An entry-level pen, the looks of the Frontier are a little more traditional than those of the roughly co-eval IM and Rialto or the long-running Vector. It is in fact very similar in external profile to the “51”, if one squints and turns one’s head just so. With the cap off, if one is anxious to find a Parker antecedent it is closest to the VS, but it is probably best thought of as Parker’s counterpoint to Sheaffer’s Javelin.
I generally prefer to praise pens, but this one makes my work difficult. The body plastic almost attracts scratches (which is a point in favour of the metal-bodied variants), the point and feed are frequently found to be out of order, and the cap-holding mechanism is reputed to be one of the fastest to wear out yet devised. When it’s working properly, it is very much like the Sheaffer mentioned above, or indeed any of the various cartridge-fed, steel-point Sheaffers made since the 1950s, and that is a praiseworthy status… but it appears many Frontiers only aspired to it.
Production Run: 1996 – 2010
Cost When New: About $20.00, depending on trim level (for current value, try this calculator).
Size: 13.2 cm long capped, 14.8 cm posted, 12.3 cm uncapped.
Point: Steel, with plating in some models.
Body: ABS (some models are steel-clad).
Filler: Cartridge, capacity approx. 1.2 ml. Will not accept 45-style converters.
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