Parker Duofold review, a classic fountain pen

Parker Duofold Big Red complete fountain pen

The Parker Duofold, a true classic

The Duofold is in production for almost a 100 years. For who is interested in the history of this fountain pen can eat his heart out. There is a complete book about it, with lots and lots of beautiful photos of historic models. On the internet there is has been written a lot about the Parker Duofold. The Parker Duofold is available in three different sizes.

  • the Centennial as biggest
  • the International which is a little bit more narrow
  • the mini, the smallest model

Parker Duofold fountain pen capA Parker Duofold is a gift for life and gets handed down from generation to generation. The Parker Duofold is available in different colors and editions, some expensive, some priceless and real hand-painted works of art. Every five years, Parker renews the series and releases new colors and materials. The most famous Parker Duofolds are the orange/red fountain pens, also known as “the Big Red”. The most wanted for collectors are the yellow Duofolds, known as “the Mandarin” which are a lot rarer. In the second hand market a Parker Duofold can generate quite a nice profit.

Parker Duofold Classic Big Red

Parker Duofold Centennial Classic

How well does a Parker Duofold write?

Parker duofold nibThe Duofold writes great. If you need to take a lof of notes, the Parker Duofold is a very reliable instrument. The shape of the Duofold is fantastic. The fountain pen is well in hand, and the thread for the cap doesn’t cause any problems. With the cap on top the Parker Duofold is quite a large pen. But without the cap it’s nicely balanced to write with. The nibs for the Duofold are available in different shapes and size. A smaller nib can write quite wide with the Duofold so it’s better to buy a size smaller than you’re used to with other brands. If you normally order a medium nib, it’s better to order a fine nib with the Parker Duofold. Most of the nibs are sturdy and truly made for daily use and signing documents. For real penmanship or calligraphy it’s better to order a special nib. A better option for penmanship of calligraphy might be to buy a fountain pen with a more flexible point.

The cartridges of a Parker Duofold

Parker duofold imprintThe modern Duofolds use a cartridge filling system. You can also use a converter in these Parker fountain pens. The Parker fountain pens are known that the ink will evaporate when not in daily use. Because of this it’s better to use a converter and renew the ink when you start to write again. The clip on the cover is nice and allows you to carry the fountain pen around in many different ways.

Parker Duofold International “Big Red” specifications

Length closed13.21 centimeters
Length posted16.51 centimeters
Length (with. Cap)10.42 centimeters
Diameter1.27 centimeters
Capacity1.9 milliliters
Converter Capacity0.5 milliliters
Filling systemCartridge or converter
Cap mechanismThreaded
Clip available?Fixed clip
Weight22.3 grams

Written by Albert

Albert is a Dutch collector of fountain pens, and everything to do with them. He is a real "penthousiast". Next to that he lives with his family in the Netherlands in a quiet part of Noord-Brabant. He spends his spare time writing for this blog (not with a fountain pen unfortunately) and reading books.


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  1. The Parker Big Red is on my list to buy this year. I going to buy the 18K on the nib I like a med nib so is the fine nib write like a true fine or more like a med?

    • I have a extra fine that writes like a medium. Normaly i prefer medium, but my extra fine does the job. Take in consideration that my Duofold is from 1995. I suggest you try out in a shop. Succes.

  2. I went through 2 extra fine bibs, but the paper at work is cheap, and needed more saturation, so I got fine and love it. You can really get to where you like taking notes, the more the better! Love the balance and feel on paper with the smoothness even on paper one step above cardboard!

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