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Parker 45 logo
1960—2007

anfanghe Parker "45" was initially a low-priced pen, eventually made in many colours, and finishes, one of Parkers great survivors. Parker always tried to fill the demands for both expensive and economy line pens. During the Duofold era there had been the Raven Black, the Writefine, the Pastel and the very attractive Thrift Time Pens; Duette, Premiere and the Moderne. During the Vacumatic era Parker offered the very beautiful and popular Challenger and the Parkette. During the1950's, following the phenomenal success of the Parker 51, Parker produced three lines aimed at the economy market, so called school pens. The main difference to the top lines being the material rather than the design. Thus the economy pens are more prone to breakage and often sported alloy, rather than gold, nibs. The threesome was the Parker 51 Special, virtually identical to the Parker 51 save the gold nib, the Parker 21, which, adding a few colours, also closely followed the design of the Parker 51, with the exception of an assortment of clip designs and, again, the lack of the gold nib. The third pen was the Parker 41 which was very similar to the Parker 21 but was offered in a range of clear "youthful" colours, today much sought for by collectors.

anfangarker was however working on an entirely new concept of school pen. This pen, subsequently known as the Parker 45 (actually named after the western revolver) was aimed to shoot into and make a kill on the economy market. And you even loaded it with cartridges! It was introduced in 1960.
anfanghe Parker 45 was designed by Don Doman (who also designed the Jotter, Parker 61, Parker VP, Parker 75, Parker T1 and Liquid Lead). He based it on an Eversharp design, called the Eversharp "10 000", a cartridge pen the rights to which Parker aquired when they bought the pen division of Eversharp in 1957 (read more under Parker "19"). Not wanting to differ too much from ther prize-winning design of the milk cow Parker 51, Doman initially kept the metal cap and the arrow clip but adopted the stylized clip of the Parker 21 Super, introduced in 1956. The body of the Parker 45 was tapered at both ends, creating a slimmer and lighter pen than the Parker 51. The body also sported a metal ring and a completely new kind of steel nib. The nib was triangular and very small, compared to prior Parker nibs. The complete nib/feed could be unscrewed and easily replaced and many styles of nibs were offered. The patents showing the Parker "45" nib, collector and the converter was filed in 1960 and states Homer T. Green as the inventor.

anfang  cheaper Parker made sister pen to the Parker "45" was also offered under the Eversharp brand name, the Eversharp Challenger, introduced in 1962. It was virtually identical to the metal capped Parker "45" but didn't have the arrow clip. Instead it was fitted with a plain ridged clip very similiar to the rigded clips on the Parker "21" but with the Eversharp "E" on the top. It also lacked the metal body ring of the Parker "45". Although it did have the black ring close to the nib, missing on the siblings Big E and Parker "19".

Click on the image for a larger view!
parker 45 coronet
Images © and courtesy of Dan Carmell.

Parker "45" Coronet, ca 1970.


Image courtesy of The Parker Pen Company Archives.

A fantastic collection of rare Parker "45".

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A collection of high-end Parker "45"

anfangarker had put an incredible lot of money and thought into developing new filling systems, first the vacumatic filler and then the Aerometric filler and had been hesitant to convert to non integrated filling systems of their own. They had also had a short lived experiment with a cigarette lighter called the Parker Flaminaire (1950-1952) that contained a replacable cartridge of liquid lighter fluid. Unfortunately these cartridges could not easily be refilled, which soon rendered the discontinued lighter useless. Parker had many complaints from dissatisfied customers that had paid good money for a lighter that would no longer work. Parker decided to learn from that experience and when they later on decided to produce a cartridge it was destined never to change. You can take any Parker cartridge from any time period and stick it into any cartridge Parker pen and it will fit. Simple, but very customer friendly.

The filler was tried on the new Parker 45 in 1960 and suddenly it was a smash hit. The novel filling system became very in demand and was soon applied to other Parker models, such as late models of the Parker 61, the Parker 75 (1964-1994) and many other subsequent models. With the Parker VP (1962-64) Parker tried a different approach with a removable filler in plastic and metal, but this construction proved brittle and the Parker VP was soon discontinued.
The cartridge/converter idea was also soon adopted by most pen companies. Both the cartridge and converter became a manufacturers standard and is still being used today.
The Parker 45 in 1960:
    romb Black
    romb Burgundy
    romb Grey
    romb Light Blue
    romb Dark Blue
    romb Green
anfangarker was working on a way to diminish the manufacturing cost of the Parker "45" and bought new molding machines which sped up the production. The so called Parker 45 CT (aka Arrow), was introduced in 1962, was a breakthrough that economized production costs. The Parker "45" Arrow didn't have the steel cap, but was solely made out of plastic. This made production cheaper, partly beacuse metal was more expensive than plastic, but also because of a new production process. It was continually produced in the standard colours. Since the Parker 45 sold surprisingly well Parker realised that the pen might have more potential than just as a cheap school pen. Thus Parker launched a top line Parker 45: more expensive all-metal pens but otherwise with the same design and nibs. The all steel Flighter was immediately a best seller. There was also gold plated models referred to as Insignia that sported black plastic ends with converging lines all over and black sections.

