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Duofolds - Flattops and streamliners - and a few other pens

The Parker Duofold was introduced in 1921. It turned out to be a huge succes and secured the Parker Brand a central place in fountain pen history.

The so-called Flattops were produced from 1921 until 1929 where they were replaced with the Streamline Pens. Although additional lines of pens with the name Duofold were introduced to the market in 1939 (the Duofold Geometric or "toothbrush") and in 1940 (the Striped Duofold), from a point of view of design and functionality, it seems correct to consider only the Flattop and the Streamline early Duofolds.

For more in depth information about the history and the many variations of the duo fold pen you should refer to "Parker Duofold" by Shepherd and Zazove.

The very early "Giant Imprint" from 1921 - 1922

I was so lucky to almost stumble over the wonderful early Red Hard Rubber Duofold with the rare "Giant Imprint" ('Duofold' written in big characters ). It is a very clean pen, but there is one serious issue: the cap is missing!

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Flattops and two pencils to disrupt the picture

I have always liked the Parker Flattops and since they were imported to Denmark from an early stage they are not impossible to come by. I the pic below I have simply made a small pile of some of my flattops. Sometimes quantity is nice! I apologise for the lack of cleaning.

Cap bands and colours

What you see below are caps with so-called wide cap band. From the picture I think one can see, that some band are flush while others are slightly raised.

The four colours represented are among the early ones. I still need to find a blue Duofold that is not too discoloured. The black pen is an ultra nice and fairly rare specimen (at least the only Flattop senior in my collection). 

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A couple of nice "Big Reds" as the orange Flattops are also called. The two narrow cap bands were introduced in 1928. Internally some modifications were made to the "lucky curve" feed, which had proven difficult to repair.

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Three different caps. Obviously, the cap to the right is a modern reinvention of the original yellow "Madarin". It is a special edition pen from 1995.

Streamline models from 1929

The Streamline Duofold resembles the original Flattop very much. The main changes are: The barrel is slightly shorter and the end is tapered as opposed the the completely cylindrical Flattop. Top and bottom cap are without milling and also slightly tapered. Below you can compare two black pens, a Flattop and a Streamline, both seniors.

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More Streamline pens
Ladies' pens
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Senior, special, junior and Ladysize pens for comparison

The Duofolds were produced in many different sizes: Senior (the biggest pen), special (more or less same length as the senior but thinner, (see "ABOUT" in the menu) the junior (a short pen) and the lady. In addition, you also had a fat and very short vest pocket model and a desk model.

The Streamline ladies' model was offered with either a clip (the orange pen) or a ring. The ring allowed the owner to wear the pen as a pieces of jewellery. 

Further below, a comparison between a Flattop Ladies' model and a Streamline ladies' model. The wide cap band was replaced around 1027.

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Overskrift 6
Flattops: Senior, special and junior
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Flattops: Senior and lady
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Nibs

As the body and the inner-arts of the Duofolds were subject to redesign, so were the nibs. Shepherd and Zazove offer a nice page to help date nibs. Dating the nibs below, I source my information from that page.

Nib design from 1922 - 1923

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Nib design from 1924

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Mandarin yellows from respectively 1927 and 1995. The 1927 pen is not perfect in colour.
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A Flattop on top of a box in which it could have purchased (but they are not a couple as such).
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Nib design from 1926. You find a lot of other nib designs in the early Parker Duofolds.

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