THE FAIRCHILD PARKER DUOFOLD.
“Parker Officials Shown Big Plane Demonstrations by a representative of the Fairchild monoplane company were given Tuesday morning at the Janesville airport, operated by the Kempton-Dudley Flying service, for officials of the Parker Pen Company. These taken up were George S. Parker, president of the pen company, Kenneth Parker, advertising manager, Mrs. Kenneth Parker, and B. M. Palmer, credit manager. It was a large cabin plane, the fuselage painted black and the body a bright yellow. Several trips were made. It has been rumored that the Parker Pen Company is considering the purchase of a plane to be used in its business. Members of the company have frequently chartered planes to make business trips.” Thus the Janesville Daily Gazette narrated on September 18, 1928, the initial contact of the Parker family with their first plane.
As soon as Kempton and Dudley opened their airport on Highway 51, Parker Pen acquired the «Parker Duofold», their first plane; a high-wing “All-Purposes” Fairchild FC-2W2 serial # 518(1) cabin craft, Wasp engine, equipped with 5 seats and registered as NC-8025(1). The Fairchild Parker Duofold was capable of a quick take-off and flying with a full load at an altitude of 20,000 feet, and could climb the first 10,000 feet in thirteen minutes. It was equipped with wheel brakes for landing in airfields of minimum dimensions. Other plane’s features were the landing lights, heated cabin, the folding wings so that it may be brought into the hangar more conveniently and many other technical devices designed to help you fly safely.
Naturally, the press echoed the news so, at that time, we could read: “The Parker Pen Co. has purchased an airplane to be used for commercial purposes, according to Kenneth S. Parker, advertising manager. The plane is a large five passenger Fairchild monoplane equipped with a 410 horse power Wasp motor. It is capable of developing a speed of 140 miles per hour and can climb 10,000 feet in 13 minutes. It has a cruising radius of 900 miles. The plane was originally equipped with a 200 horsepower whirl wind motor but thus has been replaced by a 410 horsepower Wasp motor for safety reasons and for the fact that it will enable the plane to land in and take off from small fields…The plane will be used for commercial purposes, for transporting officials of the company and merchandise, both raw material and finished products… It will be kept at the hangar of the Kempton-Dudley flying corporation at the Janesville airport. Edgar La Parle, chief pilot of the Weeks Aircraft Co. of Milwaukee will pilot the plane. The plane will be painted red and black, the wings, tail, and none being black while the fuselage will be rod. The name of the company will be painted on the fuselage and wings. The plane will be brought here soon from the factory at Farmingdale, Long Island, New York (2).
The monoplane was delivered in the Fairchild factory at Farmingdale, Long Island, N.Y. on November 25, 1928. From there, making a stop at Cleveland, «Parker Duofold» arrived at Chicago for its christening.
Edgar LaParle (7), the pilot, was hired from the Weeks Aircraft Co., Milwaukee, had 3,000 flying hours, an extraordinary experience in 1928.
The Parker plane was christened «Parker Duofold» by the famous pioneer of air Amelia Earhart during a ceremony held on Sunday, November 25, 1928, at Chicago Airport.
On Monday 26, the Duofold landed in Kempton-Dudley airport. George S. Parker celebrated it by inviting to fly members of the Rotary Club, where George was its first president and whose headquarters had been previous meetings to promoting aviation in Janesville.
Soon the Duofold was incorporated into the distribution chain as we would read on the Janesville Daily Gazette ad December 21, 1928: «PARKER PEN PLANE DELIVERS INITIAL CARGO OF GOODS. A rush shipment of pens and pencils and pen sets valued at $6,000 was sent by plane by the Parker Pen company to Milwaukee and Chicago dealers Friday. The plane left Janesville at 12:15 p. m. with its cargo for the two cities. This is the first time that rush Christmas orders have been delivered in such quick time, according to George S. Parker, president of the company. The plane was piloted by Edgar La Pare, chief pilot. He was accompanied by Kenneth S. Parker, advertising manager. Business has been extremely good at the local factory, Mr. Parker stated.”
The Fairchild was painted with a design in coral red color with black ends of the wings and the fuselage, to match the publicized and already iconic pen.
From their first company business plane, the Parker Duofold Fairchild, they used it as an innovative advertising weapon inviting his dealers: «This helped sales of course. Before it was retired, the Fairchild took up more than 14,000 dealers and their families in all 48 states, most of them for their first airplane travel. The company´s willingness to fly wives and children of dealers, too, won for it an extra bonus of good will»
Very soon too, the Duofold will begin to be used for making Duofellows through publicity works: “Using an airplane painted the color of their pens, the Parker Pen Co. is carrying out a novel advertising scheme this winter at a number of Eastern colleges. At each college, several students are selected by drawing lots and are given free rides in the plane. At Purdue University in Indiana, 1700 students registered for a chance for a free ride (9)”.
- According with documents of the Federal Aviation Administration Aircraft Registry.
- Janesville Daily Gazette (November 15, 1928), p. 5.
- Photo collected and cropped from National Air & Space Museum; https://airandspace.si.edu/collection
- Photo collected from National Air & Space Museum; https://airandspace.si.edu/collection
- Wels, S. (2009). Amelia Earhart: The Thrill of It, p. 78. Philadelphia, PA. Running Press.
- The Austin Statesman (March 1, 1929, p. 3).
- On March 17, 1960, with 27,000 flight hours experience, Mr. LaParle would die in a tragic accident due to detachment of the right wing flying a Lockheed Electra for Northwest Airlines (author note).
- Gentleness of Rock County Historical Society. August 16, 2019.
- The Stanford Daily (February 18, 1929), p. 4.
- The Michigan Daily (September 24, 1929), p. 2.
- Aviation Week (February 27, 1928), p. 491.
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