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Estie J: A Vintage Workhorse Pen

esterbrook review

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10 replies to this topic

#1 AL01

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Posted 04 June 2016 - 21:00

Hello everyone...

   For my first review I will start with the Estie J. I have owned this pen for about a year so for those of ya who haven't bought a J yet and are worried about it being 'fragile' or prone to cracking like other pens from this era, (not mentioning any pens, Parker 21!)

 

Now moving on to the review...

 

PART ONE: Da Nib - The nib is real nice! The nib is a 9555 and writes smoothly with just a hint of feedback - enough to let one know that one is writing with a fountain pen. The nib isn't buttery smooth though, but is impressive reconsidering that a lot of fountain pens these days that cost as much as an Estie, (I find this to be prevalent in modern American pens, unfortunately Parker and Sheaffer seem to suffer from this the most,[Chinese manufacturing?]) have an uncharacteristic writing experience... No, this pen won't skip for those who write fast. An enjoyable nib to write with, though. 8/10

 

P_20160604_151315_SRES_1-min.jpg

 

PART TOO: Quality - This pen is solid. Very solid. The accents on this pen, (thank goodness), are stainless steel, meaning that they aren't going to suffer from plating loss. The cellulose, (it isn't celluloid), is solid and feels warm, so using this pen for long writing sessions is no big deal. The pen is somewhat light so flexing your muscles with it would be embarrassing, to say the least. I go to school and use this pen A LOT. Just look at it!  No worries, this pen will survive through everything! (I have heard that it is not a good plane pen, though.) 9/10

 

PART FREE: Fill 'er Up! - The pen uses a lever filling mechanism and is self-explanatory to use, (and that is coming from a guy who is used to C/C filling!) Please, if you buy this pen, buy it restored, a leaky pen is not ANYBODY'S idea of fun... Cleaning the pen is a cinch - just unscrew the nib and feed and fill the body up with water... Then SHAKE - A SHAKE - A SHAKE! believe me, cleaning this pen makes you younger! 10/10

 

P_20160603_142445-min.jpg

 

PART FFFFOOUR: Pocket-ability - The clip just looks pretty. Just shove the pen in your pocket. Clipping the pen in your pocket will result in an ink stain, like the one in my jacket... 3/10

 

PART FAAVE: Conclusions - In all, I love this pen. Really. This pen is a keeper and as many Estie fans know these pens make for great daily writers. Excluding the clip, the pen is fantastic and I would recommend this pen to anybody. This pen makes for a great all-rounder and is appropriate at school, work, and at formal occasions. Overall, this pen gets a 75%. And that is coming from a very critical man. (I really love this pen's charm, though...)

 

Thanks for readin', Al.

 

P_20160604_151715-min.jpg



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#2 gweimer1

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Posted 04 June 2016 - 21:47

B)



#3 inkstainedruth

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Posted 05 June 2016 - 01:49

IIRC, 9555 nibs are for doing Gregg shorthand.  So it's not surprising that it doesn't skip.

The first Esterbrook I ever got has a 1555 nib (the student grade version; on 1xxx nibs the tines are just folded under to make the nib, and there is not any tipping.  I recall it being a decent writer, so a 9555 is probably pretty nice.

Thanks for the review.

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."

#4 Hobiwan

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Posted 05 June 2016 - 02:36

 

PART FFFFOOUR: Pocket-ability - The clip just looks pretty. Just shove the pen in your pocket. Clipping the pen in your pocket will result in an ink stain, like the one in my jacket... 3/10

 

 

Hmmm ... I carried mine around in shirt pocket, pants, wedged into a notebook ... no stains (well, one that showed up after surviving a pickup tackle football game).    Maybe yours wasn't screwed on tight enough?


Best Regards
Paul


“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
– Albert Einstein


#5 AL01

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Posted 05 June 2016 - 04:53

My pen actually came with a 1555 but one of the tines fell off, (how does that work?), so I got me a pair of wire cutters and turned the 1555 nib into a stub! The picture with the pen disassembled has my 1555 nib in it.

 

IIRC, 9555 nibs are for doing Gregg shorthand.  So it's not surprising that it doesn't skip.

The first Esterbrook I ever got has a 1555 nib (the student grade version; on 1xxx nibs the tines are just folded under to make the nib, and there is not any tipping.  I recall it being a decent writer, so a 9555 is probably pretty nice.

Thanks for the review.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth



#6 AL01

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Posted 05 June 2016 - 04:55

Good point, but for my specific pen the thing will gradually unscrew itself no matter how tight you get that cap on the barrel.

 

Hmmm ... I carried mine around in shirt pocket, pants, wedged into a notebook ... no stains (well, one that showed up after surviving a pickup tackle football game).    Maybe yours wasn't screwed on tight enough?



#7 Hobiwan

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Posted 05 June 2016 - 06:59

Good point, but for my specific pen the thing will gradually unscrew itself no matter how tight you get that cap on the barrel.

