By Daniel Zazove & Ramón Campos.

William Edgar Moore came to work at the Parker Pen Co. in 1902. George S. Parker would later say about him: «As you know, William Moore is a pretty good authority on Parker pens”.

Parker men employees standing up in Carnegie Library stairs. Janesville. Among them is William E. Moore ,-sixth from the left in the second row- who years later would invent the popular Washer clip. C. 1907.


On May 24, 1916, Moore filed patent application US1,197,224 for what would become the famous Parker Washer clip. This improvement enabled the clip to be located at the extreme end of the cap, so the pen sat deeply and securely in the pocket with only a fraction of the cap protruding. It fitted elegantly, simply, and economically on the Jack Knife cap that Parker had been making; they seemed created for each other. This was perceived as a valuable customer benefit when most pocket clips were located halfway up the cap so that pen rode high in the pocket.

A significant benefit of the Moore Washer clip was military. Soldiers can’t have reflective metal on their persons because the enemy can target the reflection. The washer clip fits under the pocket flap of the military uniform, so the clip is not visible. Possibly because of this feature, Parker sold more pens to the Army for use in World War One than any of its competitors.

Moore voluntarily assigned his invention to the company, and in recognition of his devotion, George Parker paid him a royalty during the 17-year patent life.

Patent US1197224. Parker Washer clip by William E. Moore.
Moore's handwritten text of the Parker Washer clip specifications.
Letter, from Munn and Co, patent attorneys, informing William Moore of the Washer clip patent grant.

The Parker pen Washer clip featured many years, being adaptable to pre-Duofolds, Duofolds, Vacumatics, or the «51», covering what we could call the Parker’s Golden Age.

In 1916, Moore also filed an application US1,204,053 for a patent an ingenious clip with a band around the mouth of the cap, which solved the problem of the caps on fountain pens that frequently split or break at the open end when screwed onto the body of the pen. Thus, Moore already anticipated a solution that, in practice, would take seven years to arrive with the gold girdle cap band.

Clip patent US1204053, by William E. Moore.


Moore was also interested in improving the bar of the button filler system, so in the Parker Archives, there is an experimental Corner Brace on Pressure Bar Spring, attributed to him, dated June 25, 1919, which we assume was based on this US1,346,045 patent.

Patent US1346045. Pressure bar, by William E. Moore.


From the spring of 1928 after Dahlberg’s first visit, Kenneth Parker was interested in finding a new filling system to replace the button filler. He also knew that his employees had made significant advances that had contributed to Duofold’s success.

On March 15, 1929, Moore filed a patent application for a self-filling fountain pen US1,801,635, in which a slidable cylinder is extracted compressing the air in the barrel and collapsing the sac. The sac is allowed to expand and fill with ink by restoring it to its normal pressure condition.

Patent US1801635. Vacuum filler "Touchdown". William E. Moore.
A prototype guarded in the Parker Archives of a William Moore's "Touchdown filler".

Kenneth Parker bet, with great success, on Arthur Dahlberg’s Vacumatic filling system, so this Moore’s patent seemed to be forgotten… but it was not; in 1949, after the expiration of this patent, it was taken up by Sheaffer’s for its famous «Touchdown» filler.

Faced with this new Sheaffer’s release and the expired patent, there was little Parker could do…except publicize its anticipation to its dealers, which it did with this flyer:


Philip Hull, manager of the Product Development Department among many other activities in his 48 years in Parker,  wrote his Memoirs in 2001, in it he details that in 1934, Moore was head of the Desk Set Department when Parker began the engraving services previously outsourced outside the plant was an awkward, slow arrangement that annoyed customers who would buy a pen or pencil and have the dealer send it to Parker who would forward it for engraving. The whole procedure could take as much as a month before the customer finally had his new pen in hand. In the interest of reducing lengthy turnaround time and to gain better control over the situation Parker decided to set up his own engraving facility. The earliest was a single, slow, balky engraving machine operated by William Moore. The department grew over the years to several machines plus the ability to perform lithographing, mounting of company emblems, and name engraving that duplicated the owner’s signature.


To meet the greater flow of ink required by certain nibs like those mounted on Senior and Oversized pens, or by special nibs such broad, stub, or oblique, on March 15, 1929, Moore filed a patent application for a feed with a wide channel with two deeper incisions on the sides of the canal, thus providing a greater flow of ink as required by these styles of gold nib. The feeds with wide channel were stamped with the letter «W» so that they may be readily distinguished from the regular feeds.

This invention also improved a structural weakness of the feeds by making the heel of the nib fit better onto the feed, avoided a warping action that caused undue stress on certain parts which, in many instances, caused the heel to crack. The crack sometimes extended from the heel to the ventilation hole, breaking the nib in two parts.

Patent US1950364. Improved feed with especially wide channel, and fit to it of the nib heel. William E. Moore.
Comparison between the Parker regular feed with the Moore's wide feed.
Parker wide feed.


Moore made several improvements to the desktop bases, some of which are in the Parker Archives with many samples of holder models.

A 1950 William E. Moore's sketch improving the desk base mechanics, and making a minor update on the socket designed by Moholy-Nagy.


William Moore was the first Parker Pen company employee to retire with more than 50 years of seniority. He commenced his employment from the factory on South Main Street -The Home of the Lucky Curve- and ended at Arrow Park, passing through the Gazette Building and the Court and Division Streets factories along the way.

William Edgar Moore posing with other Parker employees with more than 25 years seniority (September 30, 1954).
William Moore, in the presence of Daniel Parker, reads the letter specially written by Kenneth Parker for his retirement party.
William Moore shows to his coworkers Joan Julseth, left, and Jere Stone, two early pens of the type made when Moore reported for work with the Company in 1902. (1954).
Letter text from Kenneth Parker to William Moore on his retirement party. 1954.

Yes, William Moore was a pretty good authority on Parker pens, and yes, the Parker Pen Co. was extremely fortunate to have his services for so many years.