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The Pen Nerd – The Italix “Parsons Essential”

Alex A

Do you feel undressed without leaving the house with a fountain pen? If so, then maybe you’ll like the following review.

Fountain pens are by there very nature impractical. You have to coax them, fiddle with them, get ink on your fingers and there is nothing more embarrassing than to remove your weapon of choice from an inside pocket, to sign an important document with a flourish, only to find that because you’ve not used your pen for a while, that the ink won’t start.

However if you are like me, then you are prepared to forego all these foibles and champion the cause of the fountain pen. “An elegant weapon for a more civilized age” as someone once said a long long time ago.

The act of filling ink, and having a buttery soft nib glide along the page is a tactile joy that no bic or biro can match.

So enough with the preamble and on with the review.

I was looking for a crisp italic nibbed fountain pen that was not too expensive but was well made and came across the Italix brand. Italix is not a mainstream manufacturer but are sold exclusively by Mr Pen online.

Their pens have gotten a reputation for very high quality at a reasonable price point.  Mr Ford (aka Mr Pen) points out that this is because most mainstream brands are the cost they are because of retailer mark up.  As Mr Pen is the manufacturer and retailer, its possible to buy a much higher quality pen for your hard earned cash.

I bought the Italix Parson’s Essential.

All the Italix pens seem to have these grandiose sounding names that seem to hark back to a Merchant Ivory film character.

They are available in several colors and nib options, but I went for the Amber model in broad italic.  The ordering process is very smooth and Mr Ford dealt with any questions I had by email very promptly.

The first thing you notice when unboxing the pen is the quality of the finish.  This is a very well finished pen.  The Amber marble lacquer is exquisite.  It is piano lacquer which means that it is scratch resistant.  The lacquer is placed on brass shell which gives the pen a very solid feel.

In fact when you put it on a hard desk you hear a satisfying metal “dink”.

Up to now I’ve not mentioned the price.  Without UK value added tax which you only pay if you are having the pen delivered to the UK, this pen is £35.79

That’s a little over $53 at today’s rate plus postage.  This is an amazingly low price for this standard of pen.  I have to admit when I received it, I had to annoy my colleagues with the “guess how much” game.  Estimates from those in the office ranged from $400 to $800.  That’s what you get for your money.

Well, enough smug rambling from me.  How does it write?

Well I bought the crisp italic, which is not meant to be used for cursive.  They have a cursive italic for that, but even so this is a very very smooth pen.  Not winged angels spreading organic butter on an ice rink smooth, but still very smooth.


The pen takes standard cartridges and comes with a nice quality converter if you would like to us bottled ink…. and I suggest you do.

If I were to say one negative, I found that on very smooth paper it can skip when writing very fast.  That problem only occurs on Rhodia type paper and only occasionally.  I had no problems with any paper that was not glassy smooth.

This pen would make a great present for anyone….. even yourself.  They come in a variety of colors and are all ordered direct from Mr Pen and start from £32.50

The Pen Nerd