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Esterbrook Transitional J!

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14 replies to this topic

#1 HenryLouis



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Posted 13 December 2009 - 21:00


Esterbrook is an American vintage pen company, and this penwas made sometime around 1944-1948. They specialized in lever fillers. I neededa good companion to my Reform 1745 as my daily use pen for school. So I decidedto scrounge the for sale forum and eventually I found a great one. Many hail Esterbrooks as great daily users, and I will put this to the test.

First impressions:

A lightweight pen, though it has a good girth to maintain a good grip. A bit shorter than the Reform 1745 but more comfortable… Pretty celluloid!

Length Capped: 12 cm

Length Uncapped: 11 cm

Length Posted: 15 cm

Apperance and Design:

I really like this grey celluloid. I'm not a huge fan of gray as a color but this is quite appealing and with a lot of depth, much more so than my Merlin 33. I hope my pictures can give a good feeling of the material. It's nice andcomfortable. I really like the grip section. I feel like I can write with thispen for a really long time… It's a good size, just a bit small, still usable unposted and posted. Everything has a stanless steel finish, which is good as Esterbrooks were meant to be user pens, not heirlooms. There are many designcharacteristics such as the Renew-point nib which means nibs can be exchangedfor other nibs by screwing out. The threads open quickly and close securely,the lever is secure and the clip is tight. Only thing is the cap top is justslightly damaged. Other than that it's almost like a new pen. It's glossy!

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One of the best parts of the Esterbrook. This is a steel renew-point, from the 9xxx master series meaning it is osmiridium tipped. This is a 9668 firm medium nib and I had it included when I bought the pen off FPN. It was NOS and I wasthe first to ink it, which was quite a gratifying feeling! The nib is very smooth,with a wetness of about 6-7 /10 using Omas blue. There is a sense of control when writing with this pen, which is essential for a pen being used as a dailywriter. A good sized nib, which I definitely like.

First ink!(Omas blue in my old Aurora bottle)

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First line!

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Filling System:
Lever! This is a very reliable filling system using a sac inside of the penwhich is depressed using a lever. Then you flick the lever back and the sac expands, sucking up ink. The only thing I don't like is during flushing is the lever is just slightly sharp… Good capacity, I can write with this and fill it every other day. It doesn't spit ink out in the cap ever so I find this to be very good.

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Cost and Value:
I bought this gem for $40 USD shipped from Penfisher (great seller!). I received it very quickly. Restored, and with a NOS nib I think it to be one of my better purchases over my short fountain pen buying. Penfisher usually has esterbrooks for sale, so I think he's a great place to get one from. For around the price of a Lamy safari and sporting a nicer nib and a more attractive body, this has to be oneof the best deals available.

A great pen. I'm already enjoying using it for school more often than myReform. If you have one, you'll appreciate it. If you don't… What are youwaiting for? They're available on the FS forums.

I leave you with a shot of the Esterbrook name:

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Edited by HenryLouis, 13 December 2009 - 22:26.

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#2 Highbinder



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Posted 13 December 2009 - 22:21

Let me be the first to say: Hear hear!!

Great review with lots of pics which is always nice. I love the esterbrooks. I've got a couple, a beautiful black J with a 2314-m nib, a little grey SJ with a 1555 which needs resacced, and a beater green J with a foreign nib (very smooth surprisingly). Also had a blue J with a 9314-f nib but thats' been sent off as a christmas present for me friend. Looking to get a nice red one next!

.. Basicly what I'm getting at is they're great pens! :D

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#3 HenryLouis



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Posted 14 December 2009 - 02:34

Thanks, they seem to be popular but there aren't a lot of reviews on them...
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#4 Frank_Federalist_Pens


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Posted 14 December 2009 - 02:57

Nice review Henry!

You have a very good example of a Trans-J, complete with the early ribbed capped jewel. This makes this model an early (first-year/so) example, later Trans-J pens did have the standard J jewel.

The 9668 is a great nib! One of my daily favorites!


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#5 italiansallion


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Posted 14 December 2009 - 20:29

nice review henry, arent they great little pens!

