Pen Review: Parker Duofold Geometric

Yesterday I picked up my Christmas pen, my one and only pen splurge for the year, actually. I got it at a really good price from a good friend, so I thought I’d give myself this treat to celebrate making it to the end of 2020. This is a Parker Duofold Geometric circa 1939-1940. It was marketed as an affordable pen aimed at the entry level market. Its arrival was a bit of a surprise because the dominating pen at the time was the Vacumatic, my favorite kind of vintage Parker pens. The Duofold Geometric (also called Duofold Toothbrush, for obvious reasons) had an interesting pattern, but is obviously quite different in design from the vacumatics. These came in gold and nickel trim back then. The one I have has a nickel trim, which clashes a bit with the gold nib. No biggie, though.

The clip is tapered and simply has “PARKER” engraved on it. The cap band is devoid of any design.

Quite a departure from the art deco design influence on Vacumatics. Below is a photo of the Parker pens that I currently have inked. The clip design is very different, and is missing the iconic arrow which was already adapted to Parker pens of that time.

The material used is still celluloid, though. The filling mechanism is the same as the traditional Duofold, which is a button filler. Here is a size comparison with a Parker Duofold Junior from1928. The Toothbrush is just slightly longer than the Duofold Junior, but the Junior is heavier, feels more solid, and has a bigger girth.

The Junior feels like it has almost the same thickness as a Sailor Progear Mini. The Toothbrush, on the other hand, feels much lighter in the hand. You can see how it’s considered as part of a budget line during that time, it feels less sturdy than its weightier predecessor.

The weight, size and girth of this pen is much closer to that of the Vacumatic Debutantes.

It has a certain charm, though, which I think accounts for the fact that it’s still popular with collectors despite being obviously made with cheaper materials compared with the Vacs.

Here’s a size comparison with my two Vacumatic Debutantes.

The way that they feel in the hand feels very much the same. I find the size awfully cute. These are adorable, pocket-sized versions of bigger vacs and duofolds and I’m pretty much in love with them.

Below is a photo of what would appear to be an amber-colored window to look at the ink level, and it has a rod visible from the translucent portion of the barrel. It’s an interesting design quirk because it’s pretty much useless. Looks like it was made to look as if the filling system is the same as the more popular Vacumatic, but the pen uses a button filler with an ink sac, so this design is not really useful.

Here’s a close up of the “toothbrush” geometric design and the inscription on the barrel:

 

The nib design of the Toothbrush is also quite simple, without the iconic arrow themes of even the original Duofolds. This nib is unmarked, but it writes like a stubby, European medium nib. I inked it with Parker Quink black.

I really love how this pen writes. It wrote perfectly after I inked it. The nib is hard with just a very slight bounce, but it is super smooth. It has a very slight feedback but  it glides easily on paper. It almost feels like writing with pencil, even the sound it makes. Like the older Duofold, the nib has a slight bend to it, almost like a claw. It makes this really pleasant scratching sound on paper. It lays down a wet, consistent line of ink and it’s a complete pleasure to write with. Here’s a quick writing sample below.

The condition of the pen is amazing despite the fact that it’s now 80-81 years old. I think my friend did a good job taking care of this pen, and I hope to do the same now that it’s in my collection. What a testament this is to great craftsmanship. Here’s a hat tip to an era when things were made to last instead of disposed of, and things are fixed when they’re broken instead of replaced. It’s been 6 years since I last bought a disposable pen, and using vintage pens like this one reminds me of one of the reasons why I started this hobby in the first place–to reduce plastic waste. It’s pretty awesome that this pen was made on the same year my grandmother was born, and it’s still writing the way that it should. World War II hasn’t even ended at that time, and the world was quite different from today. This pen survived that and has seen the world change in many different ways. That, for me, is super cool.

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