Parker; mother of pearl and abalone models.

Courtesy of Tsachi Mitsenmacher.

Mother of pearl, also called nacre, is an iridescent layer of material that forms the lining of the shell of many mollusks. Oysters, abalones, and other mollusks are sources of this substance. Mother of pearl comes in a number of natural colors but is often bleached and stained for decorative use. Nacre is a tough and resistant material, but it is relatively soft and scratches easily.

Mother-of-Pearl and Abalon shells.

PARKER No. 12.

Parker no. 12. Price was $6.00. Pearl slabs on barrel held in place by gold bands. A beauty treasured for a lifetime, you need to go no further. The price quoted on these pens was with plain boxes. Eyedropper overfeed. Underfeed if so ordered. The primal #12 had three staggered twist rings chased, separating the body and section for a better grip. 

Listed since the earliest times, we see it in the 1896 spectrum. In 1907 it disappeared from the catalog in favor of the #45 model, although its manufacture was probably extended over time.

Parker pen no. 12. Plain slabs pearl covered barrel. Old grip. Taper cap.
Parker no. 12 plain slabs pearl. Courtesy of FiveStarPens.
Imprint on taper cap.
Parker no. 12 ad from Ladies' Home Journal. September, 1901.

PARKER No. 15.

Parker no. 15. Price was $7.00. One of the prettiest in Parker line of fancy pens. This model was introduced for 1905/6 season. It is  furnished with gold filled filigree design on straight overlay cap with nameplate, so the name of owner can be engraved on same. The barrel fitted with beautiful corrugated, fluted or plain, Mother-of-Pearl and/or abalone slabs on barrel held in place by two gold bands.

The early pens, according to the Parker range of that time, had a rounded cap end.

Parker #15 eyedropper filled alternating corrugated pearl and abalone covered barrel. Rounded early style cap.
Parker #15 eyedropper filled. Plain slabs pearl covered barrel. Rounded early style cap.
Parker no. 15 corrugated pearl -probably tinted- covered barrel. Courtesy of Marks4antiques.
Parker no. 15 plain abalone slabs covered barrel. Photo courtesy of PBA Galleries, Berkeley, CA. (image ©Justin Benttinen).
Parker no. 15 with slabs pearl in fluted arrangement. Auctioned by Bonhams, December 2013. © Bonhams.

In 1908 Parker added the red hard rubber to its color range.

Parker #15 Red hard rubber mounting corrugated pearl slabs covered barrel. Courtesy of Luiz Leite.
Parker #15 Red hard rubber mounting plain pearl slabs covered barrel. Courtesy of Tsachi Mitsenmacher.

In 1909 Parker introduced the Jack-Knife Safety fountain pens incorporating an inner cap inside the outer cap, thus avoiding possible loss of ink by threading until this inner cap and the section contact.

By January 1910, the Jack-Knife line was off and running. It was available in plain black, black chased, and mottled hard rubber, with one or two gold bands. All models were available in a regular-sized and baby size, from #2 to #5 sized nibs. Around March of that same year, the Jack-Knife #15 and #45 could be ordered specially. Completed the JKS 1910 catalog the filigree models #14 and #16, sterling silver and rolled gold, respectively.

An early Parker #15 with its characteristic cup shaped silhouette section.
Different Parker #15 Jack-Knife baby length. About 105mm. capped.
A Parker #15 and #45 ad. Saturday Evening Post. December 5, 1908.
A Parker #15 and #45 ad. Saturday Evening Post. December 5, 1908.

PARKER No. 45.

Parker no. 45. The price was $6.50. New for the 1908/9 season had already proven to be a great favorite. Furnished with Mother-of-Pearl and/or abalone slabs on barrel held in place by two gold bands. The cap is crowned with a pearl button crown fixed with a gold band.

