If you’re on the quest for affordable italic nibs, you’ll want to read about the…
Italix Parson’s Essential Fountain Pen
Nib: Fine Cursive Italic (FCI)
Filling System: Cartridge/Converter (Standard International)
Background & History:
Italix is the “house brand” of the British online fountain pen retailer MrPen. The Italix brand was born in the mid 2000s, when Sheaffer and Cross decided to discontinue many of their italic nib options. According to MrPen owner, Peter Ford, “We thought this odd because 30% of our sales were speciality nib options.”
Knowing the decision of their two largest suppliers would leave a gap in product offerings (and likely cut into sales), Ford worked with a pen manufacturer that would take kit pens and outfit them with Manuscript calligraphy nibs. This initial product was called the Originalis. It was extremely popular and is still in production today.
Looking to expand their line of high-quality, affordable italic fountain pens, MrPen developed a new model, commissioning the bodies from an Asian company and the nibs from Jowo in Germany. This new model was initially called The Buddy, and sales were not so hot. They changed the name to Red, and sales continued to be disappointing. In the meantime, they worked out a technique for quickly and efficiently modifying the nibs into a number of various italic grinds.
While the Parson’s Essential nib is from Jowo, other pen models include nibs made by Bock and Manuscript.
Upon perfecting their nib modification technique, they decided to rename the pen again, this time to reflect the quality of the market sector they were trying to attract. After a few positive reviews for the newly christened Parson’s Essential, sales of the pen “went ballistic” (in Mr. Ford’s own words).
After about a decade of producing affordable, custom italic fountain pens, the Italix brand boasts about 11 different models, each with a dizzying array of nib grinds available (standard, crisp italic, cursive italic, oblique, etc.).