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anfanghe Parker "VP" was the brainchild of Kenneth Parker who during the early 1950's had conteplated a pen with an adjustable grip to make life a little easier for left-handed writers and others that preferred a somewhat different writing angle. He discussed the matter with Parkers designer Don Doman, who designed many models for Parker.
Don Doman was the design director for Parker from 1953 and although starting his own design firm in 1957 he was retained as a design consultant for Parker until he retired in 1986. Like Kenneth Parker he was an avid airplane pilot and most likely designed a few patterns for the painting of the official Parker airplanes of the 1950's and 1960's. Also Kenneth Parker's son Dan Parker was probably involved in the Parker "VP". Don Doman and Dan Parker was friends and their children grew up together. Kenneth Parker had stepped down as president in 1952, but remained as chairman. While George S. Parker, Kenneths grandfather and founder of the company, was more of a teacher and a business man, Kenneth and Dan was both very creative men with an eye for design.
One of the first challenges for the newly hired Don Doman was to create this pen that would fit everyones hand. It would take some nine years to finish it, but it would eventually evolve into one of the most successful pen designs ever, the Parker "75".
anfanghe idea was to create a nib that could be rotated to fit anyones writing angle, however peculiar they preferred to hold the pen.
The cartridge or converter filled Parker "45" had been introduced in 1960 and had become a great seller, much because of the cartridge of course, but also because it was offered with a vast array of nib sizes. The nibs could be easily unscrewed and exchanged. The same priciple was suggested for the Parker "VP" and when it was introduced in 1962, it was offered with fifteen different nib styles, ranging from Needle point to an Extra Broad Executive. The choice of nibs and the rotating nib gave the user an option to arrange it as a Very Personal writer, hence the "VP". Also the gripping section was designed for a nice writing experience, it was triangular to fit nicely between the the two fingers and the thumb, used by most when writing. It also had grades imprinted in the plastic close to the nib, to help the user to quickly set the nib at the right angle.
The second problem Parker was always trying to overcome was the problem of cleanliness. Filling a fountain pen almost invariably resulted in ink stained fingers. The capillary filled Parker "61" had been launched in 1956 and was designed to be inserted by the back into an ink bottle while the capillary force would literally suck the ink into the pen, without flipping levers, pressing buttons or screwing rods and most important - without getting hands dirty.

Photography ©2009 by and courtesy of Amir Eshel.

The four colours and the two cap finishes of the Parker "VP", ca 1963.

anfangnfortunately the filling system had proven complicated from a manufacturing point of view and the manufacturing cost was high. While the filling system had no moving parts it still required the user to sometimes wipe down the teflon tube filler, and furthermore, since most users didn't want to bother with keeping their writing instrument clean, they seldom had it washed or flushed clean of ink. Hence it eventually clogged.
Also The Parker "45" could be filled from a bottle if one used a converter but, then again, the nib needed a good wipe after the filling.
With the Parker "VP" Parker tried another approach. A new style of converter was manufactured. As opposed to the standard converters this one ended in a long, thin tube that the user would insert into the bottle, compress the sac inside the filler and then replacing the filler into the pen. It was made from a clear plastic and contained a thin breather tube inside. It looked a lot like the Parker "51" aerometric filler, but was not a true aerometric. It sounded like a nice, simple solution but the thin, plastic tube that was to forcibly be inserted into the back of the ink collector was very prone to breakage and the Parker after services was instantly overwhelmed with broken Parker "VP"s.

anfangn 1962 it was produced in the four solid colours of

    romb Black
    romb Grey
    romb Blue
    romb Red

It was priced at $10, which made it a medium priced pen below the Parker 51, the standard model cost $ and the Parker "61" which cost $, but over the Parker "45", priced at $5.

The different nibs had a number imprinted on them under the Parker name, denoting the style.

    romb 61: Needle Point
    romb 62: Accountant
    romb 63: Extra Fine
    romb 64: Stenograph
    romb 65: Fine
    romb 66: Medium
    romb 67: Broad
    romb 70: Stub Thin Music
    romb 71: Medium Stub
    romb 73: Broad Stub
    romb 75: Medium Oblique italic
    romb 79: Reverse Medium Oblique Italic
    romb 82: Fine Arabic
    romb 83: Medium Arabic
    romb 88: Extra Broad Executive

Most of these nib numbers, but not all, translated into the later Parker "75" styles.


Photography ©2009 by and courtesy of Amir Eshel.

Note the ribbed and graded gripping section.

anfangencils were also offered, but no ball pens. A so called Holy Water Sprinkler, used by priests, was also offered. Instead of a nib this "pen" had a gold filled cup used for the holy water.

There were two cap finishes offered, Gold Filled and Lustraloy.

This setup remain until the Parker "VP" was discontinued in 1964. By then it was clear that the design features, although some borrowed from the Parker "VP", of the newly launched Parker "75" was simply better.

anfanghe filler was also used for a short while on the Parker "65", creating the same problem.
The Parker "VP" is very popular among collectors, mainly because of it's being a great writer, having a great selection of nibs for a vintage pen and, of course that one only need eight pens to complete a collection, disregarding the nibs. The one disadvantage is that there are virtually no spares available if the filler is broken, there simply are no spares. There are however reproduction replacements available made by Ron Zorn at Mainstreet Pens.

The Parker "VP" is easily recognisable through the large engraving VP in capital letters, on the cap, below the clip, and also it didn't have a tassie ring.


Photography ©2009 by and courtesy of Amir Eshel.

Note the very unique filling system.


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