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Something In The Middle?


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24 replies to this topic

#1 ummbnb

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 17:57

I got my first fountain pens last Christmas, a gift to myself, two Esterbrooks: a copper SJ with a 9556 nib and grey LJ with a 2668 nib. I've really enjoyed using them at home for general writing. I want to write more with them so I decided to start using them at work where I'm contantly taking notes but I'm finding that perhaps they aren't the best choices for all day, every day use. I need a pen(s) that are a pleasure to write with but can hold up to the rigors of my work. I move around a lot, take tons of notes and while I have three main notebooks with decent paper, I need to be able to write on various types of paper.

I've been reading the reviews here and frankly I'm a little overwhelmed so I'm hoping that folks won't mind another rather redundant post asking for recommendations.

I need something that is:
- pretty (classically styled),
- not too bulky (I have small hands),
- and is versitile.
- Oh, and I'm not wanting to spend more than $40.

I'm not sure if there's another Esterbrook that would work better for me on a daily basis so I'm looking at new pens. I was thinking about perhaps a Sheaffer 100. I like how it looks and it seems durable from what I'm reading. But I'd love to have some other suggestions.

(I'm home nursing a cold today so obsessing over pens seems like a good activity.)

Edited by ummbnb, 06 December 2012 - 17:59.


#2 Brian Anderson

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 18:56

Funny thing was as I was reading this I thought, maybe a Sheaffer 100, then you mentioned it. Fantastic pen with the same nib and feed as the 300 and the prelude. Bombproof, and inexpensive. I love mine. Starts up right away even after weeks of not being used. Sheaffer is very underrated in my opinion, and make some great pens. Another option would be Monteverde Artista Crystal in that price range. Super nice nibs, durable pen, and under $40. Everything else I can think of is either much bigger (TWSBI 540 - $40, Lamy Safari - $28), more money (TWSBI mini - $50, Pilot Prera - $56), or considerably smaller (Kaweco sport - $25).

Cheers!
Brian
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#3 OcalaFlGuy

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 19:11

I don't really see what disqualifies the Estie from the duty you describe though I can see the screw cap being a pain in repetition. A classic ebonite Estie feed and nib are likely to flow as well if not better than most plastic modern feeds. There are some metal capped Esties with pull off caps. (I think we have one as a Estie Loaner.)

For the $ you specify, I'd find a pristine, near NOS Parker 45 with a 14k nib on Fleabay for around $20-25. I'm sure someone here would be glad to help you find one in the color of your choice.

If you could stand a bit more weight, a Parker 45 (all stainless) Flighter. Very Sturdy construction. Able to be wiped down with hipo alcohol for sterile conditions.

A P-45 is easy to take down and clean and with the Gold nib you'd have to spend at least $100 on a new pen to match it.

Bruce in Ocala, FL

#4 pajaro

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 20:56

I have M2 and DeLuxe pens, and the caps are screw-on/off. I do find it tedious at work, where I take the cap off scores of times each day. Push-on/pull-off caps are easier in a case like this, because it takes less time to get the cap off and the pen ready to write. Threaded caps seem to have been an earlier standard (read old-fashioned) than push-on/pull-off caps. Interestingly, many current pen makers of costly stuff still use this old, time-honored (reactionary) technology. My personal opinion.

The Parker 45 is a pen which has stood the test of time, is a nice writing pen and it is very easy to change the nib or converter. The cap is push-on/pull-off. I have one of these with a gold point and it is a nice pen, with a cool design from the 1960s. I think it too nice a pen to take out of the house, but it was not expensive at $25 NOS. A great pen and convenient to use.
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#5 OcalaFlGuy

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 22:30

There is a thread right now in the Parker forum where a member found locally a pristine nearly NOS P-45 FP and MP Set for $20. It did have the Octanium nib instead of Gold but still, for $20? That's a DEAL!

http://www.fountainp...-parker-45-set/

If a 14kt Gold nib one off Fleabay for $20-25 isn't a good enough deal, send it to Pendemonium where for $20 + $5 shipping, they can send you back for a total price of $50 or less a 14kt Gold nib pen that does tricks! :clap1:

Bruce in Ocala, FL
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#6 Chiro75

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 01:05

I've used the same Esterbrook LJ everyday, all day, for over a year, with a tough ink, ESSRI, and I've cleaned it once, not because I had to, only because I was bored. Pen is a beast. Tough as nails.
Steve. Just plain ol' Steve.

