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Esterbrooks I Like The Look Of


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#1 murphy j

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 04:48

So, I'm new to fountain pens and have been cruising the interwebz looking at them. I've come across several Esterbrooks on eBay that I like the look of. The ones I like are either restored and functioning or need some work. The questions I have are... Would an Esterbrook be a good first pen for a newbie? And what do I need to look out for? If it's in a non-functioning state, would it be worth my while to acquire and get working? Or would I be better off finding one I like that's functioning? Any tips, opinions and whatnot are appreciated. Thanks.

#2 JonSzanto

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 05:11

To be honest, it isn't that hard to get a functioning Esterbrook for $30 or less. If you feel mechanically inclined, they are just about the easiest pen in the world to restore, and this particular sub-forum has some permanent threads on just how to do that.

But also, since you say you are new, and I assume you'd like to write with this, you also might want to take a look at the many nibs that can come with an Estie. The vast majority just screw in and screw out (interchangeable) and what would be good, if you plan on buying online or in an auction, is to decide on a common nib so you don't end up with something either exotic or hard to write with. Two of the medium nibs that are pretty common are the 2886 and (less common, just slightly) the 9886.

Lastly: check the classifieds here, as Esterbrooks get sold a lot (Rick Krantz recently had *tons* of them for sale, all restored), and the moderator of the Estie forum, Brian Anderson, has a two sites, one devoted to Esterbrooks, and one for their pen business. He sells them as well, and highly recommended.

There are a lot of Esterbrook fans around here, so you'll get lots of info. This is just for starters, and I hope you enjoy your pen(s) when you get it (them). Very, very, very hard to stop at one Esterbrook. :)
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#3 Harlequin

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 05:18

From what I understand and what I've learned, Esties are probably one of the best pens to get as a beginner. There are a ton of nibs that are easily interchangeable (screw in, screw out), the ink sacs are easy to replace, even for someone who has never done it before, there's a good variety as far as color and size with the three J sizes (they ones you probably see the most on ebay), and they are affordable as well. Because the are lever fillers, I also think have an air of sophistication and style that modern pens don't.


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#4 pajaro

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 05:40

The first decent fountain pen I bought was a new pen. I still have it after forty-two years. I don't think I would recommend a vintage pen as someone's first. However, if you absolutely are determined to start with a vintage pen, get a restored pen from a reliable source. Leave the fixer-uppers to later and don't set yourself up for frustrations that will drive you away from something you would like to do.


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#5 Mags

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 12:27

So, I'm new to fountain pens and have been cruising the interwebz looking at them. I've come across several Esterbrooks on eBay that I like the look of. The ones I like are either restored and functioning or need some work. The questions I have are... Would an Esterbrook be a good first pen for a newbie? And what do I need to look out for? If it's in a non-functioning state, would it be worth my while to acquire and get working? Or would I be better off finding one I like that's functioning? Any tips, opinions and whatnot are appreciated. Thanks.



I would say these pens which sold for $2 originally and intended to last 3-10 yrs were excellent bargains after 50 yrs of service. Being new to fountain pens they are a must have for you refurbished as suggested above. Combine that with a Faber-Castell Basic fountain pen or a Lamy Safari or a maybe a Parker 21, 45 or reconditioned Parker Duofold Jr from the 30's and away you go.

When you are ready, a Pelikan 200 series and some Aurora or Bexley hardware to build your daily use pens.....as for collectibles....if you like it the pick is perfect for you.
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#6 murphy j

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 01:55

Thank you all. Everyone's advice has given me things to consider in regards to my first pen. My inclination is that I want to get a working pen that I don't have to hassle with getting into working condition. My feeling towards vintage is that it would be more cost effective until I'm %100 sure this hobby is one I wish to pursue with seriousness. Having said that, I've found several restored Esterbrook pens that I think are absolutely Beautiful to the eye, but have to wait a bit before I jump out and get one. Thank you again for all your words of advice.

#7 Harlequin

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 02:01

Two sellers on eBay with great reputations among people here at FPN are oldretiredperson and applejim, just fyi. They sell restored pens almost exclusively, so you shouldn't have any issues with something you get from one of them.


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#8 murphy j

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 02:13

Two sellers on eBay with great reputations among people here at FPN are oldretiredperson and applejim, just fyi. They sell restored pens almost exclusively, so you shouldn't have any issues with something you get from one of them.


Excellent.Thank you for the references.

#9 Harlequin

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 02:14

my pleasure... but keep your mitts off the copper Js! LOL! , j/k. That's what I'm after right now.


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#10 murphy j

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 02:16

my pleasure... but keep your mitts off the copper Js! LOL! , j/k. That's what I'm after right now.


I must have good taste for a newbie, because that's exactly what I've been looking at :roflmho: :roflmho: :roflmho:

#11 OcalaFlGuy

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 02:57

Ahh yes, it seems a good time to showNtell this one again. It doesn't get seen too often. You'll be sure to note the Oxygen free High Conductivity Copper jewels on that Copper Estie. ;)

Bruce in Ocala, FL
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#12 Harlequin

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 03:00

I think you should know, there are actually two "browns"... the darker is called "rootbeer", the lighter is called "copper". Of course, the copper is (as far as I've seen) much more common to find than the rootbeer.


