Fountain Pen Restoration

Black And Gold Parker 51 Vacumatic

I have always wanted a black Parker 51, and vacumatic fillers are my preference.  When I found this one I was a bit skeptical as it was not very attractive.  The cap was quite dirty and stained as was the nib assembly and barrel.  But, the price was right, so I decided to go to work on repairing it.

Below is the pen after I took it apart.  I did take the clip, jewel and bushing out of the cap, but after the picture.

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Repairs on 51 Vacumatics are similar to the Parker Vacumatic, with the exception of the nib, feed, and collector.  As you can see above, the cap was very tarnished and I questioned whether it had been damaged by contact with a cleaner or chemical that had done irreparable damage.  The nib, feed, and collector were stained by red ink as you can see above.  This was confirmed as the ink of choice for this pen, as the inside of the cap was caked with red ink.  The filler was in good shape as you can see in the bottom left of the above picture.

First the cap was taken apart and all parts (jewel, clip, trim ring, and cap) were polished.  My fears about the cap were not true and it polished up beautifully.  I used Pentiques polish and a dremel on low speed to apply the polish and the buffed to a nice bright shine.  The blue diamond was well preserved and stands out.

I then soaked the collector, feed and nib in an ultrasonic cleaner until stain free.  The nib is a medium, which is a pleasant surprise, as so many of the 51s that you see are fine nibbed.

The speedline filling unit is repaired exactly as I have covered in previous Vacumatic repair posts which can be reviewed here –

Parker Vacumatic Lockdown Filler
Parker Vacumatic
Striped Duofold

As you can see, Parker used the vacumatic filling system across a wide range of pens from the Vacumatic, to the Striped Duofold, to the 51.

I really enjoy this filler as the pen hold lots of ink and it is very dependable, if restored correctly.

After restoring the filler with a new diaphragm (debutante size), I polished the black barrel, hood, and blind cap, removing minor scratches and blemishes.

The new filler unit was screwed back into the barrel and checked for proper seating and suction.

I reinserted the feed and nib into the collector and inserted the breather tube into the collector prior to inserting into the barrel.  It is important to always use the old, cleaned breather tube in your restored pen.  If the old tube is missing, or damaged, tubing can be purchased from some of the suppliers listed on the right of this page.

I tested the pen using water and it correctly sucked up the water and expelled it to show that the filler unit is working well.

Here are photos of the completed pen, posted and closed. The correct Parker Color designation is India Black.  Parker 51 Vacumatics were produced between the years of 1941 to 1948, at which time they began to produce 51s with an Aerometric Filling System.

India Black was one of four common 51 Vac colors, the others being Dove Grey, Cordovan Brown, and Cedar Blue.  Rarer colors are Tan, Mustard, and Nassau Green.

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Parker 51s have a large following in the fountain pen collecting community. Double jeweled, first year models command a high price in good condition.  This is neither a double jewel or early version, but I am very happy with the outcome of this restoration.

September 25, 2008 Posted by | Parker 51, Parker Pen Company | , | 7 Comments

Spors Fountain Pen Entertainment Center

Looking back to my post on February 13 one notes that I restored and discussed a Japanese-made, Minnesota-marketed, glass nibbed pen, sold by the Spors Company.

I ran across two pens  a few weeks ago, and they look very familiar when compared to the February 13 pen.

The major difference is a unique feature appearing on the end of the barrels. The end piece contains a compass. It is also a lever filler, as opposed to the typical Spors crescent filler.

Now the first question is, why a compass? To aid in navigation when hiking in the woods, driving on unmarked roads, plowing expansive fields, or fishing on a large lake? Could be, but my guess is that these were produced merely as a marketing attempt at something unique. These are SPORS pens, marketed by the SPORS mail order company located in Le Center, MN. For a background of the Company and its pens that were made in Japan until World War II, I will refer you to my post titled “Made in Japan” and dated 2-13-08.

Here is a picture of the each compass on the end of each cap.

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The real surprise occurred when I began to take apart each pen to clean and resac.  When I unscrewed the compass end cap, five dice fell out of the end of one and one die out of the other….

