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From around and into the s, Parker pens and pencils, though less consistently were marked on the barrel to indicate their date of production, with nibs marked similarly. At first the code consisted of two digits: the first indicated the quarter; the second, the year. In the later '30s the code was changed to a single-digit form, with the year surrounded by up to three dots. Three dots indicated the first quarter, and in each subsequent quarter, a dot would be ground off the die, so by the last quarter no dots remained.
From , the date was denoted by another two-digit system: 50 was the mark for , and 51 for With one exception, the system was dropped not long thereafter the earliest US date code we have seen is 34; the latest, 56, first quarter, on a Parker 51 pencil, with the latest on a Parker 51 pen, The exception is late-production Vacumatics, assembled and date-coded in very small s into the early s late Canadian production was ificantly greater, with pens typically bearing a single-digit date code in a much larger font than that used for USA pens.
A similar date code may also be found on other Canadian-made Parkers of the same era. There are some s Parker date codes that have both two digits and dots. Definitive documentation is still lacking, but it would appear that the dots in this context denoted the month of production within the quarter denoted by the initial digit. Two dots would indicate the first month; one dot, the second; and no dots, the third. One will run across anomalies, where pens bear date codes that seem much too late. These seem to be the result of Parker clearing out stocks of old parts, assembling them into pens years after they were originally produced.
Note that one will NOT run across pens with date codes that seem too early! The anomalously late date codes also tend to cluster around certain years and certain models, further indicating that they were not applied in error, or arbitrarily. Parker once again applied date codes to its products starting in the later s. QC would thus stand for the second quarter of Another method of deating the quarter was used from on, in which the year letter was preceded by three vertical bars in the first quarter, two in the second, one in the third, and none in the fourth.
NOTE: Many 51s from bear a T prefix the examples we have seen run from the 2nd quarter of to the 2nd quarter of , with the T6 date code being the most common. A commonly-repeated explanation is that the T indicates production at Parker's Canadian factory, in Toronto. So what does the T ify? Parker's Toronto factory was set up to get around the high tariff barriers between the United States and the British Empire and Commonwealth. T-marked 51s are found in the USA -- not in Canada or British territories -- nor do they exhibit any of the subtle differences that distinguish Canadian 51s from their US-made equivalents.
At the time the T code was in use, the postwar surge in demand for 51s was outstripping Parker's production capacity. That demand was strongest in the USA, where there had been wartime shortages, but also full wartime employment at high rates of pay. The British postwar economy was much weaker, with no corresponding explosion of consumer spending, with rationing on basic goods remaining in place until the early s. In fact, Parker did set up a second production line to cope with postwar demand. To free up space, Quink production was moved out of Parker's hometown of Janesville, to a new facility located some miles northwest in Menomonie, Wisconsin.
The Janesville Quink factory was then converted to pen production. That factory building had been acquired by Parker in , and was still popularly known by the name of its owner, Townsend Tractor. Setting up a new production line staffed by former ink workers, it would only have made sense to give the pens coming off that line a distinguishing mark to facilitate troubleshooting and quality control, which could be eliminated once the new line had proven itself to be running as smoothly and reliably as the old.
And that's exactly what we see when we count the s of "T" marked pens over their five quarters of production. All rights reserved HOME.Dating parker 51 pens
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How to Date a Parker 51 Fountain Pen