February 12, 2016 Leave a comment
It was commented to me recently that Parker pens after 1950 are mostly boring and reliable. I’m not at all sure that that is true: to my mind there are several Parkers made after 1950 that are outstanding pens and would have been so at any time. The Parker 75 Cisele which went into production in 1964 is a fine example.
Parker was among the first pen manufacturers to realise that, in face of the competition from the ballpoint pen, the way forward was to make the fountain pen an objet d’art. The 75 was designed by Don Doman who had been Parker’s Design Director from 1953 to ’57, when he set up his own design company but was retained as a design consultant by Parker until he retired in 1986. The pen was intended, as well as being a fine writing instrument, to show the arts of the jeweller and metalsmith.
The material for the first 75 was 92.5% sterling silver with gold-plated trim on the ends and the clip. The grid pattern is interrupted only at the bottom of the cap where a smooth band carries the words “Parker” and “sterling silver” together with (in this case) “made in USA”. The ends of cap and barrel are gold-plated with a ring pattern. The earliest versions of the 75 are known as “flat tops” to contrast with the later ones which had a dished top, said to be to allow for corporate logos. All have a slender and elegant version of the Parker arrow.
Removing the slip-on cap reveals the black plastic triangular grip – a Parker innovation subsequently much imitated. Next is a calibrated dial which allows the user to set the nib at their preferred angle. The wraparound gold nib is engraved with the word “Parker” alone. 30 different nib grades were provided for the 75.
This is a glorious pen which would have been the pride of any company at any date. It remained in production for thirty years and was one of Parker’s most profitable products. It was later produced in many different patterns and when part of the production was moved to France, yet more outstanding patterns were issued in both metal and lacquer.
Being available in so many patterns, the 75 is a collector’s dream. It is certainly reliable, most examples writing as well today as when they were made, but I hardly think anyone could describe it as “boring”! They continue to fetch high prices, both as collectors’ items and as prestigious writers.