Esterbrook Icicles

early 1960s

About This Model

Esterbrook was a venerable firm, having started in the 1800s as a maker of dip pen nibs. Their long tradition with a wide range of nibs carried into their earliest fountain pens, with their unique threaded nib and feed units. For some reason, no other company used this technology in the 20th Century. Their corporate marketing revolved around having the ability to write in different styles without changing pens, just like a dip pen. They were also inexpensive pens, selling in drugstores and discount stores instead of pen shops. However, their low price was not a sign of quality: the Js are incredibly durable, with thick celluloid and stainless steel components after WWII. The J generation began soon after WWII and lasted into the 1960s, These pens come in two major configurations: The "transitional" J and the J. The "transitionals", from 1946-50, are like the earlier Dollars, with a jewel found only on the cap. They are 4.9" long and .4" thick, and the shorter models are 4.6" long and .4" thick. They appear to be most often seen in black and green, but also in blue, red, and copper. The Js, from 1950-59, come in three sizes and six colors. The standard J is 5" long and .45" thick; the shorter SJ both shorter and slimmer, at 4.6" and .4". The third size is the LJ, for "long J", which appears longer, but is actually J length but SJ girth. The differences across the models are small, but their appearance and feel in the hand is quite different.

About This Pen

It seems that every time I sell an Esterbrook Icicle, another appears in its place. Are they watching for vacancies? One of the more special forms of the classic Esterbrook J family is the “Icicle” (the name was given to these pens in modern years; it was not Esterbrook’s.), a later LJ size pen with long dark streaks in its plastic body. These pens are not the heavy celluloid of the earlier pens, but they are very attractive and solidly made. They were made in the US and in Mexico; imprints can be along the barrel or at the top of the barrel. A handsome Esterbrook that can be used every day; and a little different! The red/pink longer pen now has three new additions: in green, blue (ooh, aah), and red in the standard length. These pens have easily read Mexico imprints. Be sure to visit the Esterbrook Nibs listing to pick your nib!

Price: $62

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