1939 Parker Parkette Mechanical Pencil and Fountain Pen Set
Updated: Apr 7
In September of this year, friends gifted me with a vintage fountain pen and mechanical pencil set, which once belonged to their mother. What little they knew of the set’s history was that their mother purchased the set before starting nursing school. Other than that little bit of knowledge, they knew nothing else.
I'm proud of the small collection of restored vintage fountain pens (Sheaffer, Parker, and other brands). My favorite are the original Esterbrooks. Since I’ve only been a collector/user for about five years, I don’t have a great deal of expertise in vintage pen history.
The pen/pencil set did not come with the original box so I had to do some research on the set. Luckily there was some etched information on the pen barrel. With the aid of a lighted loupe, I was able to gather enough details to research the manufacturer's details.
Turns out, the fountain pen is a 1938 Parker “Parkette” (type 3B) lever-filler, made of gray, black, and red celluloid. It is fitted with a 1939 Rador Point Steel Fine Nib. According to Parker’s 1939 retailers catalog, the Suggested Retail Selling Price was $1.95.
Decades have passed since the pen had probably last been used, so it was not in working condition. First, I had to remove the dried ink and deteriorated ink sac from inside the barrel. Once it was clean, I replaced the J-Bar and rubber ink sac, then polished the barrel and brass trim with a jeweler’s polishing cloth. Filling the pen with Parker Blue Ink, I was able to test the pen. It’s a smooth writer with light feedback and is quite enjoyable to use.
The mechanical pencil is in working order just required some cleaning and polishing.
After a modest investment in restoration supplies and my personal time, the Parkette pen and pencil set are now valued pieces in my vintage pen collection. Words can’t convey the extraordinary feeling of history while writing with a restored eighty-year-old fountain pen. Then, of course, it may be because I’m a fountain pen nerd.
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