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Parker Jotter


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#1 myles

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 22:03

As penance for continuing threads in the Pen Reviews forum that belong in the Writing Instruments forum, I'm posting a trio of pen reviews (with more to come as time permits). Feel free to criticise them severely so I can write better reviews in the future. I know the photos could be better - taken with my wife's hand-held dinky little snapshot camera, a cheap desk-lamp, a lifetime's lack of experience in the arts photographical, and the one square foot of desk space that isn't occupied by paper, books, and electronic equipment.

Regards, Myles.

First Impressions

The Parker Jotter was my introduction to the world of fountain pens. It was the only fountain pen in Officeworks (an Australian office supplies warehouse chain), hanging amongst the blister-packs of Parker ballpoints and refills (I've since seen it with other fountain pens in the locked pen display cabinets hidden in out-of-the-way corners of local newsagents).

I'd been dabbling in cartooning, and a few books had mentioned fountain pens, although generally in passing and in one case rather scornfully.

The pen is sold in a blister pack, posted to show the nib, clipped into a soft plastic base with a clear plastic cover.



Appearance & Finish

To somebody completely new to fountain pens, the brushed steel cap and barrel look professional and rugged amongst a field of plastic ballpoints (assuming it isn't aluminium or alloy, which is possible, as it is rather light). The shiny black plastic grip (or section) looks plain but workable, and the quite plain and discreet nib looks slightly exotic compared to ball-points without looking as flamboyant as a fully exposed fountain pen nib.

Near the cap's lip it has the Parker P logo, the word "Parker" all in capitals and in smaller capitals the words "made in UK".
The clip is a Parker arrow.

Design / Size / Weight

In practice, the metal barrel and cap have proven quite durable and rugged, and the springy clip has proven capable of handling shirt, jacket, or jeans pockets with equal aplomb (unlike a certain Lamy Safari clip which proved unequal to handling jeans front pockets and is now bent away from the cap at about a 10 degree angle).

When capping the pen there is a definite and satisfying click.

The brushed steel finish also hides fingerprints and gives the pen a little presence, but it is by no means a heavy pen. However, the pen is quite short and only feels comfortable to me when the cap is posted.
12.1cm capped (about 4 & 3/4")
11.2cm unposted (about 4 & 7/16")
13.8cm posted (about 5 & 7/16")





Unfortunately, I find the grip too slender for prolonged use - about 9mm tapering down to about 7mm.
Nib Design & Performance
The nib is quite stiff, and gives a nice standard medium line in all directions and some shading with appropriate inks (including Parker Quink Blue-Black). I have experienced no skipping or other problems and it starts immediately after sitting in my briefcase for a week or two.

Although it lays down a reasonable line, somewhat dry, it has a feel and a subtle whisper of writing sound I can only describe as "steel" (or more like "water on polished steel" than "warm butter on glass") - not unpleasant, but a definite feedback.

The semi-wrap-around nib is quite plain - it looks like someone has taken a shiny steel nail, pounded it flat and wrapped it into a semi-cylindrical shape, adding appropriate tipping material, and added the word Parker in plain block capitals. It seems to be the same nib used on the similarly priced Parker Reflex.



Although the nib itself is not marked with a size, the underside of the feed has a plain M moulded into it.



The stiffness of the nib has a few advantages. It writes quite well with either light or heavy pressure, and so it is a useful pen for a heavy-handed ex-ballpoint user making the transition to light-handed fountain pen user, while at the same time I have no hesitation in handing the pen to colleagues or students who have never used a fountain pen before. Although I have not tried it, it feels as though it could quite happily handle multi-layered carbon or carbonless copy paper, and could probably survive minor dropping incidents.

I can see why some cartoonists might look with scorn on fountain pens if they were used to dip pens and they haven't experienced the huge range of possibilities - there is little line variation, flex, or character to this nib.
However, for writing the uniform line might be more appealing to some people, and several cartoonists have done quite well with a uniform line.

The Filling System

The pen uses a cartridge/converter system, although it took me a few months to learn about converters and bottled ink. The pen comes with one Parker cartridge clipped to the underside of the display case inside the blister pack, and cartridges are still widely available in larger newsagents and stationery suppliers.

Unfortunately, the cartridges I've tried are quite resistant to insertion - you almost need to screw the barrel on to force the cartridge onto the section, which comes perilously close to damaging the shallow plastic threads on the section.
An inexpensive Parker converter from a dedicated bricks-&-mortar pen shop (not a newsagent or stationery supplier) solved that problem and enabled me to try my first bottle of ink, a Parker Quink Blue-Black.

A significant portion (about 1.7cm) of the converter transparent area remains visible, so it is relatively easy to see the amount of remaining ink.



Note: I dropped (umm, gesturing over-vigorously) this pen (capped) from about chest height onto a cement floor thinly covered with cheap "corporate" carpet, and the only damage was to the converter which snapped right across at the transparent area.

