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Thread: The Height of Form and Function aka Esterbrook?!

  1. #21
    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Height of Form and Function aka Esterbrook?!

    A pen that I haven't seen mentioned (and sorry if I missed) is the Sheaffer No-Nonsense line of pens.

    The only thing it gives up to the Esterbrook is as many nib options, yet the pen could still be found wifh f/m/b standard nibs, as well as f/m/b italic nibs. To this day, it is rare to find one (remotely well cared for) that has cracked, there is no filling system to be concerned with restoring (simply pop in a cartridge) and converters can be used. The pens were reliable writers and a good size to hold. If I was going to give someone some vintage pens to put in a backpack and go to school and have bombproof results, I'd pick those over a sac filler. They can still be picked up used for next to nothing and there is almost no restoration to be done.

    Just a thought, from someone who also owns a whole bunch of Esties.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

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    Default Re: The Height of Form and Function aka Esterbrook?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    A pen that I haven't seen mentioned (and sorry if I missed) is the Sheaffer No-Nonsense line of pens.

    The only thing it gives up to the Esterbrook is as many nib options, yet the pen could still be found wifh f/m/b standard nibs, as well as f/m/b italic nibs. To this day, it is rare to find one (remotely well cared for) that has cracked, there is no filling system to be concerned with restoring (simply pop in a cartridge) and converters can be used. The pens were reliable writers and a good size to hold. If I was going to give someone some vintage pens to put in a backpack and go to school and have bombproof results, I'd pick those over a sac filler. They can still be picked up used for next to nothing and there is almost no restoration to be done.

    Just a thought, from someone who also owns a whole bunch of Esties.
    Thank you, Jon. I had a look. They remind me of a Parker Duofold which I've never cared for in appearance. For me, the Esterbrook line through the mid '50's are the ones I'm really am drawn toward. It would be special to find a decent Relief Esterbrook some day.

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    Senior Member Deb's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Height of Form and Function aka Esterbrook?!

    I've had a few Reliefs. Conway Stewarts with an Esterbrook nib. They come in some nice patterns.
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    Default Re: The Height of Form and Function aka Esterbrook?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Deb View Post
    I've had a few Reliefs. Conway Stewarts with an Esterbrook nib. They come in some nice patterns.
    I agree those CS are very nice. The ones I had in mind were the hard rubber ones.

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    Default Re: The Height of Form and Function aka Esterbrook?!

    ... I've found many NN pens that are cracked. The cap from over tightening, the barrel gets stress cracks at the edge, also from over tightening. The nibs are not tipped, but have just a round polished ball at the end, which puts them at the same level as a 1500 or 2500 Esterbrook nib. I still have the NN that I bought on my way to college. It saw a lot of use, but not heavy use, and there was a flat spot worn on the ball.

    While I like the NN, the Esterbrook J is a much better pen.

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Height of Form and Function aka Esterbrook?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Z View Post
    ... I've found many NN pens that are cracked. The cap from over tightening, the barrel gets stress cracks at the edge, also from over tightening. The nibs are not tipped, but have just a round polished ball at the end, which puts them at the same level as a 1500 or 2500 Esterbrook nib. I still have the NN that I bought on my way to college. It saw a lot of use, but not heavy use, and there was a flat spot worn on the ball.

    While I like the NN, the Esterbrook J is a much better pen.
    Well, you certainly see more pens that I do, so there is that. I sure with there had been a JOS or JMax, because they are just a bit too small (mostly too thin) for comfortable/long writing sessions for me. If I have to pick one reason I am glad the J series existed, it's that this was the pen that got me into a little bit of my own restoration work - the perfect "first pen" to replace a sac, etc.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Default Re: The Height of Form and Function aka Esterbrook?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Z View Post
    ... I've found many NN pens that are cracked. The cap from over tightening, the barrel gets stress cracks at the edge, also from over tightening. The nibs are not tipped, but have just a round polished ball at the end, which puts them at the same level as a 1500 or 2500 Esterbrook nib. I still have the NN that I bought on my way to college. It saw a lot of use, but not heavy use, and there was a flat spot worn on the ball.

