How to Date a Parker 45 Fountain Pen

Updated February 21, 2017

The Parker 45 was an economy pen designed by the famous manufacturer of writing instruments and introduced in 1960. Named after the Old West revolver, the Parker 45 fountain pen was one of the first instruments to load exclusively with ink cartridges, as opposed to the traditional pen and inkwell method associated with fountain pens for more than a century prior. Fountain, ballpoint and rollerball pens were made for the 45 series, as well as sets with mechanical pencils. The Parker 45 fountain pen was manufactured until 2007, with distinctive design differences for each decade of its production. Use these steps to date a Parker 45 in your collection.

You can identify all Parker 45 fountain pens by the taper at both ends, the distinctive arrow pocket clip, and the narrow triangular nib (writing tip) by comparing it to earlier Parker pens. Nibs can be unscrewed and replaced.

Identify first year (1960) models by the metal body ring and acrylic materials. The original pens were available in black, burgundy, grey, light and dark blue, and green.

You can identify the Parker 45 Arrow, made from 1962 forward, by the all-plastic body. The Arrow did not have the steel cap associated with prior models and was made from plastic to reduce production costs.

Identify the Parker 45 Flighter model (introduced in 1964) by its black plastic ends and criss-crossing line design. A gold-plated Flighter was available that also had black plastic ends.

You can recognise the Parker Insignia model, introduced in 1965, by its rolled silver or rolled gold barrel.

The Parker 45 DeLuxe came out in 1967 and can be identified by steel caps, a stainless steel nib and chrome trim. Reflective of the times, the Parker 45 models from 1967-1970 were available in five bright colours: aqua, mauve, olive, orange and yellow.

Recognise the Parker 45 Coronet by its aluminium construction and original production run in the metallic colours of blue, grey or red, dating to 1970. Later 45 Coronets made during the 1970s were manufactured in metallic black, blue and brown, as well as the original three colours.

Identify the Parker 45 TX model from 1980-1983 by its blue metallic finish. The TX is a relatively rare pen in the 45 series.

Parker scaled back production of the 45 during the 1980s, and by 1989 the fountain pen was manufactured only in stainless steel with gold trim for the Flighter model, and in blue, red and black for the other Parker 45 models.

Parker 45s from 2001 until the end of production in 2007 can be identified by a more rounded clip arrow and round screw on the end cap. All pens in the 45 series made from 2001-2007 have gold trim.

Things You'll Need

  • Parker 45 pen(s)
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About the Author

James Clark began his career in 1985. He has written about electronics, appliance repair and outdoor topics for a variety of publications and websites. He has more than four years of experience in appliance and electrical repairs. Clark holds a bachelor's degree in political science.