Usually I like workhorse pens but the Parker 25 Flighter will have to be the exception that proves the rule golden.
In the 70s Parker thought they had spotted a niche in the market that needed filling: an inexpensive pen that would appeal to the 18 to 30 age group. They engaged the services of Kenneth Grange, a successful industrial designer, already well known for such things as the Kodak Instamatic camera, Wilkinson Sword razors and the InterCity 125 high-speed train.
His intention was to create a pen of functional simplicity, inexpensive to produce and well-nigh indestructible. I think he probably succeeded on all counts but he also managed to make one of the uglier pens there is, especially when capped, showing the barrel that descends rapidly from one diameter to a smaller one. It can be said that this ensures secure posting of the cap on the barrel, but that problem had been solved rather more elegantly many decades earlier. Posted, it looks a little better, especially if you don’t look at that stubby piece of metal that passes for an nib.
On the example I have, and probably on all the rest, the tipping material is almost spherical with the result that the line is exactly the same in all directions and tends towards a soft edge. In its favour, it can be said that it writes reliably at all times. After all with as simple a shell for an ink cartridge as this, there’s very little that can go wrong.
Priced low, it sold moderately well until it was discontinued in 1990. Surprisingly, it has generated some interest among collectors. The blue and black trim colours are the most common; rarer and more in demand are orange, green and the quite rare white.
This is one of the few pens I cannot enjoy writing with. The line is too vague and unvarying. Grange’s design seems to have removed almost all the attributes that make a pen a pleasure to use and to look at – it has been reduced to a basic writing stick.