Fountain Pen Restoration

Macy’s Fountain Pens

Post No. 218

One of the fun things about restoring and collecting pens is the subsets that some fall into.  In my last post, the Webster Skyrocket fell into interesting categories of Webster Pens, Sears Pens, and Pens that capitalized on the surge and excitement of Air Travel.  This restoration is similar.  The pen is a recently found Macy’s Pen.  Both its lineage and genre are interesting.  First the pen..

As you can see below, it was lightly used in its day.  The plated nib is ink stained and the sac is hard, though still in one piece.  The exterior of the pen is spotless, making for an easy restoration.

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I cleaned the nib and feed in the ultrasonic cleaner.  I left the section to be cleaned by simple swipes with a q-tip and water.  Eventually the section and feed were completely cleaned.  The problem was the nib.  As you can see above, much of the plating of the “Iridium Tipped USA” nib (more on these below) had already worn off from a combination of time and ink.  Gentle ultrasonic cleaning just highlighted the washed out cheap finish.  So, I searched for a replacement and found a perfect fit.  I had a steel Parkette fine nib in my parts bin and it fit the feed and section perfectly.  Combined with the silver cap and lever, it makes a decent pairing.

Below is the completed project, a nice Macy’s branded pen from probably the 1940s or 1950s.  The pen measures 5 7/32 inches closed and 6 3/8 inches posted with the Parkette nib.

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The Manufacturer on the barrel of the pen is the Morrison Fountain Pen Company.

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I have previously restored a few Morrison branded pens~

Morrison Flat Top – August 27, 2010

Morrison Battleship Grey – January 20, 2010

Morrison Wartime Pens – May 4, 2009

Morrison Fountain Pen Company, and some of its sub brands can be found dating back into the 1920s.  This Macy’s pen is a much later example.  I would surmise that this pen dates to the late 40s or 50s, towards the end of Morrison Company Fountain Pens.  I have also restored a few Morrison brands that date from the same time period, and they are photographed below.  Two are Roxy’s and on is a Morrison.  All have steel nibs similar to the original (replaced) nib on the Macy’s pen.

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Here is a close up of the Parkette nib used as a replacement.  It’s silver color fits well with the cap and lever and is commensurate in quality with the “Iridium Tipped USA” nib that was damaged and discolored.

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The photo below is of the Macy’s pen and a Morrison Ballpoint that I recently restored and use with a new refill.  While not a perfect match, it makes a nice set.

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The second collecting subset that this pen falls into, as alluded to in the first paragraph above, is the Retail Store Branded pen group.  My suspicion is that this was a pen sold at R. H. Macy’s, produced by Morrison, and available to the general public.  Macy’s has a long history of having quality pens produced for them by Fountain Pen Companies bearing their name.  Other Store branded pens that I have restored and written about in the past are the Filene’s and Buettell Brothers pens.  These were of lesser quality, ring tops, and earlier models.  My guess is that they were used by employees and not sale items, though again I have no written proof.  If anyone has any evidence, I would love to hear.

These pens, such as the Macy’s do show up from time to time.  In this case, they appeal to both the collector of Morrison Pens and Store Named Pens.  An excellent summary of R. H. Macy Pens has been written by Richard Binder and should be read here.

Whether these areas of focus appeal to the collector, or not, this is a nice user pen, representing the later stages of Fountain Pen production and usage.

Edit:  After completing this restoration and the writing of the above, I obtained a Roxy Fountain Pen (Morrison), that was identical to this Macy’s Pen except for the clip imprint.  Below are before and after photos of its subsequent restoration and a photo next to the Macy’s Pen.  An interesting example of  rebranding by Morrison to bring in some additional income.

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Edit:  Oddly enough, as I finished restoring the Roxy, a third pen arrived, a Morrison.  I won’t go through the restoration, but though not identical to the Roxy and Macy’s pens, it is close. My guess is that it is from about the same time, but is an attempt by Morrison to imitate some of the popular hooded pens such as the Waterman Taperites and Parker 51s.  Note the same barrel, lever, imprint, similar cap, but section that contains a hooded nib, and a shorter length.

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Finally, below are all three together.  Interesting look into later Morrison products, and some of their last fountain pen models.

