Fountain Pen Restoration

Franklin Fountain Pens

Article # 125

This week’s pen is a Franklin Pen Company Eyedropper. I found this one lying in a pile of old pens. One thing about old Black Hard Rubber Pens is that they tend to blend into the woodwork when searching antiques stores, estate sales, and garage sales. They lack the color and tend to be overlooked. Fortunately the tarnished gold bands caught my eye.  Here is a photo of the only five parts of the pen after I took it apart.  Eyedroppers are by definition easy to restore.  There is no filling system and all one needs to do is clean the pen up and make certain it has no cracks or holes to allow the ink to escape.

I went back over the 121 articles I have written over the past years and only five have been written about Eyedroppers.

The Hintz Pen ~ October 5, 2009 (more on this related pen below)

Lucas Fountain Pens ~  May 12, 2009

Houston Pen Company – Tracy, Minnesota ~  August 26, 2008

Houston Pen Company ~  April 10, 2008

Eaton Pen ~  December 6, 2007

Pity this, as they are such a simple ink system, and one that holds a lot of ink.

I polished up the gold ornate bands and nib.  As with any Black Hard Rubber, you should be careful to keep any moisture and polish away from the rubber to prevent discoloration.  I was fortunate that this pen has retained its black color and has not suffered any browning that is common with these pens.  I reassembled the nib / feed / section after scraping the feed channels to remove old dirt and ink.

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The completed pen is below  –  a Franklin Pen Company Double Band Eyedropper.  The pen measures 5 5/16 inches closed and 6 13/16 inches posted.  As with any Eyedropper, you should test the barrel and section / feed / nib for any leaks,  I filled the pen (using an eyedropper, of course) with blue ink and left it standing nib down overnight to check for leaks.  After the first night, I did notice a bit of ink on the paper towels beneath the pen, so I tool the assembly apart again repeated the process.  I noted that I had not put the feed in squarely the first time.  The second test went well and there was no leakage.  I cleaned the pen out and it is now stored, ready to write.

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Here is a photo of the pen closed.  The flower pattern on gold bands is typical of many pens of the period and adds a nice touch.

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As I mentioned above, one of the previous restorations I have done was of a Hintz Pen, dated October 5 of last year.  In that article, I speculated that Franklin Pen may have produced the Hintz Pen for the Hintz Store.  Having worked on this pen and researched a bit more about the Franklin Pen Company, I believe this to be the scenario.

The next two photographs are of the Franklin and Hintz Pens next to each other.  They are very similar (chasing and bands) and the key is that they both have Franklin No. 3 nibs with identical feeds.  I did some searching and here is a link to the feed filed by Franklin for this same feed ~ Franklin Cooley Feed Patent 1892 ~

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There are collectors who specialize in Franklin Pens, so I will not pretend to be an expert, but from what I do know, the Franklin Pen Company was founded by Franklin Cooley and John Goodrich in the late 1800s in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  When I first saw these pens referred to years ago, I incorrectly assumed that they were named for Benjamin Franklin.  Clearly I was wrong.  I have also read that these founders moved to Philadelphia from somewhere in New York State to escape the already crowded pen manufacturing and retail business in place there and to enter a less saturated market.

I have not seen the article, but have seen reference to an article in the May 2000 issue of Penworld, by Franklin expert and collector John Roede, which fully covers the history of the Franklin Pen Company.  I am currently trying to get a copy and if I do so, I will add some further history to this posting.

Finally, here is a photo of the Franklin and Hintz nibs – perfect matches.

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I have found another Hintz Pen and some additional advertising that I will restore and post in a few weeks.  These regional Pen Companies and their relationships certainly make interesting research opportunities, not to mention the pens which still perform well after 100 years.

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May 13, 2010 - Posted by | Franklin Fountain Pen, Hintz Fountain Pen | ,

2 Comments »

  1. Nice pen. Are the nibs GP stainless steel? The nibs appear untipped from the photos? Is that the case?

    Comment by Jon | May 13, 2010 | Reply

    • Hi Jon,

      How are you?

      Thanks for the comment. The nibs are actually both 14K and there is some tipping material. Not a good photo job, i am afraid.

      Take care.

      Phil

      Comment by all of us | May 13, 2010 | Reply


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