In almost every ballpoint pen presentation you will see a reference to a ‘Parker Style’ refill. This refers to an exact shape of the refill tube. Parker established this critical shape decades ago and almost every brand adopted this shape. But what’s in that refill is what matters most.
What’s in That Refill?
For the first 60 years, a ballpoint refill had been an oil or wax-based ink. This required much effort to extract the flow. It was great for writing on triplicate forms but for writing more than that it was not as enjoyable as a fluid liquid ink experience. Seen a triplicate form lately?
In the last ten years, liquid ink ballpoint refills have become common and are the bestselling option. Even GEL refills are now available and quite good. The liquid and GEL ink found in rollerball pens is now available in a Parker Style ballpoint refill. Capless two-piece rollerball pens were a draw simply because they held liquid ink that flowed like a fountain pen. Now, that liquid feel was transferred to ballpoint refill shapes. Your impression of a pen is 99% based upon the ink flow. A blindfolded tester using the same refill in a $30 pen and a $3,000 pen could not tell the difference between these pens.