Fountain Pen Restoration

Fishing for a Desk Base

In my post of December 21, 2007, I restored two Sheaffer Snorkel Desk pens and placed one in a nice green marble base. I mentioned in the last line of the post that I would have to be on the lookout for a base for the second snorkel. Two weeks ago I spotted the base below for $10.00 and I am very pleased with it. The base stone is very heavy and the attached fish is simple enough and unobtrusive. Some bases that I have seen overpower the pen and take up too much desk space for my tastes. This base is probably as large as I would want to have on my desk. This one will be traveling with me to work next week and sit on the credenza behind my desk. This is where I keep my phone and the pen will be easy to grab and write a quick note while on the phone.

Here is a picture of the base after I cleaned it up and replaced the felt pad on the underside.



January 19, 2008 Posted by | Desk Pens, Sheaffer | , | Leave a comment

Tea Anyone?

The Ty.phoo Tea Company was started in England in the early 1900s and was the first tea company to sell pre-packaged tea. Their teas were initially produced to ease indigestion and marketed this way. Though there have been many ownership changes, the brand still exists today. A partial history of the company can be found here.

So what does this have to do with fountain pens? Well, for years Ty.phoo (derived from the Chinese for “doctor”) produced trading cards along with their tea. Sending proofs of purchase to Ty.phoo would result in receiving a fountain pen. This promotion lasted for several years and through different pens. The pen I recently restored is one of these pens. Before I get to the pen, here are a couple of mid-1930s examples of the collector cards. I purchased an assortment of these last year when I stumbled on the Ty.phoo pen.

1937 – Wild Flowers In Their Families – front and back


1938 – Interesting Events In British History -front (back is identical to above)


The pen that I acquired is of an earlier vintage than the late 1930s vacuum filler illustrated above. It is a mottled hard rubber lever filler. I reduced the pen to its parts, and found that it would need a new sac and j-bar, as well as a thorough cleaning. The lever, feed, and nib are in great shape, though the clip has lost a bit of its gold plate. I do not know who produced this pen for Ty.phoo and have read speculation that Conway Stewart, among other English producers, may have had contracts with Ty.phoo. This particular pen does have some similarities to Conway Stewart hard rubber pens of the time.

After adding a new j-bar to the barrel and aligning it with the lever, I attached a sac to the cleaned section/feed/ nib. After drying, I coated the sac with pure talc and inserted the assembly into the barrel. I was very careful not to use any liquids to clean the outside of the cap and barrel, as water does not react well with hard rubber. I simply wiped it gently with a clean cloth.

Here is the finished product. My favorite part of this pen, is the section, which is mottled to match the barrel and cap.


Three additional pictures capture the imprint and advertising slogan for a pen to ease indigestion, the very well preserved nib, and the feed, which also matches the section, barrel, and cap.




I think I will order a box of Ty.phoo tea bags, make a pot of tea, and polish up on my British History. Any guesses at to my note taking pen?

January 19, 2008 Posted by | Conway Stewart, Ty.phoo | , | 1 Comment


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