Having read the above regarding all the Richards Esterbrook, I thoght I'd add, perhaps, a bit of additional reality to the discussion. Some years back, I decided to create a series of Esterbrook picture ink blotters documenting various Esty memorabilia. It was just some things I made up, and included pictures of the Richards, which Dorothy Jean sent me during the period of 1992 thru 1995, following the publication of my book, "Fountain Pens of Esterbrook".
Long story short, a couple of months after I presented the book at the 1992 L.A. Pen Show, I received a message on the phone from this lady who stated emphatically, "I want to speak to the person who's using my name in vain." A three-year (mostly correspondence) friendship ensued from that point, which I reflect upon to this day with great fondness.
So, I scanned the pictures, cleaned them up as best I could and put them on blotters. I also wrote up some blurbs that included information related to me by "D.J.", info I researched, and otherwise made up. Subject to any fact-checking for accuracy, I present them here for your consideration. For the sake of order in my own mind, I've designated the Founder's father as "Richard I", the Founder as "Richard II", the son as "Richard III", etc.
Richard Esterbrook II
There were 5 generations of “Richard Esterbrooks”; four of whom lived during the existence of the Esterbrook Pen Company.
Richard Esterbrook (the first) died in England in 1846, and little more than that is known about him by this writer. His son, Richard, was born to him and his wife, Anna, on February 10, 1813 in the town of Liskeard (Cornwall County) England.
When young Richard II came of age, his father set him up in the stationery business in Liskeard, which became quite prosperous. Esterbrook then invested his profits from the stationery business in the local area’s tin-mining industry, which yielded him a sizeable fortune in a few years. So he retired as a stationer, bought a house and two farms in the Liskeard area, and for nearly 20 years, lived the life of an English gentleman farmer.
It was actually his son, Richard III (nicknamed “Junior” by the family), who, in 1858, convinced him to come “out of retirement”, leave England and invest his money and time making steel pens in America. Esterbrook had a talent for business, and was a genius in personnel selection. With several expert English craftsmen which he hand-selected, and Junior in charge of sales, he engineered the creation of America’s first pen manufacturing company. He remained head of the company until his death in 1895.
Richard Esterbrook III (“Junior”)
Nicknamed “Junior” by family and friends, he was actually the first of the Esterbrooks to get the idea of making steel pens. He attempted to do so in Canada, at the time his father (Richard II) was living the life of an English gentleman farmer in his hometown of Liskeard.
When that venture failed, Junior went back to England and sold his father on the idea of making a second attempt. Convinced of the possibilities, Richard II agreed to get involved and provide the capital. And so, Dad, Mother and Junior, together with a number of craftsmen (some accounts say 5, others say ten) emigrated from England to start a new industry from scratch. This time, the choice was America.
Richard II was acknowledged as The Founder and, because of his business expertise, was the company’s president. Junior became head of the company’s Sales Department; probably due in no small part to the sales job he did on his father.
These few dedicated people proved themselves to be an unstoppable team. Junior’s sales ability, combined with Dad’s business sense and the other artisans’ metalworking skills, soon had the company making and selling mass quantities of America’s first premium quality steel pens.
Junior died in 1892, some three years before his father.
Richard Esterbrook IV
Little in the way of biographical information can be found regarding Richard IV, other than the fact that he assumed leadership of the company following his grandfather’s death in 1895 and continued as such until his own death in 1910 at age 46.
It is interesting to note that 3 Richard Esterbrooks (II, III and IV) all passed from this life in a period of 18 years (1892 - 1910).
Richard Esterbrook V
Richard the Fifth was just 17 years old when his father died in 1910, and so was not able to take over as head of the Pen Company. Leadership of the Company following Richard IV’s death, and throughout the Company’s fountain pen production, was in the hands of “in-laws”, if you will. One of them was Frank Wood, and another was Sydney Longmaid.
But judging from the direction he set for his life, Richard had little or no interest in running the Company.
He was 21 years old and a student at Columbia University in 1914, when World War I broke out in Europe. America didn’t become involved in the war (and had declared itself officially Neutral) until after the sinking of the Lusitania by a German U-boat submarine in May of 1915. However, England was one of the countries fighting against Germany. So, Richard went to England and joined the London Irish Rifles, where he served for a while as Captain. He then transferred to the Royal Flying Corps for the rest of the war, and was either a pilot or an observer (or perhaps both, as the insignia on the breast of his uniform is noted as being for either rank). Historical note: Many Americans who wanted to participate in WW-I as flyers joined England’s RFC, which later became the RAF or Canada’s Aviation Corps or the Canadian Air Force.
Returning home after the end of the war (1918) he then went to work for New York Telephone Co. as an engineer, and after 40 years there, retired in 1958. The Esterbrook pen depicted is that of an actual inscribed “J” model company pen bought by NYTC for employees’ use.