Parker pens carry a legendary brand highly applauded for its contribution to the pen industry. For such an icon, you might wonder, where are Parker pens made?
According to the Parker pens history, their pens were previously manufactured in several sites globally, including some prominent locations like the US, England, Mexico, and Canada.
Several changes in the organization influenced the closure of these manufacturing sites, which likewise led Parker to its current home and exclusive manufacturing site in France.
Table of Contents
- History of Parker Pens
- Parker Pen Factory Locations
- Parker Pen Manufacturing Process
- Factors That Affect the Manufacturing Location of Parker Pens
- How Do I Know Where Each Parker Pen Was Made?
History of Parker Pens
Janesville is the birthplace of the man behind Parker Pens—George Safford Parker—and where it all started.
Originally a Telegraphy professor who side-hustled as a fountain pen dealer, Parker came up with the idea of creating his own pen design due to how fountain pens back then were prone to leaking.
He founded Parker Pen Company in 1888, acquired a patent in the subsequent year, and got an investor in 1891.
UK-based management took over the Writing Instruments Division in 1986 and compelled the move of its headquarters to the Valentine Pen Company factory in Newhaven.
Later on, Parker Pen Company was sold to the Gillette Company in 1993. By the year 2000, Parker ended up being part of Sanford when it was sold to Newell Rubbermaid, which in turn, is the brand owner up to this day.
Parker Pen Factory Locations
1. Janesville, Wisconsin, USA – The origin country
Parker Pens’ first office was the Myers Opera House building located around Janville’s Milwaukee Street.
From there, Parker produced and released different innovative Parker pen models, including the first Parker pen, known as the Lucky Curve, in 1894. In that same year, they released Snake pens, followed by the Trench Pen in 1914. Also noteworthy were the Parker Jotter pens released in 1954.
However, this factory was closed in 2009, officially marking the end of an era where Parker Pens were made in the USA.
2. Newhaven, East Sussex, England
UK-based management took over the Writing Instruments Division in 1986 and compelled the move of its headquarters to the Valentine Pen Company factory in Newhaven. During this time, the manufacturing plant had more than a thousand employees.
It was here that some of the most priced developments for the brand came about. The two most notable examples are the Parker Sonnet pens and the Norman Rockwell collectible Doufold.
Similar to the factory in Janesville, the one in Newhaven was shut down in 2009.
3. Nantes, France
After the shutdown of the factories in Janesville and Newhaven, Parker relocated their production to Nantes, France. The strategic move was an attempt to combat the constant competition from low-cost pens made in China or in India, along with the impending expiry of their cartridge patent.
Since 2009 to this date, France remains the only country where Parker’s products are manufactured. With most of its production relying solely on the factory in Nantes, the brand has now shifted its focus to particularly high-end pens. Now, you can only hope to see these pens in luxury retailers.
As such, it comes as no surprise that Parker is now synonymous with high-end French pens.
4. Subsidiary Manufacturing Sites
You might hear about Parker’s presence in other locations not mentioned. Apart from the main manufacturing sites, Parker did have several subsidiary ones.
These sites were added to further boost the distribution and cater to demands within the surrounding markets. However, they have all been closed down, with only the ones in France to remain.
- Canada (established in 1923)
- South Africa (1949)
- France and Mexico (1951)
- Australia (1958)
- Argentina (1959)
- Brazil and West Germany (1960)
- Peru and Columbia (1962)
Parker Pen Manufacturing Process
This is where a metal sheet is sheared to form the body and the cap. At Parker Pen, the most common choices for metal sheets are steel, gold, or silver.
This process is where the formed metal sheet is engraved with intricate details and decorations.
3. Lacquering, Lasering, and Electroplating
- By applying lacquer to the pen, the manufacturer ensures that the writing tool is protected from scratches and dents.
- Adding color, texture, and additional designs on the outer part make the pen more unique and attractive. Exquisite patterns like the logo are then lasered over.
- Some parts, such as the nib, go through electroplating or coating with precious metals like gold, silver, platinum, or rhodium.
4. Final Assembly
Each part is delicate and thus needs careful handling that cannot be automated. With that, it is carefully assembled by hand.
5. Quality Control
Each pen goes through a rigorous testing process to make sure it’s up to par.
Factors That Affect the Manufacturing Location of Parker Pens
Most of its subsidiary manufacturing sites are there to supply the requirement around the world. This is also done to minimize labor and handling costs in areas less proximate to the country of origin.
2. Transfer of Ownership
The change in management is another factor that particularly fueled the move of its headquarters from Jansville to Newhaven in 1986.
3. Commercial Competition
It was the manufacturer’s effort to keep up with the competition that forced the complete closure of the two major factories, Janesville and Newhaven, in 2009. As of now, the brand primarily focuses on producing luxury pens to avoid direct competition from cheaper mass-produced pens.
How Do I Know Where Each Parker Pen Was Made?
To know the origin of a particular piece of Parker fountain pens or ballpoint pens, you have to look for the following hallmarks.
|Hallmark||Indication or Origin|
|● Parker Pen Company, USA
● Parker Pen USA Limited
● Sponsors mark in France
|● Parker Pen. Limited, UK
● Parker Pen USA Limited
● Sponsors mark in the UK
|● Parker Pen, France|
|PPCO||● Parker Pen Company, Canada|
Below are official emblems of the assay department that verifies the purity of the precious metals used, may it be silver or gold. This is further indicated by the succeeding markings.
|Markings||Origin and Material|
|Foreign, below 9K Gold|
|France, 9K Gold|
|France, 14K Gold|
|France, 18K Gold|
|France, 22K Gold|
|France, 24K Gold|
|France, Standard Silver
|France, Silver 800|
|France, Silver 925 Sterling|
|France, Silver 999 Fine|
|France, Sterling Silver|
|UK, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, and Finland
|London, Imported Silver|
|London, Imported Gold|
Before they relocated their production to France only, Parker pens were manufactured in various locations all over the world like the US, Germany, South Africa, England, Australia, Mexico, and Canada.
Regardless of where are Parker pens made, one thing is certain: these glorious pens are carefully crafted with precision and quality in mind as they carry on with pride living up to their founder’s conviction, “It will always be possible to make a better pen”.
Hi, I am Eveline Kessler, a content creator. My love for colors and arts draws me here to join the Intermediarts team with Leilani. I am responsible for testing new products and techniques with her and providing honest reviews and tips based on our experience. I have gained a lot of knowledge from this, and I believe you will find her suggestions to be invaluable as well.