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A Brief History of the Parker Jotter Ballpoint Pen


The new (2004) Premier Edition Parker Jotter pens

In 1934 two Czechs, Frank Kliemes and Paul V. Eisen, obtained a patent for a ballpoint pen, which they named the Rolpen. In the four years between 1935 and the beginning of World War II, as many as 25,000 Rolpens were sold. However, during the war Frank Kliemes was sent to a concentration camp, and the patent lapsed.

Laslo Jozset Biro (1899 - 1985) submitted a series of improved patents in the 1930/40s which further defined the principles of the ballpoint pen. These principles would subsequently be applied to ballpoints retailing worldwide.

In 1944 Henry George Martin an English businessman, negotiated the Biro manufacturing rights outside of North America. He formed a partnership with Fredrick G. Miles who ran Miles Aircraft Ltd. The company they formed was called the Miles-Martin Co. Ltd. And in 1945 they launched their first Biro ballpoint pen. The first ballpoint they produced was manufactured from bakelite and used a copper refill unit. The refill unit had to be replaced by a Biro Service retailer. An example is illustrated below - also showing the refill guarantee.

Miles Martin Ballpoint Pen - circa 1945.

Parker T-Ball Jotter Ballpoint.

At the start of the 1950s Parker launched its first ballpoint pen. Marketed under the name of Parket. And Parker introduced its first branded ballpoint in 1954. It was called the Parker Jotter. However, the famous arrow styled clip didn't appear on the first Parker Jotters. Instead, it featured a plain clip - now often referred to as the trough clip - that was currently being applied to an economy line of Parker pens. The first Parker Jotters employed a button actuated mechanism inside a stainless steel cap, which expelled and retracted the refill. Unlike most ballpoints on the market at that time which had detachable caps. These first year Parker Jotters were available with red, green, grey and black barrels, which were manufactured from nylon - not plastic. An all stainless steel "Custom" Parker Jotter was also produced in 1954. These first year Parker Jotters with nylon barrels and trough clips, and the first year Parker Jotter "Custom" - all stainless steel with the trough clip - are hard to find.

A cap actuated Parker 51 Jotter ballpoint was introduced to the Parker 51 range in 1955. It was available with both a lustraloy - stainless steel - and rolled-gold cap. Forming a trio set with the existing Parker 51 fountain pens and clutch pencils.

During the 1950s the Parker Jotter ballpoint pen underwent a number of changes. Its barrel was manufactured from plastic and it also gained a metal nozzle. The Parker Arrow clip was fitted to all Parker Jotters and in 1957 the T-Ball refill unit was introduced. Although very similar in its exterior shape, it (the refill) now had a textured tungsten carbide writing ball. Thus line quality and durability were greatly improved. Improvements in the formulation of the ink also increased the refill's write-out and performance.

Parker Jotter ballpoint pens - some dates and models:

In 1954 the Parker Jotter ballpoint was launched.

First year Parker Jotter ballpoint pens had a plain clip.

In 1954 the barrel was manufactured from nylon.

From 1955 the barrel was manufactured from plastic.

In 1955 the Parker 51 Jotter ballpoint was introduced. It was cap actuated.

In 1962 the Parker 61 Jotter was introduced. It was cap actuated.

In 1965 a Parker Jotter desk pen in brushed chrome and black was launched.

In 1973 the shape of the top of the actuating button was amended - button actuated models. Until 1973 it had been slightly dome shaped. It was now flat and carried the Parker imprint.

From 1980 the inner cap threads are plastic. They had previously been brass.

2004 is the 50th year of manufacture for the Parker Jotter ballpoint pen. The Premier Edition Parker Jotter is launched. It is a solid silver Jotter ballpoint.