    While I like the NN, the Esterbrook J is a much better pen.
    Well, you certainly see more pens that I do, so there is that. I sure with there had been a JOS or JMax, because they are just a bit too small (mostly too thin) for comfortable/long writing sessions for me. If I have to pick one reason I am glad the J series existed, it's that this was the pen that got me into a little bit of my own restoration work - the perfect "first pen" to replace a sac, etc.
    What you said, Jon, is what led me to start the thread. For a product to be so simply put together. easily repairable relative to other brands, and work so well for it's intended purpose, its the height of form and function.

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    Senior Member carlos.q's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Height of Form and Function aka Esterbrook?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Naill View Post
    For me, the Esterbrook line through the mid '50's are the ones I'm really am drawn toward. It would be special to find a decent Relief Esterbrook some day.
    Here is one available from a known seller:
    http://penamie.com/html/other-uk/ouk060.html

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    Default Re: The Height of Form and Function aka Esterbrook?!

    I have used Pelikan M2xx and M4xx nibs in Esterbrook. They screw in but protrude a bit farther. They write well like that, though.

    Parker Sonnet has nib units that screw out/in. Sonnet has an interesting variety of nibs.

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    Default Re: The Height of Form and Function aka Esterbrook?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    A pen that I haven't seen mentioned (and sorry if I missed) is the Sheaffer No-Nonsense line of pens.

    The only thing it gives up to the Esterbrook is as many nib options, yet the pen could still be found wifh f/m/b standard nibs, as well as f/m/b italic nibs. To this day, it is rare to find one (remotely well cared for) that has cracked, there is no filling system to be concerned with restoring (simply pop in a cartridge) and converters can be used. The pens were reliable writers and a good size to hold. If I was going to give someone some vintage pens to put in a backpack and go to school and have bombproof results, I'd pick those over a sac filler. They can still be picked up used for next to nothing and there is almost no restoration to be done.

    Just a thought, from someone who also owns a whole bunch of Esties.
    The nib size on NN pens was awkward to find replacement nibs for. But they do convert to eyedropper easily. This Italian nib needed a home and the NN was pretty much the only thing it would fit. I should probably get a decent cap for it.

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    Senior Member grainweevil's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Height of Form and Function aka Esterbrook?!

    Two things have occurred to me reading this thread.

    Firstly, is it really that Esterbrook offered more nib options, or simply that they made it off-the-shelf easy to know which nib was which? Something we particularly value today because we don't have the luxury of popping into a pen retailers and trying half a dozen vintage Watermans, say, in order to find the nib style we favour.

    Secondly, I have a hard time reconciling any pen that relies on a perishable rubber sac with the height of function.

    fwiw, I have a number of Esterbrooks and an even larger number of pens with sacs, so I have nothing against any of them. But I couldn't class any pen utterly above the rest; they all have their quirks and foibles,
    In the words of Paul Simon, you can call me Al.

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    Default Re: The Height of Form and Function aka Esterbrook?!

    Quote Originally Posted by grainweevil View Post
    Two things have occurred to me reading this thread.

    Firstly, is it really that Esterbrook offered more nib options, or simply that they made it off-the-shelf easy to know which nib was which? Something we particularly value today because we don't have the luxury of popping into a pen retailers and trying half a dozen vintage Watermans, say, in order to find the nib style we favour.

    Secondly, I have a hard time reconciling any pen that relies on a perishable rubber sac with the height of function.

    fwiw, I have a number of Esterbrooks and an even larger number of pens with sacs, so I have nothing against any of them. But I couldn't class any pen utterly above the rest; they all have their quirks and foibles,
    Consider other brands with other types of filler systems that are much more complex, no longer available converters/cartridges, that would be impossible for most of us to repair or obtain the parts. Yes, if sacs were no longer being manufactured it would make it impossible. That Parker moved from the Vacumatic to Aerometric is noteworthy.

    And, I think with the inks we use today coupled with a basic understanding of fountain pen maintenance, the sacs will last a lifetime so no need to restore again.

    I am not trying to change your mind as much as just providing an explanation.

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    Senior Member Deb's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Height of Form and Function aka Esterbrook?!

