Fountain Pen Restoration

Craig Fountain Pens

This week, I worked on two Craig pens that I have had for about six months.  I wanted to reread some information that I had read a while ago on them, before commencing on the restoration.

I will discuss what I have learned about these pens later.  Below are the two lever fillers after I have taken them apart.  Both had sac remnants inside, which I did not save for the photo.  Both are lever fillers and the BCHR (black chased hard rubber) is clipless.

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The Jade plastic model was fairly simple to restore.  I cleaned the barrel insides and removed all traces of the old sac and jbar.  I also cleaned the inside of the cap.  After using an xacto knife to scrape the section free of the old sac and adhesive, I used a q tip to clean the inside of the section.  I also cleaned the feed off and scraped out the channels which were filled with old ink residue.  The nib, a Warranted 14K #3 was cleaned with metal polish.  The lever, clip, and cap band were a more difficult task.  They are not gold and probably brass.  I had to spend a considerable amount of time cleaning these with a stronger polish and dremel.  Eventually, I got the old brassing off of each and the pen looks quite good.  I installed a new (small) jbar, reset the feed and nib in the section and attached a size 16 sac to the section/feed/nib.   I then reinstalled the section (friction fit) to the barrel and the pen is ready to go after some gentle polishing of the outside of the barrel and cap.

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The BCHR Craig was an even easier repair.  As you do not want to expose the rubber to any moisture and there are no clip or cap ring, the only item to be polished is the lever.  The nib, feed, and section were treated as with the jade pen and reinstalled with a size 16 sac and full size jbar.  The completed pen, which also has a Warranted 14K #3 nib, is below.  The black hard rubber is still about 80% black, with faint traces of browning from age.

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The completed pens measure as follows ~

BCHR – 5 1/2 inches closed and 6 5/16 inches posted

Jade – 4 5/16 inches closed and 5 5/16 inches posted

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Side by side, the rather crude imprints on each pen.

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Craig Pens were a sub-brand of Sheaffer Pens in the early 1900s.  The name came from Walter A Sheaffer’s son, Craig.  They were a lower priced and lower quality pen.  The information on these pens is a bit sketchy and even has some potential tie-ins to George Kraker, who worked for Sheaffer before going out on his own, only to be sued and lose to Walter Sheaffer.  A lengthy discussion and debate on Craig, Sheaffer, Kraker and many more can be found here ~ Sheaffer, Kraker, Craig, Bon-Ton etc..

One of the things that makes collecting vintage pens so rewarding and frustrating at the same time is the scarcity of information that is available on many of these  lesser known brands.  The reward is when a piece of information is found that solves a mystery.  Every fountain pen has a story – some are just harder to find.

January 3, 2011 Posted by | Craig Fountain Pens, Sheaffer | , | 2 Comments

   

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