An Ode to the Big Red.

It can’t be denied
that many have tried
but there’s no pen like a Big Red.

Parker Duofold Senior set in box

That ball-ended clip
was certainly hip
on a pen that was both Big and Red.

Clip detail

It was truly a prize,
a nib of that size;
it could only be a Big Red.

Parker Duofold Senior

A Christmas tree feed
is just what you need
when you write with a pen called Big Red.

Christmas tree feed

The Parker Duofold
is sought after, I’m told.
So hold on to your awesome Big Red.

Writing sample


  • yoy

    what a nice poem for the big red!

  • leighpod

    Thank you! 😀

  • Matt

    They are just unbelievably nice. I am not sure why either. For a stiff nibbed pen it is just want you want. Maybe they just made better stiff nibs back in the day. I also like the fact that the pencil was known as the “big bro.”

    I have three plus a franken red. I have a lot of problems.

  • Jim

    So the Big Red (Parker Duofold Senior) is the best fountain pen you have ever tried? And by the way, how do you clean all of your fountain pens? Do you only use water? Or household bleach, too? I’ve seen on Internet that many people have used ammonia. Is that a good idea?Thanks.

  • leighpod

    Not the best. It is certainly iconic. 🙂
    Cleaning is usually just water, sometimes with very diluted dishwashing liquid. I have yet to try the ammonia mix.

  • leighpod

    What is your franken red? 🙂

  • Matt

    The franken-red is a streamline model with a semi flexish swan nib. Fairly brassed but in the nice way that happens with vintage pens. There is a single ban big red with a lucky curve broad stub on the way. I so need to sell some pens . . . or trade, that is sort of like selling. (Lives a life of pen shame)

  • Jim

    I’ve asked another question here, but it seems that it hasn’t been published (probably because I’ve posted a link for your site). Anyway, I just would like to know with which pen you’ve written the message ‘I have multicolored fingers.’ (I’m sorry, Disqus doesn’t allow me to post links!). I’m looking for a cheap fountain pen with full flex nib, like a Noodler’s Ahab, even though I know it’s not full flex. Thanks again. PS: I love your charming handwriting, it does inspire me! 🙂

  • Jon Buller

    Just read Thurman’s biography of Colette. She was a devotee of Parker, but the book doesn’t specify which models.