Half a Century with a Parker Slimfold
I have two Parker Slimfold pens. The first was bought in 1961 and although I probably didn’t know or care at the time it was the first year of production of this pen and was made at the Newhaven factory in England. Elsewhere it has been said that they were produced from 1962 but mine was purchased in August 1961 just before I started at a new school. It was purchased as a school pen, a purpose for which it was rather unsuitable, not to say expensive choice as pens used at school often had a short life. I managed to break the clip on the cap by keeping it in my top lapel school blazer pocket and bent the nib although it remained serviceable it was relegated to the writing desk drawer. The second I bought when I started work in 1963 and was always the pen I kept with me. A fountain pen back then was as essential as a wallet as many things like cheques had to be signed in ink and not a ball point as in time the ink used in ball point pens then would in time deteriorate.
It is, not surprisingly, a slim pen and only an half in inch longer than the Platignum Petite at four and a half inches long overall which must be one of the smallest pens made together with the Bijou. Better suited perhaps for the smaller hand which I had when I was fourteen, I have perhaps got used to the small size over the years but then if you were writing with a pencil you wouldn’t even think about it. It has a tweezer action filler which Parker called Aeromatic and Platignum used to refer to as ‘Pressmatic’ and a transparent ink sac. It still has the original no.5, 14 carat gold nib which seems to be the most common nib fitted which is slightly flexible and writes with a medium thickness line which makes even my writing look half reasonable. In spite of it being a high mileage pen it has always been reliable and problem free and still writes very smoothly. It has always delivered the right amount of ink regardless of whether it has been left laying down for a few days or left upright in a jacket pocket. Overall, it has performed impeccably which is what one would expect of a Parker pen.
If one had to say anything of the Slimfold or any other Parker pen for the matter is that they were expensive, perhaps that is why a lot of people bought them. The Slimfold was the cheapest Parker pen you could buy at the time which is probably why I bought it in the first place. It was still a lot of money when compared to most other pens and to be perfectly honest about it, no better than a lot of very much cheaper pens. It has stood the test of time I suppose but then so has my older Platignum Regal which also sports a gold nib and writes with, to my mind, a rather better outline. It does, however, lack the name of Parker which still seems to count for something, some might say that while the Platignum writes well it lacks class. Until a year or so ago the Slimfold had been the last pen I bought with one exception and that was a real budget pen, a Parker 15 in 1987, which was a very ordinary pen indeed. Overall they write very nicely and were a very popular pen at the time. If you fancy writing with a ‘vintage’ pen then you can pick up a nice restored and serviced one for about twenty pounds which seems rather a lot to me or you can often pick up a good one for half or a lot less than that on Ebay or at a car boot sale. Many have been little used or were unwanted presents and there are an awful lot of them around so choose with care. Just watch out for the usual damaged nibs and internal corrosion of the filler mechanism.