Fountain Pen Restoration

Universal Fountain Pen

This morning I avoided a snow storm and worked on a pen that I had sitting on my workbench for quite some time. It was very dirty and I think I purchased it about six months ago for a couple of dollars. The trim, which I suspected was gold filled was very tarnished and I really thought that if I was to try and clean it up, I would take off the gold plate.

I decided to try and use my dremel to take a few black spots off one of the cap bands and as I did so, I realized that the bands were actually gold as a vigorous buff with Simichrome and the dremel revealed a nice gold shine. So, I worked on both cap bands, the clip, and the lever. All cleaned up to a bright gold shine.

Opening the pen up revealed the need for a new sac. Being a large pen, it took a size 20. I had never tested the Warranted No. 4 nib, but after I knocked it out and cleaned the section, feed and nib, I encountered a problem. The section had a built in ridge inside which prevents the feed from backing up too far into the barrel of the pen. This is fine, however the Warranted No. 4 nib would not seat against this ridge. I tried several times to make this work, but the nib was not long enough and when writing pressure was placed on it, it would eventually begin to turn against the feed.

Here is where a well stocked tool box of spare parts from pens that could not be repaired or were picked up for spare parts comes in handy. I do not have an extensive parts box, but enough parts to help out on occasion. What I needed here was a nib that is longer that the No. 4 nib to rest against the section ridge, and the same width to fit snugly against the feed and into the circular section. The nib that fit perfectly was a Parker Lady Duofold nib from an old discolored black Lady Duofold that had already donated a clip and button to other pens.

After the nib change, I spent quite a bit of time cleaning and polishing the faux woodgrain finish. This pen is reminiscent of several pen company offerings of the 1930s and 40s. These were large flat-top pens, resembling the Parker Duofold. They were often colorful, though of lower quality. I suspect the Warranted No. 4 nib (now available for another pen restoration) was a substitute nib placed in the pen for resale purposes. It was not a nib that would have allowed for use.

Here are a couple of pictures of the Universal Pen. It is now ready for use and testing reveals that it writes a firm fine line.



I have very little information on the Universal Pen Company other than that there was a company with that name located in New York City at 146 West 26th Street in the mid 1930s. If anyone has any further information on this pen, I would appreciate a comment.


December 23, 2007 Posted by | Universal Fountain Pens | | 21 Comments


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