The Wonderful World of Esterbrook

Just a short note tonight on one of my favorite lines of pens, the Esterbrook. I have several, but today I broke out one that hasn’t been in the usual rotation for a year or so. And after inking it up, I’m not sure why.

This particular example is a fern green SJ model (their short model) about 4 ¾” long. It’s outfitted with one of my favorite of the Esterbrook nibs, a 9668 which in their old advertisements was referred to as ‘general writing’. This pen is simply a work horse. It writes a buttery smooth, wet line, and I’ve inked it with another new favorite of mine, Lamy blue.

The trick for me with these pens has been the nibs. As I mentioned earlier, this pen is fitted with a 9668 nib which is (again, my opinion) outstanding. However, In my collection, I’ve chosen to focus only on their 9xxxx series of nibs. Esterbrook made 1000, 2000, and 9000 series nibs. The 1000 and 2000 series used a folding method to tip the tines, while the 9000 series were tipped with iridium which I think, provides for a smoother writing nib, even in the finer points. I just haven’t found a 1xxx or 2xxx nib that wrote smoothly for me, though in all fairness, I haven’t sampled that many of them.

Simply put, Esterbrooks are a fantastic line of pens! They are a great way for someone new to fountain pen collecting to be initiated into this wonderful hobby, as they are plentiful, and (at least at this point in time) are reasonably cheap to acquire. They offer the collector a VAST array of pens to collect, given the colors, sizes, styles and not the least of which, nib choices available. And while these pens were originally made for the ‘common man’ in terms of pricing, they offer quality to match just about anything else you’d want to compare them to. But don’t confuse quality with luxury. These pens were made with stainless steel hardware and nib material. Not gold. They were meant to be used. The advantage of using stainless steel was that when you acquire one today, they’re generally found in pretty good shape. No corrosion or brassing. Their bodies were made of a thick celluloid that typically cleans up nicely.