The Parker 45 in 1964:
Colours:
    romb Black
    romb Burgundy
    romb Grey
    romb Light Blue
    romb Dark Blue
    romb Green
Models:
    romb Classic (plastic body, metal cap)
    romb CT (aka Arrow) (plastic cap and body)
    romb Flighter (steel cap and body)
    romb Insignia (goldfilled cap and body)

Parker continued to extend the production line. In 1965 an Insignia in rolled silver was introduced and also an Insignia in rolled gold. A plain rolled gold Insignia, without the converging lines, was also introduced.
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A collection of Parker "45" 1960 — 2000, and the new Parker "45" 2001 — 2007.

anfangicensed productions in other countries included a 14 carat solid gold Parker 45 in fine Barley, produced in Germany. Two new colours in the CT-line was Olive and Turquise, both which became very popular. The Classic model also came with a gold filled cap, referred to as the custom pen.

The Parker 45 in 1965:
Colours:
    romb Black
    romb Burgundy
    romb Grey
    romb Light Blue
    romb Dark Blue
    romb Green

Models:
    romb Classic
    romb custom
    romb CT
    romb Flighter
    romb Insignia

anfangn 1967 Parker introduced the Parker 45 DeLuxe, an attractive "CT" with rolled gold filled trim (really should have been called "GT"). From here on the Parker 45 was offered in a wide variety of colours and models at different price levels. Also in 1967 a clipless "feminine cartridge pen" in a twisted design with brushed metal finish on the cap and body was introduced, and an attractive economy line, called Student, also referred to as the Happy Colours, was introduced towards the end of the 1960's. They came with steel caps, chrome trim and a steel nib. The colours were strong and glowing: yellow, orange, mauve, aqua and olive. The 1970's saw the arrival of the Parker 45 Coronet in metallic colours of red, blue or grey, later adding metallic black, brown and blue. They were produced by a special process that bound the colours to an aluminium pen with satin finish, which resulted in a pen with both striking colours and durability.

anfangn the 1970's, during the big dip in the public's interest in fountain pens, the Parker 45 still continued to have an appeal. The Harlequin was introduced. It was a metal pen with an engraved pattern, either a Circlet or a Shield. They came in grey or black, althought rare prototypes in red, blue and green has surfaced. Production unfortunately proved too complicated and the line was soon discontinued.

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parker 45

A Parker "45" Circlet from the 1970's and a Parker "45" TX from 1980.

anfangn 1980 the Parker 45 TX, a very attractive metal pen with a bluecoated metal finish was introduced but sales were down and the TX was discontinued in 1983. Others came in gold tone with wooden ends or silver tone with black plastic ends. Late finishes are Parker 45 Classics with steel cap, chrome trim, steel nib and plastic barrels in black, blue or maroon. The Flighter DeLuxe in steel with gold plated trim also survived into the 2000's. The Parker 45 in its heyday sold 75 million units during 20 years, generating $140 million for Parker.



By 1989 only four colours of the Parker "45" remained:
    romb Flighter GT (stainless steel with gold trim)
    romb Special CT Blue
    romb Special CT Red
    romb Special CT Black

In 2001 Parker decided that it was finally time to give the Parker "45" a face lift. The colours were the same but the clip and clip screw were re-designed, becoming more rounded in appearence and all pens now had gold trim. This was to be the last of the Parker "45"'s.
In the 2007 catalogue Parker writes "Nostalgic and reliable, the Parker 45 image is firmly rooted in the long-established history of fine writing instruments." but In 2008 it had been discontinued.

anfangon Doman once said that "a good design has no calender" which is a suitable epitaph for a pen that became one of Parkers longest surviving models. Being around for 47 years the Parker 45 has been offered in a multitude of colours and models. Although the Parker 45 sold very well it never seemed to catch the eye of the collector community. It is a very nice pen, usually a good writer, but with the exception of the Flighter and Insignia models lacks the weight and balance of the Parker 51's. Maybe for this reason collectors are willing to pay double or triple for the all-metal models of the Parker 45. The Parker 45 collector, on the other hand, have more colours and finishes to choose from than any other collector of Parker pen models.

 

Special thanks to Susan Wirth


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The fiber-tip version of the Parker "45", referred to as the Touché.


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1962 ads for the the Parker "45" pen.

 

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