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sábado, 8 de fevereiro de 2014


It is known by all the vintage fountain pen collectors that the Parker Duofold introduced in the market in the year of 1922  was not only a big comercial success but also a breath of fresh air in a time where the market was dominated by a majority of black pens! The orange color was a great change and the beginning of a new era in the fountain pen market patterns and colors. But nothing lasts forever and as the time went by, the Parker leadership of the Pen market was in danger with the crescent rising of the sales of it's direct competitors. The situation was such that in 1931 ( after the great October 1929 crash ) and following a downward spiral initiated in the end of 1929 , Parker sold only 585.000 Duofold units wich means half the 1929 total sales of the same model! In the 8th of July 1931 "Proxy" magazine , George Parker wrote what he called his winning formula : "IT CAN BE DONE" ( do you remember: YES WE CAN ? ) . Still according to George Safford Parker : if I work three times as hard as I did in 1928 or 1929 , I will get a normal business. Hard work never hurt anyone. There are too many people in this world who are going around handing out self-pity to themselves( this words should be remembered now in 2014 by a lot of people of my nice country but that it's another story) .
In those days the pen market leadership was Sheaffer with it's Balance model followed by Waterman's with the Patrician model ( introduced in December 1929 ) . Both models had ink rubber sac and lever filler system. The Duofold button filler system although patented in 1905 by J.T. Davison had been the Duofold filling system since around 1912. To Kenneth Parker ( the youngest George Parker's son ) the ink rubber sac and the lever filler wasn't efficient anymore and more than that, he considered that this system flawed! Kenneth Parker was thinking of a sacless pen reservoir but although such a system was already patented and the first one was Charles Dunn in  1905 , there were some problems with this system wich used for the first time a moving piston inside the barrel. The main problem was an adequate sealing of the piston and equalising air pressure during the filling cycle .
Time for Arthur Dahlberg ! Dahlberg a polymath professor, born in Michigan wrote nine books on economics and worked on NRA ( National Recovery Administration ) created by President Roosevelt . Besides that Dahlberg was an inventor. It's inventor's activity was only a hobby for him . There is some proof that as early as 1921 he had patented a fountain pen that could fill Kenneth Parker's idea of a fountain pen whereby the ink reservoir was the pen barrel itself and the ink could be pumped directly into that barrel. In 14 of September 1928 Dahlberg filled a patent with improvements to his first invention . 
Several issues arose over the comercial relationship between Dahlberg and Kenneth Parker between their first meeting on the 27th of April 1928 and the final agreement in 30 January of  1932 when Parker paid Dahlberg a total amount of $20,500 US  Dollars in cash to purchase his patent. Imagine the equivalent of such an amount of money in our time! 
It's interesting to do a quick trip over what happened during this gap of time between April 1928 and January 1932 : Parker lawyers were hesitant about the veracity of the claims as they feared Dahlberg could have infringed Dunn's patent ( later on they found no foundation for such a fear) ; on the first atempts to reach a deal, the amount of money asked by Dahlberg to Kenneth Parker was so big that the deal was not possible; after that failure Dahlberg tried other pen manufacturers : Sheaffer , Conklin, Swan Pen Co. in New York City and Waterman. After Waterman showed no interest in his patent , Dahlberg tried his luck with smaller companies and in the early part of 1929 ( before the crash ) he succeed with the Corona Pen Company of Antioch, Illinois . I had not access to the amount involved in that deal and as far as I know such a deal never took place although it is known that some pens were made under Dahlberg's system. The sale of his patent to the Corona Pen 
Co.was not concluded due to the crash at the end of the year 
1929 . I never found such a pen but I'm still looking for one! 

After the conclusion of the deal when Parker decided to make the new pen some technical problems surfaced as is usual with new products and other people fixed those problems but that it is another topic. Now after the introduction of Arthur Dahlberg and besides the badly ended relationship with Kenneth Parker we can consider this man as the keystone to put in practice the idea of a new pen born in Kenneth's Parker mind. For that reason Parker made twelve pens of at least four models to honor the name of Arthur Dahlberg and inspired ( at least three of them ) on a Tefft's patent faceted design of 1933. The pens were made in the thirties and called the Dahlberg Vacumatics.
Once again I wish to thank to my friend João Pavão Martins who worked on this photo in order to reach this kind of quality.

1 comentário:

rka disse...

What a great story! Thank you!