Geo. S. Parker and the Duofold launching

Parker Duofold cap bandless Pompeian Brown hard rubber. C. 1922.
Parker Duofold cap bandless Pompeian Brown hard rubber. C. 1922.

August 4, 1921. DUOFOLD. «Distinctive looking pen built in a distinctive way and for a distinctive purpose. The price with clip is $7.00. The Duofold is a remarkably fine writing pen. I cannot tell you hoy many copies it would make for that would depend on how hard the writer presses down, but we believe it is going to be a seller and a big seller» (underlined in original).

August 4, 1921. QUERY. «If I see orders coming for the DUOFOLD from YOU, I will know that you read this issue on Proxy and not permit the good things to get by you

August 18, 1921. DUOFOLD. «This is to again call your attention to the DUOFOLD PARKER PEN. This is the name given by Mr. Tebbel to distinguish it from the other pens. The writer has been carrying one of this DUOFOLD pen. It is possibily the smoothest writing pen I ever had in my hands.

We had righ now the best gold pen in the whole United States…»

August 18, 1921. THE ARGUMENT. This pen is to the fountain pen industry what the Cadillac, the Packard and the Pierce-Arrow are to the patrician automobile buyers of the country. Not everyone can affort it, but the man who can affort it is showing just a much «class» in the fountain pen field as the Packard owner in the automobile world.

September 8, 1921. THE PARKER DUOFOLD. «You would perhaps be surprised to see how many orders we are getting for the PARKER DUOFOLD in a mail-order way. If you are not selling 75% of your customers a DUOFOLD pen it is because you do not have the proper spirit.

Of course Mr. Tebbel being the father of the idea of the Duofold its sort’s up to him to set the pace. Eleven dozen in fourteen days is a record no man need be ashamed of.

By the way, what is your record for the past two weeks?»

November 1921. THE PARKER DUOFOLD. We do not often deal in superlatives — the best, the greatest, a peerless leader, etc.— but now we feel like breaking the rule. We went ahead to make the finest writing in strument ever put together regardless of what it cost us, incorporating every good feature and considering every suggestion for betterment. Well, this Parker Duofold pen is the result.

George S. Parker writes encouraging to his sales team with the first Duofolds. Right from the start, even months before they were publicized, and long before his departure to travel.

Based on an imprecise rumor echoed by Walter Sheaffer in his Life Story:

 “We can’t vouch for the authenticity of all the details of what we heard, but as we heard it the proprietor (George Parker) ordered them to discontinue making the red pen because the breakage would cause them a severe loss. But by the time he got home, their business had been so rehabilitated and the pen selling so wonderfully well that it brought their business up to many folds.”

And in a misinterpretation of George’s own words:

The writer has a confession to make, however, in regard to this. This pen was put out somewhat against his judgment as he did not think that a pen of this character would sell at the time it was offered to the market. «

We have come to think that the Duofolds were launched against George Parker’s opinion and in his absence. This is neither true nor factual.

George Parker went on a trip around the world on December 9, 1921, and by then the launch of the Duofold was already decided and it was George Parker who considered the idea of ​​its manufacture.

I shall not soon forget the interview here in my office, in which we decided on the pen. It was in the spring of 1921 —that trying year! and the district manager was proposing a pen that was to sell for more than twice what the ordinary fountain pen had been sold for.

The argument about its being a bad time was obvious. And he was ready for it.

 «Look at the cars going up and down this hill,» he said. And we looked awhile, out on the drive running up by the Rock County courthouse. “They’re not the cheapest cars, many of them, you see,” he said, “and many of them are new. People have been buying these expensive cars this year. For all, we hear about hard times. they have had the money. Do you think they could not afford to pay, that they would not be glad to pay, $ 7 for a fountain pen that they could be proud to own and use? «

The whole Duofold business hung in the balance for a moment. And then we decided to try out the idea. The first of the pen made up was a handful, really made up for a test -were sent to the branch manager who had suggested them, and he sold them. «

Basado en un malediciente rumor del que se hizo eco Walter Sheaffer  en su autobiografía:

«No podemos confirmar la autenticidad de todos los detalles de lo que oímos, pero oímos que el propietario (George Parker) les ordenó dejar de hacer la estilográfica roja porque las roturas les causaría una grave pérdida. Pero para cuando regresó de viaje, su negocio había sido tan rehabilitado y la estilográfica vendida tan maravillosamente bien que llevó a duplicar su negocio

Y en una interpretación errónea de las propias palabras de George:

«El escritor tiene una confesión que hacer, sin embargo, con respecto a esto. Esta pluma se puso un poco en contra de su juicio, ya que no pensaba que una pluma de estas caracterìsticas se vendería en el momento en que se ofreció al mercado. «

Hemos llegado a pensar que los Duofolds fueron lanzados contra la opinión de George Parker y en su ausencia. Esto ni es verdad ni se ajusta a los hechos.