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#13 Harlequin

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 03:01

Did you put those on yourself Bruce? That look sweet!


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#14 JonSzanto

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 03:53

I think you should know, there are actually two "browns"... the darker is called "rootbeer", the lighter is called "copper". Of course, the copper is (as far as I've seen) much more common to find than the rootbeer.

It isn't nice to spread mis-information. Esterbrook never used the term "rootbeer". While there were two browns (Brown #1 and #2), they were known as "Brown" (the darker of the two, and "Copper" (the lighter). The term "rootbeer" is not an Esterbrook moniker, and serves to confuse the issue.

Just FYI.
"When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick; and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."
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#15 JonSzanto

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 03:55

Ahh yes, it seems a good time to showNtell this one again. It doesn't get seen too often. You'll be sure to note the Oxygen free High Conductivity Copper jewels on that Copper Estie. ;)

Bruce, be nice. Be sure to tell the public that those are after-market add-ons.
"When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick; and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."
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#16 murphy j

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 04:15

Ahh yes, it seems a good time to showNtell this one again. It doesn't get seen too often. You'll be sure to note the Oxygen free High Conductivity Copper jewels on that Copper Estie. ;)

Bruce in Ocala, FL
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That is absolutely Lovely. A very fine looking pen you have there.

#17 pajaro

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 05:40

I think those copper jewels on that pen are the most beautiful you will see.
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#18 Harlequin

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 06:02


I think you should know, there are actually two "browns"... the darker is called "rootbeer", the lighter is called "copper". Of course, the copper is (as far as I've seen) much more common to find than the rootbeer.

It isn't nice to spread mis-information. Esterbrook never used the term "rootbeer". While there were two browns (Brown #1 and #2), they were known as "Brown" (the darker of the two, and "Copper" (the lighter). The term "rootbeer" is not an Esterbrook moniker, and serves to confuse the issue.

Just FYI.


Actually, for the double jeweled Js, Esterbrook never used the term "copper" either. They just used the two browns. Earlier pens (non double jeweled Js, pre-1948) had the name of "copper", but after that it was not used. That's according to Richard Binder's "Esterbrook J family" page (about 2/3 of the way down).

But that is really immaterial. If the OP is going to be looking on ebay or other places like that, he WILL run into those two names. It'll be root beer and copper in the descriptions, not usually brown 1 and brown 2.


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#19 EKE

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 06:09

Love the Copper Esterbrooks.
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#20 JonSzanto

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 06:13

Actually, for the double jeweled Js, Esterbrook never used the term "copper" either. They just used the two browns. Earlier pens (non double jeweled Js, pre-1948) had the name of "copper", but after that it was not used. That's according to Richard Binder's "Esterbrook J family" page (about 2/3 of the way down).

But that is really immaterial. If the OP is going to be looking on ebay or other places like that, he WILL run into those two names. It'll be root beer and copper in the descriptions, not usually brown 1 and brown 2.

Yes, I'm familiar with Richard's pages on the J series. I didn't imply that Brown 1/2 were in public use, but that the two other terms is what the pens were known as. The collection of fountain pens is still in its early stages, and the fact that there are erroneous terms out in the wild - people will call things anything they like! - if places like the Fountain Pen Network and related forums don't point this out, very large bits of misinformation gather up, and can make for a lot of confusion.

Playing fast and loose with terminology is never a good idea, and certainly should (at the very least) be explained. There are many, many posts over the years on just this forum with people attempting to identify a pen, and the terminology can be a real help in pinning down correct models, years, etc. This is just one of the valuable lessons I've learned from the people who have more years experience in this field than I currently have.

Then again, I could be totally out to lunch. I'm just offering this up for thought.

Edited by JonSzanto, 05 January 2013 - 06:24.

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#21 murphy j

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 17:17



I think you should know, there are actually two "browns"... the darker is called "rootbeer", the lighter is called "copper". Of course, the copper is (as far as I've seen) much more common to find than the rootbeer.

It isn't nice to spread mis-information. Esterbrook never used the term "rootbeer". While there were two browns (Brown #1 and #2), they were known as "Brown" (the darker of the two, and "Copper" (the lighter). The term "rootbeer" is not an Esterbrook moniker, and serves to confuse the issue.

Just FYI.


Actually, for the double jeweled Js, Esterbrook never used the term "copper" either. They just used the two browns. Earlier pens (non double jeweled Js, pre-1948) had the name of "copper", but after that it was not used. That's according to Richard Binder's "Esterbrook J family" page (about 2/3 of the way down).

But that is really immaterial. If the OP is going to be looking on ebay or other places like that, he WILL run into those two names. It'll be root beer and copper in the descriptions, not usually brown 1 and brown 2.



While I do appreciate the education in regards to the official details, Harlequin is right. 'Root Beer' and 'Copper' are the two terms I keep consistently coming across. Having found several of each in a restored or NOS state, I now have to decide between them.

#22 OcalaFlGuy

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 19:06

I think those copper jewels on that pen are the most beautiful you will see.


Farmboy did a fantastic job on them. :clap1:

Bruce in Ocala, FL