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February 21, 2015 Posted by | Macy's Fountain Pen, Morrison Fountain Pens, Roxy Fountain Pens | , , | 4 Comments

Webster Skyrocket

Webster Pens, best known for being a Sears brand, were produced by several manufacturers throughout the years.  These pens were sold both through catalogs and in Stores for years.  An early Black Hard Rubber example appeared here way back in December of 2007 (Store Pens) and again in March of 2008 (Webster Pens).

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Much later, perhaps in the late 1940s or early 50s, this Webster Skyrocket appeared on the scene.  Below you can see the restoration.  It is a simple lever filler, with a nice visible ink window.  I found this one lightly used and a thorough cleaning in the ultrasonic cleaner (section, feed, and nib) revealed a healthy dose of left over black ink.  The sac was nothing more than powder, but the lever was intact.

Here is the before photo.

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After cleaning the feed, nib (14K Webster) and section, I proceeded to polish up the cap and barrel.  As you can see from the photo above, much of the cheap gold plating has worn off of the cap end, band and barrel end.  However the clip and lever have retained their gold.  I attempted to clean the rest of the pen’s plastic, while leaving all of the plating in it’s original, imperfect condition.  I replaced the old sac with a size 16 clear sac to provide for a nice look through the section window when filled with ink.  After the sac was attached, I let it sit overnight and tested with water for any possible leaks.  The resulting pen is below.

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The Pen measures 5 5/16 closed and a very long 6 3/8 inches posted and was probably produced by National Pen Products of Chicago for Sears.  It is a burgundy, or I have seen it described as Dubonnet Red in other Webster models.  I have also seen it in black, and a Ballpoint pen, similar in design, can be found.

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I find these later fountain pens with names such as Skyrocket, Sky Writer, Skyline, and Skyboy,to be interesting to the times that they were produced.  The era of Air Travel and Rockets was just in its early stages and the Pen Companies were no different than the Auto Companies or any number of consumer and entertainment businesses in capitalizing on their popularity and allure.  Please take a moment, if you haven’t already to visit a few that I have written about in the past ~

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Waterman First Generation Skywriter – December 3, 2012

Silver 1950s Skywriter – May 14, 2012

Waterman Third Generation Skywriter – April 19, 2012

Waterman Skywriter – March 1, 2012

Sheaffer Skyboy Surprise – March 21, 2008

This pen is quite heavy in relation to many of its contemporaries and as previously mentions measures a long 5 5/16 inches capped and 6 3/8 inches posted.  Much attention to Webster Fountain Pens is directed to the earlier models and the Parker produced models, but for a user pen, this one shouldn’t be overlooked.

 

January 6, 2015 Posted by | Webster Pen, Webster Skyrocket | , | 3 Comments

Christmas 2014

Merry Christmas from Fountain Pen Restoration!  2014 has been a slow year at the old workbench.  It’s not for lack of projects, which are piling up as I write this.  Some times, however, family and job do take priority status.  I have been cataloging projects for 2015 and look to get started shortly with repairs, photos, and research.

In the past seven years, my Christmas post has often shared a photo of vintage Christmas Advertisements featuring various pens.  This years is a simple Sheaffer pitch from probably the late teens or early 20s.  The Solid Gold set would certainly be nice to find under the tree this year!

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To all of you who communicate with me through the year, and to those from year’s past – have a Happy Holiday Season, and a wonderful 2015.

December 24, 2014 Posted by | Christmas Pen, Sheaffer | , | 3 Comments

Another Pepsi (Pen) Please

I first restored and discussed a Pepsi Fountain Pen back on September 7, 2009 ~ Pepsi Fountain Pen.

Here is another look at Pepsi and Pete touting the wholesome drink.

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And a collage of the previous restoration.

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This month, I discovered another of these unique late 30s pens, and it was in surprisingly good condition.  As discussed previously, these are often found with very poor clips.  In my previous post, the clip was found in such poor condition, that I simply cleaned it down to the gold plate.  Though not perfect, this pen has as good a clip as I have seen.

Further evidence that it was not used and preserved somewhere fairly secure is the sac, section and general overall color of the pen.  There was no evidence of the pen being used as the sac, section, feed and nib are void of any ink residue.

As you can see, I did take the pen apart, showing the good condition the pen is in.

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I simply inserted a size 16 clear sac, and cleaned up the barrel and cap a bit.  The nib/section/feed was clean, so I simply reinserted into the barrel with the new clear sac.