#7 FarmBoy

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 02:45

A 51 would be a good choice. The are unfortunately a bit more than the average Esterbrook if you don't count toaster top black streaker mackerel sky rootbeers.

#8 pajaro

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 14:14

A 51 would be a good choice. The are unfortunately a bit more than the average Esterbrook if you don't count toaster top black streaker mackerel sky rootbeers.


Agreed that the 51 is always a good choice. I have recently bought two decent 51s on ebay within these price parameters, and they cleaned up well and will probably write ad infinitum with no more maintenance than ink flushing. I am a cheapskate and I enjoy a bargain for its own sake from time to time. You never know when a very nice Esterbrook, Parker 45 or Parker 51 will come up for sale by estate sale pickers whose investment might be minimal and who don't seem to mind offering a bargain because they will turn a profit. This requires some investment of your time to scan the market. That's part of the fun.
"Don't hurry, don't worry. It's better to be late at the Golden Gate than to arrive in Hell on time."
--Sign in a bar and grill, Ormond Beach, Florida, 1960.

#9 OcalaFlGuy

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 15:04

I've only gone to one estate sell that looked like it might have pens and this was the result. Thankfully, the money box lady agreed with my, "something doesn't look right with the point here..." and "there's no filler inside to use with bottled ink" and accepted my offer of $25. The second pic is it a bit more presentable. ;)

I haven't mentioned it before but yeah, thinking back, "I'm just not really into pencils" wasn't that good of justification for not going a few more bucks for the Ciselle pencil that was there too. I probably could have gotten it for $10-15.

Bruce in Ocala, FL
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#10 inkstainedruth

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 17:31

A 51 would be a good choice. The are unfortunately a bit more than the average Esterbrook if you don't count toaster top black streaker mackerel sky rootbeers.


Okay, I'll bite. What the heck is a "toaster top"? I recognize all the other terms (I think -- I've read up a bit on Esties since getting my little black SJ).
Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

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#11 OcalaFlGuy

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 17:48

The 3 ribbed jewel on the earlier Transitionals.

Bruce in Ocala, Fl

#12 ummbnb

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 18:09

Thank you all for the great feedback. Good food for thought. If I can kick this crazy plague that's hit me I hope to go try some of the new pens out this weekend. I'm watching several on Ebay.

WRT the thrill of the bargain - I'm a huge bargain hunter. I enjoy estate sales but often don't have the time they deserve, although I peruse the announcements each week. My big thing is thrifting.

#13 FarmBoy

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 15:54

The 3 ribbed jewel on the earlier Transitionals.

Bruce in Ocala, Fl

And I was going to say 'among the rarest'. Some where here a thread exists about the pen...

Edit: typing using 'iSpell buy iPhone' has issues

Edited by FarmBoy, 08 December 2012 - 15:55.


#14 OcalaFlGuy

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 16:32

Here is one.

Bruce in Ocala, FL
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#15 FarmBoy

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 17:10

I was thinking of This one but yours works too.

#16 pajaro

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 22:27

I was thinking of This one but yours works too.


Very good. Is there a catalog or list of these rare varieties, or is it all information closely held by an elite group of cognoscienti? I have always liked perusing catalogs of stamps, coins, and so on. From the link should I draw the conclusion that that knowledge is withheld from the masses so the few can scarf the rare ones up?
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#17 inkstainedruth

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 22:37

The 3 ribbed jewel on the earlier Transitionals.

Bruce in Ocala, Fl


Okay, thanks. The photo makes it pretty obvious. I just wasn't familiar with the term, and my Estie isn't a Transitional.
Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

#18 pajaro

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 19:50

.

I need something that is:
- pretty (classically styled),
- not too bulky (I have small hands),
- and is versitile.
- Oh, and I'm not wanting to spend more than $40.

I'm not sure if there's another Esterbrook that would work better for me on a daily basis so I'm looking at new pens. I was thinking about perhaps a Sheaffer 100. I like how it looks and it seems durable from what I'm reading. But I'd love to have some other suggestions.

(I'm home nursing a cold today so obsessing over pens seems like a good activity.)

After rereading your original post, I have come to think that you should perhaps purchase the new pen. This pen then becomes yours and only yours with no heritage of prior ownership to muse about. It will be something new, benefiting from technology improvements occuring after the vintage pens were designed. The Sheaffer 100 could be perfect for you.

