Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Question Regarding Duofold Date Code, Country of Manufacture, etc...

The following question arrived in my emailbox today...


I was going thru your website http://www.vacumania.com' which I found were interesting. I am a collector of pens & have a small collection. The purpose of my writing to is particularly regarding a pen listed under 'Ref No. 1438

'PARKER STREAMLINED DUOFOLD JUNIOR 1934 CANADA'. As per the image the barrel shows number 44 after "Made In Canada" if I am not wrong. I have a similar Parker Duofold Orange colour, Made In USA which also mentions the same number 44 on the barrel as well as the nib. This pen belongs to my grandfather but cannot date the actual year.

The query was did Parker manufactured Duofold pens with similar model numbers in different countries and particularly why a particular number on the barrel where none of the other models are without any model numbers? Kindly advice. Awaiting your reply

This question range probes a couple core issues of 1930's-40's Parkers, including Duofold, Vacumatic, "51", Challenger Family, Parkette Family and more.

Parker of course did manufacture pens in the USA and in Canada, with great similarity but still with some differences, and did manufacture pens abroad, in England. In many cases, England was served by Canadian production.

The "44" is not a model number, so whether or not Parker made similar pen models/variants in different countries (which it did), that number is not the key reference.

The "44" is a date code. It is believed to indicate the time of production (or perhaps of issuance in the case of parts stock) of barrel and of nib. From appearance in third quarter of 1934 through mid 1938, the two digits of the date code represented, respectively, "quarter" and "year". Thus a "44" indicates fourth quarter production 1934. Your pen was produced then. Often there is some variation on date code between barrel and nib, often a couple quarters. The date code system was modified in 1938 to a one-digit code with adjacent dots and was modified again to a different 2-digit system in 1950.

You asked why none of your other models (you mean actual pens you've seen?) are without "model" numbers. Noting again that these codes are not model numbers, it is likely that your other pens lack them because they were manufactured before the date codes were instituted in-- again-- mid-late 1934.

Streamlined Duofold ceased regular production (we believe) in 1935 and is last shown in USA catalogues in 1934. A 1934-dated Duofold is very late production. Most Duofolds were produced before late 1934 and thus have no date codes whatsoever.

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