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My grandfather taught penmanship. He began in the 1920s and continued until his retirement from teaching high school in the 1950s. Each year, the Esterbrook Pen Company sent my grandfather a few pens in the hopes that he would demonstrate them in his classes. Whether he did, I don't know. He passed in 1957 when I was still bouncing on knees. All I know is that I inherited a cardboard box full of Esterbrook pens. It was like a little treasure chest.

In 1856 Esterbrook became one of the first steel nib manufacturers in the United States. Prior to the Civil War, people still used quills, cut with pen knives. In 1920 the company introduced its first fountain pen, providing the mainstream market with a high-quality writing instrument at a reasonable price. It filled from an inkwell or bottle, as did all fountain pens then. It was a rugged little pen with a steel nib and came in a variety of colors


True Writer Carries on the Tradition

Esterbrook, after being one of the most popular pens around, failed to make a successful transition to the jet-age era of ballpoints. But their vibrant colors, affordability and robust reliability provided the inspiration for our first True Writer, launched in 1999. Today, we're proud to offer the True Writer Fountain Pen, Rollerball and Ballpoint in a panoply of colors and styles, as well as vivid ink refills to go with them. In your hand, their lustrous barrels are even more vibrant than our photography pros can show you. The marvel is that such a rich-looking pen can be so reasonably priced, just as the old Esterbrooks were. (As an aside, we were thrilled to see Esterbrook make its return in 2018 and couldn't be happier to offer their pens again).

We needed a name for our pen that would convey the sensibility and flair of what we hoped would be an enduring series of pens. We came up with "True Writer," which seemed to capture the essence of a tool that would stay true, write after write. It sold. And it still sells. It's incredible to think that we have sold over 250,000 in the last 20 years.

I hope you enjoy the updated True Writer visual history below and I invite you to read more about the True Writer on my blog.

