The Most Famous Pen In History?

Stationery is something that we’ve all used at some point in our lives, and some people may use it more often than others. There are benefits to handwriting that many people may not consider, which can include cognitive benefits.

A study undertaken by the cognitive neuroscience laboratory at Aix-Marseille University saw 76 children split into two groups. One group learnt how to write letters by hand whereas the others learned to type on a computer. Those who handwrote letters were better at recognising them. The results were similar when tested on adults who were taught Bengali or Tamil characters.

While the rate of handwriting has been seen to be in decline in recent years, with children more likely to grow up using tablets or mobile phones than a pen, there is some hope still. A recent survey of 2,000 American adults saw the millennials were more likely to appreciate writing and 33% felt that they had ‘very good’ handwriting. This was in comparison to only 17% of those aged 55 or over.

One of the most important things that can encourage handwriting is the kind of pen people use, as the perfect pen can encourage someone to write things out by hand. Throughout the decades, there have been pens that have become famous for their style, or simply for being beloved for pen aficionados across the world.

To celebrate World Stationery Day, we thought we’d take a closer look at what is often considered to be one of the greatest pens ever made.

Parker 51 - The Most Famous Pen?

Parker 51 – The Most Famous Pen

The Parker 51 pen was originally released in 1941 by the Parker Pen Company and proved to be incredibly popular. While the outer body was visual perfection for pen lovers, it was also designed for the revolutionary new ink that Parker had created.

The new ink dried by being absorbed into paper fibres, which was the first time this had occurred. Previously, inks would dry through the evaporation of their water base. With a new ink that was also corrosive, the Parker 51 pens were unable to use the celluloid plastics typical of pens. This ink was also available in four colours, India Black, Tunis Blue, China Red and Pan American Green. Parker engineers used lucite which was a new thermoplastic. It resulted in an alternative to glass that was also shatter proof.

These pens also had another secret on the tip of the pen’s gold nib. A small amount of ruthenium, which was a rare transition metal that was almost untarnishable and augmented the properties of other metals that it was used with.

The reputation of the Parker 51 pen as perhaps the most famous pen in history was solidified during World War Two when General MacArthur used one in 1945 to sign the Japanese surrender. There is also a photograph of General Eisenhower holding two Parker 51 pen’s in a V shape, standing for victory in Europe.

Sarah Jubb