Esterbrook Relief pens were made in the mid 1930's through the 1950's in England by the Conway Stewart Company. The nibs are 14ct R.
Esterbrook & Co. 'Relief' nibs and the nib number should match the model of the pen (the exception being model 22 which sports a #2 nib). Nibs were sold in three sizes, Fine, Medium, and Broad. These pens are well made and prized by collectors for their wonderful writing characteristics and beautiful plastics. All models sport a red casein band above the clip which was designed as an easy identifier that this was a Relief pen. As a general rule, all hard rubber Relief will sport the "R. Esterbrok + Co." imprint, but not all plastic models will.
Relief Model 1
Relief 1 are chracterized by their nickel plated trim and longer levers. These pens do not have cap bands and are fitted with the smaller #1 sized nib. Offered in as many as seven different colors over the years (BHR, BCHR, RMHR, Marbled Red, Marbled Green, Marbled Blue, and Marbled Brown), they were available in two filing systems, the model 1 (Lever Filler - Note no "L" after the model as in all other Relief models) and the 1-R ("Regular" or eyedropper filler). Common probems with model 1's are heavy brassing on the levers.
An example in black chased hard rubber.
This is a red and black mottled hard rubber model 1. These have a section and feed in matching red and black mottled hard rubber. As typical on these model 1's, the trim is heavily brassed.
Relief 1 in plastic are much harder to find than in Hard Rubber. Here is an example in a lovely Marbled Blue.
Relief Model 2-L
Relief 2 are characterized by their gold filed clps and levers. The levers also take on the more standard style with round end and ® symbol on them. Model 2's may or may not be found with a single gold filled cap band and will have the standard sized #2 nib. This is the most common size Relief and is offered in a multitude of colors and three filing systems, the 2-L (Lever filler - most common), 2-S ("Stud" or button filler - less common), and the 2-R ("Regular" or eyedropper filler - very uncommon).
Here are two hard rubber model 2-L's. The top model is a chased hard rubber model, and is not as often found with a cap band. The bottom model is plain black hard rubber with no red band on the cap. They both have the Esterbrook imprint on the barrel as most of the hard rubber varieties
seem to have.
This is a bandless black chased hard rubber model 2-L.
This is 2-L with an extra wide cap band engraved, "C.C.E 25-7-37". I don't know whether this was an aftermarket addition, or a special order, but it is quite unusual.
This is an extremely rare model 2-L in a Blue Snakeskin pattern.
These are some marbled plastic Relief 2-L. There are no Esterbrook marks on the barrels, simply the "Relief" "No. 2-L" imprint. These are of the flat barrel end variety. These seem to be often found without the red band and can be found in a
tapered barrel version as well.
This is your basic model 2-L in plastic. Again, these are commonly found with no red band. These exist with or without the R. Esterbrook + Co. imprint.
Relief Model 2-S
This is an uncommon model 2-S button filler in BCHR.
Here's a nice example of a bandless 2-S button filler in blue marbled plastic. Special thanks goes to my friend Julius Elias for this picture.
Here is a similar 2-S in Green Marble. Note the green plastic is different and darker than the green marble 2-L.
Like other model 2 pens, some 2-S have cap bands. The bottom pen is an extremely rare model in a grey swirl plastic.
Relief Model 2-R
A very uncommon 2-R eyedropper. Special Thanks to Jim Griffiths for these photos!