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Review of the Parker Frontier

from the fountain pen of George Terrill

Review of the Parker Frontier

 by George Terrill

The Parker Frontier is a “go to” pen for me. I find it comfortable in my hand and an eager writer. I own four of these pens, so far. I don’t have every color and finish, since according to Tony Fischier’s Parker penography website, quite a few were produced 1996-2012 in various finishes and I can only write with one at a time.


I would call it a standard size pen. I measure it at 4 7/8 inches (124mm) long uncapped, which is how I use it. Just under a half inch diameter (17mm) and just the right weight. The steel nibs are plated in gold or chrome with a simple design and the word PARKER. The M or F hides in the section. I have only seen M or F nibs on them.

Most of them have a rubber coated section making them a little nicer for arthritic fingers. A metal ring of Diamonite Z (50% gold and 50% titanium marks the end of the section. Plastic threads mate it to the barrel, even on my metal barrel Frontier. The caps are brushed steel except the clip and metal jewel, which match the nib in polished gold or chrome, depending on the model.


Always an exception, so my matte black Frontier matches cap to barrel with gold nib, clip and jewel. This black one lacks the rubber sleeve. It also does not say Made in USA. However it did come in Parker packaging including a line that identified it for the India/ Nepal market. The nib design also varies on this.

All will, of course, take Parker cartridges. These pens will also take any of the Parker converters.

The caps are snap on style. I have seen some owner concerned that the caps wobble or spin. DON’T PANIC! They’re snap caps, and spinning is common with this type of cap and they won’t come off. The brushed steel caps have Parker Frontier stamped under the clip and Made in USA on the back with a simple date code.

I believe these were positioned as an entry level pen or just above, since they retailed for about $20 US. I believe they were just above the Jotter, Reflex and Vector pens. They are still widely available on Ebay.

Production seems to have started with the plastic ombre barrels in black with blue, red or green as well as the transparent colors and the metallic ones. In 1998 the flighters were introduced and in 2000 the Chromaflair, to be replaced by the color shift barrels in 07 – 08. For some reason, Parker never made fancier versions of the Frontier like they did with the Vector/Place Vendome/Rialto/88/95.


In conclusion, I find the Frontiers real workhorses. The F nibs are nice and smooth, so the M nibs are even better. Since they’re not hooded nibs, you can easily make adjustments if needed and you have a shiny nib to look at while you write. Because the end of the barrels are rounded, I think they resemble the Sonnet but a plainer one.


Just for fun, I compared the size to Waterman Phileas and Cross CenturyII. I have pens from other companies that will not take their own converters. I like that Parker designed these to take theirs. That way, you’re not limited to Parker’s few colors.

Look them up. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the price and durability of these pens.





 © 2016 George Terrill - all rights reserved

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