 

 

I would suggest (at risk of betraying my nerdiness) a pocket protector or some kind of sleeve thingy to shield the pen from the pocket. 

 

I suspect that during walking (or running a pass pattern), and possibly occurring only with your jacket, there is kinetic friction against the barrel, while the clip holds the cap stationary. This will eventually work it loose.  I remember my friend Robert had that disease.  He was rich, used a Parker Vac, and refused to use a protector ... claimed it was just too "un-hip". 


Best Regards
Paul


“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
– Albert Einstein


#8 vinniekowalski

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Posted 07 June 2016 - 10:20

Pretty sure all of us on this and really anyone using a fountain pen wouldn't qualify to most people as hip. :D

#9 estie1948

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Posted 11 June 2016 - 07:50

First of all, Al, a good review.

 

Ah, the glories of this fountain pen! Well designed, well made of quality materials, and mass produced so as to be affordable to the common person. Best of all, they were made before manufacturers designed products to disintegrate within a month of purchase. This is not an expensive pen, but it does write like an expensive pen (if not better).

 

Unless the clip has been damaged, it should work exactly as it was designed to function. I have more than one ( :rolleyes:) of these pens and I don't have any that won't stay clipped in the pocket - whatever pocket.

 

Ink stain a pocket? I have a excellent writing Tuckersharp that I can guarantee will leave an ink stain in any pocket, but the problem there is not with the pen leaking, but rather with the fool friction fit cap that is certain to come off so the nib pokes into the pocket material. A perfect lesson in osmosis. I have a Parker Vacumatic that is beautiful and has been repaired by a noted fountain pen repairman that leaks from both ends. Admittedly, these are occurrences that are not representative of either pen brand. So, let's say that it is possible for a single pen to leak without that meaning such leakage is a characteristic of that brand of fountain pen. Having a goodly number of Esterbrook J's in functioning condition, I don't believe any leak. Having used these pens for several decades, I am relatively certain that Esterbrooks are not prone to leaking.

 

Again, a good review. I, like you, love these Esterbrook J's. Thanks for your review.

 

-David.


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A backward poet writes inverse. -Anon.

#10 mmg122

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Posted 13 June 2016 - 20:00

Excellent review, Al. I also use my Esterbrooks for every day carry. I've been collecting Esties since 1980 and I've never had one leak. As I've said numerous times on this forum, I think it's the finest pen ever made. There may be prettier pens...there may be fancier pens...there may be more complex filling systems...there are certainly more expensive pens...buttttttt...how many other vintage pens routinely look and write as good as the day they were manufactured? 70+ years ago? Andddd...just about anyone can easily and inexpensively restore them.

Good ol' Richard Esterbrook!!

#11 estie1948

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Posted 15 June 2016 - 06:35

Excellent review, Al. I also use my Esterbrooks for every day carry. I've been collecting Esties since 1980 and I've never had one leak. As I've said numerous times on this forum, I think it's the finest pen ever made. There may be prettier pens...there may be fancier pens...there may be more complex filling systems...there are certainly more expensive pens...buttttttt...how many other vintage pens routinely look and write as good as the day they were manufactured? 70+ years ago? Andddd...just about anyone can easily and inexpensively restore them.

Good ol' Richard Esterbrook!!

 

+1  Amen! Amen!

 

I have several Sheaffer pens. One or two of them are good pens. I have several Parker pens of all persuasions. The Parker 51s and 45s are good, dependable pens. I have one of each in my pen rotation. I have a few Pelikan pens. One of them is a good pen. I have one Twisbi that is a good pen. I have fifty or sixty pens of various brands that are better than junk grade. I have an almost equal number of fountain pens that are below junk grade. But the only fountain pen company to produce fountain pens that are, across the board, quality fountain pens that I can count on and use daily without problem, was the Esterbrook Fountain Pen Company of Camden, New Jersey.

 

My daily carry and most used pen is a black, 1948 Esterbrook bought for me by my father for about $2.00 when buying school supplies. It has had one sac change a few years back because I wanted to save the original sac that had the Esterbrook name on it. I was later given a blue 1948 Esterbrook with a new old stock 9550 nib by my favorite teacher (He gave it to me as a bribe to get me to complete an essay. He used it daily to record grades, fill out lesson plans, and write notes to parents. I must admit that my parents received too many of those notes.). I have two fully functioning "eight-ball" desk set pens. One in green and one in black with the imprint "Property of the U.S. Navy" on it. I inherited the Navy one from Gross (he was my favorite teacher) who stole it from the last aircraft carrier he was assigned to during World War II (He served as a fighter pilot in the Pacific during World War II). I use them both without problem. Should there be a problem with any of my Esterbrooks, they are so very simple to fix as to leave me saying to myself, "That can't work. It was too easy."

 

-David.


Edited by estie1948, 15 June 2016 - 06:41.

No matter how much you push the envelope, it will still be stationery. -Anon.
A backward poet writes inverse. -Anon.





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