We are The Esterbrook Pen Company, a true American Original, revived in 2018 by Kenro Industries to write its next chapter.
As Americana and nostalgia for the past have come into favor, iconic American brands are being reborn in the cities where they first achieved fame. For one hundred years Esterbrook was the pride of Camden, NJ. Today, it’s been moved 120 miles north to Kenro headquarters in Mineola, NY, where its storied past will forever be a part of its promising future.
In 1858, entrepreneur Richard Esterbrook established his pen company under the trademark Esterbrook Pen Company, which would soon become one of the biggest and most beloved pen makers in the world. At its height, Esterbrook was the largest pen manufacturer in the United States. It produced 216,000,000 pens a year, 600,000 pens a day, made by its 450 workers.
Much of America’s history has been written and created with Esterbrook pens. U.S. presidents Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson signed legislation with their Esterbrook pens. Famous Disney artist Carl Banks brought Donald Duck to life with an Esterbrook No 356. Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz used the No 914 for all his comics. All the while millions of students grew up learning to write using Esterbrook pens. It is fair to say that these visionaries, and artists, helped Esterbrook to become an integrated part of America’s politics and culture in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Esterbrook grew up in the shadows of one of the nation’s darkest hours, but despite the toll of the Great Depression on the United States, there was an enduring spirit of its people, a new hope awakening, importance placed on the strength of character and a deep enthusiasm for achieving dreams. Esterbrook met those values with writing instruments that were emblematic of those times and commitments.
Today we champion those same tenants, facing the future with the determination and tenacity of those before us.
Accordingly, Esterbrook stands for what it always has: entrepreneurial spirit, outstanding quality at a great value, and creative designs that made the original Esterbrook brand an American icon and global player. Joel Blumberg, Kenro’s founder and president, acquired the rights and patents for this original American brand for these very reasons. Says Blumberg: “If you take the time to dig into Esterbrook’s heritage and how much this brand and its pens were part of great American history and cultural development, you start to see all those parallels to today and why a brand like Esterbrook still has its place in our digital world. That’s why we plan to reintroduce and build the Esterbrook brand on the same values as it was originally born. Times are different, but core values remain deep in our DNA and this is what we are building on with this brand relaunch”. Blumberg adds: “We decided to relaunch this iconic brand with what we call the re-concept. “Re” means to do simultaneously looking back to the original state. This is exactly what the essence of the Esterbrook relaunch is”.
The timing couldn’t be better for Esterbrook to tap into the increasing demand by long-time collectors and a growing demographic of new pen enthusiasts for well- made, old fashioned, quality items with history and authentic stories.
To that end, Kenro has written a Manifesto for this incarnation of the Esterbrook Brand:
We want to reconnect with consumers, rebuild interest in fine writing and penmanship, revolt against the decline of handwriting in American schools, reestablish brand image as an American Original, regain trust and market share with retail partners, and revive the values and spirit of Richard Esterbrook for the 21st century.
It’s a pledge to our admirers and enthusiasts: as they persist, so do we.