Parker Televisor Junior Mark II

When you think of Parker Thrift-Time pens the Televisor Junior Mark II probably isn’t the first one to come to mind. It’s quite uncommon and this one wasn’t recognised by the seller, who listed it as a Challenger. There are resemblances, so it’s forgivable, I suppose, though the Televisor is an altogether better and more interesting pen.

In the 1930s – and for some time thereafter – international trade was restricted by tariffs and import duties put in place by national governments to protect their own industries. American pens were made very expensive in Britain by this policy, and to get around it Parker (and several other companies) set up production facilities in Canada, which as a Commonwealth country was not subject to these tariffs. Initially the Canadian plant assembled parts made in the USA but in time it became a manufacturing facility with some degree of design independence. The Televisor, in 1935, was the first wholly Canadian Parker. Instantly recognised as a high quality pen at a moderate price, the Televisors sold well in Britain. The pen was redesigned in 1938 as the Mark II and it remained in production for another two years.

Though it is quite a small pen and was in the middle of the 1938 Parker price range, the Televisor is much sought after today because of its excellent build quality. Parker used its anchor bar in this pen, a clever three-piece pressure bar that transfers the back resistance to the rear of the pen instead of the section, obviating the need for a screw-in section. The section is transparent to allow the ink to be checked, a feature that was popular at the time.

This example is in marbled burgundy, one of several colours the Televisor shared with the Challenger. With its gold-filled tapered clip and medium cap band, it makes a very handsome pen and it’s an excellent writer with some flexibility.

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