Cross-hatch square grid made of vertical and horizontal engraved lines, equally spaced to form 3,330 tiny squares. For emphasis, some versions have the engraved lines are filled with a black enamel instead of simply letting the patina darken the lines. This enamel made the grid pattern more pronounced.
Click here to see many slight variations of this pattern.
Solid sterling silver (mixture of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper), marked "Sterling silver" or "925" on cap band. According to early UK marketing literature the clip was made of 9K gold although no such claim was made in the USA.
Vermeil which is goldfill or goldplate over sterling silver
Silverplated over brass French version that is quite unusual with goldplated trim
Goldlplated over brass, both US and French made
Availability (model #)
Fountain pen (#131-000), Felt-tip (introduced in 1972, #131-201), Ball pen, Pencil
1964: FP - $25
This is the pattern that started the commercial launch in 1964 of the Parker 75 family. It is a very distinctive pattern rumored to have originated from a cigarette case owned by Kenneth Parker that was made by a 19th-century English silversmith. This pattern was produced for the entire production lifetime of the Parker 75 family and so there are more of this model than any other Parker 75 model.
When first introduced, it was known simply as the sterling Parker 75 in the crosshatch grid pattern. Evenly spaced lines engraved around the barrel and cap, and down along their lengths form the square grid pattern. A patent for the design as applied to a writing instrument was filed on June 5, 1964 and finally granted on September 27, 1966. Today this pattern is so recognizable as a Parker 75; there was even a 75 cigarette lighter, knife, and souvenir keychain in this pattern. Of course other pen manufacturers followed suit with similar designs in this classic pattern.
The early versions, however, had the lines filled with black enamel so that the grid was accentuated. The process of placing the enamel was actually quite simple. The pen was simply coated with this material. To remove the excess enamel off the sterling silver, the pens was placed in a washing machine-like device with a drum containing a rotating agitator; it was filled with chips of walnut shells. The action of the chips rubbing against the pens caps and barrels would remove the excess material but, being larger than the line widths, the chips could not touch the enamel within the lines. The process was completed with polishing the pen.
Later versions of this pen did not have any material filling the lines. Instead, the natural oxidation of the silver would darken and enhance the grid's appearance.
When production of this family was started in the Meru, France factory, however, the name Ciselé (French word for "engraved") was given to this pattern. This name has stuck and is now applied to this pattern, regardless of whether it was made in the US or France.
Early production used sections with metal threads. This can be readily seen even when the section was fitted onto the barrel because the metal threads left an exposed telltale band in contact with the barrel. By the end of 1965 Parker stopped producing the fountain pens with this metal-threaded section, replacing them with an all-plastic model. As a result, this early variant is especially prized among collectors.
Other changes were made to the section over time, including the following in chronological order.
Original chrome ring around and over the edge of the section just before the nib had ruled lines and reference zero mark.
Chrome ring omitted the reference zero mark.
Chrome ring was replaced with a gold-color ring, still over the edge of the section.
Gold-colored ring was reduced so that it was no longer over the section's edge giving it the appearance of a wide (4mm) gold band.
Wide gold band was again reduced so that it appeared to be a thin (1mm) gold band. It is rumored that Parker France did this because it was discovered that inks would corrode the wider band due to its proximity to the nib.
Coincident with this time-line, Parker also changed the appearance of the cap and barrel.
End caps on both the cap and barrel (aka tassies)
were changed from flat to a have a circular indentation giving it a dish-like appearance. It
is rumored that Parker's marketing department thought that making this
changed allowed them to offer the 75s as corporate gift item. The idea
here was to put a company logo or some other personalization
on a circular disc that would be glued into the indented dish.
Update of 05-27-2001:
There may have been a transitional form between the flat and dished tassies. I was able to find a tassie with a conical form, however, in a BP. Another 75 collector and contributor to this site has informed me that he has a sterling grid FP with such a conical tassie as well.
Parker made a slight change on the early FP cap and tassie and I highlight this on this page.
Clip length was shortened from 45mm to 43mm.
Clip arrowhead was lengthened from 5mm to 6mm.
The feathers in the clip arrow were lengthened from 14mm to 16mm.
The width of the non-grid area at the open end of the cap was widened from 3mm to 4mm. It is rumored that the reason for doing this was to allow for a personal engraving.
The Parker name was moved from the front of the cap's non-grid area (directly below the arrowhead) to the back. It is rumored to have been done for engraving purposes, i.e. the engraving can therefore appear on the front.
The amount of sterling silver used in the cap and barrel for the fountain pen was reduced by approximately 25%, from 20.5 grams to 15 grams. This was done for the sake of improving the pen's balance.
Due to the gradual nature, these slight modifications were slip-streamed into production. Thus it is not possible to use any one particular feature as a means to date a particular Ciselé model.
Click here to see the brochures packaged with the earliest 75 FPs.
A limited edition of the sterling crosshatch grid known as the Spanish Treasure Fleet was sold in 1965-66 using silver from any one of ten Spanish galleon which sunk off the coast of Florida in 1715.
Parker also made private-labeled versions of this sterling crosshatch grid for specialty jewelry houses such as: Cartier, Nieman-Marcus (in vermeil only), Saks, Tiffany (both sterling silver and solid 14K gold BP, FP and MP), and others.
Parker also made country specific versions of this sterling grid 75s: Australia and Canada.
One more note. Some 75 collectors have questioned the use of the French word Ciselé, meaning engraved, in association with the Parker 75 series. While it was well-known that this word was used with the Premier and Sonnet lines, where was the proof that Parker ever used this with the 75?
After much searching, I have finally found a Parker document that uses this word with the 75. It was on the last page of the Parker newsletter called Trade Notes dating from Spring 1992. In the tail end of the article entitled "Parker expands popular 75 line" the article reviews the available patterns and states:
"Parker 75 fountain pens and ball pens also are available in Sterling Silver Ciselé and Laque Black or Brown finish."
To see the article for yourself, click here.
Even better, I found this Parker 75 pen case at the Chicago Pen Show 2000 held in early May. Clearly Parker did use this name for the sterling crosshatch grid 75.
And speaking of the Parker newsletter, here is another one called the ShopTalker, one for Parker employees. It gives us a date when US production of the Parker 75 was stopped -- sometime during the week of March 2nd, 1981. Further support of the end of US production was this reply letter to a customer inquiry by a sales service specialist.
Truly this pattern is a classic! Look at all the flattering imitations.
Apparently Parker had a number of prototype designs for the tassies as you see below.
Here are examples of US-made sterling crosshatch grid FPs but with silver-colored (either silver- or chrome-plated) tassies and clip. Click on the image below to see more pictures of these two pens.