When I went into the Air Force after college, I bought my first new good pen. The make and model are not important, just that it was a good pen. I have used it for over forty years with pleasure. There is something special about the first good quality new pen you buy as opposed to some old or new-old vintage pen. I could have gotten rid of my first good pen at any time, but kept it and kept using it and going back to it after getting tired of or bored with each subsequent acquisition. So, do yourself a favor and buy a new pen of good quality within your budgetary limit you have decided upon. I suspect you will be happy you did.
"Don't hurry, don't worry. It's better to be late at the Golden Gate than to arrive in Hell on time."
--Sign in a bar and grill, Ormond Beach, Florida, 1960.

#19 OcalaFlGuy

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 21:14

Interestingly enough, this just dawned on me.

OP since you mentioned the Sheaffer 100, I am pretty sure our very own Moderator has that pen in his shop, Anderson Pens.

I think he even has the cool RED Ferrari model S100. Zoom Freakin' Zoom Zoom! :thumbup:

Bruce in Ocala, FL

#20 Hobiwan

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 21:24

This is a bit late, but I just remembered....
I had excellent luck with a vintage Parker Vector cartridge pen. Years ago, a co-worker gave me an old PV her husband had used, which was just "laying around".
I dipped it in water and that little gem wrote like a dream!
These days, I think they're one of the cheapest vintage pens you can buy (I've seen some at $10 - $20 NOS on feebay), they're small, durable, have a snap-on cap, and the one I had wrote every time, without any work, with eyedropper-filled cartridge. If memory serves, you can still get cartridges that fit....
Best Regards
Paul


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#21 JonSzanto

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 21:40

Speaking of toasters, I just received a minty black Trans with a toaster top. Black might not seem as sexy, but it completes a black trio (SJ, J, Trans) to use with three sizes of italic style nibs (2314F, 2442, 2314M).

A very nice combo, a happy owner.

Those Sheaffer 100s look like a very nice pen, maybe a good pen to initiate someone into fps. I may have to pick one up!
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#22 79spitfire

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 01:19

I have a Sheaffer Three friends of winter, and it's a very nice pen, lacquered metal construction with a stiff but very reliable nib. Very durable and quick, uses a snap type cap that feels very secure. These can be had for around $40.

The Diplomat Magnum might fit the bill for you as well, and you would have money left over for a converter and ink! These are a bit small and plastic-y but mine does write well.

Where exactly do you work that you are hard on pens? I work in auto repair and education and seem to have a pen in my dirty hands most of the time. Esterbrook Js hold up fine for me. Is it the screw cap that's becoming a bother?

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#23 JakobS

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 14:57

I suppose this depends on your definition of classic, but if a P51 is attractive, and you want to try to stay within Esterbrooks, the SM deluxe line has a similar streamlined look that is also capped by clutch ring. They are a little more uncommon to find, but do show up on Ebay enough, and can be had around the $40 range. I find the burgundy, blue, and green versions to be exceptionally attractive.
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#24 inkstainedruth

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 20:00

This is a bit late, but I just remembered....
I had excellent luck with a vintage Parker Vector cartridge pen. Years ago, a co-worker gave me an old PV her husband had used, which was just "laying around".
I dipped it in water and that little gem wrote like a dream!
These days, I think they're one of the cheapest vintage pens you can buy (I've seen some at $10 - $20 NOS on feebay), they're small, durable, have a snap-on cap, and the one I had wrote every time, without any work, with eyedropper-filled cartridge. If memory serves, you can still get cartridges that fit....


Yup, Vectors take standard Parker (proprietary) cartridges. My first "real" FP was a Vector, and for a while it was the only pen I had. Got it a couple of years ago new, but I was looking at it last night and noticed some markings next to the "Made in UK" stamp on it, and looked the markings up on Parkerpen.net. There wasn't really any information about Vectors, but if I understand it the markings themselves indicate the pen was manufactured in 2003. So not vintage. But a great little pen nonetheless, and mine has been completely reliable. Only takes the slide converter though.
Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

#25 ummbnb

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 15:29

Thanks for the continued recommendations! I really love my Esterbrooks, don't get me wrong. Maybe its just in my head but I feel this needs to be gentle with them. Probably in my head. Still, I'm going to get the 100 because...well, why not?