Parker Reflex Fountain Pen

20 01 2012

With Noodler's Gruene Cactus Eel ink. Your job is now to imagine a creature that is one part cactus, and one part eel.

I found this pen in a dusty plastic bin, in a claustrophobic little stationery shop (probably on the Avenue of the Americas) that looked like it had given up on ever being clean or orderly sometime in the mid-nineties. Sorry, guy, but that’s what your store is like. Get it together.

The pen itself contained an emptied ink cartridge, and a nib absolutely lost in the mire of long-ago dried up ink, a thick crust I’d say probably dates to around the year 2000. But I was not deterred, and seven dollars and MUCH cleaning later, I present to you the Parker Reflex:

Rescued from life in a dusty plastic bin, this pen was found without any packaging to protect it

I didn’t even know what kind of pen it was beyond “Parker” and the fact that it was quite possibly made in the U.K. (both clues are printed on the cap) until I found this review by Jim Mamoulides.

Arrow fins, or alien eyes? You decide.

It’s a basic school pen, one of my favorite categories of fountain pen due to affordability and the fact that such pens are an attempt at renormalizing fountain pen use.  Love the plastic—it’s got that sparkle and marbling typically found only in the paint jobs of bumper cars at the county fair.

If you find the store I'm talking about and find this pen, check inside to make sure there's a cartridge. Pretty sure half of them didn't even have cartridges. SORRY GUY WHO OWNS THE STORE, JUST TELLIN' IT LIKE IT IS

The plastic is sturdy, and the cap stays on securely without being difficult to pull off. And check out that grip!

It's like a tire or a place mat, but for your fingers. On a pen.

How many other fountain pens do you know with a rubber grip? I haven’t been paying attention and am too tired to recall, but I’m going to wager not too dang many!

On to the main event

Writes wonderfully. I can easily imagine taking notes or writing up an essay with this pen. I think this might be a fine nib—can’t exactly be sure though; what I can see of the nib is completely unadorned.

Practical without being unappealing. Beauty through function and all that.

Technically, you can live without this pen. But it would be a shame not to pick one up, especially if you’ve got the opportunity. It’s a great, sturdy little workhorse pen that’s nicely made and well behaved.

Rescue your very own!

A very lazy search by yours truly seems to indicate Amazon as probably being the best place to pick one up online, but you can probably get a better deal if you dig one up in a store. Let me know if you know of any other good online retailers for the Parker Reflex and I’ll link them here!

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11 responses

22 01 2012
JoniB

I’ve got three of these pens. Your dating is pretty darn close to my recollection of when I bought mine from Staples. Be careful – the plastic is NOT as sturdy as you think. All three of mine cracked on the lip of the cap causing the nibs to dry out quickly.

I have a soft spot for the Reflex pens, however. They were my first fountain pens. I think these have been discontinued – haven’t seen them in years, anyway.

9 02 2012
No Pen Intended

I guess I’m just always holistically comparing it to the lowest of the low, the Platinum Preppy. That thing’s plastic is AWFUL. Cracks like crazy. More cracking than a seedy drug house. I may never forgive the Preppy line, perhaps even all of Platinum, for such atrocious and brittle plastic. And the fact that people use the Platinum Preppy as an EYEDROPPER? With that plastic? It’s an ink disaster waiting to happen. I will watch on my Reflex though, and be wary of any flaws popping up in the plastic.

9 02 2012
JoniB

I haven’t had REALLY bad experiences with the Preppy – yes mine cracked – but I agree with you about the eyedropper disaster pending. Give the Plaisirs a chance, though. They are metal cases and write beautifully!

25 01 2012
johnthemonkey

“Be careful – the plastic is NOT as sturdy as you think. All three of mine cracked on the lip of the cap causing the nibs to dry out quickly.”

This! Mine was a nice writer (and, coincidentally, my first post school days fountain pen) but do watch out not to crack the cap or barrel.

25 01 2012
JoniB

Thanks, John! After I posted that comment I got to thinking it may have just been me and inexperience that caused the problem. You verified my view.

Joni

28 01 2012
IvanR

The nib looks like the same thing on the Vector.

7 04 2014
swanjun0

It does. And you should be able to turn it over and see a letter there indicating nib size.

30 01 2012
Monday Morning Review Round-up « European Paper Company

[...] Pen Intended: Parker Reflex Fountain Pen & Palomino Blackwing Wooden Pencil – [...]

13 03 2012
ravensmarch

I will add to the chorus of woe, although the main point of failure is at the cap lip because there’s nothing preventing the cap from being pressed too far down onto the clutch ring. If you go carefully when capping, this may not develop. It is otherwise a reasonable starter pen.

26 04 2012
Monday Morning Review Round-up | The European Paper Company

[...] Pen Intended: Parker Reflex Fountain Pen & Palomino Blackwing Wooden Pencil – [...]

12 11 2014
Schneider Assortment – Top Quality German Pens | No Pen Intended

[…] Interestingly enough, when I looked through the Schneider catalogue they sent, I discovered I actually DID have a single Schneider pen, the Voyage fountain pen, as yet unreviewed, rescued from the same dusty NYC pen shop where I got the Parker Reflex […]

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