pastel pink esterbrook

Ah, the age of fountain pens. While there are staunch FP users like myself keeping modern pen companies in business, my inner retronaut is drawn to the inescapable allure of the vintage, when materials were different and the nibs were better – or more interesting, at least.

This is a light pink pastel Esterbrook CH model “purse pen” from the mid-1950s. It is a “first generation” with two black jewels.

Pastel pink CH Esterbrook with a bottle of J. Herbin Vert Empire.

It’s a lever fill, with a miniscule capacity that requires frequent re-inking – not that I mind. I love playing with ink.

The plastic used for the pastel Esties was softer and prone to cracking and staining.

This pen came with a steel DuraCrome point 2668 nib, which is a “Firm Medium” for “general writing”. (Here’s a chart of Esterbrook nibs and their descriptions.) I’m not sure if the nib was modded somehow before it came to me, but it writes like an italic stub. It was scratchy so I smoothened it on an old brown kraft paper envelope.

The nib was so sharp it tore holes in the paper. 

Trying to rub out the sharpness by stroking it across rough paper. See the deeply-scored lines made by the nib.

After some effort, it writes much better.

Estie DuraCrome nibs were made without extra metal at the tip, so having less metal to wear away, I succeeded in getting it somewhat smoother, although I wore the point down at an angle instead of straight across. It works for me, anyway.

Writing sample with the smoothened nib. The Vert Empire ink mixed with existing black left unflushed from the nib and sac, so this is not a true rendering of the ink color.

Here’s another writing sample, this time with the same ink appearing in truer color. I love this nib!

There is a dark pink version of the purse Estie that I covet. Perhaps one day the universe will drop it into my lap.

All photos taken with an iPhone 4S, edited with Snapseed.

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