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Resurrecting An Old Esterbrook But Why The Large Vent In The Cap?

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6 replies to this topic

#1 WilsonLaidaw


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Posted 15 August 2019 - 11:19

I am quite short on fountain pens at the moment, after the burglary at my French house, where all my Mont Blancs, plus Pelikan, Lamy and Graf von Faber-Castell fountain pens were stolen. I am therefore resurrecting an old Esterbrook, which sits on a pen stand on my desk and I normally just use as a dip pen, when signing letters, documents and cheques at the desk.


I did a basic warm water flush and then left it for 5 minutes with Herbin pen cleaner fluid in it. I had had a new bladder put in around 8 years ago and it now seems to be filling and emptying very freely. It has a medium oblique nib, which is a bit stiff and not very oblique. It is OK for occasional use but a long way from the lovely smooth OB nib on my stolen Faber-Castell Classic and particularly the beautifully flexy OBB nib on my Pelikan 800. Sadly Pelikan no longer seem to offer the OBB flex nibs on new M800 or M1000 Souverän pens. I have bought a second hand Pelikan 400 with OB 14ct nib, which is very smooth but not very oblique and quite stiff. I also find the 400 rather too light. 


While I was cleaning out the Esterbrook, I wondered why all older pens, like the Esterbrook, seem to have large vents in the caps, whereas most modern pens either seem to have no vent or very constricted ones. I am guessing the original idea was to equalise atmospheric pressure changes on a bladder filler pen to prevent leakage. However, to my mind, all they seem to do is to encourage leakage into the cap and drying out of the nib and ink feed. The cap was encrusted inside with dried ink. 


What do others think?





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#2 FarmBoy


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Posted 31 August 2019 - 14:11

Looks normal in the picture. The hole should be below the inner cap and not compromise the section seal. Early lend have brittle inner caps that can crack it break at the leading edge leaving a gap.
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Posted 31 August 2019 - 14:22

Some folks indicate that the vents in caps are so you don't pull a suction when quickly removing a cap and draw ink out of the nib making a mess.


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#4 TheDutchGuy


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Posted 31 August 2019 - 14:40

That hole is also seen on pens with screw-on caps, where the chance of creating suction is minimal. I’ve been told the holes are there to prevent suffocation if someone (such as a child) swallows the cap and it gets stuck in the windpipe, but I take that with a rather large grain of salt... the hole seems to be too small for that purpose and it should have been located at the end of the cap, not the side.

#5 Ron Z

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Posted 31 August 2019 - 14:45

Perry's comment is correct.  It's possible to get a bit of a vacuum when the cap is removed, even on a threaded cap.  Modern pens have the holes, or if not there is some other, hidden, route for the air to get into the cap when the cap is pulled off.

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#6 Tom Heath

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Posted 14 September 2019 - 10:49


I am sorry to read of your loss.

If you will contact me ,( PM   )that is


With your permission I will send you some pens  at no cost to you

Perhaps not the quality you are use to but a few to bring a smile to your face

Whilst you figure out your new direction.

Don't forget your home's insurace may offer some partial coverage ,including building repair




Tom Heath


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#7 Brianm_14


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Posted 14 September 2019 - 11:49

What a lovely offer! You have a kind heart.

I, too, am aghast at Wilson's sad loss, and hope he find some satisfactory replacements eventually. This is a very personal invasion of his private life.

Maybe we should all check our insurance, document our pen holdings, and double-check our home security (for many reasons). It is easy to build up a collection of pens, even if you don't collect them (funny how that works), and overlook how the total value has changed. Documentation isn't hard, given digital cameras or use of a flatbed scanner, plus brief descriptions and estimates of value. Then check your policy, or just call your agent.

I had a very dry basement storage are flood due to a pipe leak several years ago, and even my stadard brief lists and photos plus the descriptions of items damaged or destroyed produced an over $10,000 check in the mail. I was shocked. Guess I was right to keep photos! Many loses were prized professional, scholarly books, but even here I was able to rebuild the core I still need.

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