Parker 95 1988-1994
by Jim Mamoulides, January 5, 2002, updated July 4, 2003 and December 16, 2012
The Arrow gets an update
In 1988, Parker updated the Arrow as a more refined pen and renamed it the 95. The most noticeable difference between the two pens is the more detailed clip, taken from the Parker 88. Both the cap and barrel ends of the pen now have round painted insets, in place of the Vector like design on the Arrow. The cap top has a more elegant stepped look. The section is almost identical, and will interchange with the Arrow, but the feed has a square breather hole in it. A lot of details add up to an entry-level pen with a higher line look and feel.
The 95 is more of a "fashion pen" and is still targeted the entry-level $10 to $100 fine pen gift market. The 95 retains the tubular flush fitting cap and barrel design of the Arrow and is fitted with the same wrapped 23 carat gold plated stainless steel semi-hooded nib. Unlike the Sheaffer Triumph nib, the 95 nib is not seamless, and shows a distinct gap at the base. It's a cartridge / converter pen, using the early Parker press bar squeeze converter. The 95 clip is an improvement the Arrow design, being a single piece that is fastened to the top of the cap by bending its top into a tab that enters a cap-top slot. Parker backed the 95 with its "Worldwide Lifetime Guarantee."
The 95 came in all four standard writing modes: fountain, capped rollerball, twist action ballpoint and pencil. The fountain and rollerball pens carry the same tubular design the entire length of the pen, while the ballpoint and pencil taper to a point at the barrel end.
The 95 carried forward all of the current finishes available on the Arrow model it replaced. All brushed Stainless Steel, all 23 carat gold or silver plate, all anodized Black Matte, and high gloss Black and Thuya (brown) Laque finishes were offered. I have seen a number of solid matte painted colors on brass, including several swirled marble finishes, in green, blue, red, and gray, though I have no catalog names for them. I've also seen plain and fluted gold and silver plate over brass models. UK made pens were plated with rolled gold. All models came with 23 carat gold plated trim except the brushed Stainless Steel, which also was offered with chrome plated trim. All finishes were available until the line was discontinued in 1994.
The 95 maintained the same price points as the Arrow, intended as entry-level gift pens, and were priced accordingly, with Matte fountain pens starting at US $40.00, brushed stainless and Lacquer models higher, at under US $100.00, to gold and silver plate models priced just above US $100.00. Parker 95s were made in the USA, UK and France. The 95 was shipped in the same simple plastic presentation boxes as the Arrow, and they did a nice job of showing the pen.
Identification guide and features:
- Insignia, 23 karat gold plate, plated fluted Fileté pattern cut brass base cap and barrel, 1988-1992, fountain pen $90
- Plain gold filled, 23 karat gold plate, brass base cap and barrel, 1993
- Silver plate, plated fluted Fileté pattern cut brass base cap and barrel, 1991
- Black Laque, painted brass base cap and barrel, 1988-1993, fountain pen $65
- Black Matte, painted brass base cap and barrel, 1988-1992, fountain pen $55
- Thuya Laque, brown wood grain, painted brass base cap and barrel, 1988-1989, fountain pen $65
- Turquoise Laque, painted brass base cap and barrel, 1991-1993, fountain pen $65
- Flighter, brushed stainless steel cap barrel, 1988-1993, fountain pen $40, chrome trim 1990-1993 (UK only), fountain pen £20
- Cap lip marked "PARKER" on front, and country of manufacture, USA, UK or France on back
- 23 karat gold plated trim on all models except Flighter, which had both gold and chrome trim versions
- Parker Arrow clip
- Unknown stainless steel nib grades offered, but fine and medium examples are confirmed
- Semi-hooded gold plated stainless steel nib with "PARKER" stamped on the face
- Snap on cap
- About 5 1/4 inches long capped and 5 3/4 inches with the cap posted on the end of the barrel
- Weighs 0.6 ounces
- Cartridge converter filling system
- All versions offered as fountain pen, rollerball pen, twist-action ballpoint pen and twist-action 0.5mm pencil
- Presented in a plastic gift box
Like the Arrow, the 95 is very well made, and feels very solid, but the additional detailing makes the pen appear more expensive and luxurious. The review pen is the brushed stainless finish, which is very understated, and holds up very well to daily use.
The pen is essentially the same dimensions as the Arrow, being 5 1/4 inches long capped and 5 3/4 inches posted. It too is a middleweight pen being, essentially, a long, thin steel tube.
The cap snaps on and posts deep and snug on the barrel end. In the pocket it sits high, and isn't too heavy. The pen is nicely balanced, capped or posted, using a friction fit on the end of the barrel which may lead to barrel end scuffing. This "Flighter" is fitted with a very smooth, wet and even writing gold plated stainless medium nib. It has no flex, which was not expected, definitely stiff, but it makes a good daily user.
The clip has more spring than the Arrow, but not by much. The design softens the sharp edges of the Arrow clip and is easier on the pocket.
As with the Arrow, the pen seems happiest with the Parker long refill cartridges, though it does well enough with the slim converter. I have noticed on these pens, which have essentially the same section, that when left sitting idle, cartridges tend to dry out very fast. A definite negative.
I like the brushed stainless finish and the better detailing makes for a more interesting pen. Frankly, a choice between the Arrow and the 95 would be easy for me. The 95 looks more like a finished thought, where the Arrow is more of a rough draft. Both pens seem to sit in the same price range when they show up in shops or at auction, so to me, the 95 is worth picking up as a nice slender starter cartridge / converter pen.
Fountain Pens of the World, Andreas Lambrou, Copyright © 1995, Zwemmer, London, England
Fountain Pens: United States and United Kingdom, Andreas Lambrou, Copyright © 2000, Phillip Wilson Publishers Ltd, London, England
Parker 95, copyright ©1995-2012, Tony Fischier and The Parker Pen Company®/Sanford Ecriture
Parker Archives Pen Catalog, September 27, 1994, Parker Pen Company, Janesville, WI, USA
Parker Calendar, Pen Catalog, July, 2002, Cheryl Hayes, Product Quality & Development Dept, Parker Pen Company, Newhaven, UK
Comments on this article may be sent to the author, Jim Mamoulides