#6 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 09:37

I started with 10 or so inherited pens that sat in a drawer for 15 years until it was flea market time. The wife tasked me with finding out what they were worth on the net.

I had a gray Esterbrook, that was sort of Blaa. After finding Esterbrook coms, that gray was "Ugly".
There was a box of Esterbrook pens and parts with some Wearevers on Ebay. I was interested in the Copper and a couple of the blues.

I now have 4 of the 6 shades of Grey, and by golly, they ain't ugly at all, subtle....yep subtle. Some day, I'm going to have all 6 shades of gray. I have from "Dark Midnight Smoke"* gray to the medium gray. I am missing the two "Silver" gray shades.

* I had thought it a dulled up black until I polished it a tad.

Greens grew on me too. But I have a long way to go. I need four barrels to match the caps I have and a cap to match the Garder snake green barrel I have.
I need the two reds, and a Root beer. Copper I have and 4 blues....

I have to either get the threads fixed on one wonderful blue SJ or, I have an absolutely gorgeous, Blue snake top on a copper snake barrel...that looks like it was designed to go that way.

Esterbrooks are fine...and so many colors of them.

Actually that was a good buy on the Bay. I have @ half the colors of the J's.

German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany & https://www.peter-bo...cts/nib-systems,


The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.




#7 David V

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 21:17

Excellent review, Henry! My DW is just like your Estie. I got mine somewhat by accident as the ebay seller I was buying from put the wrong pen in the box. Boy was I happy to find that instead of a double jewel J, I had a ribbed jewel trans-J. I find the rippled grey coloring to be somewhat mesmirizing to look at. My 9668 nib is actually one I had to restore, as the feed was damaged when I received it in a different pen. I was able to swap feeds with one from a different nib that had a broken tip. I would say it lays down a M-B line, and it will definitely hold enough ink to last a few days between fills even with its thick, wet line. I also agree that the thickness of this pen makes it much more comfortable to write for long amounts of time than some of my skinnier pens.

Wish you joy of your purchase! Have you succombed to Esterbrook Fever yet? (the uncontrollable drive to purchase more Esterbrook pens regardless of whether you have one just like it or not)

Edited by David V, 18 December 2009 - 21:18.

#8 bhbarto


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Posted 20 December 2009 - 13:59

I agree, nothing is better than an Esterbrook "J" with a NOS 9668 nib. I have one fitted to my green "J" and I have to order another one for my gray "SJ" which is currently sporting a NOS 2668.

Edited by bhbarto, 20 December 2009 - 14:02.

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#9 bdngrd



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Posted 20 December 2009 - 23:16

Nice review! Esties don't get the attention they deserve.
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#10 georges zaslavsky

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Posted 25 December 2009 - 13:21

well done :thumbup: I am not into lever fillers but this pen is a nice one.
Pens are like watches , once you start a collection, you can hardly go back. And pens like all fine luxury items do improve with time

#11 gross


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Posted 27 December 2009 - 09:04

Great review! Esterbrooks are my favorite pen and have been for many years. They are real workhorses and even manage to make my scrawl look good. I hope you continue to enjoy your pen! Thanks for the excellent review.

Let us endeavor to live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry. -Mark Twain

#12 alvarez57



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Posted 27 December 2009 - 23:34

Thanks, they seem to be popular but there aren't a lot of reviews on them...

That's why we appreciate your review. You started all right collecting vintage pens, something I discovered after getting many, many modern pens. The feel is not the same once a vintage is owned. That is an elegant-looking pen.

sonia alvarez





#13 dandelion


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Posted 01 January 2010 - 12:15

Thank you for an excellent Estie review with great pics! I really like the close-ups on the writing - and your handwriting!
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#14 Ondina


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Posted 01 January 2010 - 12:23

Nice review, Henry, and good pics, I like the subtle DOF. Esties are neat pens, although finding a J in good condition with the the type of nibs I enjoy puts them in a price range that makes me hold back. Thanks for the good review.

#15 Sagar_C


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Posted 30 January 2011 - 22:33

Just bought exactly same one for almost exactly same price. Only difference is that the nib is 1551 --- have to find a better nib now.

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