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The Parker Duofold Nib and Feed
by Jim Mamoulides 1/12/02 - Updated 9/11/02

Want to get an interesting and perhaps animated discussion going at your next pen club meeting? Just ask, "What is the correct nib and feed for a vintage Parker Duofold?"

There is no question that early Duofold flattops came with "plain" nibs, having only the words "Parker Lucky Curve", or "Parker Lucky Curve Duofold Pen", or "Parker Duofold Pen", not "Arrow" nibs, as appeared on the Vacumatic pens introduced in the 1930s. There seems to be little question that repaired Duofolds may have come back from Parker or local repair shops with Arrow nibs on them.

1925 Parker Duofold Advertisement Stressing Nibs

Some sources believe that Parker may have used Arrow nibs on later models as they closed out the Duofold line in the 1930s and absorbed old stock. My first Duofold, a red oversize, or Senior flattop model had an arrow nib on it, and I wondered about this myself.

"Correct" Parker Duofold Oversize Mandarin Nib (Top) and Feed (Bottom) c1928

The early models had the "Christmas Tree" feed and the Lucky Curve, which makes for good regulated ink flow, but these pens can burp out drops of ink once in a while.

Parker "Big Red" Oversize Duofold Fitted With An Arrow Nib (Top)
Parker Vacumatic Fitted With The Standard Vacumatic Arrow Nib (Bottom)

Parker later improved the feed to a flat comb feed, which improved ink flow and reduced overflows. This feed also appears on the Vacumatic.

So what is the "correct" nib? Early flattops should have a version of the plain nibs, unless they were repaired. Is an Arrow nib "wrong?" Not necessarily. If Parker replaced the nibs and feeds with Arrow units, it's actually an improvement! But if you want "all original" equipment, the literature for these pens does not show Arrows.

From a collector point of view, Arrow nibbed pens will tend to command less money, so if you're not picky, an Arrow nibbed pen will get you a potentially good user and save you some money for that next pen.

Comments on this article may be sent to the author, Jim Mamoulides

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