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Esterbrook Used In Wwii?



cednocon

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Dear Esterbrook Collectors,

 

I am currently working on a short story--a personal graphic novel project--set during the final days of WWII. I understand that there were fountain pens made by Watermans and Mabie Todd that were specifically meant to be used efficiently by servicemen in the trenches. But I am curious to know if there were any stories or records of Esterbrooks that were used on the battlefield? But perhaps someone did--to write letters home or to document his daily life as a soldier in a small journal?

 

In any case, I'm currently new to collecting Esties and I've yet to explore the brand's entire pen history.

 

Thanks for your time -- I appreciate any advice on this subject/topic.

 

Regards.

 

 

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Most soldiers used pencils. Some officers used pens. Pens made for soldiers had the "military clip". This was shorter than regular so that it could be hidden under the flap of a breast pocket. I think it was Sheaffer who started the military clip. The Esterbrooks that soldiers would have used would have been "transitionals". Those are the ones with a single "toaster" jewel on the cap and a flat barrel end without a jewel.

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If the facts are right Esterbrook existed before 1939 and after 1945, so you can derive the factoid almost fact that a soldier once wrote a letter with an Esterbrook in the front.

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Most soldiers used pencils. Some officers used pens. Pens made for soldiers had the "military clip". This was shorter than regular so that it could be hidden under the flap of a breast pocket. I think it was Sheaffer who started the military clip. The Esterbrooks that soldiers would have used would have been "transitionals". Those are the ones with a single "toaster" jewel on the cap and a flat barrel end without a jewel.

 

 

If the facts are right Esterbrook existed before 1939 and after 1945, so you can derive the factoid almost fact that a soldier once wrote a letter with an Esterbrook in the front.

 

Thank you very much both for the advice! I appreciate the information.

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Perhaps worthy of note...

 

I recently acquired 2 Esterbrook Visumaster pens with broken off clips. The VM was made in 1941, then quickly discontinued, I figure after December 7, when Pearl Harbor was bombed. The clip on the VM is as strong as any clip of its time, so I imagine that these two pens were owned and carried by military men during the war.

 

It was considered to be "out of uniform" for one person to have a pen clip protruding beneath the uniform shirt flap, unless every other person in the unit formation had the same pen clip showing. It's likely, IMO that the owners simply broke off the clip so that they could keep and carry their pens with them conveniently tucked in their shirt pocket to write home with.

 

Fountain pen Ink was available to military personnel in specially marked "Victory" bottles (I forget the brand, possibly Waterman's or Sheaffer Scrip).

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

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  • 1 month later...

This may not be of any help to you, but I had an uncle who served in the Navy aboard an aircraft carrier in the Pacific. He wrote letters home from the pilot's ready room with an Esterbrook. In fact, when he returned stateside after the war, he packed (stole) one of the ready room Esterbrooks and kept it on his desk. It had printed "Property of The United States Navy" on the pen's base if I remember correctly. Wish I knew what happened to that pen.

 

Hope this helps.

No matter how much you push the envelope, it will still be stationery. -Anon.

A backward poet writes inverse. -Anon.

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  • 6 months later...
EdwardHowland

I was watching a program on the American Heroes Channel (formerly the Military Channel) about RAF pilot Doug Bader. In one scene he was using a black Estie dollar pen with the two-hole clip.

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Douglas Bader was an aviation God.

 

Good on him using an Estie.

 

Wonder if they taped the Estie to his prosthetic leg when they parachuted it to him? ;)

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl

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  • 3 weeks later...

There can be no doubt as to the presence of Esterbrooks in theater during that time. I'd be willing to bet many of our boys brought their Dollar pens with them for testing when enlisting. Look at how many were made, now exist in our hands, then figure how many were left "somewhere". I think Europe and the Pacific hold more than a few.

Good luck with your project.

 

Paul

"Nothing is impossible, even the word says 'I'm Possible!'" Audrey Hepburn

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My impression is that "grunts", or front-line soldiers, kept their Esties, if the had them. in a rear with area with baggage. A infantry-man or a paratrooper could not haul a bottle of ink and a finicky fountain pen into battle. From the front lines, they would have written in pencil.

 

Officers might have had fountain pens.

