I’ve been working on small button-fillers today, a Merlin and two Parkers, one a purse pen and the other a Moderne. I enjoy them. They take a little longer to re-sac than lever fillers but they are more satisfying.
If I remember rightly, the Moderne was the Canadian pen and the US version was the Duette. These pens were Parker’s response to the Wall Street Crash and the hard times that followed it. It is said that the company’s sales were reduced to half and they decided to produce a pen for the times, more affordable to rather emptier pockets. At around $3.50, the Moderne was not cheap but it was a lot of pen for the money. This one is in marbled brown and russet with blue and white streaks here and there – a most attractive pattern. It has a gold-plated flattop, the word “Parker” on the clip, and a single gold-plated cap band. The plating is excellent, having stood the test of time well, showing wear only on the ball end.
The Moderne has a two-part pressure bar, unlike the little pocket pen I restored today which had Parker’s justly famous hanging bar. Both are very effective. At 11.4 cm capped the Moderne is perhaps a small pen by today’s tastes but it sold in its thousands in the mid-thirties.
As filling systems go, Parker’s interpretation of the button filler is hard to beat. Easily serviced, efficient, with a good capacity for the pen size, easy and clean to use. The pressure bar flattens the sac very well, ensuring a good fill of ink. Holding this beautiful little pen, I ask myself where the subsequent improvements in pen design are. I am forced to conclude that there have been few if any.