Parker #45 mounting corrugated pearl and abalon slabs covered barrel. Photo courtesy of PBA Galleries, Berkeley, CA. (image ©Justin Benttinen).
Parker #45 eyedropper filled alternating corrugated pearl and abalone covered barrel. Photo courtesy of PBA Galleries, Berkeley, CA. (image ©Justin Benttinen).
Parker #45 eyedropper filled alternating plain pearl and abalone slabs covered barrel. Photo courtesy of PBA Galleries, Berkeley, CA. (image ©Justin Benttinen).

The No. 45 Jack Knife Safety Pen, incorpored in 1909, follows closely the general design of regular no. 45, but the size is that of no. 20 Jack Knife. Corrugated Pearl slabs of varying styles and colors are held in place by decorative gold bands. The cap is plain black but mounted at the end with a pearl crown or a fancy stone setting.

Two #45 Jack-Knife Safety eyedropper regular size next to a #45 Baby size. Courtesy of Luiz Leite.
Two #45 Jack-Knife Safety eyedropper regular size next to a #45 Baby size. Courtesy of Luiz Leite.
Two #45 Jack-Knife Safety eyedropper regular size next to a #45 Baby size. Courtesy of Luiz Leite.
Two #45 Jack-Knife Safety eyedropper regular size next to a #45 Baby size. Courtesy of Luiz Leite.

PARKER No. 46.

Parker no. 46. Its price was $10.00. The pen mount pearl and/or abalone slabs on barrel held in place by gold bands, complemented with a fancy overlay gold cone cap with nameplate, so the name of owner can be engraved on same. A beauty treasured for a lifetime.

The Parker #46 figure catalogued from 1909 to 1917, inclusive, although its manufacture was probably extended over time does not appear into 1918 catalog.

Two Parker #46 with different arrangement of Mother-o-Pearl slabs.
Parker #46 mounting mother-of-pearl slabs. Courtesy of Luiz Leite.
Parker #15 and #46 ad. The Hampton magazine. December 1909.

PARKER No. 47.

Parker #47. Its price was $10.00. According Parker in its time no more beautiful pen of this kind was ever made. Gold bands on either end of barrel to hold the pearl slabs in place. Supplied with a enlarged pearl barrel of new design. Cap covered with beautiful mounting 18k. fine floral design with space on cap for engraving owner’s name. Its elegant curvature has earned the affectionate nickname “Pregnant” Parker.

The Parker #47 figure catalogued from 1909 to 1917, inclusive, although its manufacture was probably extended over time does not appear into 1918 catalog.

A Parker #47 "Pregnant" alternating plain pearl and abalone slabs, in a elegant plush box, beautifully satin lined. Courtesy of Mirna & Gary Lehrer.
Parker #47 alternating plain pearl and abalone slabs. Photo courtesy of PBA Galleries, Berkeley, CA. (image ©Justin Benttinen).
Parker #47 alternating plain pearl and abalone slabs. Photo courtesy of Marks4antiques.
Parker #47 with plain Mother-of-Pearl slabs. Photo courtesy of PBA Galleries, Berkeley, CA. (image ©Justin Benttinen).
A Parker #47 "Pregnant" mounting plain slabs of MOP. The beautiful morocco hinged covered case, satin line was $1.00 extra. Courtesy of Francis Phua.
A Parker #47 "Pregnant" ad. Everybody's Magazine. December, 1910.

SOURCES:

  • 1896-1917 Parker Side Talks and Parkergrams, the Parker´s dealer magazines.
  • 1914 Parker catalog.
  • Fountain Pen and Pencil. The Golden Age of  Writing Instruments. G. Fischler & S. Schneider. Ed. Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. 1990.
  • Plumas Estilográficas. Jonathan Steinberg. Ed. Edimat Libros. 1998.
  • Tsachi Mitsenmacher pens collection.
  • Luiz Leite pens collection.
  • L. Michael Fultz collection.
  • Bonhams, FiveStarPens, GoPens and PBA Galleries.
  • 900 Parker ads. Pre-Duofold.

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