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Esterbrook - Design Decisions

esterbrook dollar transitional

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13 replies to this topic

#1 Tootles

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Posted 20 December 2015 - 02:53

Having acquired a small handful of Esterbrooks (4 + 3 that were given away) over the last year, most recently for sticking Osmiroid nibs in, EoC has a thought about the design decision that Esterbrook Co. took.

 

Although this is obviously subjective, EoC opines that the earlier dollar pens are far more aesthetically pleasing than any of the later models.  The dollar pen has unbroken material around the blind end of the barrel, and the clip has a certain style to it where it wraps over the end of the cap protecting it.

 

In the transitional, the barrel stayed the same but the clip was changed and a jewel added.

 

In the later J models both barrel end and cap end were changed to accomodate a jewel.

 

Now, correct EoC if he is wrong (as is often the case), but does anyone else feel that calling a piece of molded (and frankly ugly) plastic a 'jewel' has got to be about as Barnum & Bailey as Montblanc and their 'precious resin'?

 

Personally, EoC thinks that the addition of these bits of plastic that serve no real purpose actually makes the later pens look cheap and tacky.

 

 

A contentious opinion? Perhaps.



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#2 dasXFnib

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Posted 20 December 2015 - 08:56

To be sure......marketing strategy was involved here.....

But....think about it......would the pens have sold better if the "jewel" were called a "nub"?? "blob"?? " ----- (fill in the blank)"??

Perhaps if they were able to etch an IMAGE of a jewel (diamond, etc.) into the barrel and cap ends....it MIGHT have added prudence to the name...

Just my brain rambling......;)

 

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#3 catbert

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Posted 20 December 2015 - 10:00

I’ve seen it described as a button. More accurate but perhaps less marketable. Similarly it has been noted elsewhere that Edelharz could be translated as high-grade resin as well as precious resin.
 
Re functionality: No idea if this is the case with Esterbrooks - got my first a week ago - but some cap jewels secure the clip and/or inner cap. Barrel jewels can hide unsightly burrs.
 
Whether the changing form of Esterbrooks reflects manufacturing necessities or style trends or both, mine is great fun and I have two more on the way.  :)


#4 Tootles

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Posted 20 December 2015 - 10:08

On the owned transitional "J" the jewel has three ribs. At least that makes some point in connection with the ribbing on the clip.   Still looks cheap though. 



#5 ISW_Kaputnik

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Posted 20 December 2015 - 18:58

Just for information, was it Esterbrook that originated calling this bit of plastic a jewel?  I know that some Parker pens have them as well.

 

Depending on the overall condition of the pen, I think that these bits of decoration can look nice enough on either brand.  For me it's the different celluloid patterns on the various Esterbrooks that determine their attractiveness.  But, a matter of taste, of course.


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#6 Tootles

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Posted 20 December 2015 - 20:19

Just for information, was it Esterbrook that originated calling this bit of plastic a jewel?  I know that some Parker pens have them as well.

 

Depending on the overall condition of the pen, I think that these bits of decoration can look nice enough on either brand.  For me it's the different celluloid patterns on the various Esterbrooks that determine their attractiveness.  But, a matter of taste, of course.

 

Indeed! Which is one of the reasons EoC finds the 'jewels' to be out of place.



#7 sirgilbert357

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 17:40

I'm not a fan of the jewels either. In fact, at this point I would only consider a J sized transitional because I like the look of the barrel end much better without the jewel. Alas, I'm not a fan of the section grip shape, so there are no Esterbrooks in my foreseeable future.

 

To EoC: ...and they *ARE* or, more accurately *were* produced as a "cheap" pen. These simple adornments (jewels) weren't much, but the real value of an Estie back in the day was the value for the price. The hardware is solid stainless steel, not plated brass; the body and cap material was made to be light, but strong; and finally, the nibs...well, the nibs are half the fun of owning Esties! All my Estie nibs that survived my personal consolidation sell-a-thon are now being used in my Osmiroid 65, which shares many of the same qualities of the Esties while fitting my hand better. I love the Estie nibs. So your perception that the jewels are cheap is spot on in my opinion, but they were also kind of meant to be, it would appear.



#8 inkstainedruth

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 19:59

Interesting discussion -- both on the nature of terminology and on aesthetics.  
I actually prefer the J series pens, myself -- I don't care for the look of the clip on the Estie Dollar pens, and while the "jewel" (for lack of a better term) on the "toaster top" Transitionals is okay looking, I think that the full Js with both cap and barrel jewels look more "finished".  

Which is weird because I *don't* especially like that look on Parker 51s -- on those, I actually prefer the look of the single jewel models.

But then, I like the look of the mackerel body Js over the Icicles even though some people seem to go ga-ga over those.  So, it's a case of YMMV and means that EoC is probably one less person that I have to compete with over Estie colors....   :thumbup: 

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#9 penwash

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 20:07

Cheap stuff that lasted for 70 years the way these Esterbrook J pens do, is cheap stuff made *right*.

 

I love everything about the Esterbrook J design including the plastic "jewels"


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#10 ac12

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 20:30

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

The term "jewel" is likely not an Esterbrook term, but a generic term that originated from a different pen manufacturer or an "industry" term for that piece. So it would be incorrect to nag about Esterbrook calling it a jewel.

Edited by ac12, 21 December 2015 - 20:31.

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#11 Tootles

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 21:20

Perhaps, but it is EoC's contention that the move from the dollar design to the model J was a move from personally aesthetically pleasing toward simply flying the "I am cheap" flag.  In EoC's most humblestest of opinions, natch.



#12 ac12

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 22:35

I recall reading that there was a durability problem with the clips on the dollar pen, resulting in the later clip design.
The later clip IMHO does not look "cheap." Maybe simple looking, but definitely not cheap looking.
Also for a lower end pen manufacturer, cost indeed was a factor, so making the clip at a lower cost would be a manufacturing consideration.

Edited by ac12, 21 December 2015 - 22:35.

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#13 DanDeM

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 23:25

It was the clip that preceded the Dollar clip, the one large hole “V” clip, that had problems. That’s why they are so difficult to find. The two hole Dollar is more stable, although even it evolved through three designs. Ultimately the “J” model clip the sturdiest of them all.


Edited by DanDeM, 21 December 2015 - 23:29.


#14 Hobiwan

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Posted 25 December 2015 - 09:02

I first heard the term "jewel" used to describe the "button" on the caps and blind-caps of Parker Vacs and '51s.  As in "single jewel" and "double jewel'  But for Esties, it was just "button" to me, until I noticed that people on this forum were describing them as jewels. 

 

They're functional, securing ring-clips and end-of-barrel metal trim on both brands of pens, and the "sculptured" look finishes them out to be a bit decorative.  I've seen plain round plastic thingies used as replacement jewels on Esties where the original had broken off, and it's just not the same (or even a pleasing) look.  So Esterbrook's designers did a good job in that area. 

 

As the "toaster-top" button screwed in to piece inside the cap, I assumed the ridges were there to facilitate that, and made to match the ridges on the clip to keep the design consistent.  I was disabused of that idea when round screw-in buttons were found. 

 

I, too, prefer the toaster-top/flat barrel end design.  Probably an illusion, but it seems to have better balance for me when writing posted than the double-jewel J pen. Also, just a bit more funky than earlier and later designs.  JMO. 

 

Merry Christmas to all.


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