|n the patent, which was filed in April of 1975 with Fred Wittnebert as primary inventor (he was hired by Parker after the war), he describes the Parker roller ball invention as a “vacuum controlled reservoir for containing a supply of ink having a lower viscosity than conventional ball pen ink, a writing tip which may be any one of a number of interchangeable types” … “It should be pointed out that standard thick ink ball pens do not make a line as intense as fountain pens … due to inherent design limitations caused by the use of thick, that is, relatively viscous ink.” Wittnebert goes on describing how this new, thin ink, can be controlled by a new ink collector. The remarkable T-ball was borrowed from the Jotter and fitted to the design.
Wittnebert designed a refill that was in a way part of a mini-fountain pen in a closed unit. It contained floating ink, a feed and a collector. The ball was designed to give way a fraction of a millimeter when pressed against paper. This allowed the ink to flow down around the ball, giving a very wet and pleasant writing experience. When the nib was lifted from the paper the ball flexed back and shut off the ink flow, preventing blobs. Pentel had used a sort of a sponge around the ball to prevent leakage.
The Systemark was test marketed in Winnipeg in Canada, in the spring of 1974 and by 1975 it was introduced as a "floating ball pen", Stylus (a very hard fiber tip that could be used on carbon paper) and the "super soft" felt tip version, previously made for the Parker Touché in the mid 1960's.
||he first Systemarks were offered in black, grey, dark blue and light blue with a lustraloy cap and a body ring, referred to as the Special Systemark. They were offered with blue, black, red or green ink and was moderately priced at $2.98.
Soon a higher priced Imperial (22k gold electroplate) version was offered, as well as two stainless steel versions "Flighter", one with gold filled trim (GT) and one with chrome trim (CT). The very first Flighter CT had a section made from aluminium (aluminum) but it was replaced by a stainless version for production reasons.
By 1977 the Imperial Systemark cost $20, the Flighter GT $10 and the Flighter CT $5. There were also high end Systemark finishes offered with the Place Vendôme line in either heavy gold plate or heavy silver plate in the finishes of grain d'Orge, Milleraies and Ecorce. The gold roller ball pens cost $50 and the silver $35. All refills cost $0.98 (while a bottle of Quink cost $0.69!). For Parker the Systemark had been a great success, it was surpassed in sales only by the Jotter.
Also in 1977 a Special Systemark was manufactured in green for President Carters "low" gift line. Another new addition was the Ms Parker Systemark, designed by Pucci in brushed steel and gold filled trim.
In 1978 the Systemark Special in grey was discontinued, it was replaced by a red version. The Systemark Special was now priced at $3.98.