Miskatonic University Press

Restored Esterbrook


Yesterday I picked up two vintage fountain pens I’d given for repair to Toronto nibmeister Jeffry Fridfinnson. They look great! If you’re in the Toronto area and looking to get a fountain pen restored, get in touch with him. He does it as a sideline and has a queue, so the work will take a little while, but if your pen is unusable, you’re not missing anything in the meantime.

One of the pens is a black Esterbrook transitional J lever-filler that is more than 70 years old. I bought it at the Scriptus pen show over three years ago. I was looking to try some vintage fountain pens and Esterbrooks were recommended as a good type to start with. There were many of them made, they’re easy to find now at low prices, and even nib units are easy to find and pop in.

I bought mine for about $40 as is, I think. It never really worked. There was something wrong with the nib and it was always dry. I swapped in another nib but that didn’t work either. I left it in my drawer for a couple of years, then realized I should either try to sell it or get it fixed. I took it to last October’s pen show, saw Jeffry Fridfinnson at a table, and showed it to him. He immediately saw what was wrong and said he could fix it, replace the ink sac ($25), and do a stub grind ($50) as well. I’d decided it was time to try getting a nib ground—what’s the point in having different pens that all end up writing the same on paper?

My restored Esterbrook
My restored Esterbrook

I realize everything aside from the pen looks grey, but that’s what you get taking a photo using natural light on a cloudy March Toronto day. The line variation isn’t huge, but the nib was on the small side to begin with, so the grind didn’t have a big effect. Still, I like it.

This pen is smaller than what I usually use, but it’s very comfortable and it writes perfectly now. I’m very glad it’s restored.

The other pen is an Eclipse Hooded Knight, which was made in Canada. I’ll post about it when I’ve had a chance to use it for a little while.