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6 Pen Nibs and Case for Pencil Leads

6 Pen Nibs and Case for Pencil Leads

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This object consists of one 1-11/16" cylindrical metal case for pencil leads and six nibs for dip pens. The first nib is marked: 968 (/) R. ESTERBROOK & Co. (/) RADIO PEN (/) MADE IN U.S.A. The second nib is marked: 988 (/) R. ESTERBROOK & Co (/) RADIO PEN (/) MADE IN U.S.A. The third and fourth nibs are marked: B (/) BEATS ALL (/) STUB. The fifth nib is marked: C (/) BEATS ALL (/) BANK. The sixth nib is marked: V (/) BEATS ALL (/) SCHOOL.
Richard Esterbrook moved from England to the United States in 1856 to manufacture steel pens, opening a factory in Camden, N.J., in 1858. The company expanded into fountain pens around 1920. The Radio line of pen nibs, steel points for dip pens, was introduced around that time, but these nibs were probably made later. Venus Pen and Pencil, formerly the American Lead Pencil Co., purchased Esterbrook in 1967. It is unclear which pen manufacturer made the "Beats All" brands, but these examples probably date to the 1930s.
William J. Ellenberger (1908–2008), who owned these items, studied electrical and mechanical engineering at The George Washington University between 1925 and 1934. He then worked for the Potomac Electric Power Company and the National Bureau of Standards. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps. He was a civilian construction management engineer for the army from 1954 to 1968, when he became a private consultant.
References: advertisement for Esterbrook Pens, The American Stationer and Office Outfitter 90, no. 8(March 4, 1922): 35; "The GW Engineering Hall of Fame 2006 Inductees," http://www.weas.gwu.edu/ifaf/hall_of_fame_inductees_2006.php.
Currently not on view
Object Name
pen points
pen nibs and lead case
date made
ca 1940
Esterbrook Pen Company
place made
United States
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
steel (overall material)
overall: 4.5 cm x 1 cm x 1 cm; 1 25/32 in x 13/32 in x 13/32 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of William J. Ellenberger
Drawing Instruments
Drafting, Engineering
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Pens and Pencils
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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