Fountain Pen Restoration

Kimberly Ballpoints

When I first saw this at an antique store in a glass of pens and pencils, I thought it was a bullet pencil, but further examination revealed a ballpoint. I grabbed it for a dollar, and brought it home for further examination. After reading the imprint on the silver band, and doing some research on the web, I learned a bit about this compact pen.

Easy to take apart, below are the components.

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I washed the barrel, blind cap and cap in an ultrasonic cleaner.  The old ballpoint refill had, of course dried out.  But not before draining some of its blue ink into the blind cap and barrel.  So, I had to spend a considerable amount of time trying to get the gooey mess out of each.  Once cleaned, the real work begins….

First, I wanted to find if refills still exist – they do not.   To do this required more web searches.  To learn more about these ballpoints requires a visit to an amazing site, maintained by Richard Binder – Richards Pens.  I have no relationship to this site, but do visit it regularly.   His Kimberly information, found here, is phenomenal.  Any information I have acquired, comes directly from his site.

Basically, Kimberly Ballpoints were produced by Kimberly, which was purchase by Eversharp, which was eventually purchased by Parker.  The model I have is a Pockette, the first model, produced sometime during or after the mid 1940s.  This advertisement (below), from my collection, is from an October 16,1948 issue of The Saturday Evening Post, featuring Fred MacMurray, showing the Pockette next to a cigarette for size comparison.  Referring to the link above (Richard’s Pens) will provide far more detailed information on the history of the Kimberly Ballpoints, including Models offered, and Colors.  This is the only Kimberly advertisement that I have, but an internet search will reveal that Humphrey Bogart was also featured in one of these cigarette comparison ads.  Nothing against Fred MacMurray (as a kid I loved him as the Dad in My Three Sons), but Bogart would be a cooler ad to own, and photograph….

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Two closeups of the advertisement ~

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Back to the refill.  I read in various locations that Paper Mate and Cross refills could be adapted to work in Kimberly Pens.  I tried a Papermate,  but it was a little too large to fit through the barrel.  These may work in the later Pockette Jr. and Reporter models, but did not in my Pockette. I then remembered that I had an old Cross Ballpoint – you know, the long slender ones that are often given as gifts.   I pulled the refill out and the fit was not good, but better than any so far.  I admit that I had to widen the tip opening just a small amount, simply using the refill itself.   Now the fit was perfect.  I cut the refill to match the length of the original Kimberly (pictured above), and reassembled the pen.  It fit perfectly and was ready to write (albeit a ballpoint).

Finally, I applied some scratch remover, then polish to the plastic to brighten it up a bit.  The completed pen is below.

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The pen measures 3 3/8 inches closed and 4 3/4 inches posted.

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Imprints on opposite sides of the chrome band ~

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As you can see, this is not the gold filled band model ($7.50 in 1948), but the chrome banded model ($4.95 and not featured in the advertisement).   It is dark blue, presumably not one of the feminine colors referred to above.  These are another example of long/short pens, appealing to the ease of carrying in a pocket or purse.  Yes, they are not a Fountain Pen Restoration, but an interesting writing instrument restoration, from a once major fountain pen manufacturer.

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March 4, 2013 - Posted by | Kimberly Ballpoint Pen |

2 Comments »

  1. Makes me wonder if Kimberly was aware of the Kaweco Sport that I think began production around ’36. The Pockette reminds me of one of those but in a BP.

    Comment by OcalaFlGuy | March 4, 2013 | Reply

    • Good point! There were many examples prior to the Kimberly…Diamond Point (future post – to be restored and others made cool long/short pens). Thanks for responding with the Kaweco information.

      Comment by PKM | March 4, 2013 | Reply


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