My Favorite: Writing Pen

There’s only one pen in the world I’ll carry in my wallet or keep within arm’s reach at my desk.

The Parker Jotter.

I’ve been carrying a Jotter around for several years and have kept one at my desk almost as long. I’ve only had to buy one refill and I didn’t have to look any farther than my local Wal-Mart, K-Mart or Target to find it. They’ve never scratched my paper or skipped on ink when I went to write. It’s always an easy and smooth writing experience. And at less than $5 at most retailers, I’ve never looked back.

Now, this little beauty might be simple and inexpensive but it has a neat little history and collector’s appeal to compensate for its humble beginnings.

The Jotter was Parker’s first branded ballpoint pen. Released in 1954, it featured the simple trough clip that was being used in many of Parker’s economy line pens as well as a nylon-based grooved barrel and a rounded, dome-shaped button at the top.

The original Jotter pens were available in black, blue, green and red, though many other colors have produced since and some have become very rare collector’s items including the clear barreled ‘demonstrator’ models. A very rare model Jotter to come across is the so-called ‘lunch room’ specials that were supposedly created as a result of cleaning the production machinery. They have a marbelized appearance combining two colors of dye in the machinery. A very popular Jotter with collectors is the laboratory or “flighter” version that featured a matching allow barrel and cap and usually had a gold or chrome clip. During the years, several ‘prototype’ designs have been produced and are now very rare collectibles.

In 1956 Parker changed the barrels to smooth plastic and the clip to the ’21’ design that featured a reversed ‘V’ instead of the inverted predecessor. The next major change was the introduction of the ‘arrow’ clip design in 1958. This is main clip design still in use today. During the early sixties Parker released a ‘girls’ series of Jotter pens that were smaller and came in seven different colors plus a clear ‘demonstrator’. In the seventies, flat button pens were shifting into style and Parker’s Jotter went with the flow flattening the button and imprinting their brand on the top. This is the style that remains on the pen’s button to this day.

In 2004 Parker released box sets of original style Jotters to commemorate the pen’s 50th anniversary.

I’ve known people who spend enormous amounts of money on fancy pens and end up buying a new one a couple of years later. I’ve never understood it. Why spend so much on a pen? I can almost understand it if you’re a serious writer or journalist and you want a serious writing utensil for your serious writing notebook while you do your serious writing work. But for everything else, save the cash and just snag yourself a Jotter instead.Â

Penbox: A Brief History of the Jotter
Pentrace: Jotter’s 50th Anniversary sets

Note: This post represents my personal opinion and is not a paid advertisement nor are any of my statements endorsed by Parker Pen Company.

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