Esterbrook “Dollar” Pen

A Dollar Pen Style Nurse’s Pen: c.1930s-early 1940s

I am thrilled to add this to my collection! A dollar pen in the style of a nurse’s pen is scarce indeed!

Foot of the pen

Dollar pens date from the 1930s up until 1942, and are named as such because they originally cost a dollar. These may have technically been marketed as Doctor’s Pens, but until I see some ads or catalog listings, I’m going to assume the may have been marketed towards nurses as well. (If you have information–contact me.)

The cap of the pen
The pen nibs on Esterbrook’s are easily changed.

No Antibiotics

Reflect on this: it wasn’t until 1942, –the last year that this pen was manufactured–that civilians began being treated with penicillin!

Core structure of Penicillin

This pen may well have been used during a time before antibiotic therapy was available for clinical use! Imagine the orders that were written on patient charts during this time.

My mother–the R.N. who inspired this interest of mine in nurse’s pens, was hospitalized in 1933 with a ruptured appendix. Because there were no antibiotics, she painfully spent a year of her childhood in the hospital. Perhaps it was in that year the idea for being a nurse was put into her head.

My mother Doris in the 1930s, around the time she was released from her year in the hospital

Pens are more than writing implements. They are sociological artifacts!

What pen in your collection tells a story beyond the mechanics of mark making? -30-

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