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Profile: The Parker Striped Duofold

(This page revised March 7, 2022)

Reference Info Index | Glossopedia  ]


Striped Duofold Advertisement, 1941
This 1940 Parker catalog page shows the Junior, the Sub-Deb, a pencil, and a boxed set, with prices listed.

Logo The “New” Duofold: After retiring the Streamlined Duofold from its catalog in 1935 (but continuing manufacture in the U.S.A. at least into 1938), Parker reintroduced the Duofold name in 1939, giving it to the inexpensive Duofold Geometric (“Toothbrush”), a button-filling model. In 1940, the Geometric was replaced by the “Striped Duofold.” Modern collectors tagged the pen with that name; to Parker, it was just the Duofold, and the striped plastic design was called Laidtone. Although the new model was not the flagship in Parker’s catalog — for one year more, that honor belonged to the Vacumatic — the Duofold name was restored to something like its former stature. Parker produced the striped Duofold in at least three distinct Vacumatic-filling models; see the table below. Of interest is the fact that although the names Major and Debutante were given to Blue Diamond Vacumatics, the Major and Debutante Duofolds do not bear the Blue Diamond. There were also button fillers that differed from the Vacumatic fillers in trim. Shown here is an Ingenue made in 1941.

Fountain pen

These Duofold models were high-quality pens, with a standing fully equal to that of their “big brother,” the Vacumatic. Their prices were slighty lower than those of the Vacumatic, which was then Parker’s flagship line. They were produced in three sizes, with approximate capped lengths as follows:


Largest Approx. 5"
Middle Approx. 5"
Smallest Approx. 4"

Note
Note
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The actual size of any given pen can vary considerably; I have handled Seniors (Largest) with capped lengths ranging from 5" to 5". The following table lists the various models, with sizes identified as described in the table above:


Striped Duofold Models
Name Size Trim

Senior Largest Vacumatic filler. Blue Diamond. Narrow-wide-narrow triple cap band; blind-cap tassie (1940–1941). Wide cap band, ///\\\/// style; no blind-cap tassie (1942-end).

Ingenue Smallest

Major Middle Vacumatic filler. Wide cap band, box-ellipse (Barley) style; blind-cap tassie (1940–1941). Wide cap band, box-ellipse style; no blind-cap tassie (1942-end).

Debutante Smallest

Junior Middle Vacumatic filler. Double narrow cap band.

Sub-Deb Smallest

Duofold Middle Button filler. Triple narrow band (1940–1941); also Stacked Coin band, wide with several grooves around the circum­ference. Smooth cap band (1942-end).

Lady Duofold Smallest

These pens had smoothly tapered clips engraved “Parker.” Vacumatic-filling models with three cap bands also sported a blind-cap tassie that was applied like a cap band, using the material of the blind cap itself to serve as a “jewel.” When the tassie disappeared, the designers lengthened the blind cap a little, tapering it to a slightly smaller diameter at the end in order to avoid having the unadorned cap look too blunt. Other trim changed as well; note the difference between the 1941 and 1945 Seniors shown below.

Fountain pen
Fountain pen

Both Vacumatic-filling and button-filling models were made. Vacumatic-filling models had transparent stripes so that the ink supply could be checked, and these pens were equal in quality to the Vacumatic itself. When first introduced, the Vacumatic-filling models used the Speedline filler, but after the beginning of World War II they acquired the same plastic filler that was applied to the Vacumatic, and they retained that design until the line was discontinued in about 1948 along with the rest of Parker’s Vacumatic-filling models. The button-filling pens were made entirely of opaque plastic, in sizes roughly the same as the two smaller Vacumatic fillers, and had Visometer sections and black blind caps.

Fountain pen
Fountain pen

Shown above are a 1940 Blue Pearl Sub-Deb and a 1942 Blue Pearl Lady Duofold, illustrating Vacumatic- and button-filling differences; note the transparent stripes on the Sub-Deb and the milled “jeweler’s” band on the Lady Duofold.

What You See Is What You Get (Most of the Time)

An interesting variant on the striped Duofold is not a Duofold at all. Parker used the exact same plastics, changing the nib, clip, and cap band, to build some pens like this one:

Fountain pen

These pens, sometimes referred to by collectors as “Vacufolds,” are actually Vacumatics. They have Arrow nibs, Split Arrow clips, and stacked-coin cap bands, and they bear a VACUMATIC barrel imprint. Uncommon today, they are sought out by collectors who recognize them for what they are.

Afterword

The striped Duofold is somewhat underrated by collectors; the classic Parkers are the original Duofold and the Vacumatic. But the striped Duofolds are excellent pens and deserving of a place in any Parker collection. Part of their appeal is the attractive set of colors in which they were produced. The two sets of color names are as listed in two Parker catalogs from 1941.


The Colors of the Striped Duofold
Color Name

Blue Pearl (Blue) Blue Pearl (Blue)
Dusty Red (Maroon) Dusty Red (Maroon)
Green and Gold (Green) Green and Gold (Green)
Black Black (not all models)
Blac Shadow Wave Black Shadow Wave (1940 Junior and Sub-Deb only)


The information in this article is as accurate as possible, but you should not take it as absolutely authoritative or complete. If you have additions or corrections to this page, please consider sharing them with us to improve the accuracy of our information. This page includes information from an article by Michael Richter; used with permission. Much additional information provided by David Isaacson. Catalog image provided by Bill Acker.

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