When I got into fountain pens a while back I didn’t think that I would be getting into vintage pens really at all, lets face it there are a great number of amazing new pens on the market and after I was give a vintage parker by a grandparent I realized just how different vintage fountain pens are and how little I knew about them! But I guess I should have known that it was only fate, I mean how can someone who likes to treasure hunt for antiques not get into vintage fountain pens?
After hearing about the Esterbrook pens I couldn’t resist. I wanted to try one. So I ended up picking out a restored black Esterbrook SJ with a 2556 firm fine nib. This pen is interesting to say the least and I am sure will only get more entertaining as I plan to start picking up nibs.
There are several noticeable features that I picked up on within just a few minutes of using it.
- The form factor and weight – This pen is unreal in how light it is, yes it is made from acrylic or plastic type material and was obviously made to be cost efficient but it may actually be lighter than the acrylic Pilot Falcon. Up to this point the Falcon was by far the lightest pen I had handled. Of course this pen is as short as a Twsbi Mini and even smaller in diameter so I guess it seems natural it would be pretty light. The smaller diameter is also something unique, most fountain pens are bigger than this SJ. Personally the smaller, lighter form is something I like when actually using and carrying around though it can make the pen feel cheap.
- The nib – The 2556 nib that I have writes really well, I don’t know how much it has been used in the past but when I looked at the tipping it does look unique in shape and placement. Now the placement is unique because of the way the nib was made. The 1000 and 2000 series of nibs don’t have the same process of constructing that tip as todays pens. This means that the tip is located on the underneath side of the nib. The shape wasn’t round but rather like a smooth triangle. I imagine that all this contributes to the the way it writes. I has a very specific sweet spot where it flows nicely and the letters come out as if the nib were a very narrow stub nib.
- The nib selection – Esterbrook has changeable nibs, the 1000, 2000 and 9000 series account for at least 33 nib options.
The overview of this pen is that you will probably pay enough that, at least you might think the pen isn’t worth it seeing as what the construction looks like. It was an affordable pen when it came out in fact I saw one in the original package that had the price of less than $2.00 and now you pay probably $35-$45 for the same pen used. But once I inked it up and practiced getting the sweet spot on the nib I really am falling hard for it! I wouldn’t mind getting a few more of these! I don’t know that it will become an everyday carry just because of its age. I wouldn’t feel comfortable being super hard on it but I may pull it out on an all day adventure here and there. I love this 2556 nib it doesn’t keep up with super fast writing and you do need to learn how to get the best out of it but that stub like quality and quite, smooth feel is really amazing. Some how it manages to give you a small amount of feedback yet remain quiet and not scratchy feeling. If you ever get a chance to try one of these pens you should!