JOURNAL OF AN INSIDER*
By Daniel Zazove & Ramón Campos
April 20, 1927. We are giving a notice in regard to the new number that is coming out –a beautiful shade of yellow. The Production Department announces that samples of this will be ready in a few days and will be sent to each traveler. This will be made only in the Duofold Senior, Junior, and Lady sizes. We will be on a production basis that we can take care of the shipment of orders on day 13.
We shall be very much interested in knowing how this color comes over. We have a sufficient stock of this material for about the shipment of 30,000 pens. If, however, it proves to be a seller, 30,000 pens will not last very long. Therefore, the writer will deem it as a special favor on your part if you show these samples for the trade, take their orders, and give us their reflex on them. If the order is sufficiently strong, we will immediately place orders for more stock, buy it will take several months before we can get on production with the new stock. Therefore, it is of the most importance that you notify us just what the reception is.
As soon you receive the samples and have had two or three experiences with them, will you be good enough to send a note to the writer, telling just what your opinion is of the color and what you think of its salability.
April 27, 1927. Has been very interesting to the writer to receive the comments which quite of the travelers have made on the yellow pen. Some take the position we should not introduce new numbers, as they say, some dealers have made in regard to this. Others say that dealers are enthusiastic in regard to a new color on account of its rather new and somewhat starling shade.
At less, in footing up the orders that were sent in last week, we find there 85 pens and pencils of the yellow shade bought. Under the circumstances, I seem as though the yellow had struck quite a warm response on the part of the trade.
We no deny the fact that we have entered upon a period of color. Who would ever have thought a year or two ago of seeing the average in appearing on the street with a light-colored hat with a hatband upon it or three different colors? Today this is a very common sight among the new generation. The same thing applies to ladies’ dresses and hosiery, the of which is much evidence at the present time owing to the brevity of parts, so we have constantly before us the advisability of using bright colors.
Take a look at the new automobiles and see if this craze (if that is a permitted term to use) is not reflected in the color schemes of the various cars.
We do not care to put out more colors than are necessary, but if it increases sales, that is the answer. If we could confine ourselves to the red and black, we would like nothing better. On the other hand, if we can increase business to a considerable extent, we will go to the expense to inaugurate a new color. It does require a very heavy expense to inaugurate a new color, hence we proceed very cautiously in regard to making such an intent. When we find, however, that it appears to be good business to do so, we are ready to act.
April 27, 1927. FEEDBACK. In the first days of April in the survey on this new number, GSP receives conflicting feedback from representatives and dealers about the new color yellow. In a week 85 pen and pencil are sold and GSP values it as a warm welcome from the market. Very heavy expense to inaugurate a new color, hence we proceed very cautiously in regard to making such an invent. When we find, however, that it appears to be good business to do so, we are ready to act.
May 18, 1927. «CANARY YELLOW». Mr. Clark made a suggestion a short time ago in regard to the new yellow in calling it «Canary». Mr. Davies of San Francisco thinks it is an excellent idea, inasmuch as everybody knows what a canary is, and when you stop to think of it the canary, at least the kind we find around Wisconsin, is almost the identical shade of this new color. Perhaps we ought to call it the «Canary Yellow».
In this beautiful shade of yellow there is certainly a buying appeal, as is shown by the fact that at the time this item is written almost one-half of the amount of yellow stock is used up. in fact, the writer can see that this has made a selling record that is perhaps ever put out.
Perhaps you would be interested in knowing how we happened to get this particular color. When the Parkers were in Kyoto, Japan, last summer, which city is noted as an art center and especially for the manufacture of Cloisonne, Damascenes, and various other beautiful objects of Japanese art, we went into a store where we were quite well acquainted, having been there on previous trips to Japan, the store of Mr. Yoshida.
Mr. Yoshida had many beautiful things in his store but standing out unique among all the exhibits he had was a Cloisonne vase made of a peculiar shade of yellow, such as we have copied for the new color. We have quite a number of Cloisonne vases in our home, very beautiful objects of art, but we had none of this color. We went back to the hotel after looking this over but for some reason both Mrs. Parker and my daughter, Virginia, as well as the writer, felt that after seeing that beautiful vase that there would be something lacking on this trip to Japan if we did not purchase it. The «pull” or the charm or whatever you wish to call it was almost irresistible, so the next day we went back to Mr. Yoshida’s store and bought the vase.
The vase was fulfilled a much larger sphere than was originally intended at that time. The vase was admired by so many of our friends after our return that it occurred to the writer that this same peculiar shade might be admired by fountain pen buyers, so the reasoning in this instance seemed to be quite correct as is shown by the sales record.
It is what might be called a buying color. To look at this vase is a good deal like looking at the wonderful Taj Mahal in India. The longer you look at it, the more infatuated you become and there is absolutely nothing offensive to the eye or the senses. So, it is with the “Canary Yellow”. Some may not be enthusiastic in regard to it at first, but the color grows and as a result people do like it.
May 18, 1927. TIP ON STAINS. We were discussing the matter of removing possible ink stains on that beautiful “Canary” Yellow color. Mr. Verket suggested to the writer that a little Pepsodent or almost any kind of toothpaste, except Squibb’s, on a piece of moistened tissue paper rubbed vigorously over the stains would almost immediately remove them.
