Esterbrook Pens – Photos Needed

I’m posting a request for our sister site The Esterbrook Project.

This is a list of the Esterbrook pens which we believe may have existed, but for which we do not have a photo.

If you have one of these pens, we would love it if you could help us out.

You can loan us the pen and we will take a photo and return it to you with great care. We will give you credit on the site.

You can donate to The Esterbrook Project archives. We will photograph the pen and give you credit on the site.

You can take a photo and send it to us. If you can make it as close to the photos on the website as possible, we would greatly appreciate it, but any picture is better than none, so don’t worry if it’s not top quality as long as it’s recognizable.

If you have one, please contact me and we’ll work out whatever is comfortable for you.


Esterbrook_#1_G Colorado
Esterbrook_#1_Falcon Medium
Esterbrook_#2_Medium Falcon Pen
Esterbrook_#3_Centennial Fountain Pen
Esterbrook_#6_Star Commercial Pen
Esterbrook_#10_Commercial Pen
Esterbrook_#22_Reservoir Pen
Esterbrook_#24_United States Pen
Esterbrook_#32_American Congress
Esterbrook_#50_Exquisite Pen
Esterbrook_#51_Cooper School Pen
Esterbrook_#56_School, Fine Oval
Esterbrook_#60_Amalgam Pen
Esterbrook_#60_Record Amalgam
Esterbrook_#64_Coopers Commercial Pen
Esterbrook_#77_Senate Pen
Esterbrook_#78_Mercantile Pen
Esterbrook_#85_Patent Amalgam Small
Esterbrook_#86_Patent Amalgam Large
Esterbrook_#88_California Pen
Esterbrook_#89_Fountain Spring Pen
Esterbrook_#93_Amalgam Pen
Esterbrook_#94_New York Commercial Pen
Esterbrook_#95_Extra Commercial Pen
Esterbrook_#97_Fine Business Pen
Esterbrook_#99_Ladies Index Pen
Esterbrook_#100_Keystone Pen
Esterbrook_#103_Extra Quill
Esterbrook_#109_Railroad Commercial
Esterbrook_#112_Notary Pen
Esterbrook_#118_Excelsior Pen
Esterbrook_#124_Ready Writer
Esterbrook_#125_Old Dominion
Esterbrook_#131_Blue Commercial Pen
Esterbrook_#134_Double Elastic Pen
Esterbrook_#149_Columbia Bank
Esterbrook_#149_Pacific Railroad
Esterbrook_#157_Classic Amalgam
Esterbrook_#158_Anti-corrosive Amalgam Pen
Esterbrook_#161_Lawyers Pen
Esterbrook_#166_School Medium
Esterbrook_#171_Ornamental Writer
Esterbrook_#180_Silverene No 2
Esterbrook_#183_Broad Point
Esterbrook_#205_Spear Point
Esterbrook_#208_Dashaway Pen
Esterbrook_#216_Extra Fine Falcon
Esterbrook_#217_Bow-spring Pen
Esterbrook_#220_Florida Bright Point
Esterbrook_#223_Oblique Pen #1 Large
Esterbrook_#222_Oblique Pen #2 Small
Esterbrook_#224_Grecian Pen
Esterbrook_#232_Swan Quill
Esterbrook_#239_Engrossing Short Nib
Esterbrook_#240_Curved Point Pen
Esterbrook_#245_Blackstone Pen
Esterbrook_#245_Circular Pointed Commercial
Esterbrook_#248_Broad Engrossing Pen
Esterbrook_#248_Lawyers Pen
Esterbrook_#250_Bullion Quill
Esterbrook_#252_Postal Card
Esterbrook_#291_School, medium, Old No. 292
Esterbrook_#300_Columbia School
Esterbrook_#305_Colorado Pen #1
Esterbrook_#306_Silverene Pen #1
Esterbrook_#307_Indestructible Pen
Esterbrook_#308_Colorado Pen #3
Esterbrook_#321_Secretary Pen
Esterbrook_#326_Arlington Pen
Esterbrook_#334_Text Writer#1
Esterbrook_#335_Text Writer#2
Esterbrook_#336_Text Writer #3
Esterbrook_#347_Attorneys Pen
Esterbrook_#355_Engrossing Pen
Esterbrook_#356_Engrossing Pen
Esterbrook_#441_School Fine
Esterbrook_#488_Oval Point
Esterbrook_#491_Madison Pen
Esterbrook_#505_Harrison & Bradfords Bookkeepers Pen
Esterbrook_#513_G Penesco
Esterbrook_#570_Vertical Writer
Esterbrook_#571_Vertical Writer
Esterbrook_#604_School Elastic
Esterbrook_#649_Vertical Writer
Esterbrook_#688_Counselor’s Pen
Esterbrook_#688_Oval Point
Esterbrook_#689_Judicial Pen
Esterbrook_#709_Little Gem
Esterbrook_#751_School Medium Firm
Esterbrook_#781_School Medium Firm
Esterbrook_#789_Oval Point
Esterbrook_#789_Two Toned Oval Point
Esterbrook_#791_Pelican Pen
Esterbrook_#792_“U” Pen
Esterbrook_#807_College Diamond Pen
Esterbrook_#809_Empire Pen
Esterbrook_#901_Radio Pen 1913 Ad
Esterbrook_#907_Radio Pen 1913 Ad
Esterbrook_#908_Radio Pen 1913 Ad
Esterbrook_#909_Radio Pen 1913 Ad
Esterbrook_#918_Radio Pen 1913 Ad
Esterbrook_#953_Radio Pen 1913 Ad (twice)
Esterbrook_#984_Radio Pen 1913 Ad
Esterbrook_#1881_Garfield Initial Pen
Esterbrook_#1892_Poet’s Pen
Esterbrook__Egyptian Pen
Esterbrook__Lincoln Pen (Graphic)
Esterbrook__Pansy Pen
Esterbrook__Writing Masters Pen
Esterbrook__Fountain Falcon Pen
Esterbrook_No. 3_Centennial Silver Fountain Pen Double Elastic
Esterbrook_No. 1_Gisburne’s Ruling Pens- Fine Line
Esterbrook_No. 2_Gisburne’s Ruling Pens – Medium Line
Esterbrook_No. 3_Gisburne’s Ruling Pens – Wide Line

