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parker t1 logo

anfangew modern pens are so legendary as the Parker T1. Manufactured for a very short time, with tooling that wasn't really up for the task, the pens where introduced in April of 1970 as "The Space Pen". It was a bold venture to honour that man had succeded with landing on the moon but unfortunately it didn't work out as well as one had hoped for. The titanium proved so hard and un-yielding that it became increasingly more expensive to produce them. Also the supplier was unable to produce titanium sheets of the consistant quality that Parker needed. Too much broke and went to waste during production. It came to a point when Parkers production costs ended up exceeding the profit for each item. Furthermore the T1 had an ingenious design where the nib was only a continuation, a true integration, of the body.

A small screw under the nib allowed for the user to adjust how broad or narrow a line he or she preferred. Two nib sizes were offered fine/medium or medium/broad. This was all good, but it had one disadvantage; if You dropped the pen and broke the nib, and it didn't take much force, it could not be exchanged or repaired. Latter day collectors have tried replacing the tips with modern techniques, both still to this day the titanium is one tough metal to work. Hence modern day collectors tend to leave their T1's unused.

All this forced Parker to charge too much for the pen and it just didn't sell that well since, to make bad things worse, it wasn't really a good writer either...

anfangithin a year, in 1971, the T1 was discontinued after a mere 104 000 items had been shipped.

parker t1Images © Bernard Bernolet Dethières courtesy of bbpen.com

The legendary Parker "T1", 1970

anfangwo finishes has been identified, the early ones came in brushed titanium, the other with a smooth finish, one being a little darker than the other. The pens sported very attractive double jewels in the colour of transparent rubys, a thin gold body ring, a small breather hole on the nib-part, and a gold arrow clip. They were offered as a fountain pen, cap actuated ball pen, and later as a soft tipped pen. The latter was phased out during the first quarter of 1972. Parker however emptied their leftover stock of titanium parts by adding them to ballpoints, pencils and rollerballs that has popped upp in the Parker "75" line of the period.

Soo... why is the T1 so collectible?

Well of course the rarity of the pen has something to do with it, but the truth is that it is a very attractive pen, well designed, well balanced and, of course, the very fact that it's made from titanium. And we all know that pen collectors do not always judge their pens only by the functionality.

The T1 simply has a good feel to it.

anfangarker wasn't blind to this fact. Seven years later, in 1978, the company announced a very close cousin to the T1, nicknamed the Parker Falcon, though it carried the model number "50". The first Falcon was a slim, all steel pen with an integrated nib, very much the same as the T1, but sans the small nib-screw.

parker t1Images © Bernard Bernolet Dethières courtesy of bbpen.com

Parker "T1" Ball pen


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