Below is the restored, or cleaned up pen, ready to write.

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Here is a photo of the new pen above the pen I restored back in 2009.  Quite a difference, and it is nice to catch a glimpse of the Pepsi Bottle.  The labeling is almost identical to the Post Card Advertisement shown above.

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In the time that I had this pen waiting to be cleaned, I ran across a bullet pencil and pen knife from around the same time period.  Not quite as clean, they do show that Pepsi was quite active in promoting their product.

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Here is a close up of the pristine “Signature 6″ nib.   Gold plated, and with no tipping material to speak of, it is still a good example of the nib that originally came with this pen.

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As mentioned in my earlier post in 2009, no other soft drink maker appeared with promotional pens that I have seen as early as this one, which is probably from the late 1930s.  Speculation is that Eagle was the manufacturer, but I have not seen any advertising or documentation prove this.

March 20, 2014 Posted by | Pepsi Fountain Pen | | 2 Comments

Spors Catalog Desk Sets In 1935

I know that this is a very specific topic with no actual pens to show, but a pen friend of mine asked if I had any pre 1940s Spors Catalogs that might have Desk Sets in them. As I was photographing my 1935 catalog and its Desk Set references for him, I remembered how many comments and questions I get on various Spors pens.

For more Spors posts from years past, check out these ~

Spors Dice Pen Research – December 1, 2009

Spors Fountain Pens – Live Update – July 1, 2009

Spors Fountain Pen Advertising in 1927 - March 25, 2009

Spors Fountain Pen Entertainment Center – September 17, 2008

Made In Japan – February 13, 2008

So, in answer to John’s question and to share some of these pages – here are the various Desk Sets that were marketed by Spors in 1935…

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This Boxer Set is very interesting to me and I must admit that I have never seen one.  One of the pens is, of course, one of the trademark glass-nibbed Spors imports.

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A master marketer, Frank Spors sold not only products, but marketing ideas to his catalog subscribers~

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These are all of the sets in the 1935 catalog.  I will do a search of an earlier 1933 catalog as I locate it.

March 15, 2014 Posted by | Spors, Spors Desk Sets, Spors Fountain Pens | | 1 Comment

Moore Fingertip Variation

I am always on the look out for these pens in need of restoration.  Previously, I have written about restorations of two of these pens ~

Moore Fingertip – dated September 6, 2012, and

Moore Fingertip – Generation 2 – dated January 25, 2013

These posts discussed the restoration of two pens, produced in the 1946-1950 time period by Moore.  My terminology of First and Second Generation was my own, and not a description used in any advertising materials or catalogs.  I recently came upon a third variation of the Fingertip, a smaller version of the second generation – pens that do not have the over the cap clip, have a metal cap (in either gold or silver) and a generally cheaper feel.  Speculation is that these  second generation pens were a later version of the Fingertip, towards the end of their unsuccessful production run.

Below is the pen after I took it apart, showing the silver cap and short clip, feed, section, old sac (which was too big and must have been placed there by a later repair job) and barrel. The lever was left in the pen as it was in fine working order.

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I cleaned each part individually, leaving the barrel alone, so that I did not compromise the sticker that is still on the pen.  After cleaning, I cemented a shortened size 16 sac on the end of the feed which was reinserted into the section after cleaning.  After letting the sac sit overnight, I reinserted (friction fit) the section into the barrel and tested with water.  A gentle polishing with a jewelers cloth yielded this completed pen, measuring 4 9/16 inches closed and 5  1/2 inches posted.

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Interestingly, this seems to be a demi-version of the second generation Moore.  In the photo below, you can see the differences in sizing between the two later Fingertips and the Original version.

For review, here are some of the main differences between the earlier and later versions, copied from my January 25, 2013 post ~

~ The first produced pen had some national magazine advertising, the second has none, as far as I have seen.

~ The first pen was longer and appears to have been produced in more color combinations

~ The second pen only came in metal caps.  Mine has an attractive silver cap with gold clip.  I have also seen examples in all gold.

~ The first pen has an “over the cap clip, whereas the second pen has a mid cap clip, with a decorative bubble on the top of the cap.

~ The silver section is larger on the first pen, though the gold inlaid nib seems to be the same size (not so on the demi model).  The nib on the second generation pen has two breather holes as opposed to one in the first produced pen.