—Steve Leveen
cofounder, Levenger


  • 1999

    February 1999  Retired

    True Writer Green

     True Writer Green

  • July 1999  Retired

    True Writer Blue

     True Writer Blue

  • October 1999  Retired

    True Writer Red

     True Writer Red

  • 2000

    April 2000  Retired

    True Writer Black

     True Writer Classic Red and Gold

  • April 2000  Retired

    True Writer White

     True Writer Red

  • October 2000  Retired

    True Writer Yellow

     True Writer Blue

  • 2001

    March 2001  Retired

    True Writer Periwinkle

     True Writer Periwinkle

  • September 2001  Retired

    True Writer Tangerine

     True Writer Blue

  • 2002

    May 2002  Retired

    True Writer Abalone

     True Writer Abalone

  • October 2002  Retired

    True Writer Pearl Blue

     True Writer Pearl Blue

  • November 2002  Retired

    True Writer Mink

     True Writer Mink

  • 2004

    January 2004  Retired

    True Writer Rose

     True Writer Rose

  • 2005

    August 2005  Retired

    True Writer Tortoise

     True Writer Tortoise

  • 2006

    January 2006  Retired

    True Writer Kyoto

     True Writer Kyoto

  • September 2006  Retired

    True Writer Metalist

    Sapphire, Amethyst, Pearl and Ebony

     True Writer Metalist

  • September 2006

    True Writer Obsidian

     True Writer Obsidian

  • October 2006  Retired

    True Writer Golden Tortoise

     True Writer Metalist

  • November 2006  Retired

    True Writer Sterling

     True Writer Sterling

  • 2007

    February 2007  Retired

    True Writer Metalist Copper

     True Writer Metalist Copper

  • February 2007  Retired

    True Writer Seaglass

     True Writer Seaglass

  • April 2007  Retired

    True Writer Pink

     True Writer Pink

  • April 2007  Retired

    True Writer True Blue

     True Writer True Blue

  • May 2007  Retired

    True Writer Demonstrator

    Bahama Blue, Always Greener and Fireball

     True Writer Demonstrator

  • September 2007  Retired

    True Writer Illuminator

    Gunmetal and Blue

     True Writer Illuminator

  • September 2007  Retired

    True Writer Flourish

    Forest, Frost, and Cranberry

     True Writer Flourish Forest, Frost, and Cranberry

  • September 2007

    True Writer Obsidian Gold

     True Writer Obsidian Gold

  • November 2007  Retired

    True Writer Mini

    Black and Pink

     True Writer Mini Black and Pink

  • 2008

    February 2008  Retired

    True Writer Lobby Pen and True Writer Pen Stand

     True Writer Lobby Pen and True Writer Pen Stand

  • February 2008  Retired

    True Writer Slim Ballpoint

     True Writer Slim Ballpoint

  • April 2008  Retired

    True Writer Fiery Amber

     True Writer Fiery Amber

  • June 2008  Retired

    True Writer Demonstrator

    Amethyst and Pinkly

     True Writer Demonstrator Amethyst and Pinkly

  • July 2008  Retired

    True Writer Carnaval

     True Writer Carnaval

  • August 2008  Retired

    True Writer Ivory & Gold

     True Writer Ivory & Gold

  • September 2008  Retired

    True Writer Starry Night

     True Writer Starry Night

  • October 2008  Retired

    True Writer Mosaic

    Purple and Blue

     True Writer Mosaic

  • October 2008  Retired

    True Writer Water Lilies

     True Writer Water Lilies

  • November 2008  Retired

    True Writer Sea Glass Mini

     True Writer Sea Glass Mini

  • 2010

    September 2010  Retired

    True Writer Café au Lait

     True Writer Café au Lait

  • 2011

    February 2011  Retired

    True Writer Ultra Violet

     True Writer Ultra Violet

  • June 2011  Retired

    True Writer Obsidian Mini

     True Writer Obsidian Mini Ballpoint

  • October 2011  Retired

    True Writer Blue Delft

     True Writer Blue Delft

  • 2012

    April 2012  Retired

    True Writer French Impressionist

     True Writer French Impressionist

  • May 2012  Retired

    True Writer Silver Anniversary

     True Writer Silver Anniversary

  • August 2012  Retired

    True Writer Bright Write

    Cornflower and Hot Pink

     True Writer Bright Write Cornflower and Hot Pink

  • September 2012  Retired

    True Writer Teal Appeal

     True Writer Teal Appeal

  • 2013

    February 2013  Retired

    True Writer Purple Majesty

     True Writer Purple Majesty

  • April 2013  Retired

    True Writer Spring Inspired Rose

     True Writer Spring Inspired Rose

  • September 2013  Retired

    True Writer Silver Seas

     True Writer Silver Seas

  • October 2013  Retired

    True Writer Foliage

     True Writer Foliage

  • December 2013  Retired

    True Writer

    Crimson, Navy and Raven

     True Writer Crimson, Navy, and Raven

  • 2014

    February 2014

    True Writer Select

    Stormy Weather, Macchiato and Mediterranean

     True Writer Select - Stormy Weather, Macchiato, and Mediterranean

  • November 2014  Retired

    True Writer Element Guilloche

     True Writer Element Guilloche

  • December 2014

    True Writer Obsidian

     True Writer Obsidian

  • 2015

    February 2015

    True Writer Classic Royal

     True Writer Royal

  • May 2015  Retired

    True Writer Java

     True Writer Java

  • June 2015

    True Writer Classic Stone

     True Writer Stone

  • November 2015

    True Writer Classic

    Blue Marine, Red and Smoke

     True Writer Classic Blue Marine, Red, and Smoke

  • November 2015  Retired

    True Writer Oceanic Grey

     True Writer Oceanic Grey

  • 2016

    March 2016  Retired

    True Writer Oceanic Blue

     True Writer Oceanic Blue

  • May 2016  Retired

    True Writer Checkmate

     True Writer Check Mate

  • October 2016

    True Writer Slim Gemstones

    Garnet, Amethyst and Sapphire

     True Writer Slim Gemstones

  • 2017

    January 2017

    True Writer Select Obsidian Gold

     True Writer Select Obsidian

  • March 2017

    True Writer Create Herringbone Guilloche

     True Writer Herringbone

  • April 2017

    True Writer Classic Indigo

     True Writer Indigo

  • July 2017  Retired

    True Writer Classic Camouflage

     True Writer Camouflage

  • July 2017

    True Writer Classic Ivory Rose Gold

     True Writer Ivory Rose Gold

  • July 2017  Retired

    True Writer Kaleidoscope Guilloche

     True Writer Kaleidoscope

  • August 2017  Retired

    True Writer Tanzanite

     True Writer Tanzanite

  • October 2017

    True Writer Create Pinstripe Guilloche

     True Writer Pinstripe Guilloche

  • October 2017

    True Writer Classic Wintergreen and Gold

     True Writer Wintergreen and Gold

  • December 2017

    True Writer Classic Purple

     True Writer Classic Purple

  • December 2017

    True Writer Create Metallic

    Rose Gold and Champagne

     True Writer Create Rose Gold Metallic

  • December 2017

    True Writer Create Stealth

    Black and Gray

     True Writer Create Stealth Black and Gray

  • 2018

    May 2018

    True Writer Classic Cappuccino

     True Writer Cappuccino

  • October 2018

    True Writer Create Junior Metallic Rose Gold

     True Writer Create Junior Metallic

  • November 2018

    True Writer Create Stealth Junior

     True Writer Create Stealth Junior Ballpoint

  • November 2018

    True Writer Classic Junior

     True Writer Classic Junior Ballpoint

  • November 2018

    True Writer Classic Red and Gold

     True Writer Classic Red and Gold

  • 2019

    April 2019

    True Writer Create Metallic Blue

      True Writer Create Blue Metallic

  • May 2019

    True Writer Create Junior Metallic Blue

    True Writer Blue Metallic Junior

  • July 2019

    True Writer Two-Tone Herringbone Anniversary

     True Writer Two-Tone Herringbone Anniversary

  • August 2019

    True Writer Classic Kyoto Gold

     True Writer Classic Junior Ballpoint

  • August 2019

    True Writer Classic Pearl

    White and Pink

     True Writer Blue Metallic Junior