Vintage Parker 61 PROTOTYPE Fountain Pen
Click thumbnails for expanded view.
- Item Not Available
Rare Opportunity to Own a Piece of Parker's History. Exceptionally Rare and Beautiful **Vintage Parker 61 PROTOTYPE Fountain Pen **
Referred to as the Parker 61 Mark II prototype, this pen is characterized by a "61" pierced under the nib as well as in the barrel jewel. Additionally, although the stainless steel cap was derived from the 51 models, the unusual arrow clip design and two piece clip screw visibly distinguish this pen from its predecessor.
The filling mechanism too is unique. Although a capillary filler like in the production 61s that followed, it fills by placing the nib end of the pen into an ink bottle, rather than requiring the barrel to be unscrewed and the ink reservoir itself to be immersed into ink. This innovation was the brainchild of Fred Wittnebert, originally an engineer at Sperry Rail services.
During WWII Sperry, the company of gyroscope fame and later creators of the Univac computer, delegated Wittnebert to collaborate on a defense project with the Eversharp Pen Company. The project concerned manufacturing gyroscope compass components for the United States Army Air Corps. However, Wittnebert also seized this opportunity to learn everything he could about the fountain pen business.
Thus, towards the War's end, when the idea of a pen that filled itself occurred to Wittnebert, he proposed it to the Eversharp management, who promptly declined.
So Wittnebert then placed the idea with a broker who successfully sold it to the Alexander Pen Company. However, if Alexander ever attempted to develop the idea, they apparently were unsuccessful.
Around 1949, Alexander in turn sold the concept to Parker, who sought out the original inventor only to discover that he now owned a firm of consulting engineers, one of whose clients was the Parker Pen Company! Hence, Wittnebert was retained to develop his original idea for Parker, and later in fact joined Parker's staff.
The results of Wittnebert's development, plus the efforts of Parker's own engineers and model makers was this 61 prototype. Additionally, the styling of the prototype appears to issue from the collaboration of Kenneth Parker and Nolan Rhodes; and the "61" designation was chosen by Parker on the same basis as previously for the "51", that is the number of years since the company's founding.
The concept of this pen, for its time, was so novel that the Company feared it might fail under use. Therefore, to adequately test the new technology, Parker provided prototypes to a larger than usual number of employees to use these pens daily under normal working conditions.
Date: ca 1949
Overall Length: 13 1/4 cm - 5 1/2 inches
Condition: Mint, appears never to have been inked
Parker Pen Company
The Parker Pen Company was founded by George S. Parker in 1888. Dissatisfied with the pens available at the time, Parker's mission was to produce an eminently reliable pen. This tradition continued admirably in the decades that ensued, with the Company becoming the number one leader in writing instrument sales from 1920 through the 1960s.
Parker also continued to regularly revolutionize the fountain pen and all that accompanied it. In 1931 Parker launched Quink, an ink that did away with the need for blotters. This breakthrough also paved the way for Parker's launch in 1941 of the Parker 51, that would go on to become the most popular fountain of all times ($400,000,000 in sales over its 30 year lifespan).
The Parker Pen Company also came to epitomize prestige, as well as the highest standards of craftsmanship, technology and design. As such, Parker pens were frequently selected to sign important documents, including the Armistice following World War II and the INF Treaty between President Ronald Regan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987.