PARKER IS KING
I do not think that there are many who will dispute the fact that Parker was indeed at the top of the fountain market in the 30s. Waterman was probably left behind in the "glory" of earlier days. But it was definitely a follower - not a leader. Sheaffer had the success of the Balance that provided fame and cash the demand for continuous innovation and the competition of the visually impressive and gadgety Vacumatic was tough to match. Wahl had very nice pens but I do not think that they even moved higher than the 4th place among the big four So Parker was indeed the king of the 30s.
The success of the Duofolds carried into the early years of the decade. The early (1931) advertisements highlight the regular Duofolds as well as the pocket and desk pens. In one advertisement the name of Arthur Conan Doyle is used - part of a long tradition of Parker to use authors and other famous persons in their ads.
Late in 1931 an advertisement for the Burgundy Duofolds appears. Try to get a chance to see such a pen first hand. The burgundy black combination is indeed very dignified and beautiful.
On 2/13/1934 THE APPEARANCE OF THE VACUMATIC is made known in an ad. The
pen is hailed as the Miracle Pen ( ). The main points of the ad are :
- it holds 102% more ink
- it is sacless (really? and the diaphragm?)
- transparent barrel
Interesting is also that the term "transparent amber" is used... I thought ambering in the modern parlance is a defect Can a Vac expert clarify this for us?
During 1935-1938 no other Parker ads appear in the Tech. Perhaps the success of the vacumatic was such that it was not worth to address such a small market as the students of MIT. In 1939 the Vacumatic ads return full force - but the tone is "gimmicky"... To begin with "scholarships for students for "free" - a nice way to attract students attention.
Next comes the infamous Parker Vacumatic versus the Railroad Spike
They filled a Vac with acid and it "wrote" for a day with no problem - while
they put a railroad nail into
ferric chloride (essentially an acid solution) and got eaten alive. Of
course with the vac been celluloid, rubber and gold there is nothing to be
attacked by the acid, so it is apples and oranges but the point was made to the
Denis R. asked rhetorically: "Did the railroad spike manufacturers ever replied with an acetone test?"
Note also the "television" ink supply claim (it was roughly the time that TV started been available to the public.
The 1940 ad emphasize the impression that a Parker Vac would make and the promotion of the idea that using a Vac makes you "the Man Most likely to Succeed"
The Ripley's believe it or notad of Quink is either the best or probably as good as the Railroad spike ad. A timely ad as Ripley has been a major personality of the airways in the 1930s. Also an interesting new style not seen before in the previous FP ads placed in the Tech.
The last ads of the Parker vac in 1941 highlight the large ink capacity of the pen. Two months later the Japanese attack pearl Harbor....
Waterman has also a sizable presence. A number of ads placed between 1935 and 1938 mainly focus on the Ink-vue. Look carefully at the ads the first is a common lever filler but all the others are an ink-vue. I copy verbatim from R. Binder's site: Ink-vue= Waterman proprietary design: A Rube Goldberg bulb filler; mechanical squeeze of bulb at end of barrel. A metal pressure bar, located beneath a slotted hole in the side of the barrel, squeezes the bulb laterally. A two-piece jointed pivoting lever is mounted in the slot. Lifting the lever’s longer end raises the first arm of the lever to 90°, at which point it engages the second arm. Lifting further depresses the other end of the second arm to push against the pressure bar." This was the answer of Waterman's to the Vacumatic. The level mechanism was apparently mechanically troublesome (the lever consisted of 2 pieces). The other feature of the visible ink supply was also an attempt to match Vac's stripes. Incidentally Vac's stripes were not the first. Wahl's little Bantams' barber pole patterns were before the Vac
- to be continued -
Edited by antoniosz, 10 July 2007 - 16:20.