Esterbrook 940 v3

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Esterbrook 940 v3
Manufacturer Esterbrook
Nib No. 940
Descr. Radio Pen, Version 3
Tip M
Markings Exterior
Mark 1 lateral L 940
Mark 4 MADE IN U.S.A.
Esterbrook 940 Version 3 - top view, with ruler

The Esterbrook Project describes the Radio Pens: "In 1913, Esterbrook introduced the 900-series of The Radio Pens. Most of the Radio Pens were simply existing popular pens given new numbers and a 'triple silver plating.' The plating was probably nickel plating to prevent corrosion from ink." The #940 is almost certainly based on the #672 Transmitter Pen.

Contemporary advertising in The 1938 Esterbrook Catalog says, "Extra firm, medium. Smooth action. - Silver finish." An Esterbrook brochure (see Pendemonium DIP1004) lists four reasons to use Radio Pens, along with their attributes, such as “Steel as fine as a watch spring" and “The Pens with the Velvet Touch”. The back panel talks of “Steel from purest ore”, and “Special electro-plating to resist the corrosive action of the ink.”

The Esterbrook Project describes this nib as having "a semi-pinched waist with a sharp, turned-up tip. Firm flex. Trapezoidal vent hole."

AAAndrew's Steel Pen blog references a history of Turned Up Point Pens in The American Stationer (2/12/1889): "The first steel pens made in Birmingham about the year 1837, while providing a ready made instrument for penmen, failed to give that ease in writing which was the characteristic of the old quill. [Steel pens] were uniformly fine pointed and naturally more or less scratchy. The remedy for this was not found until a generation later, when ... the happy idea occurred to turn up the points. ... The penman can write longer with less fatigue than with the ordinary styles. The tediousness of writing is almost entirely avoided, and the relief is so complete that it converts a drudgery into a delight."

Brandon McKinney's analysis of the markings and grindings date this version of the #940 Radio Pen as post-1946.


There are four distinct versions of the Esterbrook #940 Radio Pen in the Chappy's Nibs collection:

  • Version 1: silver-plated finish, company listed as R.ESTERBROOK & CO'S
  • Version 1 int imprint: silver-plated finish, same as Version 1 except with interior imprint
  • Version 2: silver-plated finish, company listed as R.ESTERBROOK & Co
  • Version 3: silver-plated finish, plus a third line, "MADE IN U.S.A."

(These version names are defined for this collection alone, and are not necessarily industry-wide terms.)

The nib pictured below is Version 3.


Click any image for a full-resolution photo: 1925 x 560. The image with the ruler is 2300 x 1196.

Esterbrook 940 Version 3 - top view
Esterbrook 940 Version 3 - side view, upper
Esterbrook 940 Version 3 - side view, lower

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