It’s a rare occasion that I buy a modern pen, but I had heard such good things about the Parsons Italix in recent months that I wanted to try it for myself. Though you can buy the Italix pens at Amazon, their home appears to be the MrPen website. I had a poke around the site and settled on the Originalis model, with which you get two additional nibs at no extra charge. I opted for a broad oblique italic, a medium oblique italic and a medium italic. By time I paid tax and shipping, the total came to £67.81.
The pen comes in a plain black box in a white cardboard sleeve. Not at all fancy, which is good as I prefer that my money goes toward the pen rather than the packaging. The pen, I would say, is undoubtedly Chinese with the lacquered brass body and gold-alike trim. You may find that the colour of the pen you receive differs from the image on the website. My “red velvet” isn’t as bright as the photo on the site. Good thing too.
The build quality of the pen is good, at the higher end of Chinese-made pens. It all goes together perfectly and I can find no fault with it. It is quite heavy, though. At 32 grams it’s several times the weight of my usual pens, but I must say that it doesn’t feel that heavy in the hand. It’s really quite comfortable to use, even posted. The gripping area, which is part of the nib rather than of the pen, is equally comfortable. The nibs (which are what this pen is about) are marked “Manuscript” together with the nib size. They’re untipped plated steel and boy are they smooth! Like any italic, you have to address the nib to the paper at the correct angle and having done so writing becomes an absolute delight. I am most impressed.
I’m also impressed by the choice on offer. It was only the other day that I was complaining about the poor choice offered by many of today’s manufacturers of high-priced pens. This quite low-priced pen shames them all and ensures that you will get the nib that suits your hand, rather than the compromise that you have to make with the stingy offerings of some others. That makes for value for money!
For calligraphy fun or everyday use, I can heartily recommend this modern pen – something I didn’t really expect to be saying!
Edit to add: I received an email from Peter Ford:
Loved your blog, and appreciate your constructive comments. Only one thing,
the pens are not made in China, they are made in a workshop in Crewe,
England. Thanks again.
at P. J. Ford & Associates Ltd
This is one occasion when I’m delighted to be proved wrong. It’s great that we’re making these excellent pens in this country, and I value my pen even more as a result of this information.
2 thoughts on “Parsons Italix Originalis”
It is nice to see so much interesting activity here.
Your comments on the Originalis have just about tipped me into getting one, something I have been considering for some time. I did have two of the ‘Parson’s Essential’, one with a medium italic, the other with a broad italic. Although they were good wet writers, the italic edges made from cutting off ordinary nibs did not give me the line variation I was looking for: the depth of the foot was too great to allow it, even after I had them ground to try to improve it. As it frustrated me, I eventually eBayed them. The Manuscript italic nibs look like a much better proposition and the pen does look good.
Most of my pens are italic, but I think the one that gives me my favourite line of all is the Swan Calligraph flex italic I got from you.
I’m glad you like the Calligraph.
The manuscript nibs are very good. The medium oblique italic gives quite a bit of line variation. The broad oblique italic is a bit too much for normal use, I find.