The English Duofold New Style

I don’t write about Parkers nearly often enough. Whether American, Canadian or English, Parkers up to – oh, around 1970, say – are among my favourite pens. Not to write with, particularly, as their mostly rigid nibs don’t suit me, though their balance and fit to the hand is superb. They’re a joy to work on, with their high quality, durability and great design. Also, I just admire them, whether it be a 1920s Duofold or a humble English Slimfold. They’re simply great pens and they ooze fitness for purpose and that restraint of design that makes every one a classic.

The reason I don’t write about them much is that I don’t handle them often these days. For many models, the price differential between unrestored and restored is too slender to repay my investment. Some of the other models, like the Duofold Senior, Maxima or New Style always seem to slip past me or I get outbid. But not this one:

The Duofold New Style was, I believe, the first Parker wholly designed and manufactured at Newhaven and it broke new ground for the model. Though still a button filler, the shape and style is a radical change from the previous Duofold line. It appears familiar to us today because, with small changes, it remained the shape of the English Duofold for many years, through a couple different filling systems – the Aluminium Filler and the Aerometric. It was immediately influential and remains so today.

Looking at it, you know this is a pen to be taken seriously. The only hint of ostentation – and even that’s a very subtle one – is the double “jewel”. For a pen that’s more than 60 years old, it looks very modern. The best design is always timeless. The plastic of the barrel and cap has proved durable and it readily takes a shine. This well-used example has lost a little plating on the chevroned cap band, but otherwise it’s good. The blind cap still fits so perfectly that you have to look for the join.

The only other indication that this pen cost quite a lot is the big lump of gold that is the nib. Durability is the watchword here too. Unless they have plummeted nib-first into the floor tiles, Duofold nibs rarely need tuning. That thick, rigid blade of a nib remains stable, and writes as smoothly today as it did in 1946. That’s the downside for me, in a way. If I ever get one with a bit of flexibility, it will become my daily writer.


4 thoughts on “The English Duofold New Style

  1. That is not an original nib. The number 35 shows that it is a nib from a 1950s Duofold Senior. This is what the imprint should be like on the NS:

    Very nice pens, solid and well made. This one had a semi-flex nib. I have just sold it as it was not being used.

  2. Hi Malcy,

    I thought it looked shoe-horned in. I think I’ll leave it, though, because the only Duofold spares I have are either Canadian or from Aerometrics.

    Now you tell me you had a flexy Duofold…


    1. There are indeed soft nibs out there. I have a Duofold AF with what I consider a semi-flex nib; that is, it takes about one half of the effort to flex that a Noodler’s nib does. It’s a truly wonderful pen, and even though I’m a leftie and don’t use the flex in it, the nib somehow makes my writing look better. Cost me £25, and I’ll never part with it.

      I also had a blue Mk V Victory with a broad/stub semi-flex, but sold it on recently. I’ve found that if one sees a downturn in the tines when viewing the nib from the side, it most likely has a bit of flex to it.

      I love Newhaven Parkers, but especially these old Duofolds: they’re a “proper pen” as my dad would have said. Built like tanks, built for writing. I am craving a brown NS myself, or even the olive green model that screams austerity, sweater vests and grey Morris Minors.

      1. They are good and undervalued. As regards flexibility, 40s, 50s and 60s Parkers are not where I would look though the occasional semi-flex one does turn up.

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