I just realized this is my first post about a pen (excluding Fountain Pen Mystery Theatre) since late November. What a loser….anyway.
Company Back Story
In 1858, entrepreneur Richard Esterbrook established the “Esterbrook Pen Company” in Camden, NJ, which would soon become one of the world’s biggest and most beloved pen makers. The company produced dip pens before concentrating on fountain pens. At its height, Esterbrook was the largest pen manufacturer in the United States, employing 600 workers, and producing 216,000,000 pens a year.
Esterbrook manufactured two “Deluxe” models. The SM model was introduced in 1949, followed by the LK model in 1955. All Deluxe pens featured a metal cap. The SMs were available originally with a friction fit cap, with later models adopting a screw cap. The SM model featured double jeweled ends like the Model J.
The later LK’s model introduced a variety of changes. Only screw top caps were available and the double jeweled ends were replaced with stepped ends similar to the end caps seen on a 1941 Parker 51.
Other reviewers have mentioned the plastic used in the LK seems to be a little softer than the plastic used in the SM model. This softness lends to the LK model susceptible to scratches resulting from the posting of the cap and general use. I have not inspected an SM model so I cannot say for sure.
My pen is Emerald Green, with minor scratches on the barrel, but none on the cap. There is a mark on the barrel possibly caused by posting the cap. The lever and pen clip are stainless steel. The filler lever is the “spoon” style. Levers on the Deluxe changed along with the J series from the “fishtail” or “spade” shaped lever replaced by the “spoon” shaped lever around 1952.
Other than the obvious (it’s a good-looking pen) it came sporting a medium 2312 Italic nib. As I am a big fan of Relief or oblique-style nibs, how could I turn this down?
The restoration was simple, I replaced the ink sac, and cleaned the pen with a Sunshine Cloth.
The cap is detailed with horizontal rings beginning above a cap ring and continuing to the stepped end cap. The cap threads in the barrel are part of a metal ring – I am glad it was not plastic. Operating the cap on/off requires 1 full turn, which is nice.
Honestly, I am not thrilled with the section. I prefer the section found on the SM model. The section on the LK is devoid of character and there isn’t even a flair around the end by the nib.
How does it write you ask, welp I’m glad you asked.
The 2312 nib is very similar to the Pilot CM nib – neither has a traditional writing surface (see below). This nib is not a smooth writer. Like the CM, it is a matter of finding the correct angle for the nib in relationship to the paper. This nib is used and may need some smoothing.
I do like the abundance of line variance this steel nib provides. In all likelihood, I will swap out this nib for a 2314 Relief or a 9312 (but I need to find one first).
The pen has been in service now for a couple weeks. I’ve come to notice an issue, the pen leaks – not a lot just enough to have a case of inky fingers. Not in the traditional sense, I am finding ink around the section by the nib. I am watching for a pattern. Trying to discern if the leak is from the screw on nib, if the ink sac is not true, or if is it caused when the cap is not tightly secured.
- Capped Length: 130mm
- Uncapped Length: 115mm
- Barrel Diameter: 10.5mm
- Cap Diameter: 12mm
- Weighs in at, 18g
- Esterbrook.net, Deluxe
6 thoughts on “A 1950s Esterbrook Deluxe LK Model”
Love the colour of the barrel. I can emphasise re: nib presentation and angles preferred. But a challenge and slowing down to write with intent is a glorious experience. The Esterbrook nibs in fountain pens are something I have never tried. If they are as reliable and perform as well as the dip nib Relief 314, then I’d love to see what happens. Great ‘keeping us aware and informed’ write up again Danny. All the best.
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Hi Gray. Thanks, I found the color most appealing. Overall the pen shouts 1950s. In about a month I’m doing a post on Osmiroid nibs with Esterbrook base. They simply screw into vintage pens. I have a couple and enjoy them. Like the 2312 on this pen the Osmiroid nibs are a straight edge. There is a learning curve and it’s all about the angle. All the best
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I love the Osmiroid early interchangeable nibs. Like the later italic choice nibs housed in their own sections to swap too. But they have to carry their own cartridges when out. I believe it was yourself that enlightened me to Esterbrook compatibility with the Osmiroid nibs. Will give them a try. But way down into the future. Green pens (of a certain shade) are faves. Nearly bought a green Osmiroid 65 a week back. But calling a halt at the moment. Decorating. So..Too much paint to buy and furniture considerations. Look forward to your post in a month. All the best too.
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The SM is a nice pen. There is one around here somewhere that had plenty of use for several years. If nothing else, my Esterbrooks have had long, useful lives. I prefer converters these days so none of them get any use. Do you find the barrel on the small side?
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I have short fingers so the barrel is very agreeable.