Guest review: Tabo Esse Fountain Pen

Note: This review has been nicely contributed by The Pen Stabber a.k.a. Hwee Min from my Fountain Pen Lovers Facebook Group. She has done a guest review before, and we hope you will like this one too!


Hello there again. This is the Pen Stabber and I’m back with my 2nd Review!
I’ll like to say that I’m more interested in vintage fountain pens, and they are a huge part of my young collection. Hopefully, I’ll be able to bring more reviews with interesting pieces of history to this blog’s readers in the future.
I have the Esse Fountain Pen from Tabo. This is a wonderful, petite Italian fountain pen with a flexible nib. That about sums it up. On yeah, how can I forget? This is one GORGEOUS, gorgeous pen. Take a look.
Picture 1 Picture 2 Picture 3
First Impression:

I saw this pen on Sanpei’s website. Those familiar with FPN will know that Sanpei sells vintage Italian fountain pens through FPN listings. He has other selections from his website as well. When I saw it, I did a double take. It looks like a Parker Vac, in BLUE. And a prettier blue than I’ve ever seen on a Parker Vac. I had to have it.
A little about the pen company- and the model.
I could not find much about the pen brand and I’m pretty sure there are a lot more information on Italian boards. Please feel free to correct me if any of the information provided was inaccurate. The Tabo company was also known as Stiassi e Tantini Company and Società Italiana Stilografiche e Affini (SISA) at different points in time.  They produced pens from 1919 till 1948. The Esse Fp was a second tier Model and was produced in the 1930’s.

This is obviously a ladies pen. The Pen is slim, and with a cigar shape? The widest point is in the middle. I find it pleasant to hold. A few of my FP friends felt that it was a little too small to hold comfortably. The body of the pen is similar to the Parker Vac, however the little loops are a little slanted, especially on the cap. If you take a closer look at the pictures, they do not match up.
Dimensions when capped: 10.5cm
Dimensions when uncapped: 10cm
Dimensions when posted: 13cm

This is a well made pen. If someone tells me it was a first tier fountain pen , I would believe them.  This pen is around 80 years old and it holds up well. There are light scuffings on the pen body and the gold bands are darker but that is to be expected.

This is a wonderful flexible nib. It writes as a medium with no pressure and can go up to double broad. Its feed keeps up with flexing very well. I have a picture of the nib and the cap below.


Esse Tabo nib ixus 80 Esse Tabo Cap Ixus 80

I like the little roller ball thing at the end of the pen, I don’t know what it’s called. It’s fun to slide my thumb on it and I guess will help a user slide it into a shirt pocket easily. Given that I put my FP in a pencil box/ pen box, it serves no real purpose for this user.
Filling Mechanism:

The only thing I do not adore is the filling mechanism. I do not like button fillers on vintage pens. This button filler is stiff. I have to use so much pressure when pushing the button down that I fear that will spoil the pen. To fill, I place my thumb on the button, grip the pen body tightly and I will brace my thumb on the table, then push the body of the pen towards my thumb with the other free hand. This depresses the button. After that, I will stick the pen into a bottle of ink quickly so that it will suck up sufficient ink.

I got this for 75 Euros. I will not tell you if it is a competitive price or not, as I am not able to find similar pens to compare it to. But, given the condition of the pen, the looks which I adore, and my writing experience, I can say confidently- It was money well spent.
Overall Impression:

I love it. Will I buy it again? Hell yeah!
I just wish they had a full size version of this so everyone can enjoy it.
Thanks for reading till the end of my review and here is one last picture before my next review.
A doodle with the Tabo Esse!


Picture 6

Oh who am I kidding- just a few more.
Picture 7 Picture 8
Anyone has any experience with this brand? Or any similar pens to share?
Please comment!

2 Responses

  1. Maybelline Tan 23 October 2012 / 10:15 PM

    Hi Azizah, thanks, you have always been coming to comment, and it's great to read comments! Yes indeed, it is a nice pen, and I wished I had that too!

  2. Azizah 21 October 2012 / 8:51 AM

    Wowzers! That is a gorgeous pen!! Nicely reviewed too 🙂 I'll have to add this to my list of things to keep an eye out for! Beautiful writing in that writing sample, by the way!

I would love to hear your thoughts!