Profile: The Parker Striped Duofold

(This page revised September 20, 2012)

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

Manufacturer 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 1937), 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, and — although the new Duofold was not the flagship in Parker’s catalog — the name was restored to something its former stature. (Parker called the striped plastic design Laidtone.) 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.

Fountain pen Magnifying glass

(If there is a magnifying-glass symbol (Magnifying glass) next to an image, click the magnifying glass to view a zoomed version for more detail.)

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.


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.

Fountain pen Magnifying glass
Fountain pen Magnifying glass
1941 Dusty Red Senior and 1945 Blue Pearl Senior,
illustrating blind cap shapes with and without tassie

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 Magnifying glass
Fountain pen Magnifying glass
1940 Blue Pearl Sub-Deb and 1942 Blue Pearl Lady Duofold,
illustrating Vacumatic- and button-filling differences; note trans-
parent stripes on Sub-Deb and “jeweler’s” band on 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 Magnifying glass

These pens, sometimes referred to 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)

I am very grateful to Michael Richter, who compiled the color information, painted the color samples by hand, and has graciously given permission for me to use his work here. (3D highlighting was added with a computer, and I have altered the colors based on observation of actual pens.)


The information in this article is as accurate as possible, but you should not take it as absolutely authoritative. 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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