Cost / Value

At the time of purchase, this pen was about A$24 for Officeworks (now priced at about A$30, I see), which is the cheapest readily available fountain pen I've seen in Australia (except for the occasional disposables and calligraphy pens in supermarkets). The brushed stainless steel finish makes it look rather good value if you are happy with the nib and the slender grip.

I've also seen them in NewsPower newsagents, include with more expensive pens in the locked glass-fronted cabinet which is usually hidden in an out-of-the-way corner of the larger newsagents.

Parker converters are available separately from proper pen stores.

For about another A$18 on the current price, you can get yourself a nice Lamy Safari with a wider grip, which is probably better value if
you like the Safari's triangular grip.

Overall Opinion / Conclusion

A good cheap introduction to fountain pens and a useful knock-about pen for slipping in a pocket when shopping for groceries. Possibly a useful backup pen to throw in with a cartridge or two. The main drawbacks are the slender grip and overall small size.
The palest ink is better than the sharpest memory - Chinese proverb
The very ink with which all history is written is merely fluid prejudice - Mark Twain

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#2 juhtolv

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 00:17


I mostly agree with your review. I have this fountain pen in all colours:
  • Stainless Steel
  • Special Black
  • Special Blue
  • Special Red

Here in Finland most Parker fountain pens are sold only with Medium nib, but they provide Parker Nib Exchange. That way you can get Fine nib for your Parker Jotter -fountain pen, instead. I had Nib Exchange done for that Stainless Steel and Special Black model. I bought that Special Blue from Büroomaailm -stationery shop in Pärnu, Estonia and it had Fine nib out-of-the-box. I bought that Special Red with Medium nib and let it be so.

That pen is very tolerable knock-around pen, especially that Stainless Steel model. Gripping section is definitely too thin for my big hands; I would not want to write very long texts with that kind of pen, but for writing grocery lists, signatures and short Snail-Mails it works well. It is not super-smooth writer, but smooth enough. If I remember correctly I haven’t had much starting problems or skipping.

I have had once so bad problem with Parker Jotter -fountain pen, that I had to send it to importer for fixing: Problem arised in that Special Black pen. In the edge of gripping section, near nib, there were some cracks. Maybe that was the reason for all that ink that stained gripping section. Somehow ink crept to gripping section all the time. I always kept that pen in cup nib pointing upwards; it did not help at all. After fixing that pen it has worked fine. That gripping section was changed when they fixed it.

I really can recommend that pen for most of us.

Juhapekka “naula” TOLVANEN * The Nerd in Black * http://iki.fi/juhtolv
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#3 david1600

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Posted 28 December 2011 - 18:08

nice review. I have jotter and I must say it's good and cheap workhorse

#4 adallak

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 04:20

Nice review. Thanks.
“Be nice to people on your way up because you meet them on your way down.” Jimmy Durante quotes (American Comedian, Pianist and Singer, 1893-1980)

#5 N1TR0X

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 18:52

Do someone knows where this Parker Jotter Rolleball is on sale????

#6 yamborghini

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 03:21

This is exactly the same with me. I went to office works one day and bought one and have never looked back since. I basically only use fountain pens now for extended periods of writing. Also got me through my 3 hours exams without feeling it my writing hand at all.

#7 jaqcp

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 04:18

The Jotter was also my first fountain pen. I had a flighter and a black one. Though they were both lost in a move along with two other later additions, they remain my favorite. They were durable and exceptionally reliable. Though I would probably not buy a pen that small today for an every day writer, I wish I had back the ones I lost. They seem to have been better quality than one I recently used that was of much more recent manufacture. Maybe a fluke, maybe not.

I certainly consider them a fantastic student pen for their size and reliability as well as affordability.

In this age of text, twitter, skype and email, receiving a good old-fashioned hand-written letter feels just like a warm hug.

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#8 maria322

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 05:24

nice review. I have jotter and I must say it's good and cheap workhorse



+1

I've got a red Medium Jotter - great pen!
Courage is fear that has said its prayers.
- Dorothy Bernard

Maria

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#9 yamborghini

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 07:55

I certainly consider them a fantastic student pen for their size and reliability as well as affordability.


+1

#10 John the Monkey

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 09:00

The Jotter was also my first fountain pen. I had a flighter and a black one. Though they were both lost in a move along with two other later additions, they remain my favorite.

I certainly consider them a fantastic student pen for their size and reliability as well as affordability.


I think my Jotter was my second (after a Parker Reflex, iirc). Mine's a flighter, bought for £6 in a sale at a local stationers. The main attraction for me was that it fit in the (rather small) pen loop of my organiser, although a Pelikan Steno lives there now (the fine nib of the Steno being better in the small spaces of a pocket size planner). I use the jotter occasionally, but it's never failed to start, even after being left for quite some time.

#11 adallak

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 17:27

Do someone knows where this Parker Jotter Rolleball is on sale????