George Parker partió de viaje alrededor del mundo el 9 de diciembre de 1921, y para entonces ​​el lanzamiento del Duofold ya estaba decidido y fue George Parker quien había aprobado su fabricación.

«No olvidaré pronto la entrevista aquí en mi oficina, en la que decidimos la pluma. Fue en la primavera de 1921, ¡ese año difícil! y el gerente del distrito estaba proponiendo una estilográfica que se iba a vender por más del doble de lo que una pluma estilográfica ordinaria habría sido vendida.

El argumento de ser un mal momento era obvio. Y él estaba listo para ello.

 «Mira los coches subiendo y bajando esta colina», dijo. Y miramos un rato, en el camino que corre por el tribunal del condado de Rock. «No son los coches más baratos, muchos de ellos, ya ves», dijo, «y muchos de ellos son nuevos. La gente ha estado comprando estos coches caros este año. Para todos, oímos acerca de los tiempos difíciles. han tenido el dinero. ¿Crees que no podían pagar, que no estarían contentos de pagar, $ 7 por una pluma estilográfica que podrían estar orgullosos de poseer y usar? «

Todo el negocio de Duofold colgó en la balanza por un momento. Y luego decidimos probar la idea. Se fabricó un puñado de estilográficas y fueron enviadas al gerente de la sucursal que los había sugerido, y él las vendió. «

Parker Duofolds furnished in Permanite celluloid. Circa 1925.
Parker Duofolds furnished in Permanite celluloid. Second half 1920s.

There is a mainstream belief that the Duofolds were released in the absence of George Parker and this is not true. Before leaving Janesville on his trip in December 1921, George Parker had known the good reception of the Duofold. In Proxy -the Parker newsletter for its salesman- of August 4, George writes about the virtues and characteristics of the Duofold. Published its commercialization in Parkergrams magazine, Geyer’s Stationer and Office Appliances, also published ads of national scope with the Duofold as the flagship product, in the Saturday Evening Post (November 5 and December 10), The Rotarian (November) or Ladies’ Home Journal (December)

The Duofolds were launching and marketed with the knowledge, acceptance and presence of George Parker.

Existe la creencia de que los Duofolds fueron producidas y comercializadas en ausencia de George Parker y esto no es cierto. Antes de dejar Janesville en su viaje en diciembre de 1921, George Parker había conocido la buena acogida del Duofold.  Había escrito en Proxy -el boletín Parker destinado a sus vendedores- del 4 de agosto, sobre las virtudes y características de la Duofold. También publicó su comercialización en la revista Parkergrams, Geyer’s Stationer y Office Appliances, asimismo publicó anuncios de alcance nacional con la Duofold como el producto estrella, en el Saturday Evening Post (5 de noviembre y 10 de diciembre), The Rotarian (noviembre) o  Ladies’ Home Journal (diciembre)

Los Duofolds se lanzaron y comercializaron con el conocimiento, la,  aceptación  y la presencia de George Parker.

Another question is the campaign contracted with the Saturday Evening Post —where, by the way, Geo. S. Parker had been advertising for 20 years– for thirteen coloring pages to be used every four weeks for one year at the cost of $ 110,500… but as I say, it is another question.

Otra cuestión es la campaña publicitaria contratada con el Saturday Evening Post para trece páginas a todo color que se publicarían cada cuatro semanas durante un año con un coste de $ 110,500… pero como ya digo, esa es otra cuestión.


1921 11 00 The Rotarian
1921 11 01 Parkergrams Duofold.
1921 11 05 The Saturday Evening Post. 2,100,000 readers
November 1921.
1921 11 24 Geyer´s Stationer.
1921 12 00 Ladies Home Journal. 1,900,000 readers.
1921 12 01 Office Appliances.
1921 12 10 The Saturday Evening Post. 2,100,000 readers.
1921 12 22 Geyer´s Stationer.