The Parker 75 fountain pen is a remarkable pen. In 1964 it was offered at $25, a staggering price tag for a pen produced for the 'mass market'. On paper it looked doomed, it was nothing like the Parker 51 or Parker Duofold, the most successful Parker pens so far, it was a cartridge/converter filler made from solid Silver, the ballpoint pen was ravaging the fountain pen industry, and the 75 was outrageously expensive.
In 1979 Parker began producing the 'Laque Collection' of 75s in Meru, France and in 1983 the French subsidiary added the 'Palace Vendome' collection, consisting of Gold and Silver plated pens in addition to the Sterling Silver pens.
This pen is a 22ct. Gold plated 'Grain d' Orge' (grain of barley) version dating from 1988. It is a fabulous pen. During 1988 the width of the cap band was widened slightly, this pen has the earlier, narrow cap band:
The length of the pen, when capped is 13cm. The cap is a push fit, it snaps into place with a satisfying 'click' and posts securely in position for writing, although many users prefer not to post a metal bodied pen. The posted length is 14cm.
At each end of the pen is a Gold filled 'stack of coins' stud, this was replaced by a plain stud in the very late models. This pen is quite unusual in that it has a blank cartouche on the side of the cap for engraving a name if required. Around the plain cap band are the words:
The Parker 75 is a cartridge/converter filler, a most convenient arrangement as it allows for the ease of use of cartridges with the flexibility offered by the use of bottled ink. The pen performs equally well with both filling systems and which one to use is merely a matter of personal choice. I favour using bottled ink, partly because I always have a range of inks to hand but I do enjoy the process of filling the pen and being able to easily flush it between changes in inks. The use of bottled ink is probably a good deal more environmentally sound and is certainly much, much cheaper than using cartridges. The pen has the original Parker 75 converter fitted and is supplied with two ink cartridges, it is ready to write.
The pen is very comfortable in the hand and is a super writer. It is also a very tactile item with an unmistakable top quality 'feel'. The Parker 51 is often referred to as 'the best pen Parker ever made' but I think this is a questionable assertion when it is compared to the fabulous Parker 75.