CALL US 01268 573949 Mon-Fri 9am to 5pm

Newhaven has Competition for Parker Pen Archives

The town of Janesville, Wisconsin is speaking up about the future of the Parker Pen archives.

You might remember we mentioned last month that the iconic pen company was closing down its Newhaven manufacturing plant and shifting everything to France. Pen collector Tony Fischier, who runs ParkerCollector.com, has launched an online petition to keep the company's extensive archives of pen designs and classic Parker writing instruments in Newhaven.

(If you're a Parker buff, you really should read Fischier's report on his visit to the Parker archives in June 2009.)

But it seems Janesville isn't going to concede without making its own pitch for the materials. A retired police officer has started a letter-writing campaign to have at least part of the Parker Pen archives returned to the town and also asked the city council to pass a resolution requesting the same, according to the Janesville Gazette.

“Gee whiz, if they never hear anything from Janesville, they’d think we’re not interested,” Lembrich remembers thinking.

“I wanted it to be known to them that we are interested in getting even a portion of it returned to Janesville. We are the birthplace of Parker Pen, and by right we should have some of it here.”

Janesville is the town where George S. Parker founded his pen company in 1888 and received his first pen patent. The Lucky Curve (1894), original Parker Duofold (1921) and Parker 51 (1939) were all created while the company was headquartered there.

The excellent Parker Pen history at Our Newhaven explains that, in the '40s, Parker opened a manufacturing facility in Newhaven, Sussex at what was then the Valentine Pen Company. The first Parker pen manufactured there was the Victory. The plant expanded over the following years and, by the '70s, had more than 1,000 employees.

When a group of British investors bought the pen company in 1985, the headquarters – and the archives – moved to Newhaven. Since then, Parker has been sold and resold and is now owned by Newell Rubbermaid, through its office products subsidiary Sanford, which also owns Sharpie, Paper Mate and Waterman.

The main Parker pen plant in Janesville closed in 1999, but through everything, at least a small part of the company's operations, including a pen repair division, had remained in the town, until the announcement last year that even that remnant will be shuttered.

Newell Rubbermaid also confirmed last year that it will be closing the Newhaven facility in late 2010 and moving pen production to Nantes, France.

Norman Baker, MP for Newhaven, told the BBC:

"Parker Pen has for many years been the flagship employer in Newhaven, and this is a bitter blow for the town which is already much worse hit by the recession than other towns nearby. It is also the end of an era."

So far, the company hasn't released much information about what is to become of the archives.

What do you think, readers? Should the Parker Pen archives stay in Newhaven, go back to Janesville, or move on to France with the company?

9 thoughts on “Newhaven has Competition for Parker Pen Archives”

  • bob

    Tony, there is absolutely no way the archive should move to France as there is no history there. I am not even sure it is right to close down the Newhaven factory, but that discussion is really for another forum. BTW Newhaven is in Sussex not Essex.

    I can see why Janesville want to have a piece of the archive but they have not really made a case for the last 10 years so why now? Newhaven has long been the home of Parker irrespective of being founded in Janesville so that's where the archive should stay. Good post and yes, I have signed Tony Fischier's petition!

    Reply
  • TonyB

    Thanks for the correct location. That's been updated. I agree, the main body of the archives should stay in Newhaven, although Janesville and Newhaven could probably trade exhibits back and forth.

    Reply
  • alfred lembrich
    alfred lembrich March 4, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    The city of Janesville was the birthplace of the Parker Pen Company in 1888. Parker Pen production continued in Janesville for 111 years until July 1999. Those archives were created, produced by Janesville employees, the Parker family leadership and stored in Janesville,WI. for 111 years. If not for the Parker family and the Janesville area employee's quality 111 years of production, there would not be the archives in question or the respected high quality Parker Pens.How can anyone else make a valid interest or claim in regards to history and status of the Parker Pen archives.

    Reply
    • TonyB

      Al, thanks for adding your thoughts. Are you saying that Newhaven has no claim at all on at least part of the archives?

      Reply
  • alfred lembrich
    alfred lembrich March 5, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    Tony, I meant to point out that in my opinion, the people of Janesville have a stronger case in this matter, regarding the first 100 plus years of it's pen production and existance here. The archives that relate to this time period were created, developed,produced and maintained here in Janesville up to 1999. Parker Pen at Newhanven certainly has its own
    history during their time there and would be entitled to seek those archives that relate to the Newhaven connection with parker Pen.

    Reply
    • TonyB

      I think there's a strong case to be made for the two towns sharing the archives, which is pretty extensive, from my understanding. A lot of places have sister cities in foreign countries. There's no reason Janesville and Newhaven couldn't do that, especially given they both have a long history with Parker pens.

      Reply
  • john summers

    My company headquarters is situated next door to the Newhaven Parker Parker Pen factory in Railway Road Newhaven. I can not emphasise enough to you all how much the loss of the factory has effected Newhaven. It is a sadder quieter place all round. Quite how we have allowed this great company to simply up sticks and nip over the channel to France leaving all the loyalty and tradition from the population of Newhaven in it's wake I will never know. In terms of the acrhives, they should undoubtedly be kept in both Janesville and Newhaven representing the time they were situated in both places. As long as it is not France. And without a doubt parker Pen should no longer display the Royal Warrant......

    Reply
  • ROD LEWIS

    I COME IN AT A LATE DATE, BECAUSE I HAVE ONLY JUST SEEN THIS SITE,
    BUT IT'S QUITE SIMPLE - ALL THE PARKER RECORDS SHOULD REMAIN IN JANESVILLE/NEWHAVEN - ABSOLUTELY NO HISTORICAL RECORDS/DOCUMENTATION SHOULD GO TO FRANCE. I AGREE WITH JOHN SUMMERS THE FRENCH POSSESSION HAS FORFEITED THE RIGHT TO SHOW THE ROYAL WARRANT - TO SAY NOTHING OF THE LOSS OF JOBS AT NEWHAVEN TO BOOT. BEING IN SHIPPING & EXPORTING ALL MY LIFE THE PARKER FOUNTAIN PEN HAS BEEN INTEGRAL TO MY WORKING LIFE - LONG LIVE THE FOUNTAIN PEN!!

    Reply
  • Donald J Brickham
    Donald J Brickham February 15, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    Thanks for listening to my comments. I am one of the thousands of employees that were employed by THE PARKER PEN COMPANY. The PARKER FAMILY has a very long tradition in the United States and the World. I personally know this because I was there Manager of Domestic and International Transportation ,later all Logistics. Also all of the exhibits shipped around the World. The Parker Family will never be forgotten by any of the employees that worked there. When I was hired ,there were only two major General Motors and Parker Pen. The history and the PARKER FAMILY will always be remembered in Janesville, Wi. This is why I personally feel it would be an insult to all former employees not to have SOME REMEMBRANCE IN THE CITY OF THE FOUNDER. My employment by the PARKER FAMILY was the most memorable time of my life to date. Please consider all options for your future marketing of your product .I want to thank you for considering what I have said.

    Sincerely
    From one of the many dedicated World employees.
    Donald J Brickham

    Reply
Leave a Reply