Fountain Pen Restoration

A Yankee in Michigan

I recently purchased this Yankee Pen and restored it this week. The transformation was dramatic. I became interested in Yankee Pens after finding one that was produced in Minnesota by George Kraker in the early 1920s. I talked about Kraker in my post of December 7, 2007. He produced Kraker Pens in Kansas City, was sued by Walter Sheaffer, moved to Minnesota (in the early 1920s) and began to produce pens there. After a stint in Minnesota, he apparently moved to Grand Haven, Michigan on or around 1923 and operated as the Michael-George Company and produced Pencraft, Yankee and Dixie Pens. He also had a contract during this period to produce pens for other companies, including Monogram Pens for Rexall Stores.

The more of these pens I run across, the more I see the resemblance of the clips, levers, filling systems, and barrel parts. The imprint on this pen states ” NON BREAKABLE”, a phrase seen also on Belmont and Monogram Pens, made for Rexall.

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Here is a picture of the Yankee Pen after I reduced it to its base parts.

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It has a clip that is very similar to many other Kraker Pens, as well as the red plastic cap top that I have also seen on some Monogram pens.

This pen was very dirty and stained, inside and out. I cleaned each part thoroughly. The nib (Warranted 14K) was cleaned and polished with simichrome and then placed in the ultrasonic cleaner. The old nib remnants were scraped off of the section and it was cleaned with water and a q-tip. The feed was cleaned by soaking and cleaning the channels with a dental pick. Be careful to make sure these old feed ink channels are clear. As you can see, the sac was reduced to dust and a new size 16 was used. The inside of the cap was caked with old dried ink and I use q-tips repeatedly to remove this. This is often overlooked in pen restoration, but is important to producing a clean pen that will not stain in the future. The “Kraker” clip was very tarnished, but after many sessions of simichrome, it shines. I was lucky as this clip was not gold plated, so there was no problem in vigorously working out the stains. The lever was also very dirty and it took some time to restore its shine.

The pressure bar was not salvageable, so I used a long jbar, which fit in the barrel after a little crimping to get it in the long narrow barrel. The black finish on the exterior cleaned up nicely after I applied a regimen of stain remover, polish and carnuba wax. Here is the finished product – a Yankee Pen, produced in Grand Haven, Michigan (c 1924-29).

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Be on the lookout for Yankee, Dixie, Pencraft, Kraker, Michael-George, Drew, and Rexall Store Pens of this period. They may just be relatives of this pen – produced by George Kraker during his various business ventures in the midwest during the teens, twenties and thirties. I am currently restoring a Monogram which I will cover in the next post, which I believe he made in Libertyville, IL after he left Grand Haven. Stay tuned…

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January 27, 2008 - Posted by | Kraker, Rexall, Yankee Pen | , ,

6 Comments »

  1. Nice work! 😉

    Comment by Speedmaster | January 28, 2008 | Reply

  2. Very interesting! I have exactly the same pen pictured here, also in excellent condition, along with a Dixie in a lovely, deep midnight blue with a thin white band and a black top on the cap. the two pens are exactly the same dimensions and I’d always wondered why (and why their imprints carry such large letters)–so now I know. I picked these up as a grad student in Michigan in the mid to late ’80s. Thanks for the story of the man behind them 😉

    Jose (in Manila)

    Comment by Jose Dalisay | January 12, 2009 | Reply

  3. Hmmm…..vaguely familiar. Perhaps my photo and writeup posting at this link: http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j316/mikelkirk99/YANKEE%20by%20Michael-George%20Pen%20Co/MICHAELGEORGEPENCO.jpg
    This may jog memory…..yes….it’s coming back to me. 😉
    This Yankee, at last count, resides in the collection of the wife of a former Sheaffer employee. 🙂

    Comment by Mike Kirk | March 28, 2009 | Reply

  4. Hey Phil, nice work on that Yankee! I’ve got one just like it, save for the little plastic disc on the top, which is a faded greenish/yellow. A little slim for my hand, but a nice example nonetheless! I’ve refitted it with an Edelstahl semi-oblique stub and it’s a pretty good writer!

    The Grand Haven imprint holds some importance for me, as I was born and raised not far from there in West Michigan. Growing up on an apple orchard sure was a blessing…wish I could get back there more frequently than I do.

    Comment by Ryan | April 2, 2009 | Reply

  5. Hi
    I am Gem Kumbuk, Living in canada, Mississauga, Ontario.
    I found this fountain pen (Drew Pen Co St Paul Minestoa.)
    I think around 1995, when I was restoring a old house.
    This pen was inside a wall,and I found a small knifebeside it.When I found it it was seased but, I managed to open it and dismainteled it . the nib was broken and the sack fall apart. I found another nib in tghe same house and I replace it.I cannot remember what I did to the old nib which was broken.This pen Patented Nov 14 1922
    Colour of the pen is faded Green.

    Comment by Gem Kumbukgahawatta | April 11, 2010 | Reply

  6. Hi, good afternoon.
    In what concern the first pen, I have one monogram pen with diferent ends (cap and barrel)with a monogram nib also engraved Everlasting and I would be happy to e-mail you some photos of it. Please let me know your e-mail.
    I think that the pens were made with diferent color ends.
    Kind regards:
    Luiz

    Comment by Luiz leite | December 5, 2010 | Reply


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