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St. Louis Art Supply

Esterbrook Radio Pen #988 Nib (Vintage)


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About This Product

The "spoon pen" is a workhorse in the world of dip pen nibs. Designed with a rounded body and typically with large vent holes, these pens were meant to hold lots of ink for everyday writing. They commonly featured rounded nibs, since they were used in offices, schools, and shops, on a variety of paper types.

The Esterbrook Radio Pen #988 was a remake of the best-selling #788 Oval Point pen, with a firm, rounded medium point, excellent ink capacity, and ease of use for beginners. The Radio Pen version is finished in reflective chrome, unlike earlier Esterbrook pens that were typically steel-grey or pale bronze in color.

Because this was one of Esterbrook's most popular pens, we sort our stock by vintage and offer you a choice between the different versions produced throughout the company's history. Before 1940, the #988 Radio Pen was hand-ground, and these pens are regarded as more consistent and a bit more flexible. After 1940, Esterbrook switched to groove-stamping, an automated process. The newer nibs are more commonly found today, and they are still superior to most modern alternatives.

Thanks to the protective coating applied to all dip pens (even new ones produced today), these 80-year-old pens are in excellent vintage condition. They've been checked for rust and other defects by our experts and are ready to return to service on your desk.

As with any dip pen, you will need to remove the protective coating so that ink will stick to the nib consistently. To remove the coating, simply dip your new pen in ink a couple of times and wipe it off. Repeat until the ink coats the nib completely and doesn't bead up. This process takes about 15 seconds and only needs to be done once, before you use the pen for the first time.

Sold individually. Made in the United States.

About R: Esterbrook & Co.:

Founded in 1856, R. Esterbrook & Co. was the United States' very first manufacturer of steel dip pens. Formerly, these important 19th century tools had to be imported from Europe, but Richard Esterbrook brought expertise and craftspeople from England and opened a factory in Philadelphia.

For over 100 years until the company finally went out of business in 1970, Esterbrook produced the finest steel pens in the country, with a level of quality and a range of shapes that would put contemporary nib manufacturers to shame. Whenever we're able to get our hands on a vintage batch of Esterbrook pens, we're excited to offer them to you. Supplies, of course, are limited.

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    St. Louis Art Supply