Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Esterbrook JR Fountain Pen - A New Take on the Vintage Esterbrook J

Esterbrook brings us a new fountain pen, inspired by (inarguably?) one of the most popular vintage pens: the Esterbrook J! At the same time, we have the new Esterbrook Nook in navy blue with a soft red interior, a button closure, and an elastic to keep the pens in place. It's pretty great - it serves well as a case to carry pens but also as a display or holder while working at your desk. I love the soft interior and I really, really appreciate the elastic. Why? I have a similar Visconti zippered pen case and if you ever forget that it's open and you pick it up, all the pens fall out. This has happened many times, unfortunately. It's always followed by a panicked scramble to grab them as they fall and then curse myself for forgetting. Again. 

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Esterbrook introduces their modern take on the famous Esterbrook J series fountain pen: the new JR shares the shape and design of the clip save for the engraving, the look of the marbled material, the streamlined cap and barrel, the Estie cap band, and a steel nib. Unlike the vintage J which fills by a lever, the new JR fills by cartridge/converter - easy peasy to clean and maintain. My Carmine red wrote well out of box - nice, smooth, reliable. The section is really comfortable and the pen feels good and balanced in hand! It does share the smaller size, which is quite different than something like the Estie Oversize! I appreciate this option because as my nerves in my arm/shoulder get inflamed, having a light pen that is easy to write with for longer sessions is a relief. ⁣

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Like many vintage pens, the JR is a smaller pen. Compared to the Camden Composition, the Estie Oversize, Estie Regular, and Estie Slim, it is still smaller than all of them. It is also slimmer, so I do believe they have remained true to the vintage feel of the pen. 

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I think it's a great option for smaller hands and serial posters! I used to be comfortable writing with larger, heavier pens all of the time until I hurt my nerves/tendons in my right (writing) arm. Since then, I have been struggling with weakness and a shaky hand so the lighter, smaller pens have actually been moving into my rotation more often. As such, the JR is super comfortable for me and easy to control. In addition, the #5 nib is small and the section is shaped such that I can get my grip close to the nib. I have good control of the pen especially as it is balanced and light. I don't have to hold the pen tightly to control my penmanship with my shaky hand. It's been a journey to adapt to the weakness and shaking. It's frustrating. 

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A common question is, what nib size should I start with? If you can't try different sizes in person, you could always start with a broad and have it ground by a nibmeister - like at Toronto Pen Company - or you can just take the middle road with a medium nib. The medium on the Esterbrook JR is a nice, smooth steel nib. It serves well as a daily writer because it's not super wet and it's firm enough to withstand a heavy hand. It's a super comfortable pen. The section fits into my grip really well and I can get nice and close to the page for the best control for my shaky hand.

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How does the JR stand out from other fountain pens? I believe the size is interesting, aside from the smooth nib and cute colors (there is a black and blue as well). It's a full size, postable pen without being a pocket pen. There are so many huge, heavy pens on the market - not knocking them, I have some of them! - and there are certainly other smaller pens out there but the JR brings another option to the table. It is extra appealing if you enjoy remakes of classics!

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Thank you to Esterbrook for providing their brand new JR for me to check out and share with you. I received this pen free of charge so I could share my thoughts with you. I hope this has been helpful. Thank you for reading. If you enjoy and/or appreciate this type of information and you want to lend your support, please do check me out on Patreon! You can support yours truly for as little as $1. You are in no way obligated to do so, of course. I am most grateful for your readership as is.

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