Esterbrook Mechanical Pencils

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

A bunch of Esterbrook mechanical pencils have been hanging around the shop for years, so the time came to see list the nice looking/working ones. Esterbrook mechanical pencils are quite nice, both mechanically and in appearance. They are made as well as the pens, using the same materials, and their models correspond to the pen models, short/slender, long/slender/ long/full girth: the trim on the J pencils are all stainless, the celluloid matches the pens. There is at least one of every color, almost all J style. All of the listed pencils are in decent working condition, although they do not have working erasers. All use .9mm/.036” leads, of which at least one will come loaded in the pencil. 

Yours for $20 each, $10 with a For Sale or Bargains pen. 


Price: $20

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