There are many on eBay.
“Be nice to people on your way up because you meet them on your way down.” Jimmy Durante quotes (American Comedian, Pianist and Singer, 1893-1980)

#12 d_vikram86

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 00:56

Hello all,

This is my first post! I had a parker jotter fountain pen when I was in high school and it somehow vanished over the years. I was suddenly reminded of it and I recently purchased one on ebay (medium point) and filled it with noodlers baystate blue ink. For some reason the ink is not flowing smoothly. Ink flows out of the pen onto the paper if you write really slowly. But if you do a quick stroke it does not write, but scratches the paper.

I am assuming I need to tune it and increase the ink flow a little bit. Am i correct? or is something else happening?

Where can I find instructions to adjust the ink flow on this pen? I looked around and am unable to find instructions anywhere.

Cheers!

#13 N1TR0X

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 20:01

is it a good pen?

PS: i was in the penshop and i saw this it was small! how about capped?

#14 t.payne93

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 05:26

Hmmm... I got my replacement Parker SS CT FP from Dymocks, in the Sydney CBD... the casing was a lot different than my first from Officeworks. The casing on this particular beauty was much more... executive?
T.Payne

#15 bekki2308

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 15:23

I love my Jotter. I got it while in secondary school using a voucher I got for a stationary shop for "good behaviour" so it actually cost me nothing. I used it now and again in secondary school (age 14) and used it while at college usually (16-18) and almost exclusively at uni (18-21). It has not once leaked or failed me, tutors have used it, it has been dropped, chucked around the classroom, used by fellow students this pen just doesnt die. I prefer a nice small light pen so it suits me perfectly, so far nothing apart from some 1960s Parker 17 Lady's has beaten it in terms of comfort to me compared to the more expensive Lamy Safari IMHO the Jotter wins hands down once fitted with a parker deluxe converter :D As it happens I have just bought another Jotter with a clear section again in medium nib just because I like the pen and like demo type pens.

Edited by bekki2308, 20 March 2013 - 15:24.

Esterbrook J, TWSBI Diamond 580 (lost it somewhere :-() and some random other pens

#16 Durham K

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 22:36

I mostly agree with your review. I have this fountain pen in all colours:

  • Stainless Steel
  • Special Black
  • Special Blue
  • Special Red
Here in Finland most Parker fountain pens are sold only with Medium nib, but they provide Parker Nib Exchange. That way you can get Fine nib for your Parker Jotter -fountain pen, instead. I had Nib Exchange done for that Stainless Steel and Special Black model. I bought that Special Blue from Büroomaailm -stationery shop in Pärnu, Estonia and it had Fine nib out-of-the-box. I bought that Special Red with Medium nib and let it be so.That pen is very tolerable knock-around pen, especially that Stainless Steel model. Gripping section is definitely too thin for my big hands; I would not want to write very long texts with that kind of pen, but for writing grocery lists, signatures and short Snail-Mails it works well. It is not super-smooth writer, but smooth enough. If I remember correctly I haven’t had much starting problems or skipping.I have had once so bad problem with Parker Jotter -fountain pen, that I had to send it to importer for fixing: Problem arised in that Special Black pen. In the edge of gripping section, near nib, there were some cracks. Maybe that was the reason for all that ink that stained gripping section. Somehow ink crept to gripping section all the time. I always kept that pen in cup nib pointing upwards; it did not help at all. After fixing that pen it has worked fine. That gripping section was changed when they fixed it.I really can recommend that pen for most of us.

I have had a few of these little pens over the years (some lost by students and found by me). Three of these cracked in the section near the nib causing inky fingers. By drying the section and using Cyno glue they have done well since. They may be nails but they can be a smooth everyday writer. I like the flighters and the black version is smart with a gold coloured clip. Good for the smaller hand they are a suitable choice for young students.
Has this ever been available with anything other than a medium nib?

K

#17 The Blue Knight

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 22:47

Has this ever been available with anything other than a medium nib?

K

 

I've got a handsome Red GT Parker 15 in fine essentially a Jotter however it was made before the merger of the two lines.



#18 Dillo

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 16:58

Hi,

 

This was actually one of my favourite Parker pens. I really liked the size. It does use the same nib as the Reflex and Vector, and I actually transplanted the nib from my Reflex to my Jotter because the Jotter was more comfortable for me. They use the same nib and two-channel feed.

 

Dillon


Stolen: Aurora Optima Demonstrator Red ends Medium nib. Serial number 1216 and Aurora 98 Cartridge/Converter Black bark finish (Archivi Storici) with gold cap. Reward if found. Please contact me if you have seen these pens.

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#19 Spikey Mike

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 19:26

I actually quite like the Parker 15/Jotter  ... especially the older ones. I have a matt blue epoxy over brass one which is a nice little pen.

 

My Parker Mixy/15/Jotter page here: http://www.pencollec...uk/parker15.htm


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#20 Monbla

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Posted 15 September 2016 - 21:28

When did Parker make a fountain pen named Jotter ? I've bought and ownwd a lot of Perker pens since the mid '60s and only known the Jotter as a Ball Point pen !! 








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