Fountain Pen Restoration

Esterbrook Pastels

This week’s restoration is and Esterbrook Pastel “Purse” pen from the mid 1950s.  It is amazing how many fountain pen collectors have started their collections with Esterbrooks, but it makes sense.  They are plentiful (especially the earlier J, SJ, and LJ models in the basic colors) and relatively reasonable in price, and quite easy to restore.  The interchangeable nibs also make them attractive.  As common as they are, it is somewhat amazing, and embarrassing that I have only discussed them in one previous post out of over 150.  The pen that I worked on this week is specifically an Aloha Gold Purse Pen from sometime around 1957.  These pastel pens are much more difficult to find, especially in good condition.

Below is a photo of the pen after I took it apart.  Be especially careful when taking these pens apart as the plastic used in the pastel series of pens is much less sturdy than the standard Esterbrook  pen.  It tends to be quite brittle and prone to cracking.

Fortunately, this pen came apart fairly quickly and without incident.  You can see that the nib is barely stained and the threads are moderately inked.  So the repair consisted of gentle cleaning an polishing.  The lever and internal jbar are in perfect working order and there is no reason to replace them.  I am not certain of the nib is original.  Most of these that I have seen carry a lower level 1551 type nib.  This one had a 9556, which is a nice fine nib.


Here is the pen after polishing and replacement of the section into the barrel and screwing in the nib unit.


These pastel pens are smaller than the SJ model and measure 4 3/8 inches closed and 5 1/4 inches posted.


Here is the Aloha Gold pen between two slightly earlier models (Aqua and Pink).  The earlier pastels purse pens had black jewels.  Later colors were brighter and often had more colorful jewels (as this aloha gold model has yellow jewels)


I have a couple of Esterbrook advertisements that have photos of pastel purse pens.  The first one, from late 1954 shows a yellow, earlier purse pen with plain black jewels.


This second advertisement, from 1955, shows an aqua set, in a nice Petite-Pak in a “findable” case.  These cases are highly collectible and are a nice addition to any collection if found in clean condition and matching the pen and pencil.


Esterbrook collectors have a wide array of choices of styles and colors to collect.  For additional information, I would recommend the following resources ~

The Fountain Pens of Esterbrook, by Paul Hoban (1992)


and an excellent website, founded and maintained by an Esterbrook expert ~  Both of these resources assisted me in this article.


July 5, 2011 - Posted by | Esterbrook | ,


  1. Are any of the 1955 Esterbrooks you featured available for sale? This is first time here on your website and I wasn’t certain from the post whether they are or not.

    Jeanne Ketterer

    Comment by Jeanne Ketterer | July 15, 2011 | Reply

  2. this i know is probably not the right place – but can you sell me a gold arrow for a parker 61 ?

    Comment by colum4343 | July 26, 2011 | Reply

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