It would be no exaggeration to say that, in 1921, a star was born. Inspired by the jazz age, the bold, premium Parker Duofold fountain pen took its design cues from the confident and opulent Roaring Twenties. Launched in bright red hard rubber, it was nicknamed Big Red and became famous for its generous barrel, flat top and ball-tipped clip. It was followed by Jade Green, Lapis Lazuli Blue and Mandarin Yellow colourways, and the range was expanded down the line to include Junior and Lady versions.
The Duofold proved continually popular and rollerball and ballpoint iterations joined the original fountain pen. Although the Vacumatic took some of the spotlight from the flagship design when it was launched in 1933, and then the Parker 51 captured the streamlined, contemporary aesthetic of the mid-century, the Duofold remained a Parker icon. In fact, when Parker saw that the success of ballpoints and rollerballs was signalling the end of the fountain pen’s heyday in the 1960s, it decided to bring back the spirit of the original in a practical, cartridge-filled version called the Big Red, in a nod to its most iconic design. Extremely popular thanks to its low price point and retro looks, the company brought out several more colours. The Duofold proper was revived as the company’s flagship design in the 1980s. In 1988, the Duofold Centennial was launched to celebrate Parker’s centenary and the smaller International line followed.
Today, the iconic Parker Duofold pen is available in an array of finishes, precious metals and nib styles, but some things always remain the same – the clean lines, bold profile and confident styling which have characterised the design for nearly 100 years. This is a pen with a serious pedigree.