Fountain Pen Restoration

Chicago’s Paris Pen Company

When we think of Paris, we think of France, not Chicago. But the restored pen this week brings us to the “Windy City”.

This pen was a fun one to restore as it is so colorful and very well preserved red hard rubber. As you can see from the photo below this is a lever filler that has not been used in quite some time as evidenced by the fractured and hardened sac. Standard cleaning was done. The section, feed and nib were scrubbed with q-tips and finished up with an ultrasonic cleaner. The cap was swabbed out and had the usual caked on ink residue. The threads on the barrel were especially dirty and a toothbrush did the trick on these. A size 16 sac was attached to the section with sac cement and the pen was reassembled.

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As you can see, the pen was a promotional pen, commissioned by the Merkle Broom Company. A search for Merkle Broom Company brings a large surprise. It was in Paris, Illinois. See the following:

The “Broom Factory”: Merkle Broom Company

ImageMerkle Broom Company was established by John Merkle, Sr. and his son, Oscar T. Merkle, in 1879. The brick factory was built at the corner of West End Avenue and Broom Street in 1890. Also known as Merkle-Wiley Broom Co. The business was known as the largest broom manufacturer in the world during the early 20th century. At one time, it produced 6,000 brooms per day. Its “Blu-J” line of brooms was manufactured into the 1960s. The company merged with France Broom Co. in 1964, but the factory closed several years later. In 1985, a furniture manufacturer acquired the location. The original building survived a fire in 1996, but Northern Harvest demolished it in 1999 to make way for a newer facility. Source: Paris Beacon-News, March 3, 1999

So now I am really confused. Merkle broom was in Paris, Illinois and The Paris Pen Company was in Chicago. As I attempted to research the Paris Pen Company, I corresponded with a renowned expert in (Chicago) Pen History, who had actually worked in the Railway Exchange Building in the 1970s. He feels that the pen dates from around 1928 and that the Paris Pen Company may have been a pen store located in the Exchange Building, and that C.E. Barrett had probably made the pens for them.

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This seems to make the most sense, but the Paris, IL location makes me wonder how Merkle was involved with Paris Pen. I will continue to research this and will update the post in the future if more information comes in.

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As you can see below, the pen cleaned up well and is ready to write. The nib is a Warranted 14K No. 5. It is approximately the size of a Duofold Junior. A nice example of a red hard rubber pen, with an interesting and mysterious history. If anyone else has an example of one of these I would love to receive a comment from you.

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July 8, 2008 - Posted by | C. E. Barrett, Merkle Broom Company, Paris Pen Company | ,

6 Comments »

  1. My sons and I have found a Lincoln Pen manufactured by The National Pen Products Company, Chicago IL. We are interested in finding out more about the age of the pen and the cost of refurbishing. It looks much like the Merkle Broom Company pen on your website. In addition we also have a couple of Sheaffer Pens we would like to restore.

    Comment by Randy DeBord | February 7, 2009 | Reply

  2. I have left you a detailed response through regular email channels regarding the restoration. My guess is that your Lincoln pen dates to the mid to late 1920s.

    Comment by all of us | February 7, 2009 | Reply

    • I have a Paris pen that needs restoration. Please share any information regarding how i might go about this. Thank you.

      Comment by Tom Hoffman | January 10, 2012 | Reply

  3. Hello. Can anyone tell me about any link between Paris Fountain Pens and the city of Rockford Illinois? I have a Paris Fountain Pen with the name of Rockford Illinois underneath the imprint. The pen is not with me now and I can’t recall the exact name imprint. I live in Rockford and want to know more about Rockford’s link, if any, with the pen business. I understand some J.B. Ryder Fountain pens are marked with Rockford, Illinois. My pen is a green combination pen/pencil, level fill, with a warranted 14k nib. I don’t know if the nib is original. I want to restore the pen but the tube that connects to the ink sac is chipped. I also appreciate any comments about howt o repair the chipped tube. Thanks.

    Thanks.

    Comment by David Dobson | May 18, 2009 | Reply

    • Comment 3 (above) is an interesting addition to this post. The commenter brings up a pen with a Paris Pen imprint and Rockford, IL. As many of you may know, the Rider Pen Company was in Rockford, IL from 1905 to 1925 (approximate dates). I have requested photos and with permission, will post them in this post. Could Paris have actually been in Rochester as well, or just been another store with a branch there? The search continues ~ Paris, Chicago, and Rockford, IL.

      Comment by all of us | May 19, 2009 | Reply

  4. A client of mine recently purchased a Paris Pen. It also was Red Hard Rubber, but the size was larger than a Parker Senior
    Duofold, and the Gold Band was a little wider that this one. Let me know if anyone is interested in purchasing it.Call me at (626) 294-9974 Tuesday through Friday 9 am to 4 pm PDT.
    Fred Krinke
    The Fountain Pen Shop, Inc.

    Comment by Fred Krinke | April 5, 2012 | Reply


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