THE parker giants

Photo courtesy of Tsachi Mitsenmacher.
Parker Giant vs "51" sizes comparison.


In February 1908, Parker announced to its dealers that they were preparing to place on the market «The Red Giant», a big fountain pen so big and startling they will guarantee a broad smile from you when you see it. The pen would be made entirely of a maroon hard rubber, fitted with a No. 10 pen, and the price would be $10.00. Big as it is, strange to say it is an easy, restful pen with which to write. The salesman in any store selling fountain pens, who would carry this and show it, would never fail to have an interesting audience. They would be ready to fill orders for it about February 10.

Finally, the pen is supplied with a formidable #12 nib. The color definitely would be denominated cardinal red.

The Red Giant pen is an eyedropper filler made in hard rubber, furnished with a slip cap and joint threaded section, and very approximate measurements of 148 mm long capped with a diameter cap 19 mm. The Parker Giants is not made as a self-filler owing to its extraordinary ink carrying capacity and infrequent need of filling.

Parker Red Giant. Courtesy of Gary and Myrna Lehrer.
Parker Red Giant details. Courtesy of Stilusaurea. See more photos by clicking on the image.

These pens mount the famous Lucky Curve «Christmas tree» feed made in red hard rubber.

In those years prior to its washer clip, at an additional cost of 25 c. nickel and 50 c. gold covered, Parker could apply to their pens the clip patented by Levi Van Valkenburg to the cap by special machinery. This clip, marked “Parker VV Pat. Feb. 12, 07″ are applied to some Red Giants.

Its three-line barrel imprint is: to the left, GEO S. PARKER – JANESVILLE – PAT.JAN.9.94. At center, the LUCKY CURVE BANNER. To right, FOUNTAIN PEN – WIS. U.S.A. – JUN.28.98 JAN.3.05 JUN.6.05.

Parker Red Giants imprint
Parker Giant Lucky Curve feeds and nibs. Courtesy of Tsachi Mitsenmacher.
Parker Giant Lucky Curve feeds and nibs. Courtesy of Tsachi Mitsenmacher.
Parker Giants. Courtesy of Tsachi Mitsenmacher.
Parker Giants. Courtesy of Luiz Leite.

PARKER BLACK GIANT. The King of pens.

Parker Side Talks. March 1914. «THE RED GIANT. Price $10.00. Furnished Red or Black. The king of pens. Not everyone would care for such a pen, but there are many who do. This pen fills the want of those who want «the biggest pen you make.» The gold pen is a No. 12 and the barrel Is big enough so you can drop into it an ordinary sized pen and almost lose it. If you like a big pen, here you are.»

This big pen is known as the Black Giant with its 155 mm length and 19 mm cap diameter. It is fitted with a No. 12 gold pen. The price is $10.00. One does not realize its immensity until he compares it with an ordinary-sized fountain pen.

Almost all Parker “Black Giant” pens have the Jack-Knife Safety screw cap. Some of these are stamped “Black Giant” on the cap, some are stamped “Jack Knife Safety” on the cap but neither stamp is needed to identify or authenticate the pen. Its size itself is all the authenticity required.

As we can see in the photo below, a few “Black Giant” pens have slip caps and these are presumed to be earlier than the screw cap version.

Parker Giant clip just punched blank. Tsachi Mitsenmacher.
Parker Black Giants with nickel and gold-filled washer clip and without them. Slip-fit and threaded caps. Courtesy of PBA Galleries, Berkeley, CA. (photos © Justin Benttinen).
A Parker Black Giant inside its box case. Courtesy Tsachi Mitsenmacher.
Parker Black Giant Sidetalk

«Parker especially recommends this pen to insurance agents, and salesmen, to anyone, where the question of salesmanship is involved, as regarding the signing of an order, or contract, commenting to its dealers that the immensity of the pen will invariably call forth a pleasant smile and break down the resistance of your prospective buyer. As a sales assistant – along these lines, it is an asset of splendid possibilities.

The Daddy of Them All; this is the title sometimes given the big Black Giant Fountain Pen. It certainly is a wonder and do you know that there are many lawyers, merchants, or insurance men, who like just such a big pen, in fact we sell several thousand of these black, or red, Giants in the course of a year.

If you had one of these pens in stock, it would help you raise the average price of all the fountain pens sold. If you wanted to make a man smile who came into your store, get him up to the pen case and hand him the Black Giant. It will take a man out of the grouch class unconsciously and put him among the sunshine’s.»

Parker Black Giant regular pen compared with a short size.
A short-size Parker Black Giant furnished with a cap band.

The Black Giant three-line barrel imprint is: to the left, GEO S. PARKER – JANESVILLE – PAT.JAN.3-05.APR.11-05 At center, the LUCKY CURVE BANNER. To right, FOUNTAIN PEN – WIS. U.S.A. – APR.25-12. JUN.4.12

Parker Black Giant imprint.