The Esterbrook Signature

One of the most recognizable images associated with the Esterbrook company is the signature of “R. Esterbrook & Co.”

It’s found on every box of steel pens, just about every fountain pen the company made, and many of the other ephemera produced by the company. (The image at the top is from an advertising card of pens from the 1940’s).

Steel pen manufacturers have used a signature on the back of the box as “proof” that the box was authentic and not a fake from very early. Here’s an ad from 1830 for Perry’s pens, paper and ink packets. The paper as well as the pens contain the signature of Perry as proof of authenticity.

1830 Perry signature on pens and paper


Gillott, in this 1840 ad make it totally clear that the signature is to prevent people from being fooled into buying a Gillot, or Gilott, or similar rip-off pen.

1840 Gillott ad signature as proof

Esterbrook was no different than the other big names. They also included the signature of Richard Esterbrook on the back of the box as proof it was genuine.

03 early successors Jackson box back

If you start to look at the various designs of back-panels from the earliest to the latest, it starts to become clear that they did not use just some standard “signature” image until fairly late. I appears that Esterbrook actually used a different signature each time they changed the design. Someone had to actually sign, with a pen, on each design at least up to 1920 or so.

Here are some examples in roughly chronological order. The earliest boxes do not have “Successors” in the lower right as this was added after Richard Esterbrook Sr. died in 1895.

01 no successors Chancellor back

01.2 no successors back

02 no successors back

03 early successors Jackson box back

Which is the back of this glorious box.

03 early successors Jackson box front

03 old style successors back.jpg

03.2 old successors back

This one below is a small, tin box. It’s the only other one with a flourish under the name like the Jackson Stub box above. But it’s a different flourish.

04 tin box back

04.2 Successors box

The following one is from the back of one of the old maroon-colored Radio Pen boxes. The next few are what I consider the “modern” era and are fully stylized by then.

05 Maroon radio pens box

07 Standard Red Box

06 Standard red logo sig

This last signature is the one best known during the fountain pen era of Esterbrook. It is closely-related, but not exactly the same as on the last steel pen boxes.

It’s interesting to look at the first, big E, the “r’s” and the “k” especially. I’m not sure there’s any way to date based on signature, but it is clear that each change of label resulted in slight changes to the signature.