~ The first pen has a screw on cap, the second is friction fit with a clutch ring.

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Model numbers appear on all versions on the barrel, and also on price sticker, which was still legible on this demi model.  Both versions of the full size Fingertip were stamped 96B on their barrels.  The smaller second generation model is stamped 77B, but the price sticker appears to read 76B.   I would like to get my hands on some Moore catalogs to see what they indicate.  For comparison, the $8.75 price held for all three of these models.

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These Fingertips, no matter which version or size are an interesting pen, marking an unsuccessful attempt by Moore to compete with Parker and Sheaffer in the streamlined pen craze of the late 1940s.   I am pleased to have found these three different examples to restore.

Also, from previous posts, an advertisement for the original Fingertip from 1946, and a grouping of major Pen Company pens, contemporary to the Fingertip.

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February 25, 2014 Posted by | Moore Fingertip, Moore Pen | , | Leave a comment

Early Paper Mate Chronology

Yes, Paper Mate made fountain pens, but they are not common, and the brand is synonymous with primarily Ballpoint Pens.  I decided to try and piece together some sort of Chronology of their first several years of ball points, only because I could not find a comprehensive one in print or on the Web.  That is not to say one does not exist, as I am sure that there are serious Paper Mate collectors out there, but I could not locate a thorough summary.

I have run across several Paper Mate ballpoint pens over the years in my hunts for Fountain Pens, and I recently pulled them together, cleaned them and began to try and organize them by names and dates.  Not as easy a task as I had thought, and I discovered a few holes in my assorted pens.

I started with a web search and a purchase of the most commonly referred to book on the subject: The Incredible Ballpoint Pen – A Comprehensive History and Price Guide (1998).  I was also aided by several print advertisements (models and years) and web searches for early history of the Company.  All print advertisements used here are from my collection and I would appreciate it if they were not duplicated (thanks!).

Patrick Frawley acquired a defaulting pen company (Todd) in the early 1940s to get things started in the Los Angeles, California area.  In 1949 he developed a ballpoint pen ink (Widco) that had quick drying attributes.  The pen name that delivered this ink was called the Paper Mate. (see here for a more detailed history)

Early pens (1950 – 1953) had a unique mechanism for exposing the tip of the pen.  A button was pressed and locked at the top of the pen, exposing the ball point.  To retract the point the button was tipped, unlocking it and the refill returned to the inside of the barrel.  Below are photos of two of these from my collection – blue and green.  I have also seen these in black and red.   I have not seen any advertising for them, and they resembled another California Pen maker’s pens – Blythe.  Here are two:

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By 1953, the Frawley Pen Company had grown to the point of spending $2,000,000 per year on advertising, using such Hollywood stars as George Burns and Zsa Zsa Gabor.  One of these advertisements, featuring Ms. Gabor is below.  At $1.69 ( $.49 refills) this pen’s main selling point was its cleanliness.  These retractable pens marked the real beginning of Paper Mate (and its double heart logo) and its becoming a household name for pens, even today.

This 1953 advertisement, and the Tu-Tone advertisement from 1955 below, mark the beginning of the Paper Mate boom into sales and marketing.

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Below is a close up of this 1953 ad, as well as two of these retractable pens.

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In 1955, Frawley sells Paper Mate to Gillette and a Division of Gillette is formed to produce and market the Brand.  Below is an advertisement highlighting the Tu-Tone ballpoint, a very colorful line of pens along with a couple of examples.  Interestingly to me, these were partially marketed as pens that you could purchase to match the color of your car in these advertisements – a very colorful time in history!  These are my favorite pens of the early Paper Mates – the mid 50s Tu Tones.

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During this time the Capri line of Pens commences in 1954 and goes through design changes until the Mark III and IV.

The first Capri Pen was introduced in 1954 is two are shown below, along with an advertisement featuring Art Linkletter.

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The black and silver Capri is still in its box and I find the message to be interesting.  I wonder how busy Miss Evans was?

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The Capri III and IV followed in 1957 and may be the most recognizable (other than the later Profile) to people who grew up during the mid 20th Century.  Here are five examples of these.

