Esterbrook J, when it was released in its pristine form in 1943, did not give any indication, either of its longevity or its enduring appeal. To put things in the right perspective, the model was so popular, that Esterbrook had continued tinkering with its design all the way to 1948, when the J reached its final form, marked by the addition of a jewelled tassie at the barrel end in keeping with the overall design aesthetics of the cap. The clip was riveted into the cap with a metal grommet with the jewel pressed into the eyelet.
At the price points at which they were offered, these pens were extremely well made – Esterbrook’s use of stainless steel for the furniture underscoring the desire to build for durability – something that is considered to be a boon by collectors till date. The other notable feature that needs to be underscored here is that the entire range was built bearing in mind the need to attain economies of scale, which essentially means that most of the parts were standardised across the line, which too, is something that collectors marvel at, nearly eight decades on.
As for appeal, what can one say? The J pocket pen was so popular in the 1940’s and 1950’s that it had a near iconic status, even by Esterbrook’s standards, which was known to be as American as the Star-Spangled Banner, and just as swashbuckling. Suffice to say, Esterbrook is reintroducing the J – aiming to win over a generation that had virtually given up on writing, leave alone use the fountain pen.
Naturally, the new Esterbrook J, keeping in mind the rich legacy it carries in its veins, retains the most important features while adding just that whiff of modernity, some bells and whistles. As Esterbrook puts it, “the new “JR” is stylish and refined, without being too dressed up. It has a refined design that isn’t fussy and because of its compact size it can be with you on the go, wherever you go”.
“Mirroring the original “J”, the new version has an embossed clip with linear grooves and is offered in three marbleized colours with variable sheen on the barrel and cap: Tuxedo Black, Denim Blue, and Carmine Red. It has a comfortable, contoured, grip section and as an option can be posted for balance. Offered in five nib sizes: Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, Broad and a 1.1 stub, the “JR” in Black and Red shines bright in Silver trim and Blue gleams in Gold”. Both the German Schmidt nib and the top of the pen have been engraved with the Esterbrook Eternity symbol.
Now for the colours – Carmine Red, Denim Blue and Tuxedo Black. Close your eyes and imagine the three colours together, I am sure that the image that will form in your mind’s eyes immediately, will be that of late President John F Kennedy in his trademark black suits, with the fluttering American banner in his hands. There is something infectious about the colours, an appeal that is forever larger than life and by selecting them for the new line, Esterbrook has served another ace. If the pens, with their sheer looks are able to pique my interest, I am sure one can imagine what it will do to the young at heart who are swayed like sawdust in a tsunami by the American Dream!
The specs that the new line from Esterbrook has unveiled too, has everything that it takes to make a blockbuster:
- Turned acrylic barrel and cap – colours in Capri Blue, Carmine Red and Tuxedo Charcoal
- Metal clip and accents plated to match the ring and nib
- Ergonomic grip
- Threaded cap
- Stainless steel nib in glossy rhodium or gold plating
- Nib sizes include extra fine, fine, medium, broad and stub 1.1
- Eternity symbol on cap finial
- Cap ring laser engraved with the Esterbrook logo
- Length capped – 12.5cm or 5” / length posted 15.5cm or 6”
- Cartridge and converter fill – both included
- Polishing cloth included
- Fabric gift box
All said and done, like Esterbrook has said in the punchline, “it’s a new take on the small, but mighty pocket pen”. Time to do a 4th of July.
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