Parker Pen Company

Jul 8, 2018
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Hello, so i have a few fountain pens made by the Parker Pen Company, founded in 1898, this makes me wonder, were there any parker pens on RMS Titanic? looking on wikipedia it appears that by 1912, they had only released two fountain pens that were famous models, the Jointless of 1888 and the Jack Knife Safety Pen 1909 is there a chance that any of these or a lesser-known more obscure model would have been used on Titanic? a Parker Pen would probably have been rather expensive back then (They still are now, they just sell cheaper models too) so either 1st or 2nd class, i find it likely a 2nd class passenger would have had a parker pen or any fountain pen brand for that matter, a 1st class passenger most likely got their valet or concierge to write for them, but there still would have been a need for some writing instrument for writing telegrams, signing forms, etc, an example would be that in the 1997 movie 3rd class passenger 'Jack' had a whole case of writing/drawing instruments like pencils, and what appears to be some sort of nib pen, but i can definitly say that no 3rd class passengers had parker pens or any pens for that matter, maybe pencils.

Any information on the subject will be appreciated
 
Last edited:

Athlen

Member
Apr 14, 2012
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You might find interesting information in the Sears-Roebuck catalog of 1911. None of the pens on offer are Parkers, which appear to have cost much more than these. Page 844-845 also show many pens, including more expensive ones, but the highest price is $4.40, and I think Parkers were more than that. Just a few pages earlier, they have a huge range of pocketwatches, ranging from watches for boys costing less than a dollar to gold watches costing upwards of $40; that may interest you as well.

I don’t doubt that there were first class American passengers with upmarket pens, though. If for nothing else, it was a popular activity to collect signatures in one's passenger lists or on menus, thus offering an opportunity to flash an expensive pen. Many businessmen did work aboard ship, too, and they would've wanted their favorite pens for it. And note that Sears-Roebuck offered fountain pens in the 40-50 cent range; that would be well within reach for a second-class passenger.

As you may know, indelible or copying pencils were also popular writing instruments, as they obviated the need to carry liquid ink. A water-soluble dye was mixed with the graphite and binder of an ordinary pencil, which allowed a copy to be made by pressing moist tissue paper against the document. It'd be interesting to compare the various letters written aboard Titanic to survey the writing instruments used.

I don’t recall what Jack’s drawing instruments were, and a quick viewing of the “draw me like one of your French girls” scene didn’t show them clearly. He probably had mostly charcoal sticks and graphite pencils of varying grades. Artists usually prefer metal nibs and nib holders, with the ink applied via dropper from a bottle, instead of fountain pens, if they use liquid ink. That way, nibs of varying widths and styles can be used. Even today, your typical art store will sell a range of metal nibs and holders, but few fountain pens — unless a Rapidograph or Rotring counts, and those, which drip ink down a wire and feel (to me) like a crude, scratchy precursor to a modern porous-tip pen, are nothing like a Parker. (There are, nevertheless, artists who swear by them, particularly for inking B&W comics.)
 
May 3, 2005
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" Crayola" colored wax crayons were introduced in 1903.
Are there any comments or records of passengers ..old and young.....making drawings with them or using them while on board Titanic ?
 
May 3, 2005
2,176
170
133
You might find interesting information in the Sears-Roebuck catalog of 1911. None of the pens on offer are Parkers, which appear to have cost much more than these. Page 844-845 also show many pens, including more expensive ones, but the highest price is $4.40, and I think Parkers were more than that. Just a few pages earlier, they have a huge range of pocketwatches, ranging from watches for boys costing less than a dollar to gold watches costing upwards of $40; that may interest you as well.

I don’t doubt that there were first class American passengers with upmarket pens, though. If for nothing else, it was a popular activity to collect signatures in one's passenger lists or on menus, thus offering an opportunity to flash an expensive pen. Many businessmen did work aboard ship, too, and they would've wanted their favorite pens for it. And note that Sears-Roebuck offered fountain pens in the 40-50 cent range; that would be well within reach for a second-class passenger.

As you may know, indelible or copying pencils were also popular writing instruments, as they obviated the need to carry liquid ink. A water-soluble dye was mixed with the graphite and binder of an ordinary pencil, which allowed a copy to be made by pressing moist tissue paper against the document. It'd be interesting to compare the various letters written aboard Titanic to survey the writing instruments used.

I don’t recall what Jack’s drawing instruments were, and a quick viewing of the “draw me like one of your French girls” scene didn’t show them clearly. He probably had mostly charcoal sticks and graphite pencils of varying grades. Artists usually prefer metal nibs and nib holders, with the ink applied via dropper from a bottle, instead of fountain pens, if they use liquid ink. That way, nibs of varying widths and styles can be used. Even today, your typical art store will sell a range of metal nibs and holders, but few fountain pens — unless a Rapidograph or Rotring counts, and those, which drip ink down a wire and feel (to me) like a crude, scratchy precursor to a modern porous-tip pen, are nothing like a Parker. (There are, nevertheless, artists who swear by them, particularly for inking B&W comics.)
I believe in the 1997 "Titanic" , Jack is shown using the charcoal sticks for his drawing.
Rose is shown signing the drawings with some kind of an ink pen with something that looks shiny when wet but black when it dries.