Pen Shapes: The Falcon

Probably the second most common shape of a steel pen, besides the plain, straight pen, is the Falcon.

The origin of the Falcon, and how it got it’s name, is up for debate. But in the US, at least, it seems that the Esterbrook Steel Pen Co. was the King of the Falcons. The shape isn’t mentioned by name by any earlier US pen makers, but it was one of the first pens Esterbrook made. And for most of the company’s existence, the 048 Falcon was the top selling pen of any style for any US maker. It became the symbol of the company, second only to R. Esterbrook’s signature.

Esterbrook signature

Everyone produced at least one model of Falcon pen. Most manufacturers had several. They would differ in stiffness, fine, extra-fine, or medium tip, or even stub Falcons. (a story for another post)

Most falcons come in a standard size well-represented by the Esterbrook 048 Falcon. The 048 is the only number of Esterbrook’s which includes (and always includes) a zero at the beginning of the number. It is not a #48, it is a #048.

Esterbrook, as well as others, also often made a “Ladies’ Falcon” in the form of a small falcon. The more delicate, and sometimes more flexible, falcon was deemed suitable for the delicate pens with which delicate ladies wrote delicate letters delicately.

At the other end of the spectrum is Esterbrook’s Mammoth Falcon. This behemoth requires a special holder and seems better suited to small-scale gardening than to writing.

Here’s a photo of the two most common sizes of Falcon plus the Mammoth Falcon. The Lady Falcon at the top was made by Leon Isaacs.


Esterbrook also made a medium sized Falcon that fell somewhere between the 048 and the Mammoth. This was called the #491 Madison Pen and was introduced in 1891, ten years after the Mammoth Falcon. I’ve never seen one, nor is one available on The Esterbrook Project. They only appear in one of the catalogs and may have been produced for only a limited time.

Some of the Falcons found in my collection (not counting stub falcons):

  • Brooks & Co’s “Extra Falcon” (more falcon than then next guy’s?)
  • De Haan 3, and 33
  • Eagle E10, E12
  • Esterbrook’s 048, 182 (lady falcon), 520, 905, 920
  • Gillott’s 105, 1060, 1155
  • Hunt 95, 97, 98, 514
  • Leon Isaacs’s 1 and 6
  • Samual Isaacs’s 3 1/2, and 23
  • Miller Bros. 19, 87
  • Spencerian 23, 30, 40, 50, 80
  • Turner & Harrison 39, 239, 739
  • A wide assortment of businesses wanted falcons among their special imprinted pens: Bell Systems, Burlington Route (Esterbrook 048’s), Commonwealth of Massachusetts (Esterbrook 048’s), Hotel Belmont, Lehigh Valley Rail Road, New York Central, Pennsylvania Railroad, Santa Fe Railroad and Western Union, to name a few.



Research Resources for Steel Pens: The Esterbrook Project

The Esterbrook Project is just what it sounds like, a site dedicated to all things related to Esterbrook steel pens.

This deceptively modest site began as the owner, Phil, needing to come up with a way of keeping track of his own collection. After losing the information a couple of times, and having to start over, he decided a web site would be the best way to store the information.

Now The Esterbrook Project has the largest collection of images of Esterbrook steel pens in the world. Phil has carefully and conscientiously gather nibs, many from his own collection, others donated to add to the repository, taken careful photos and captured evidence for the existence of these nibs. He’s listed different sources that reference the nibs, such as the different Esterbrook catalogs which are known.

The heart of the site is the Nib List.  This is where you can take any Esterbrook nib and look it up by number. There are fewer and fewer numbers with no photos as the site becomes more popular and people send in missing nibs. Phil is very careful and will return the nib if asked, but if you can, I recommend gifting him an example so he can add to his collection as well as add it to the site. It’s a small price to pay for such an amazing resource.

There are some other resources on the site, including Phil’s own diagram of a pen’s anatomy. Reviewing it for this post reminds me that I forgot “shoulder” for my diagram.  [now fixed, ed.] See, there’s always something else to learn at The Esterbrook Project.

Full disclosure here, I have helped Phil out with the site from time to time and I’m fully dedicated to keeping this amazing resource going as long as we can.