Esterbrook pens

Esterbrook single-jewel model J in brown marbled celluloid

R. Esterbrook & Co. made fountain pens during the first portion of the 20th century, but they wre far better known for their dip pens and points, which they had been making since before the U.S. civil war. You see few of these pre-1940 Esterbrooks in circulation. Almost all of their fountain pens that turn up today date from the 1940s and 50s. These are the model Js, in a handful of variations: single or double jewels, solid, marbled, and pastel colors, standard, slender, short, and purse size.


Esterbrook model CJ purse pen with clip, yellow with two matching yellow jewels

Few would mistake the Esterbrook for a high-priced pen; the steel points and nickel plated trim are dead giveaways that these weren't intended as heirlooms. Nevertheless, they were built from quality materials with great attention to detail. Except where there has been deliberate abuse, few of them seem to suffer the ills that afflict other bottom dwellers: shrunken or warped plastic, rust blossoming through micron-thin gold wash, loose cap bands, etc. They gave (and continue to give) outstanding service to students, clerical personnel, nurses, and others whose need to write could not be indulged with a more expensive instrument.

Uncle Sam uses an early Esterbrook (with the two-hole clip)
in a magazine ad probably from the late 1930s. Many presidential "bill-signers"
that turn up on the political ephemera market are basic Esterbrook desk-pens.

This file last posted on:
2005-Jan-20 17:50:23 CST
MCMVIII, the red network
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