age. Celluloid is prone to shrinkage, and Jade celluloid is prone to discoloration. The cap top and the blind cap and section are black hard rubber- a fragile and tarnish prone material. Moreover when this hard rubber cracks or breaks it can be very difficult or impossible to repair. This causes some loss of points for durability. As for jade, further points are lost due to the discoloration possibility. For hard rubber (earlier models) a fraction of a point is also lost as this material is not quite as durable as celluloid.


VI. A Note on Pricing: Duofold Seniors often command high prices because of collectability. Reds can cost hundreds of dollars, and rarer colors like Mandarin Yellows can be well over $1,000 in prime shape. However the Junior offers a great compromise- you get the full Duofold cachet, you get an amply sized pen, you get a usually rigid and smooth nib, but you pay a fraction of the price for what a Senior would cost. Give these Juniors a look and compare them to Senior prices- I think you'll find the same quality pen, in a slightly smaller size, but for a MUCH smaller price.

What to look for:
-check the size for a senior (longer, usually in the 5.5 inch ballpark), or a junior (usually in the 4.5 inch ballpark), or other models (generally smaller offerings)
-new sac (be sure that it's a SILICON SAC in JADE pens) and a functioning button that moves without a struggle. The button should be firm, but not tough to move.
- The nib should be free of defects and should write fairly smoothly, though a bit of tooth can sometimes be present. This is normal, and you will find a different effect on different papers and with different inks.
-the section should fit snugly and tightly to the barrel
-check the cap lip for cracks- the threads are usually plastic or celluloid on the same, so cracks may be present sometimes
-you will need bottled ink as the pen doesn't take a modern cartridge
-with celluloid models beware of celluloid damage like cracks or celluloid shrinkage. A little shrinkage may be present, but heavy-duty shrinkage could cause problems
-with a button fill inspect under the blind cap to ensure the barrel threads are set up properly and that the button is in place properly
-be sure to check the hard rubber parts (section, blind cap, cap top) for cracks or breaks: damage to these parts can be difficult or impossible to repair, necessitating replacement parts.
-nibs vary: sometimes you find an arrow nib and sometimes you find a "Duofold pen" feed. Sometimes you find a spear or Christmas Tree Feed and sometimes you find a later one. Generally all of these parts work quite nicely, though arrow nibs come from a later stock or production, whereas Duofold Pen nibs and Christmas Tree Feeds come from early stock or production. Don't be put off by any of these as they can all be quite friendly to modern hands.

The Final Word
No pen epitomizes the era of the "Roaring '20s" like the Duofold does. In its many incarnations the Duofold represents its period in many regards. These pens became "streamlined at the very end of the 1920s". Don't be put off by either streamlines or flat tops. Just remember the sample buying checklist I've set out above and take a good look at any pen you come across. These pens really are marvels in that they've lasted so long, yet can be picked up as daily users and do wonderfully. I think a Duofold of some sort belongs in every vintage collection as both a great user pen, and as an historical piece.

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#2 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 23:08

good review smile.gif I own myself a 1926 single band jade green senior flat top and I must tell you, it is one of my favorite writers.

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#3 Hugh200au

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 02:20

Good review of a great model, I've got a 1926 in red, good writer and excellent feel as you've said in your review. Mine needs a new spring but is pretty simple to fill anyway.. Thanks Hugh

#4 Ray-Vigo

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 02:58

They make really nice daily users at that- I carry this Jade one with my Balance set everyday in a pen pouch. Between the two I have a nice combination to work with.

Edited by Ray-Vigo, 17 March 2008 - 02:59.


#5 Shangas

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 03:06

The Final Word
No pen epitomizes the era of the "Roaring '20s" like the Duofold does. In its many incarnations the Duofold represents its period in many regards.


Very true!! Hear-hear. And a very nice and interesting review smile.gif
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#6 LedZepGirl

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 05:30

Nice review. I have the same pen only a streamline model- it's the best pen I own and the most frequently used. It never leaves my rotation.
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#7 Greg

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 13:32

Thanks for an interesting review of a very nice pen. Another category could be 'Enviability - 9/10'!