    Expecting a sac to last a lifetime may lead to disappointment. Purely on the basis of my own experience, sacs last between 7 and 15 years. I've had none that lasted longer than 15 years. The experience of other people may be different and I'm sure there are exceptional sac lives around but they don't last a lifetime.

    I'm not disagreeing with your basic thesis about the Esterbrook, just this one point.
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    Default Re: The Height of Form and Function aka Esterbrook?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Naill View Post
    I am not trying to change your mind as much as just providing an explanation.
    s'okay, I'm open to having my mind changed. But like Deb, I don't see your average sac as a lifetime thing. The Parker Pli-glass sacs are another matter, but not applicable to the Esterbrook. And yes, there are definitely much more complicated filling systems, even sac-based ones. But I'm not going to argue those are the height of anything, except maybe gizmocity. Which, in fairness, is a feature I do enjoy.
    In the words of Paul Simon, you can call me Al.

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    Default Re: The Height of Form and Function aka Esterbrook?!

    Quote Originally Posted by grainweevil View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Naill View Post
    I am not trying to change your mind as much as just providing an explanation.
    s'okay, I'm open to having my mind changed. But like Deb, I don't see your average sac as a lifetime thing. The Parker Pli-glass sacs are another matter, but not applicable to the Esterbrook. And yes, there are definitely much more complicated filling systems, even sac-based ones. But I'm not going to argue those are the height of anything, except maybe gizmocity. Which, in fairness, is a feature I do enjoy.
    I do understand and appreciate yours and Deb's perspective. I do believe the reason for me is the overall use options many nib types provide, the excellent quality of materials, and simple yet bombproof mechanism. I compare this era Esterbrook with modern pens whose plastic cracks, leaks develop, and only a few nib types are available, but sell for hundreds of dollars.

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    Senior Member pajaro's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Height of Form and Function aka Esterbrook?!

    Pli-glas sacs are PVC. PVC sacs last a long time. Some of my Esterbrooks have PVC sacs I put into them. Still going after eight years. M2 pens and J-series pens as well.

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    Default Re: The Height of Form and Function aka Esterbrook?!

    Quote Originally Posted by pajaro View Post
    Pli-glas sacs are PVC. PVC sacs last a long time. Some of my Esterbrooks have PVC sacs I put into them. Still going after eight years. M2 pens and J-series pens as well.
    What size and do you still use shellac?

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    Default Re: The Height of Form and Function aka Esterbrook?!

    Read a post of a 40 year old MB with cracks and leaks being sent in for service. The charge was $99. "Oh the dreadful wind and rain..."

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    Senior Member Jon Szanto's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Height of Form and Function aka Esterbrook?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Naill View Post
    Read a post of a 40 year old MB with cracks and leaks being sent in for service. The charge was $99. "Oh the dreadful wind and rain..."
    Ever seen an Estie with the jewels chipped or missing? Of course you have. Things do happen to pens. For $99 you could just buy a handful of J's to replace them, though.

    Side-note: a good, young nibmeister is pairing up with Yafa to offer a new nib grind for current production Esterbrooks that is modeled after the 9314M nib (a great nib). Gena Salorino of Custom Nib Studio will be doing the nibs, which are going to be referred to as the "Journaling" nib. I think it's a great project, though I'll ust be using my old x314M or F nibs in vintage Esties.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

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    Default Re: The Height of Form and Function aka Esterbrook?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Naill View Post
    Read a post of a 40 year old MB with cracks and leaks being sent in for service. The charge was $99. "Oh the dreadful wind and rain..."
    If the owner has a lot of sentimental value attached to a pen, who are we to judge that they are being duped for not opting for a cheaper pen to repair. Besides, older MB pens are delightful pens and some of them are much better and a lot more interesting than Esterbrook J.

    I paid quite a bit for the repair of my Aurora Optima Primavera, but it's very worth it to me because I get back basically a brand new pen. If I were to sell it, I'd recover all my costs and then some.

    We can't judge different cases with different context using only a single perspective.
    Last edited by penwash; April 3rd, 2020 at 08:03 PM.
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