THE PARKER CHALLENGERS

Parker Challenger pens group styles. Challenger, Challenger De Luxe and Royal Challenger.

Parker Challenger.

To fight the Depression, in 1934, the “Challenger” Parker line was launched to the market with the most attractive colors and all the features of the Parker Duofold, at $2.50, half the price of a Junior vacumatic.

The pens are made in two styles, both with clip; a Standard size for use by men; and a Slender, shorter, and thinner pen for ladies’ use. Parker explained that the Ladies pen had the clip set to prevent rolling off desk or table. It completed the line with a matched pencil and tapers for interchangeable pen pocket or desk use.

The pens were made of unbreakable material in plain Black, and Burgundy, Grey and Green, mottled.

Parker Challenger catalog. May, 1934.

The cap was trimmed with a gold-filled band -chromed in  color Grey-, and initially equipped with the style Parker washer clip. Also have the popular press button style filling device, a feature exclusive with Parker for many years.

The pen points are 14 k. solid gold tipped with iridium. These points are made by the same people, and with the same care exercised, as on Parker’s higher-priced lines.

Parker Challenger pens first generation -on the left- (1934-37), compared with the second generation (1937-1941).

It composed the set of a pencil with a narrow band in its center to match the one on the end of the pen cap. At the moment of its launching, the pens were $2,50 and $1,25 for the pencil. When sets were ordered, both pieces were put up for free in an attractive presentation case.

Parker Challenger pen and pencil set in box. Courtesy of Penworkshop, UK.

In 1939 the color Blue mottled was added to this Challenger style exclusively.

Parker Challenger Blue. Standard & Slender. Courtesy of Tsachi Mitsenmacher.

The Parker Challenger De Luxe.

In 1935, Parker introduce the Challenger De Luxe. A new pen style into this inexpensive line to capture the $5.00 set market.

Parker Challenger De Luxe brochure. August, 1935.

An ultra-smooth solid gold point in the ground in such a way that it enables the user to write two different ways. By using the point on one side, it writes medium; turn it over and it writes fine.

De Luxe was made in four colors: plain Black, and Grey, Green, and Burgundy, theses last three colors in pearl on a black background.

Parker Challenger De Luxe pens first generation -on the left- (1935-37), compared with the second generation (1937-1941).

The cap was trimmed with three gold filled rings -chromed in Grey color- equipped initially with a ball clip with crown, fitted to the cap with a jewel as Vacumatic line. The pens are made in two styles, both with clip; a Standard size for use by men; and a Slender, shorter, and thinner pen used for ladies.

The pen cost was $3.50 and $1.50 for the pencil.

Parker black Marblette and chrome metal base mod. UD with a Parker Challenger De Luxe burgundy interchangeable as desk pen. It was $5.00. Base property of Tsachi Mitsenmacher.
Parker Challenger DeLuxe prototypes. Courtesy of Tsachi Mitsenmacher.

The Parker Royal Challenger.

In 1936 Parker introduces the Royal Challenger pens with an original chevron/herringbone design. A regal addition to the Parker Challenger line with three lustrous colors, in an alluring new design. Filling with the famous button-filler, generous size, two-way writing point make these new models true challenging values in the $5.00 price field (pencil $2.50).

Parker Royal Challenger brochure. June, 1939.

The Royal Challenger pen was made in three colors: Brown, Grey, and Burgundy, and two styles, both with clip; a Standard size for use by men; and a Slender, shorter, and thinner pen used for ladies.

The cap initially was trimmed with three gold filled ring -chromed in Grey color- and equipped with an original sword clip with crown, fitted to the cap with a jewel as Vacumatic line. The sword clip was designed by Paul M. Ressinger, one of Chicago’s premier industrial designers. The blind cap barrel covering the push button filler was trimmed also with a gold-filled crown fitted with a jewel.

Parker Challenger De Luxe pens first generation with sword clip and cap rings (1936-37), compared with the second generation with V-clip and cap band (1937-1941).

Like its linemates, the pens are made in two styles, both with clip; a Standard size for use by men 131 mm. in length approximately; and a Slender, shorter, and thinner pen for ladies’ use, 122 mm. in length aprox.

Parker Challenger first generation vs streamlined second generation.

1937 will bring innovations in the Challenger, as the Visometer Ink Supply, a transparent section, to warn when de ink is low. Toward April, the Royal Challenger started to change the sword clip for a V-clip stepped and then replace the 3 cap rings for a decorated cap band. Around the same time the rest of the line, the Challenger and the Challenger DeLuxe, change the ball clip for a plain V-clip similar to the one that years later would be fitted in the Parker V-S.

In 1937, following the Vacumatic line, the Challengers streamlined its shape.

In 1941, with the arrival of the Parker «51», featuring a variety of second and third lines as the ringed Vacumatic, Sacless Duofold, and Parkette Zephyr, the Challenger was discontinued.

Parker Challenger imprints.

SOURCES:

  • 1934-1936 Parkergrams, the Parker´s dealer magazines.
  • 1934-1941 Parker catalogs and brochures.
  • 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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