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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Filling your new Esterbrook Fountain Pen - Picture tutorial for beginners!

Most of you Esterbrook fans are quite familiar with how to fill almost any vintage lever-filler. After you learn it, it just can’t be forgotten. They’re super easy to use and maintain/clean.

However, occasionally I run into someone who buys one of my Esterbrooks as their first vintage lever-filler, or just their first vintage pen in general. They usually ask: “so how do I fill it? I’m supposing you just…” and then they go into an explanation of how they suppose it’s filled. Well, after getting asked this many times I’ve decided to make a picture packed, step by step tutorial for filling your Esterbrook fountain pen! This applies to almost all vintage lever-fillers.

I hope this is able to help some new Esterbrook owners out there. Enjoy!

First off, a list of materials:
- Lever filling fountain pen
- Bottle of ink
- Paper towel
- Your hands

Step #1 - Get out the pen you wish to fill along with your ink of choice. I'm using my favorite self-restored cherry red Esterbrook and my ink of choice for this tutorial is my home-mixed purple ink. It's being stored in an empty J. Herbin bottle I had lying around. So no, that's not J. Herbin "Eclat De Saphir" if you were wondering.

Step #2 - Open up your bottle of ink (carefully, we don't want to spill!). Uncap your pen and set the cap aside, you won't need that for a while.

Step #3 - Insert your pen into the ink. Make sure that the ink covers the whole nib. It's best if the ink comes up onto the section (where you grip the pen while writing) just a little bit.

Step #4 - Pull the lever out until it stops at the 90 degree detent. If you have no stopping detent on your j-bar, then just manually prevent the lever from going past 90 degrees.

Step #5 - Release the j-bar (Somewhat slowly. Just don't let it snap back violently.). After releasing the j-bar, let the pen sit in the ink for 10 - 15 seconds. This allows the ink to suction up into the sac. I usually repeat this step (#5) twice to fill the pen to the maximum it can go.

Step #6 - Remove the pen from the ink jar. Be sure to wipe the nib on the throat of the jar to remove most of the excess ink that will be on there.

Step #7 - Grab a paper towel and quickly yet gently wipe the top and bottom of the nib. I say quickly because if you let the paper towel sit on the nib to long, it'll suck the ink right out of it. Also clean the section of the pen by wiping it with a paper towel..

Close your ink jar, and then breath a sigh of relief for not spilling any ink. :) Now you're all done! Take that newly filled pen and get writing!

Best Regards,
777 - Tyler Dahl


  1. Ah, how sweet to be a beginner. Will I see you in Chicago in May?

  2. Hello Carol,

    The only pen show I'm go to is the DC Supershow but I may not even be going to that one this year. I don't plan on being a seller there either. The table fees are just way to much for me to really get anything out of the deal. Maybe in the future though!

    777 - Tyler Dahl

  3. Ah, how sweet to be a beginner. Will I see you in Chicago in May?