Thoughts on English Duofolds

I sold an English Parker Duofold the other day.  What’s so special about that?  Well, the Aerometric and AF Duofolds just don’t sell that well.  It’s a strange thing.  An English Duofold, in terms of quality, is as good a pen as the best of the 50s Swans, and that’s real quality.  They don’t have any special problems.  The sacs in the aerometric ones seem to last forever and the AFs are very straightforward to repair should they need a new sac.  Some say they have a tendency to crack in the cap lip but I have handled lots of them and I can’t see that it’s a common problem.

They are perhaps a little bland to some eyes, but you could say the same thing about many self coloured modern pens which sell well enough.  The nibs are generally inflexible but again, most modern pens are the same.  The AF, in particular, has some nice features like the aluminium pushbutton and the better section.  The plastic that they are made from, which I understand to be a form of Perspex, readily takes a beautiful shine with just a rub of a polishing cloth

When new, these were quite expensive pens, associated mostly with doctors, lawyers and other professionals.  Now they go for buttons.  It’s a strange old pen world.

11 thoughts on “Thoughts on English Duofolds

  1. I like larger pens and I have a couple of Parker Maxima Duofolds, the largest model of the aerometric Duofolds. This is one of my favorite pens and an interesting one, as Parker incorporated components found in the Duofold (cap band), the Vacumatic (jewel and arrow clip) and the Parker 51 (aerometric filler). The best of the best you might say, topped off with that large No. 50 nib. The only negative I see is that the alloy used in the aerometric filler often corrodes a bit over time; I don’t know why. I think of the Maxima Duofold as the British response to the contemporaneous Sheaffer PFM. At any rate, they are great writing pens and I’d like to acquire more of them, as well as some Senior Duofolds (which was a very similar pen with a somewhat smaller No. 35 nib.

    1. The Senior and Maxima are in a different ballpark from the standard and smaller versions of the Duofold. They are quite enthusiastically pursued and fetch a decent price.

  2. I obtained a Duofold AF for a song. And yes, it did shine up nicely and easily. The pen is built like a tank: this is a lifetime pen. One could probably run over it with the car and it would work.

    Mine has the added bonus of a semi-flex nib. Boring? Maybe. But it writes gorgeously, and I would never part with it.

  3. I have just acquired a Duofold fountain pen and I am so happy with it!!
    It is the smoothest fine nib I have ever used. A heavy pen and well balanced.

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