I restored these three pens about a week ago and did a test run today. I filled them with Higgins Eternal black ink.
The black desk set pen is one I actually used at one time, many years ago, so I know it was once in working condition. It had a heavy pen stand, but I’ve lost track of it. When I first filled it with ink, the nib wasn’t passing any ink, so I switched in a new nib, a 2668. The pen then worked, producing a fine line. The lever, however, felt slightly loose, and the bladder barely filled. The ink ran out after a few minutes of writing. I checked the J-bar in the barrel, and it looked fine when I moved the lever. I’m not sure what the problem is. Will look into it. [See Esterbrook Desk Set Fountain Pen: Lever Problem.]
The foliage green Model J worked beautifully, producing a fine line with a 1551 nib. However, it has an odd section that won’t take a threaded Renew-point. This means that the nib and the feed are separate. To insert them into the section, I had to align the nib and feed with my fingers and push them, together, into the section. I’m not sure if Esterbrook continued this threadless nib system into the Model J. If not, then the original owner had switched in an older section or I might’ve inadvertently done it.
The pearl gray Esterbrook Dollar Pen with modernized clip design worked beautifully. The 2668 nib produces a medium line.
After the tests, I emptied and thoroughly cleaned the pens.