Thursday, November 26, 2009

Dead Tech: Esterbrook Inkwell

Dip pens aren't dead tech. Lots of people, including me, use them all the time. That's how I did all the lettering in Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara.


But the Esterbrook 407 Dip-Less inkwell is an endangered species. It came singly or configured in pairs. The black bakelite Art Deco base holds the inverted glass well, which is sealed with a rubber stopper. It was intended to be used with an Esterbrook Dip-less pen, which held more ink than a simple dip pen shown above.

It was made to feed ink to a constant level and to reduce the risk of spillage. You'd find it chained to a desk in the lobby of a bank, hotel, or post office, where a steady supply of ink had to be made available to the public.

Previous dead tech: Zipatone, Waxer.

11 comments:

bzyglowi said...

Oooh, more dead tech. I always find these fascinating. It never actually occurred to me to wonder what people did in public places before ball point pens were everywhere. Very cool.

Sandie Lee said...

Nice pic :)

goat89 said...

Ah... art history and tech... NICE!!!

Bombproof said...

That is a beatiful thing.

ivo.de.wispelaere said...

I first thought that was Darth Vadar's helmet and his light sabre there...

Daniel.Z said...

Oh someone should manufacture a modern version of that inkwell.
It must make dipping of pens quite convenient.

The Dutchess said...

WOW,I am so impressed by your work...would you be oke with it when I post a drawing on my blog with a link to yours...?

Maldita said...

Impressive article and I like the way you took the photo.

James Gurney said...

The Dutchess, yes, you can use content from this blog with credit and links back. Thanks! By the way, your "The Garden" blog is wonderful, where does the music come from?

frankgrauillustrator said...

I purchased an unused 407 on eBay, and I absolutely dig using it. It's my everyday desk pen, which I now use more than my Scheaffer snorkel desk set.
I was scanning the web for manufacture dates of the 407 (which is how I found this older post of yours), but I can't seem to find info on exactly when these were produced. Do you happen to have any idea?
Great site, by the way!

James Gurney said...

Frank, sorry, I don't know much about the Esterbrook 407s, as this is the only one I've seen.