Esterbrook J Family


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

Update: New inventory has arrived: J size is available in all colors; there is one red and one blue. The LJ size is now available in copper and red, grey/silver and in Bell Systems black. Transitional J is available in green, red, and black.

Esterbrook J fountain pens, from after WWII through the 1950s, are perhaps the best value and most numerous vintage fountain pen available, with their solid construction, good looks, and interchangeable nibs. As many who frequent Timsvintagepens know, a few years back a bushel of Esterbooks found me, and I’ve been restoring and selling them ever since. The photo shows examples of each size and color of Esterbrook Js (two jewels, 1949-59) in three sizes and Transitional Js (cap jewel only, 1946-49) in two sizes. Most sizes in most colors are available. Do remember that Esterbrooks are NOT restored when they’re committed for sale, unlike every other pen on Timsvintagepens, but once purchased are fully restored before being shipped. Every pen comes with your choice of nib, found in the Nibs listing . Note that many of the nibs do not carry additional cost, and some do have a premium cost.
Prices:  Js and LJs are $50, SJ is $33. Black Bell Systems Js are $55. Transitional Js are $55, the less often seen SJs are $65. All black and grey/silver (except Bell System) are these prices less 10% (pens only, not nibs).  Nibs: every pen comes with your choice of nib, found in the Nibs listing. Note that many of the nibs do not carry additional cost, and some do have a premium cost.


Price: $50

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