Almost as we were talking about this, in came a letter from Tom Griffin of Manager Korst’s division, and Tom discovered the same thing. This made the writer reminisce and he recalls that when in India, where polishes of various kind are posed. Therefore, it must be good, according to all these various and eminent authorities, and we pass it on to you.
Speaking of yellow, we are now all convinced that Yellow is going to be a big seller, and Dupont’s, who make this for us, have received instructions to go ahead with large orders for this peculiar shade so that we will be well equipped for the fall trade.
In the short time this color has been out, it has made a record almost equal to that of horse Whiskery. In other words, it has run away, with respect to salability, from any other color we have ever struck.
Monday, Mr. Crowell was here and attended our directors’ meeting. He said he was not surprised that the yellow took as it did, for Frank Young, the art director, and Mr. lanelli, who is likewise an expert authority on colors, forms, etc., long ago suggested that some shade of yellow was a buying color and that declared themselves in its favor. Then we were fortunate in getting this peculiar Japanese shade, which we have never seen elsewhere, and we have tested it out and the test is going like a prairie fire before a fierce wind.
Mr. Smith in Canada is calling for the yellow, likewise, Mr, Zoccola, manager of our English branch. Kenneth is sending out samples to the various foreign correspondents, so taking it all in all you will be in great luck if you get any particular amount of your orders for the yellow filled before the early part of July. Up to the present, however, all of the orders are being taken care of.
June 22, 1927. “THE MANDARIN YELLOW” Mr. Russel C. Parker Informa the writer that there is an additional quantity of the yellow stock going through and will probably be ready for shipment the 10th or 11th of July.
This is certainly good news, for we have a large number of orders on hand for yellow.
There has been a little minor improvement made in the holders for the yellow stock namely, the threads on the end of the barrel will be black, so that if a little discoloration gets on to the threads it will not be noticeable is on the yellow. Tipping the end with a sufficient amount of black so that the threads can be cut in that portion obviates the aforementioned difficulty.
Mr. Davies and Mr. Anders who have been here during the last week were shown the new way of making the yellow pens and they both said it was removing the last objection in regard to the yellow.
It looks as though this was a Mandarin year. We have the credit of having originated this as far as fountain pens are concerned and from the 10th of July on, we believe we will be in position to take care of all the business for this beautiful color unless it comes in with a vengeance that we do not anticipate.
July 27, 1927. IDEAS. Another improvement has been made in the yellow holder in the way of fastening the black part to the yellow barrel, so that there will be no possibility of breakage.
This idea comes from a thoughtful mind that is always alive to the interest of the Parker Pen Co. –Mr. Roy Johns of the Automatic Department. Incidentally, the idea won for him a $10 check.
I wonder who will be next!
August 24, 1927. IT IS MANDARIN YELLOW. Therefore, in talking to the trade, be sure to call the color Mandarin Yellow instead of Oriole Yellow, so that it will correspond with what is printed in the Post, Liberty, and other publications. If we do this and some one comes into a store and asks for Mandarin Yellow, there will be no way of switching them to some one else’s yellow, if someone else gets it out in time to duplicate it.
Mr. Crowell’s point is well taken, and I am passing it on to you because it is both sane and logical.
August 31, 1927. SOMETHING NEW IN OUR ADVERTISING. Mr. Crowell just showed the writer a lay-out of an advertisement that will appear in Liberty, I believe, under date of October 22. It is scheduled to appear late enough so that we will have an abundance of the Mandarin Yellow on hand. It is really a very interesting advertisement.
Mr. Crowell has introduced an element I have never before seen in our advertising —how we came into possession of the peculiar shade of Mandarin Yellow, I think you know it came from a vase the writer purchased in the Orient last summer, which is of the beautiful shade of yellow now used in our fountain pens. This vase was the only piece of Mandarin Yellow in the beautiful Oriental Shop in Kyoto, Japan, it was of such startling beauty that, while the writer has quite a number of pieces of Cloisonne, neither he nor Mrs. Parker nor Miss Virginia could get away from it, so the vase was purchased. Everyone who has had the opportunity of seeing it has remarked regarding its beauty. No wonder people are buying the Yellow pens as they have not bought pens since the advent of the big Red Duofold.
Mr. Crowell is going to run a photo reproduction of the vase in the advertisement and tell the story of how it came to be introduced into a fountain pen. In other words, he is using just a little of the “’human side in advertising”, something that Mr. Crowell has never been very strong for. It will be interesting to see how it works out.
In 1928, the Parker New York Store revealed that the Duofold Yellow Mandarin sold were 5%, 8%, and 18% of the total Senior, Junior, and Ladies Duofold sold, respectively. Altogether, 9.3% of the total Duofolds sold.
*Reflections of Geo. S. Parker written in corporate publications for employees and sales team.
Acknowledgments. Thanks to Tsachi Mitsenmacher, Paul Gollan, Greg Schiek, and Bob Bettinger, for their great photos. To Daniel Zazove, for his unlimited generosity and patience.