In 1918 the Red Giant was discontinued, remaining the Black Giant, at least, until 1921.

Towards 1920 was introduced a short version of the Black Giant. We can find these pens in a double version; with a smooth cap or furnished with a ½” wide band.

There are Black Giant Trench pens with storage for ink pellets under the blind cap.

Parker Giant ads from1920 November & December. The Rotarian.


In the Michael Fultz Collection index says they have a Parker Giant Bakelite barrel, but unfortunately there is no photo … a pity!


At one point, George S. Parker, perhaps tired of hearing about Waterman’s “World’s Smallest Pen” from his salesmen. He decided to double the bet ordering the production of an ultra-giant pen, about 224 mm. (8 ¾”) long. Really «The Daddy of Them All» –as Parker called their Giants-.  At the end of the barrel was designed a plug to cap a hollow space separate from the ink. This end piece unscrews to reveal a hidden Parker Red “Baby» miniature eyedropper-filler fountain pen, measuring 47 mm. with a tiny, unmarked nib.

According to Fischler & Schneider, this pen was probably used as a salesman sample. Although a working pen, fitted with a #12 nib, it is too large to use.

According to Michael Fultz, there were two series or groups of these pens made. The first was around 1912 and came with Parker #12 Lucky Curve nibs for the giant pen and unmarked nibs on the tiny pen. Both pens had Lucky Curve feeds. Sometime later, perhaps as late as 1940, a second group of pens was made too in hard rubber. However, the giant pen has a nib without a number. He speculated that the first group contained only about a dozen pens while the second group was somewhat larger.

A rare Parker "ultra-Giant" auctioned in December 2017. (© Bonhams)


and the Galalith Casein.

By Daniel Zazove and Ramon Campos.

Parker No. 45 crown cap with its Galalith's pearl.

Galalith is the name of a plasticine substance made from skimmed milk treated with metallic salts and soaps and finally, with formaldehyde. It is hard, takes a fine polish, is odorless and is less inflammable than celluloid which is a guncotton and camphor combination. Galalith has the appearance of marble but is far lighter in weight and takes kindly to various coloring processes.

This new plastic was presented at the 1900 Paris World’s Fair and featured at the Hygienic Milk Supply exhibition held in Hamburg in 1903. John Gollner, then in charge of Parker’s foreign sales, reported its possibilities to the Company after his business trip to Europe in the winter of 1904.

Parker Pen was particularly interested in Galalith as the price of vulcanized rubber had recently risen by fifty percent and the cost increase could not be passed on to consumers if the Company wanted to remain competitive.

George S. Parker immediately sent an inquiry to the German manufacturer’s representative and, as result, several large plates of Galalith reached the Parker factory in January of 1906. The natural color of the substance was white, but with the addition of pigments all sorts of beautiful color variations ranging from coral pink to blue and imitation tortoise shell, unattainable with rubber, was possible.

Unfortunately, these early factory experiments with Galalith failed because the eyedropper filling system did not resist the corrosion produced by permanent contact of the ink acids with the holders.

All was not lost however, because at the end of 1908 the Company began to produce their model No. 45, one of the most beautiful fountain pens of the era, which had a cap crowned with a gold band holding a Galalith pearl.

At the same time, in the winter of 1908, Parker offered a new model designed for the college student market called ”The Cap with the Colored Crown”. The end of the cap was fitted with a little crown to match the College colors. It could be furnished with one, two or three discs, in red, white, green, orange, and purple and harmonize beautifully with the rich polished black of the fountain pen. Parker adapted its existing 2X pen to make this new model. Shortly after, the cap of the Jack-Knife version of model No. 45 was also furnished with a brilliantly colored Galalith gemstone. 

Parker No. 21½ caps with the Galalith Colored Crown.
Parker Jack Knife No. 45 crown cap with Galalith's gemstone.

Then in 1913, with the introduction of the button-filler system, and the internal rubber sac, Parker began the production of holders fully manufactured from brightly colored Galalith which they commercially called Ivorines.

Primigenius Parker pen Ivorines. In these early Ivorines, the safety cap and the button blind cap were the same color as the pen.
Early Ivorines furnished with standard black safety caps and matched color button blind cap.

In January 1917 Parker called their dealers attention to the wonderful selling possibilities of the Ivorines.

We cannot accept an order from any dealer for a large number of these pens for the very good and sufficient reason -our present limited supply of crude material. We do, however, want all dealers to have a few because they are new and different from anything sold heretofore.

We have a monopoly on Ivorine and so far, as we know will continue to have until after the war.