 

Sailors had lockers aboard ship for pen, ink, and paper. My Dad had a Parker Vacumatic. He was an Aidale (= air crew) and jokes about machinists mates who left Esterbroks, Wearevers, and third-tier pens in their shirt pockets when they went on practice runs...Dad mentions a couple of guys who left their pens in their pockets when a squadron leader decided to make a half-dozen dive bombing runs. A lot of ink spilled on their shirts.

 

The US Navy commissioned a special sea-going inkwell, wide at the base, not tall, black plastic cap and insert. Probably used by officers on small bouncy ships: these things would not turn over. You can still find them. Made by a company in Washington, DC. I think Pendemonium had one recently. Two years ago, they were selling for about $20. Now up close to $40.

Washington Nationals 2019: the fight for .500; "stay in the fight"; WON the fight

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Douglas Bader was an aviation God.

 

Good on him using an Estie.

 

Wonder if they taped the Estie to his prosthetic leg when they parachuted it to him? ;)

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl

He spent almost all the war as a German prisoner. Curiously he blames his wing company in other Spitfire or Hurricane to shoot him down by jelousy. Strange. A very good friend of Galland.

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Sasha Royale

My father's brother David spent a couple weeks at home, before reporting for duty in New Jersey. As with millions of

American boys, it was his first time away from home. In a letter, dated November 1942. he wrote that he arrived safely

in New Jersey (Fort Dix, I think). He wrote that he sought shelter from the rain by going into the drugstore, at the bus

stop. He bought an Esterbrook pen, a small bottle of ink, and all the Beeman's gum.

Auf freiem Grund mit freiem Volke stehn.
Zum Augenblicke dürft ich sagen:
Verweile doch, du bist so schön !

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Charles Rice

All of my father's letters from WWII back home were writing with a fountain pen. He flew B17s. Too bad I can't ask him the detains.

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I agree that ink pens had no place out on the front. Many EBs were no doubt used at bases and on ships though. Also, as I understand it, the so called military clips were made for any shirt pocket with a flap, and not really for the military. In fact, a "uniform" meant exactly that - everything about it had to be uniform for all soldiers wearing it. If one had a black Sheaffer with an over the top clip, they all had to have one. If I were writing fiction about a soldier at the front and wanted to work a pen into it, I would either write how he missed the Esterbrook he had to leave at camp and how expressive it was etc etc, OR I would have him carry it but with no ink as sort of a good luck piece.

Save the Wahls!

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I agree that ink pens had no place out on the front.

 

Well, I sure don't agree with that.

 

Men have been writing things down in the middle of warfare since there's been warfare. There are plenty of inked recounts from the front during the Civil War. While owned probably more by officers, there are lots of portable travel desks out there that were used in the Civil War.

 

You may only have a shelter half (tent) as "home" but even then you have free time there to do as you please and mail home and to you has always been a big thing to GI's.

 

So far as uni's go, one thing that's not so strict in combat is uni correctness. It's pretty hard to be with limited laundry facilities. The biggest concern usually is that you not have Shiny things that would catch sunlight or moonlight on your uni to give your location away. Nothing wrong at all with an Estie all the way in your shirt pocket with the flap closed or in your rucksack for when you had me time.

 

The time for officers to get all hyped out about unis is away from the action, on the base when it's parade time and there Aren't a bunch of hyped up crazy enlisted combat guys walking around with loaded weapons ready to frag you for being a AH officer.

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl

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I doubt if anything made of glass, like an ink bottle, was ever carried away from a base. That's why they started making metal flasks! :)

Save the Wahls!

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There are LOTS of travel ink vials from the civil war. Several pen makers had ink tablets. You made your own ink When you needed it. No need for any glass.

 

Bruce in Ocala, Fl

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Many don't realize that pens using ink preceded pencils. They didn't have pencils during the civil war. I'm not sure if pencils were common by WW1 but they did have ink pills where you could mix up a little water and use your dip pen. By WW2 pencils were common and what a soldier would have used. I'm not looking for a debate on this and don't claim to be an expert. I'm just trying to help the OP be accurate in his writing. I think he would be inaccurate to show a guy in a foxhole with an ink bottle trying to operate a lever.

Save the Wahls!

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