Why Do I Love Esterbrook Fountain Pens?

John BosleyFountain Pen Reviews2 Comments

Green Esterbrook Transitional J Fountain Pen

When it comes to fountain pens, there are many different types of pens that you can use. You can choose from pens made in particular countries like Japan, Germany or the United States. You can choose from nibs that are fine, broad or flexible. But one of the biggest divides that many new users have a hard time crossing is the choice of a vintage fountain pen over a modern one. While many vintage fountain pens can be intimidating and difficult or expensive to repair, there is one brand that I like to recommend to anyone who is just getting into vintage fountain pens: Esterbrook.

Esterbrooks Are Some Of My Favorite Fountain Pens

Once frowned upon as cheap pens, Esterbrooks have gained quite a bit of popularity amongst both users and collectors in recent years. Personally, I bought my first one over 20 years ago and have been collecting them ever since. I instantly fell in love with them for many different reasons.

First of all, they are great looking pens! They’re not necessarily flashy by today’s standards, but they come in many different colors and each pen has a unique swirl pattern in the body and cap. They also come in different sizes, both length and diameter, which means it should be easy to find one that feels right in your hand.

Esterbrook fountain pen sizes and colors

Just a few of the many Esterbrook colors and sizes available.

Another great thing about Esterbrooks is that they are quite inexpensive. It’s not uncommon to find restored Esterbrooks for around $30. Of course, you can always spend more on one if you’d like a particular size, color or nib, but it’s nice to know that you don’t have to.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can always buy an Esterbrook that has not been restored and do it yourself. With a little patience, it’s not too hard to find an unrestored Esterbrook for under $10. Usually, the only thing that needs done to get it working again is to replace the sac (which might cost you $10 in materials, some of which can be used multiple times). Not only is it easy to get most Esterbrooks working again, but it is also very rewarding!

esterbrook nib and sac

This Esterbrook has been disassembled to show the basic parts.

While most Esterbrooks you’ll come across are over 70 years old, they are by no means delicate antiques. In fact, that’s another reason I like them so much. They are made very well and have withstood the test of time, so I’m not scared to use an Esterbrook for an every day writer.

Esterbrooks Have Many Great Features

One of my favorite Esterbrook features is that they have interchangeable nibs. This means that changing nibs is as easy as unscrewing one and screwing in another. There are also many different nibs to choose from, so you can find one (or many) that you enjoy writing with!

esterbrook nib chart

Esterbrook nib chart

Another great thing about the Esterbrook nib system is that they are consistent across all of the different years the pens were made. This means that no matter which Esterbrook you have, as long as it uses the Re-New point nib system, you can use any Esterbrook Re-New point nib in it.

Esterbrook nib 9128 9314 2442

A few of the many Esterbrook nibs that are available.

Esterbrook Re-new point nibs

You can easily change Esterbrook nibs by unscrewing one and screwing in a different one!

So Why Do I Love Esterbrook Fountain Pens?

To be honest, I bought my first Esterbrook because it was inexpensive. After I started using it, I realized that it was made very well and was enjoyable to use on a regular basis. Once I bought another one and learned how to replace the sac and get it writing again, I knew I was hooked. I soon had to have an Esterbrook in every color. Once I had a few different pens, I started picking up different nibs that looked interesting. After I had around 5 different pen bodies and 10 different nibs, I technically had 50 different pen+nib combinations to choose from. The best part was I had probably only spent around $100! Of course, this was years ago, so prices have gone up since then, but the idea is still the same… you can purchase multiple Esterbrook bodies and nibs for much less than you might spend on one modern fountain pen.

I love Esterbrooks because they are simple, beautiful pens. They are well made and are great writers. They are inexpensive and easy to repair. They have a huge selection of interchangeable nibs. Finally, one of the main reasons I fell in love with Esterbrook fountain pens is that they are not the most popular pens around. Despite the fact that they are wonderful pens, they are just not that valuable, which means many people overlook them. To me, it just means I can have a collection of wonderful pens without spending a ton of money. It also means that if you want to dip your toes into the world of vintage fountain pens, you can pick up an Esterbrook for the price of a new bottle of ink. If you’ve read this far, I suggest keeping an open mind and trying out an Esterbrook. Chances are the first one you buy won’t be your last.

Hi, my name is John. I’m a Colorado-born professional photographer who currently lives in San Francisco. I’ve been using and collecting fountain pens for over 20 years. I got my first one in college when I got bored taking notes with ballpoints and pencils. Since then I’ve bought and sold hundreds of pens, but have consistency in my love of Esterbrooks.

2 Comments on “Why Do I Love Esterbrook Fountain Pens?”

  1. Great article about Esterbrook pens!!! Now you’ve got me wanting to try one (or two…). I’ll keep an eye out for them. Thanks for the info John!

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