Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Featured Pen - Esterbrook J

This pen is an Esterbrook J Double Jewel in Black.

The Esterbrook pen, as I stated in an earlier post are workhorses in the fountain pen world and are extremely versatile, since they were designed with replaceable nibs.

From Brian P. Anderson’s website

Now we're getting to the meat and potatoes of Esterbrook. The classic double jewel J. These came in three sizes J (full sized), LJ (slender), and SJ (demi) and in the classic six colors. Oddly enough, neither the 1949 nor 1952 catalogs show the LJ. Double jewel models come out around 1948 and were produced in vast quantities, with many showing up in the wild with perfectly pliable sacs and in perfect writing condition.

The earliest double jewel models simply have the "Esterbrook" imprint, whereas most are as shown above with the Rights Reserved symbol (®). J's have double round black jewels with the name on the clip. One of the interesting features of the J series pens is the different shades of plastic used there seems to be at least a light and dark variant of every color. While this was not intentional on Esterbrook's part, there are obvious differences. Don't be fooled however that these were production or "rare" variants.

There is an enormous amount of additional information the Esterbrook on Brian’s site. There is also a wonderful book called The Fountain Pens of Esterbrook by Paul Hoban which can provide tons of information about this company and their pens.

The Esterbrook J is a solidly built but light pen and is very comfortable to write with.

Appearance & Design, 9 out of 10 - Black, classic styling. The prototype lever fill fountain pen that you see in the cartoon.

Construction & Quality, 9 of out 10 - This is a sturdy well built pen typical of the Esterbrook pens of its day

Weight & Dimensions, 9 of out 10 - Sturdy and lightweight this pen measures 5 inched capped, 4 5/8 inches unposted and 6 1/8 inches posted. It weighs in at 15 gms

Nib & Performance, 10 of out 10 - Pick a nib, any nib – this is the beauty of the Esterbrook and the biggest advantage

Filling System & Maintenance, 7 of out 10 - Lever filler, I like lever fill pens but they can be the most difficult to fill and some do not hold much ink

Cost & Value, 10 of out 10 – this pen was very inexpensive compared to many of the other pens that I own and much less expensive that many modern inexpensive pens

Final score: 9.00

Paper is Rhodia Bloc No 16 - click on image to enlarge:


lady dandelion said...

I really like these non-blingy classics - thanks for highlighting the virtues of an Esterbrook J! The closeup on the nib - I like this more "modern layout" - is great. Mille grazie.

Mary said...

I've written with Esterbrook pens since I was in third grade. I love these pens. One of the few bargains in our lifetimes, Esterbrooks were well made and inexpensive. Collectors who turn up their noses at these fine pens are foolish.

phonelady said...

they sound like fine pens I have never had the priveledge I hope too one day . thanks for the review .

chriscp said...

I love my red J. Once I got my hands on a 9128 nib, it became my #1 sketching pen.

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