I wondered that you gave a mark of 8/10 for the durability of a pen that works perfectly and looks fabulous despite being 80 years old!

As a 'User' of old pens an important issue is the reliability of the feed and its resistance to blobbing or other poor ink control. I regularly have inky fingers or a blob on the paper and it irritates me!

I agree that the button fill SHOULD be easier than a lever, its certainly neater, but can be rather awkward and rarely can one get away with just using one hand.

Thanks again, mroe from other pens you have would be appreciated.


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#8 Ray-Vigo

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Posted 30 March 2008 - 04:38

QUOTE(Greg @ Mar 17 2008, 09:32 AM) View Post
Thanks for an interesting review of a very nice pen. Another category could be 'Enviability - 9/10'!

I wondered that you gave a mark of 8/10 for the durability of a pen that works perfectly and looks fabulous despite being 80 years old!

As a 'User' of old pens an important issue is the reliability of the feed and its resistance to blobbing or other poor ink control. I regularly have inky fingers or a blob on the paper and it irritates me!

I agree that the button fill SHOULD be easier than a lever, its certainly neater, but can be rather awkward and rarely can one get away with just using one hand.

Thanks again, mroe from other pens you have would be appreciated.


Greg



Sorry for not noticing this post- the durability category I score on a mix of two things: its survival (past durability), plus the ability to endure current use (current durability). Celluloid (especially jade, which is prone to discoloration) and hard rubber (prone to discoloration and oxidation) cause the score to go down a bit because they're not quite as durable as modern metal or plastic for use today. This isn't so much to detract from celluloid or hard rubber, but as a testament to the improvements production materials have undergone in the past 50 years.

On the feed issue- the Lucky Curve Christmas Tree feed is sufficient for most uses I think. It will indeed blob on occasion, but is far more reliable than the simpler "spoon" types around at the time. I tend to find that the possibility of a blob is greater when the pen is low on ink. I will also add pens with the later comb feed from the '30s will be a bit more reliable- the Christmas Tree is very nice, but the comb is more functional in general I think.

Envy is right too- I've always wanted a Lapis Blue Senior. I understand the "Red" is iconic, but I just have to say the blue is better looking.

Edited by Ray-Vigo, 30 March 2008 - 04:42.


#9 Martius

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Posted 30 March 2008 - 04:51

Awesome. I love jade pens and have a few Sheaffer's flat-tops in jade. One of them is my favorite daily writer. thumbup.gif

I support anyone who is willing to publicize the glory of jade pens. Well done!
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#10 rroossinck

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Posted 30 March 2008 - 12:14

Agreed. Thanks for the review, Ray. It was/is a nice primer for those looking to get into the flagship model from the 20's. Like LedZep above, I had one of the streamlined models that was a really nice writer, and like yours, the stiff button took a little bit of getting used to. I recently uncovered one very similar to yours, although I think mine might be later production. What does the imprint on yours look like? Mine hasn't got the Lucky Curve banner on it; it's a little simpler. Here's a pic.



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#11 Ray-Vigo

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 03:30

QUOTE(rroossinck @ Mar 30 2008, 08:14 AM) View Post
Agreed. Thanks for the review, Ray. It was/is a nice primer for those looking to get into the flagship model from the 20's. Like LedZep above, I had one of the streamlined models that was a really nice writer, and like yours, the stiff button took a little bit of getting used to. I recently uncovered one very similar to yours, although I think mine might be later production. What does the imprint on yours look like? Mine hasn't got the Lucky Curve banner on it; it's a little simpler. Here's a pic.




Mine has the Lucky Curve banner in the normal style for the Juniors.

What sort of cap band does yours have? Sometime in 1927 or 28 Parker split the single cap band into a double for the Jr and Sr and a triple for the lady.

Is this one you found streamline or flat top?








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