Fountain Pen Restoration

Lucas Fountain Pens

Here’s an eyedropper with some wear it, and at the ripe old age of 102, why not…

It is a Lucas Fountain Pen, priced at $2.00 in 1907.  First the fix, then a little fun history.  You can see from the photo below that it breaks down in to five simple parts: barrel, cap, section, feed, and nib.  Barrel, cap and section were in quite good shape.  the barrel and cap had a lot of dust and dirt, but no signs of old ink.  The feed and nib were a different story.

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The feed’s channels were caked with dirt and grime and the nib was blackened on front and back.  I took an xacto knife and carved out the inner channels on the feed to clean it up.  The nib took several times of grinding down with a Dremel and Simichrome, which I prefer not to use unless there is cause for a strong cleaner.  The Gold Plate nib was such a time, and after many attempts, I was at least able to get it to the point where it is readable, usable, and aesthetically pleasing.  The finished product can be seen below.  It measures 4 7/8″ closed and 6 3/8″ posted

The nib reads GOLD over PLATE with a Diamond Pattern in between.  Though it is gold plate, quite a bit of the gold coloring survived the grinding polish.

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So, who is George Lucas and what is the history behind this pen?  At this point I know nothing about Mr. Lucas or his Manufacturing Company.  I have checked patent and corporate records to no avail.  As you can see from the four views of the box that this pen came in, the pen was made specifically to be sold at the Jamestown Exposition of 1907.

The Jamestown Exposition took place from April 26,1907 to December 1, 1907.  It was planned for many years in Virginia, and was to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, Virginia Colony.  In the early 1900s, Expositions (or Worlds Fairs) were popular and took place around the country.  This Jamestown Exposition did not take place in Jamestown, but in Hampton Roads, Virginia, near Norfolk.  There were mixed reviews on its successes, and attendance was never what they had hoped, but it did lead to aid in the development of the area and the establishment of the Norfolk area as a Naval Headquarter.  Clicking on the links below will provide more background on the Exposition as well as some interesting photos.

First, here are the front and back of a Postcard I found that give us an idea of what Jamestown/Hampton Roads looked like in 1907.

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Jamestown Exposition ~ Wikipedia

Jamestown Exposition ~ Gallery

The marketing tactic on this pen was to show a $2.00 price on the box, and offer the pen for $1.00 (presumably at the Exposition) as a sample. One could then mail $2.00 to Lucas and receive a duplicate pen in the mail.   Given the large numbers of people projected to be at the Fair from around the United States, this was Lucas’ way of exposing his pen to the masses. Unless I uncover more about Mr. Lucas and Lucas Manufacturing, I would say that it was not successful.  However, it may be that the pen was a one-time Exposition proposition and Lucas had no other aspirations beyond December of 1907.

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I have italicized the writing on the sides of the box as it is difficult to read as posted here.

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“On receipt of the selling price $2.00 a Fountain Pen guaranteed an exact duplicate of the pen enclosed.  Will be posted to any address in the United States and Canada. Geo. F. Lucas Mfg. Co. Inc. 410 Law Building, Norfolk, Va.”

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“Directions: For good results, reservoir must be filled with writing fluid.  Occasionally the ink flows too freely if this is neglected”

Interestingly, this last message is a good one.  I was just reading the other day about how someone was having problems with a vintage eyedropper and that it tended to emit a blob of ink when the pen started to run low on ink.  The given solution was to make sure the section/feed/nib were sound and to make sure the pen was filled with ink. Mr. Lucas’  instructions would seem to agree.

A little bit later in the century, Virginia would again find itself on the Fountain Pen Map.  Chances are that if you are a collector, you have run into a vintage Arnold Fountain Pen….but that is a story for another day, and another pen.

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May 12, 2009 - Posted by | Jamestown Exposition, Lucas Fountain Pens | ,

1 Comment »

  1. I found one of these in a antique Globe-Wernicke 3×5 file pull out box. It really helps me date it. I think I may restore it. Thanks very much.

    Comment by Douglas Racine | October 30, 2011 | Reply


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