Since its release in 1954 the Parker Jotter has been one of the most popular non-disposable ballpoint pens. It’s known for its distinct styling, reasonable price, and absolute dependability. This pen has been endlessly replicated, but rarely rivaled.
It’s consider by many to be one of the best ballpoint pens ever made.
The Parker Jotter is the pen sold with a Parker-style G2 refill. This highly versatile refill type is an ISO standard so it’s used in a huge variety of pens, which means your Jotter can write with whichever ink you want gel, hybrid, traditional ballpoint… whatever.
The Jotter has been sold in a number of sub-styles which affect the color of the body and the design of the grip. Some of these are…
- London Series
- Jotter Premier
- Jotter XL
- Royal Wedding
- Jotter with advertising window
- Jotter with built-in calendar
The full stainless steel Jotter — sometimes known as the “Flighter” — is the most popular model with the EDC (everyday carry) community, which has reignited interest in the pen in recent years. It’s always been a popular pen considering that over 750 million Jotters have been sold since the original release in 1954, but the all-steel models are generally considered to be the true Jotter pen.
A primary complaint about the Jotter is that the pen is too small. This longstanding criticism was finally addressed in 2018 when Parker released the Jotter XL. This pen is said to be 7% larger than the original but it actually feels like a considerably larger pen.
First Year Parker Jotter
The picture above is of an original 1954 Jotter. It’s characterized by a black nylon body with vertical grooves. These pens are relatively rare but can normally be found for under $100 on used marketplaces.
The 1954 Jotter set the standard for the pen giving it most of the features we normally associate with the Jotter including the metal clip, metal top button, nylon (or later, plastic) lower, stainless steel top half, and a firm, distinct click.
The 1954 Jotter has the following features:
- Concave button
- Indented metal clip with a flat bottom, not an arrow (similar design to Parker 21)
- Steel upper half
- Made in the USA
- Grooved nylon lower with no metal components on it
- No metal tip protected at the end of the barrel
- Brass threads
The 1954 Jotter was released into the middle of the craze that was the invention of the ballpoint pen. This process had been going on for some time, but by the mid-1950s the ballpoint was finally being invented as a commercially viable product and companies like Reynolds, Eversharp, Bic, and Parker were making rapid progress. This had taken years of research at each company with many failed attempted and some expensive, flawed designs coming to the marker.
By 1955 the first year Jotter was released with a plastic barrel with a metal tip protector at the bottom.
In 1957 the T-Ball refill was released. Short for “Tungsten Ball” this was a ballpoint refill that long served the Jotter and it used a standard Parker-style G2 shape. Despite its age the T-Ball is recognizable today as a standard ballpoint pen refill. The ball is actually made of tungsten carbine, a very hard material that resists wearing and thus ink leaks.
When buying a Jotter, many people insist that quality has fallen over the history of the pen. A major line of demarcation that people over the pens 65-plus year history is the shift from brass to plastic threads, which happen during 1980. The plastic threads on the Jotter aren’t prone to breaking or stripping, but purists still prefer the older models and the marker of quality remains to be those brass threads.
Parker Jotter Refills
The stock refill for the Jotter is Parker’s ballpoint QuinkFlow refill. This is an oil-based ink that writes on almost any surface and lasts practically forever. It’s not rare to get Jotters from the 1990s, or even the 1980s, and have their refills still working!
Some Jotters are also sold with Parker’s Quink Gel refills. These pens are sold as the “Parker Jotter Gel Pen” when you buy it, so you’ll know exactly what you are getting when you make your purchase. The gel pen variants are the same as the standard Jotter aside from the refill.
The Jotters uses a standard G2 refill, which is known as a “Parker-style” refill exactly because of the popularity of Parker’s ballpoint pens (especially the Jotter). Any G2 refill will fit in this pen, including those from other manufacturers.
In the past the Jotter included different refills, like the T-Ball, all of which have ceased to be manufactured.
Where Is The Jotter Made?
Throughout its long life the Jotter ballpoint pen has been manufactured in different locations. These have primarily been:
- Janesville, Wisconsin (1954-1999)
- Newhaven, England (1999-2010)
- Nantes, France (2010-Present)
The country is manufacturer is printed on the wide of the pen, where the upper and lower sections meet.
Parker Jotter Ballpoint Pen Information
|Street Price||Check Price|
|Barrel Color||Black, Dark Blue, Purple, Silver, Red, Light Blue, Brown, Orange|
|Barrel Material||Stainless Steel|
|Body Diameter (mm)||10.0|
|Grip Color||Black, Red, Blue, Green, Dark Blue, Purple, Silver, Red, Light Blue|
|Grip Material||Stainless Steel, Nylon, Plastic|
|Grip Diameter (mm)||9.0|
|Country of Origin||France|
|Capped? Retractable?||Retractable - Top Button|
|Length Capped / Retracted (cm)||12.8|
|Ink Color Shipped||Blue|
|Writing Sizes||1.0 mm|