Fountain Pen Restoration

Stylographic Pens

Just when you think you know enough about fountain pens to make you dangerous in casual conversation, another alley opens up and a new type of pen emerges.

I had heard of stylographic pens and had seen a few pictures here and there, but considered them inferior to standard nibbed fountain pens.

Last night I restored a JUCO “Independent” Stylo. My opinions changed after I completed the pen and tried it out. First, a picture of the pen after I took it apart. Note that there are a few parts that are not found on most fountain pens. The nib almost looks like a rollerball nib and the bottom right elongated needle fits inside this nib to control the flow of ink.

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The black hard rubber barrel and cap are identical to lever fillers of the day. The only departure is the section, nib and and control needle. There is no feed as the nib screws directly into the section. As you can see, the sac had hardened and needed to be replaced by a size 18 sac. I cleaned out the section, nib and ink control using an ultrasonic cleaner. I also spent quite some time cleaning out the cap, which had an abnormally high concentration of purple ink caked into it.

Below is a close up of the imprint, which appears on the cap, not the barrel. Inside the heart on the left is “JU & Co, which is short for Jacob Ullrich and Company. JUCO, was a fountain and stylographic pen maker in New York City in the late 1800s and until the 1920s. Jacob Ullrich was a resident of Hoboken, NJ.

Here are a few of his Stylographic Patents:

Stylo 1882

Stylo 1908

Stylo 1910

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Below is a picture of the completed pen. The clip and lever have lost their gold plating, but the chasing on the black hard rubber is well preserved. I would estimate this as an early to mid 1920s pen as it is a lever filler and many of the JUCO stylographic pens I have seen are eyedroppers and date to the 1905 to 1915 time period. This pen writes much like a modern day roller ball with a fine line. There is none of the shading and expressiveness of a standard fountain pen nib, but if one is looking for a rollerball type experience with a vintage feel, this is the pen. I have filled mine up with Waterman Ink (Florida Blue) and it will be a good pen for math and accounting in the office.

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Stylographic pens were invented in 1875 in Canada by MacKinnon and appeared in the US shortly thereafter. Their popularity was then quickly dashed by the emergence of nibbed pens, but they did remain in production on a limited basis for many years. One of the most noted producers in the United States was Inkograph and they were even more popular in England.

If you are looking for a pen with some historical significance, with practical use, ease of repair (assuming the needle is in usable condition), and a unique niche in the world of pens, a Stylo would be a good choice.

(Note: Many thanks to the website: Vintage Fountain Pens, for information critical to the writing of this post, as well as friends at the Lion & Pen website for leading me to Jacob Ullrich.)

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June 6, 2008 - Posted by | Jacob Ullrich, JUCO Pens, Stylograpic Pens | ,

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