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By 1959, numerous advertisements reveal the expanding Paper Mate line of pens. Below is a Christmas ad showing the Holiday Pen, Capri (Mark III and Mark IV shown above) and smaller Lady Capri.  Examples of the unique Holiday Pen and Lady Capri are shown here, above this 1959 Christmas Advertisement.

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Another late 1950s, early 1960s model was the 98, which uses the top click button to promote the refill, and then a smaller button just above the clip to return the refill to the barrel.  I have no advertising in my collection, but here are photos of two different variations, three pens with metal buttons and a comparison with an earlier plastic clicker and button in the second photo.

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Post 1960

By December of 1966, a Contour Grip and Profile pen appear, along with a gold plated Deluxe model and the continuing appearance of the Lady Capri.  These mark, for me, the entry into a new generation of Paper Mate pens, and even a fountain pen or two.  I will mention a few of these pens, but will not venture to catalog the models and variations past the 1960 date.

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The Profile, shown above and below in magazine advertisements is a long running Paper Mate model, appearing in the 1964 advertisement and well into the 2000s.  As you can see below, it came in three sizes – Husky, Regular, and Thin.  Regular and Thin models are readily available today to collectors, but the Husky size is more difficult to find.  Standard Paper Mate refills work for these, are still sold today, which makes them that more desirable.  These refills also fit the Tu-Tone, Holiday, and Capri III and  IV models from the 1950s.

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I won’t go any further, but suffice it to say that Paper Mate pens are still produced today in a myriad of styles and colors.  I will leave the post 1960 timelines to someone else, but I have enjoyed placing these extra pens gathered through the years in some sort of time line.  So, the next time you are rummaging through that cigar box of pens looking for a vintage Fountain Pen, don’t pass up some of the vintage Ballpoints….they have an interesting past, and can still be used today.

February 14, 2014 Posted by | Paper Mate Pens | , | 12 Comments

Christmas 2013

Merry Christmas from Fountain Pen Restoration! This is our 7th Christmas post. In the past, I have shared Christmas themed pens and advertisements. This year I will share another Christmas Advertisement – this one from Eversharp in 1948 and a recent addition to my collection. As my posts this year reflect, I became interested in Kimberly ballpoints, both pre and after Eversharp. So, in searching for advertising material, this came my way. Interestingly, it also promotes the Symphony, Envoy, and Reporter Fountain Pens – some of the last lines that they would produce in fountain pens.

So, in 1948, you could spend anywhere from $1.00 (Wahl Ball Pen or Pencil) to $75.00 (an all gold Kimberly Pockette – has any one ever seen on of these? -not the gold filled) for an Eversharp writing instrument.

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For additional Holiday reading on Kimberly Ballpoints, feel free to read some of these old posts~

Kimberly Ballpoints – dated March 4, 2013

Humphrey Bogart Ballpoints – dated April 2, 2013

Kimberly Ballpoints 3 – dated April 18, 2013

Happy Reading and look for more restoration in 2014!

December 25, 2013 Posted by | Kimberly Ballpoint Pen, Wahl Eversharp | , | 1 Comment

Waterman Taperite Crusader

Back in January of 2011, I restored a  Waterman Crusader, with an open nib. Last week, while heading home through the wilds of Iowa, I stopped at an Antique Mall and happened upon another Crusader, this time a Pen and Pencil set, with the Taperite style hidden nib.

Here is a photo of the pen, after I took it apart for restoration.  You will note that it is in very good shape.  The sac was in pretty good shape, though beginning to harden, and showing signs of wear.  It is better to be safe and go ahead and change it out.  There was absolutely no sign of any usage.

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I replaced the old sac with a trimmed size 16 sac.  As with other Waterman pens of the era, I decided to leave the nib/section/feed assembly alone, as any attempt to separate them for cleaning will probably invite cracking of the brittle plastic.  Better to just give it a quick bath in an ultrasonic cleaner.   After allowing the sac to dry overnight, I reattached  the section (friction fit) to the barrel.  Water testing proved that the pen was leak free and ready to write.

As you can see, the Pencil required no work – just an insertion of 0.9 mm lead.  The lead is fed in through the tip, then advanced by pusing down the cap.  Very nice and easy.

Below are photos of the completed pen and pencil.

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The Fountain Pen measures 5 1/4 inches closed and 6 1/16 inches posted.

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From my post of January of this year, Waterman Early Crusader, I discovered that this model of the Crusader, which is the Second Generation, was produced in and after 1948.

