Parker pen production in Argentina

Reprinted from the Journal of the Writing Equipment Society (UK), N° 69, Spring 2004

First model manufactured: Parker 51. In the time when company globalisation was not well developed, the big pen companies were forced to set up local manufacturing facilities to compete, thus avoiding high importation taxes and trade barriers. Only half a century after Parker opened their operations in Argentina, and as a result of successive company take-overs, the official company archives have been lost and the history has to be constructed through sales catalogues, collections and memories of pen business people. I should add that even less is known about trade marks from other Argentinian companies such as ‘Escritor’, ‘Muneca’, ‘303’, ‘Federal’ and the local affiliated company of Sheaffer.

Parker started its activities in Argentina in 1957/58 with the acquisition of ‘Birome’, founded by Lazlo Biro, through the company ‘Interim’ which was producing Super Quink ink.

Parker 51

The first pen manufactured by Parker in Argentina was the successful model ’51 Aniversario’ with the aerometric filling system. The 51 Vacumatic was never made in Argentina. The cylindrical ink reservoir was short and had an uncovered folded bar, similar to the ‘21’.
A short time later the models 51 ‘Custom’ (with gold filled cap) and ‘Insignia’ (gold filled cap and body) were introduced, and the reservoirs were modified successively; initially a cylindrical shape with a plastic black end was used and then a completely metal reservoir (with a window to access the filler bar). The inscription on the reservoir was ‘Parker 51, apriete la barra’ (press the bar) or ‘Parker, apriete la barra’ or a third option ‘Industria Argentina’.

The bodies and sections were machined from rods of Lucite (Polymethyl methacrylate or PMMA) in the following solid colours: black, grey, blue (in two different shades), forest green, burgundy and plum. Initially some parts were imported, but very soon all the parts, including nibs, were made on-site. The ‘51’ line was discontinued in 1973. Parker Argentina never made the ‘51’ model in colours such as cocoa, mustard, tan or in styles such as pearlescent, striated or twisted patterns or in any material other than PMMA. exotic colours, offered as Argentinian production in the Internet, are current production not of Parker origin.

Parker Argentina also manufactured the ‘Jotter’ and the pencils and ball pens of the ‘51’ line (actually ‘51’ ball pens are very scarce). Virtually all pieces in the ‘51’ line have a pearlescent tassie and the model number is not engraved on the cap. Only very late in production, some ‘51’ pens bear a black tassie. Model ‘21’ has never been manufactured in Argentina.

Parker 45

The economy line included the ‘Eversharp’ and the ‘45’. The latter, introduced shortly after the ‘51’ line, has a body and shell made from acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene copolymer and a brushed stainless steel or gold filled cap, initially with the arrow clip. These were manufactured in green, black, red, blue and grey.

The green colour was discontinued inv 1968. In addition, ‘Insignia’ with section and body in gold filled and ‘Flighter’, stainless steel, were also produced as part of this line Only later were ‘45s’ produced with epoxy finishes in black, brown, white and grey.

Soon after the launch of the model ‘61’ Mk II in Argentina, the clips of the ‘61’ and ‘45’ were unified. In this way the Argentinian ‘45’ assumed a ’61-like’ clip. The pencil and ball-pen from both lines are easily differentiated because the ‘61’ line always carries the model number and a pearlescent or black tassie on the cap, whilst the ‘45’ carries no engraved number and metal-only tassies.


Parker 61

The model ’61’ Mk II (with cylindrical ink reservoir similar to the ‘51’) was manufactured for 7 years only, from around 1969 until 1976. The capillary version was never made in Argentina.

Of significance is the fact that instead of the familiar metallic arrow embedded in the shell, the Argentinian ‘61’ exhibits a pair of small metallic dots of about 1mm diameter. The ‘61’ line was made of PMMA in black, blue turquoise (azul vista ), rage red (rojo brama), green turquoise (verde cresta); forest green, grey and blue. These were offered

with satin steel caps with a bright trim, ‘de-luxe’ models with steel caps and gold-filled clips or Custom models with gold filled caps . Also available were the ‘Insignia’ (body and cap gold filled) and the ‘Flighter’, which offered the shell in any of the above colours . Sets were made up of three pieces with matching or (to distinguish between pieces clipped on the pocket) different coloured tassies. All these pieces have the number engraved on the cap. Pencils that matched the ‘61’ and ’45’ type were initially twist type, but later on the pushing action lead feed was introduced using the same body as the ball pen.

Classic Line

In 1975 Parker introduced a set of ball pens and pencils in the ‘Classic’ line (Flighter, Custom and Insignia). Some finishes were exclusive to Argentina, such as the ‘Zebra’ (parallel enamelled bands) and the checked pattern (with 1mm squares). A student line of lower priced pens called ‘Beta’, with cap and body in plastic, was also exclusively produced in Argentina.





During the 1980s the local activities were gradually reduced until the Parker site was eventually closed down at the end of the decade. Some of the pieces of this production, especially those based on the ‘61’ model, are the best examples of highly stylised lines offering excellent quality, reliability and smooth writing characteristics. The richness and intensity of some of the beautiful colours, along with contrast between body and cap, make me think that they are some of the best and most attractive modern Parker products in the world. Even the unpretentious ‘45’ has very elegant combinations of colours and metallic finishes!


For their generous contributions and knowledge, my special thanks go to Miss Raquel Roa and Mr Ricardo Guerrero from ‘Casa Pintos’, the most traditional and renowned Avenida de Mayo pen shop in Buenos Aires, and also to Mr Miguel Nicotera, a former employee of Parker Argentina.