(This page revised September 30, 2016)
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In late 1963, after “experimenting” for about a year with the VP (Very Personal), the George S. Parker Pen Company introduced its successor, the incomparable 75.
|This pen is a first-generation 75.|
The ergonomic section and screw-interchangeable adjustable nib that had given the VP its name stand foremost among the features that made the 75 great. But Parker had learned some valuable lessons from the VP, most importantly that the nib unit should be easier to interchange and adjust. The VP’s nib unit has a short threaded shank; if the threads become clogged with dried ink, unscrewing the nib unit is difficult because the mating part within the pen turns with it. But if the threads are not clogged, turning the nib counterclockwise to adjust it can unscrew it instead.
The original design for the 75’s nib unit includes a long thin “spike” (my term) feed adapted from the very successful Parker 45. The nib unit is held in the pen by friction, and it simply pulls out, making swapping simple and easy for the user at home. This design also makes it easy to rotate the nib to suit the user’s preferred writing position. (Parker even included a small plastic wrench with each 75 so that the user could adjust the nib without getting inky fingers.) In the pen, the nib unit’s feed rests within the interior of a collector similar to that in a “51” or 61, except that the 75’s collector is built into the section. (I have found it difficult, more usually impossible, to remove one of these collectors; they are threaded in and secured with an adhesive that doesn’t respond to heat.) Later French-made 75s have a redesigned nib unit with an 18K nib and a large-diameter “collector” feed. This version, with its collector fins readily accessible, makes it much easier to clean a pen that has become seriously clogged. The redesigned feed is somewhat larger in diameter than the built-in collector in the original 75 design, however, and Parker reworked the exterior shape of the section to accommodate it. The revised design eliminates the triangular ergonomic design in favor of a slightly fatter circular shape. Interestingly, the circular section retains three ribbed areas reminiscent of the flattened gripping areas of the earlier section, but there is no real need to rotate the nib in the newer version to align it unless the user is uncomfortably sensitive to the locations of the ribbed areas. Shown below for comparison are the two sections; the revised version is to the right.
Getting Down to the Nitty Gritty
Parker’s numerical nib designations, located (if present) in a recessed area on the underside of the feed, can be annoying and confusing. Not only do they make it more difficult to determine just what kind of point a particular nib has, but they are also inconsistent from pen model to pen model and, as it turns out, sometimes even within a given pen model over time. The numerical series for any given pen model may or may not have “holes” in it. For example, the series of U.S.-made 14K nibs for the Parker 75 includes nibs numbered 82 (fine Arabic) and 83 (medium Arabic). Was there a broad Arabic numbered 84? Even Parker’s records do not provide all the answers.
The table on this page includes numbers for U.S.-made 14K nibs, French-made 14K (585) nibs, and French-made 18K (750) nibs. All of the numbered 14K nibs have spike feeds. Most numbered 18K nibs have collector feeds; there do exist, however, numbered 18K nibs with spike feeds. (I know of spike-feed nibs numbered 92 and 95.) There also exist both 14K nibs and spike-feed 18K nibs that are identified by meaningful letters (F, M, etc.) rather than numbers, and they are not included here. This table may or may not be complete; if you know of any 75 nibs that I’ve missed and can add to this list, please send mail.
|14K Nibs, U.S.|
|Extra Broad Stub||72|
|Stub Thin Music||73|
|Reverse Medium Oblique||79|
|Extra Broad Executive||88|
|14K (585) Nibs, French|
|Reverse Fine Oblique||33|
|Fine Oblique Italic 15°||35|
|Fine Oblique Italic 30°||38|
|Reverse Medium Oblique||43|
|Medium Oblique Italic 15°||45|
|Medium Oblique Italic 30°||48|
|Reverse Broad Oblique||53|
|Broad Oblique Italic 15°||55|
|Broad Oblique Italic 30°||58|
|Extra Broad Oblique||62|
|Reverse Extra Broad Oblique||63|
|Extra Extra Broad||71|
|Extra Extra Broad Oblique||72|
|Reverse Extra Extra Broad Oblique||73|
|18K (750) Nibs, French|
|Fine Oblique Italic||74|
|Medium Oblique Italic||75|
|Broad Oblique Italic||76|
|Reverse Fine Oblique Italic||77|
|Reverse Medium Oblique Italic||78|
|Reverse Broad Oblique Italic||79|
|Extra Extra Broad||86|
|Extra Broad Oblique||91|
|Extra Extra Broad Oblique||92|
|Reverse Medium Oblique||93|
|Reverse Fine Oblique||96|
|Reverse Broad Oblique||97|
I have never personally seen any of the three footnoted nibs, but I have received a report from a person who has a 14K French nib that is marked BI. I have therefore added these three nibs on the assumption that if one type exists, all three exist, or at least existed at one time.
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.