Following are photos of the pen next to an open nib model, the Crusader that I wrote about in January of 2011 and referred to in paragraph one above.  This hooded nib was part of the hooded nib craze fueled in part by the Parker 51 and other models of the time.

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Finally, a 1953 advertisement from my collection, showing this pen in red, as well as Pencil and Ball Point options. This model is the gray version.  It was available in Black, Red, Gray, Blue, Green, and Tan.  By far, the most plentiful are the Black, Gray, and Blue versions.

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When people ask me what pens to start a collection with, I often point them in the direction of the Waterman pens of the late 40s and early 50s.  They are still vintage collectibles, yet not too hard to find and fairly easy to restore.  There are enough models and colors to occupy a collector for quite some time, and (most importantly) they are a pleasure to write with!

November 7, 2013 Posted by | Waterman Crusader, Waterman Pen Company, Waterman Taperite | , , | 2 Comments

Arnold Pens

Anyone who has hunted for fountain pens has sifted through many Arnold Fountain Pens. They are very plentiful, and more often than not, in very poor condition. Most have not held up well over the years, primarily due to low quality original parts. Thus, the collectibility is very low and most go unrestored.  These pen/pencil combinations are really no exception, though not without some charm.

I was sifting through a plastic bag of old pens that a local friend had given me as parts and these two jumped out at me due to their bright colors.  I saw they were Arnold’s and had low expectations, but was pleasantly surprised by the condition of the plating and plastic.  Getting the sections out of the barrel was no easy task as they had been glued in and they are so small that there was not much to grip to.  Finally, with time and heat, they came apart with no damage to the plastic barrel.  Below are the two combos after I took the sections out.  The blue pen had the old sac caked to the inside of the barrel and the green pen was clean – the old sac simply falling out. Thus, I believe the blue pen had been used and the green was void of any ink remnants.  Both jbars were still in place and I did not remove them as I have no replacement bars this small.   My next task was the section/feed/nib units.  These pens are very small and the nib units are tightly packed and I reached the decision that to attempt to knock them out would be tempting breakage.  So, I simply ran each through my ultrasonic cleaner.  Even doing this removed a bit of the plating on the blue combo nib.

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An interesting feed is shown below, from the green combo.  The blue is a standard black feed, but the green pen has a gold feed (it appears to be hard rubber).  Photos are of both ends of the feed.  Fortunately, no ink ever touched this combo, and the gold colored feed survived.

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Due to the pencil being on the opposite end of the pen, the sac is an abbreviated 7/8 inches long and will require constant refilling if used.

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The Signature nib is of the  cheap gold filled variety.

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Below are the finished products. The clips, bands, levers, and pencil cones are all light gold filled on the green combo, and silver on the blue.

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They measure 4 5/8 inches closed, and 4 7/8 inches posted.

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Arnold pens were produced in large quantities for many years in Petersburg, Virginia.  Remmie Arnold started the company in 1935, after working for the Edison Pen Company (see my posts on Artcraft Pens –  Ford Cromer, one of the Artcraft Founders, also got his start at Edison!).  In the years that followed, Arnold became one of the largest producers of fountain pens in the world.  They concentrated in very inexpensive pens (less than $1.00) and were sold primarily in low end stores. As with most third tier pens, there is little to no advertising associated with the pens as well, due to the low price points..   But they did sell lots of them (and eventually ballpoints).  Finally, due to the low price points, they were also not built to last, and as mentioned above, most have not survived in good condition.

I do have one small piece of Arnold memorabilia – this 1937 letter from Remmie Arnold to a potential customer, touting their products.

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and a closeup of the colorful address logo

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Further information on Arnold Pens can be found at Richard Binder’s Website here and an interesting piece on Remmie Arnold, gathered by Kamakura Pens, can be found here.

For anyone interested in getting started in restoring fountain pens, they are excellent pens to start on!   They can be acquired for low prices and if you make a mistake along the way, the loss is small.  They did make a wide variety of styles over time, both large and small, so one can practice on many different sizes.  Most that I have seen are lever fillers and some can be very colorful.

Finally, a collage including these two pens, another white pearl combo, and an Arnold Ballpoint Street Sign, captured off of the Internet ~

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

August 27, 2013 Posted by | Arnold Pen Company | | 1 Comment

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