Why not work a little strategy in your business? Who are the social and club leaders of your city? Who sets the pace for correct and new things to wear? Who sets the most popular schoolgirl that the others look up to? Find out the favorite colors of these leaders. Then order the cap. Ivorines in these favorite colors. When they arrive in stock, telephone to, or otherwise arrange to have one leader at a time and in a nice, tactful way, say that you have something new in the way of colors in the Parker Pen. That you would appreciate the opportunity of showings it to her as it is new and exclusive.

Then when Miss Society Belle calls, place in her hand the pen which you had previously learned was her favorite color. Explain tactfully what a charming addition one of these pens of a color to match her purse, her dress or writing case, would be. Explain that schoolgirls usually carry the pens with a narrow black and white striped ribbon drawn through a ring in. Do you not think your customers would be pleased with this subtle of flattery? Most assuredly they would. You would find using this kind of salesmanship would make sales as easy as going on a fishing trip next summer.”

With the advent of World War One and ocean warfare Parker Pen faced the impossibility of obtaining any more imports of Galalith as this material was imported from France. In place of Ivorines, Parker developed two or three colors of Bakelite: a very pretty shade of green, and one or two shades of red and pink.

In 1920 at the end of the war, and maritime traffic normalized, Parker again began to import Galalith and reintroduced a new version of Ivorines in its catalog in colors of Jade Green, French Gray, Crimson, Royal Purple, Coral, Turquoise Blue or White. These new models featured jaunty black tips and could be furnished in their basic version with a No. 2 nib, or at a higher price, fitted with a trim gold band, a ring for use with neck chatelaine, clip for pocket, or a No. 3 nib. Also featured was a new model No. 66 with a cap crowned with a gold band with a ring for a chatelaine, and a new model No. 84, with the same gold cap and a blind cap covered with gold filled metal.

Parker announcing Galalith's reception.
1922 Parker pen Ivorines in catalog.
Parker pen Ivorines from the '20s. Courtesy of Tsachi Mitsenmacher.


Geo. S. Parker introducing these fancy pens in November 1923:

1921 Parker pen Ivorines ad.
Photo from by Tony Fischier.

“Saturday last I was in Chicago and called at the Chicago office of the company. I found each and every occupant of the office very much excited. That is saying a good deal when it applies to Mr. Clark, the manager of the Chicago office, for he is not the excitable kind. In fact, when Mr. Clark enthuses over any subject there must be a pretty good reason for it.  Well, the reason this time was because they had discovered an artist in Chicago who in turn had discovered a process of hand decorating the Ivorine caps and barrels in such a delicate and beautiful way that it makes them look like a million dollars. I do not believe any words of mine can describe the beauty and novelty of these fountains.  The young lady who developed this has been an art student for a number of years, she has experimented in colors and the application of same to fountain pens and has discovered a method of hand painting these fountains and then , putting on a preparation to protect the painting so that it will not readily, wear, and it really looks as though Mr. Clark and his associates in the Chicago office had good reason to feel enthusiastic. They take these holders, decorate them in quite a variety of designs, both conventional and otherwise, and it makes the possibility of a gift proposition such as the writer has never before seen in a fountain pen. The strange part of it is that the cost of them is such that the entire fountain pen thus hand decorated can be sold for $7,50.  Now please don’t get excited and think that you are going to get a quota of five or ten gross to sell between now and the fifteenth of December for that is not possible. If we get a thousand or fifteen hundred pens total, we will be doing pretty well because each pen must be hand painted. We may get some of these so that we can forward a sample to you by Thursday of this week, but we certainly cannot permit you to take orders for quantities of these.  Mr. Clark’s Idea was that they could break in exclusive jewelry and gift shops that are not now handling fountain pens, offering them this as a novelty and then work in DUOFOLDS and eventually the black line and pencils, I believe his idea is good. Of course, if you get a sample and some old customer wants two or three, we will try and squeeze them out.  The young lady in question has several artists and they can get out, she thinks, about six dozen a day. As a novelty gift proposition, it would be pretty hard to beat. Personally, I do not think I ever saw a more beautiful combination in a fountain pen. When walking up Michigan Avenue in Chicago, I saw in a very beautiful jewelry store, (not our customer), a pen that looked somewhat similar to this. Come to find out, they had little metallic pieces fastened in the barrel and these metallic pieces were enameled, and their prices of these were from $20 and up. In my opinion they were not nearly as handsome as the hand decorated pens which I have described above.  These will be sold at $7.50 and so far as the boxes will go in a fancy box without extra charge. The discount will be the same as on the black line.  I only wish I could tell you that we would have ten thousand of these for you, but it is an utter impossibility. Still, you w/ill have the satisfaction of offering a few of these of a novelty such as none of us have ever foreseen. The young lady artist in question has promised to do no work for anyone else but will devote all of her time and energy to giving us the exclusive on it. Does this not sound good to you?”

The Parker Ivorines were replaced in 1926 by the Parker Pastels.

Parker Ivorine Coral, fitted with a trim gold band, and ring cap for use with neck chatelaine.