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Is This A Depression Era Parker?


ggoldsmith4556
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I want to ID a Parker that my uncle gave me to sell it on eBay (bottom 2 photos). I need some history on it. The barrel is imprinted with Geo. S. Parker - Parker - Made in USA." The date code is a '9' with 3 dots below. The nib says, "Parker Pen Made in USA." I found what seems to be a close match on Penncollector.com. using their "Pen Identifier Tool." The caption reads, "A ring top Depression pen from around 1934, stepped clip screw, ring top and 3 cap bands." The pen in their photo (with white background) shows no clip attached from what I can see. Is that because the depression economy made clips optional? Thanks for reading, I thank anyone in advance for info such as to what product line this pen belongs to. Thanks for reading!

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You might want to post this in the Parker forum as well. Looks like it might be a vac filler of some sort.

Brad

"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind" - Rudyard Kipling
"None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain-pen, or half its cussedness; but we can try." - Mark Twain

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Oops.

Edited by Runnin_Ute

Brad

"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind" - Rudyard Kipling
"None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain-pen, or half its cussedness; but we can try." - Mark Twain

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I think that a 9 with 3 dots means my pen was made in the 3rd quarter of a year that ends in nine - maybe 1939, that is, if this pen is a depression Parker.

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I have an identical one, although I haven't done exhaustive research on it, Im fairly certain that it is one of the so-called "Thrift Time" Parkers, AKA Depression era pens.

@arts_nibs

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Wild guess, it is a Challenger, button filler from the 1930s.

I believe Challenger's were marked as such on the barrel imprint. I too thought of the Challenger, but the clip looks like a Geometric (1939) Duofold clip, but the pen color is definitely the older Duofold Sea Green Pearl and Black. It's possible it's a very last run of the older style plastics in 1939. It's also possible the clip is a replacement as they are easily removed.

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I stand corrected, Duofold's with three bands had a larger middle band. Challenger's had the three slim bands. The Challenger's that I have run across have always had "Challenger" on the barrel imprint somewhere. But that doesn't mean this isn't one. All signs point to a 3rd quarter of 1939 Parker Challenger in with the tapered "Parker" embellished clip. I would change my guess to a 1939, 3rd quarter, Grey marbled (looked closer and it looks grey now), Standard Parker Challenger. The grey marble had nickel trim as yours does. And yours looks to be in very nice condition.

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Thanks for all the replies. For the moment I'm leaning towards the "Thrift Time" depression pen. The pattern is exactly he same, it seems.

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....so it's more likely a Challenger but without the imprint. Maybe they skimped on that - because it's supposed to be a "thrifty." ?

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I have an identical one, although I haven't done exhaustive research on it, Im fairly certain that it is one of the so-called "Thrift Time" Parkers, AKA Depression era pens.

 

As best I understand Dr Da vid I's explanation, there are variations of the Parker Challenger: some were branded as "Challenger", others were branded to be sold by large retail distributors (big department store, Sears&Roebuck chain), and others look like "chain store" pens without branding. They seem to be button-fillers done in marble coloring, but with various clips, cap-tops, and blind-caps. For a "bottom-line" economy pen, they are all very good.

 

"Thrift time" seems to be a generic name by which collectors group all of these pens. Name comes from an advertisement that begins, approximately, "in these thrifty times..." It was not named by Parker.

 

Why are there unbranded pens? It's not clear. My guess is that Parker got a contract to supply, say, 5,000 pens and produced extras. Rather than throw them out, Parker sold them to other retailers. It would be interesting to have an account of Parker's work routines in the '30s. How did they handle orders? Assuming the Janesville factory practiced some sort of division of labor, what were the divisions? How did management even-out production of barrels, caps, clips, nibs, buttons, sacs? Were Parker workers paid by the hour or by piece-work?

Washington Nationals 2019: the fight for .500; "stay in the fight"; WON the fight

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This is what we like to call a "Challenger-like" Thrift Pen. It definitely falls into the Thrift Pen category. Notice that the pen has the plastic from a regular Challenger, but the triple cap band of a Deluxe Challenger. This places it outside of the normal Challenger lineup. For further discussion, check out this great post at Fountain Pen Board: http://fountainpenboard.com/forum/index.php?/topic/2236-parkers-challenger-like-thrift-time-pens/

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This is what we like to call a "Challenger-like" Thrift Pen. It definitely falls into the Thrift Pen category. Notice that the pen has the plastic from a regular Challenger, but the triple cap band of a Deluxe Challenger. This places it outside of the normal Challenger lineup. For further discussion, check out this great post at Fountain Pen Board: http://fountainpenboard.com/forum/index.php?/topic/2236-parkers-challenger-like-thrift-time-pens/

 

Yes. That's the article I was trying to summarize. A superb account that explains everything except the unexplainable: why are there unlabeled Challenger-like pens? Maybe the answer is somewhere in the Parker archives, but, until someone finds it, we just have to guess.

Washington Nationals 2019: the fight for .500; "stay in the fight"; WON the fight

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Thanks. Now I have great info. I'd like to get an opinion. Should I bother servicing the filling mechanism before selling this on eBay? The button is frozen.

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I stand corrected, Duofold's with three bands had a larger middle band. Challenger's had the three slim bands. The Challenger's that I have run across have always had "Challenger" on the barrel imprint somewhere. But that doesn't mean this isn't one. All signs point to a 3rd quarter of 1939 Parker Challenger in with the tapered "Parker" embellished clip. I would change my guess to a 1939, 3rd quarter, Grey marbled (looked closer and it looks grey now), Standard Parker Challenger. The grey marble had nickel trim as yours does. And yours looks to be in very nice condition.

Three dots is first quarter and not third quarter. Hence , 9 with three dots would be first quarter 1939 and not third quarter 1939.

Khan M. Ilyas

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