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Ok, now we have a compass and dice in each pen.  The plot thickens.  Why have dice in the end of your compass/pen?  Perhaps if you are hiking and get lost, you can pass the hours awaiting rescue by playing dice?  These pens certainly define “gimmick”.

And they do actually write.  I was able to get the sections off of each and pull out the old sac remnants.  The glass nib simply screws into the section, and after placing a new sac on the section, the pens cleaned up rather well.  Here is the finished product.

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It just goes to show that vintage writing instruments often surprise us, and even entertain us at times.

September 17, 2008 Posted by | Spors | , | 4 Comments

Striped Duofold

Parker introduced a “new” Duofold line in 1940 which utilized the Vacumatic filling system. This line continued on until 1948. These Duofolds, often called Striped Duofolds to separate them from the previous Duofold lines, came in the following colors: Blue, Green, Red, Black (rare), and Shadow Wave (rare). The pen that I found below is an example of the red, or Dusty Red, color. It’s size if 5 1/16″ capped, which makes it a Junior Size. It was produced in the 1st quarter of 1942, and you can see it is a Speedline Filler by the filling unit in the upper left hand corner of the picture below. This Speedline Filler continued until sometime after the start of WWII and was replaced by a plastic filler unit. At some point a button filler was also produced.

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As you can see above, the pen was quite dirty and the gold parts were tarnished when I picked this pen up. The repair of the filling unit is the same as with the Vacumatics that I have previously covered:

Parker Vacumatic Lockdown Filler
Parker Vacumatic

I used a debutante diaphragm on this pen, which is the correct size. As with this filler, the most time consuming job is getting the pellet out of the unit and then inverting the diaphragm and getting the new pellet in the unit. After this was complete, I cleaned up the cap, barrel, clip (after twisting out the top jewel), feed, nib, and section. The filler unit was screwed back into the top of the barrel using the filler tool shown in previous posts. I then tested the filler by making sure it was in straight by shining my small light into the barrel and then tested the suction by putting my finger over the open barrel and working the filler. There was a lot of suction, so I inserted the section/tube/feed/nib back into the barrel and tested the pen with clean water. All performed well. I now put the cap back together and the resulting pen is pictured below.

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Much of the Dusty Red now shines after it was polished and the inside of the barrel was cleaned. As with the Vacumatic line of pens, these hold a lot of ink.

Often overlooked as the “other” Duofold line and not as popular or well known as the Duofolds of the 20s and 30s, these are very nice pens that are often more reasonably priced. I am now on the lookout for a blue stripe to compliment this one.

September 10, 2008 Posted by | Duofold, Parker Pen Company, Striped Duofold | , , | Leave a comment

Lucky Curve Feeds

This pen restoration looks very similar to this one Janesville Wisconsin Button Fill that I published on December 27, 2007. But it’s what is under the hood that counts with this pen. You can see the familiar button filler parts after I took this one apart.

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The major difference is the feed, shown here prior to cleaning and inserted in the section. The Lucky Curve feed has a curve to it on the end as you can see on the right hand side. This prevents it from being knocked out using a block as we do with most feeds. With Lucky Curve feeds you need to first, slowly and carefully, rock the nib back and forth to pull it out of the front of the section. Gentle heat can be applied to help with this and I use a piece of rubber to grip the nib. Just be careful not to put too much stress on the nib which might cause it to crack or disfigure. After the nib comes out you will need to push the lucky curve feed back through the section to remove it for cleaning. The reverse holds true for reinserting the feed into the nib and section.

The picture below is of the feed after it has been pushed back through the section and is ready for cleaning.

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When you find these feeds in these earlier Duofolds is often up to chance. I have run across some that have been broken off, probably by a repair person with little patience, and no concern for preserving the original feed.

A nice thing about this repair was that the original pressure bar was still in quite good shape and I was able to reuse it.

A little about this pen – It is a Parker Duofold Junior in Black. The imprint and nib place it under production in Janesville, Wisconsin sometime near 1927. The nib is a 14K Medium Parker Duofold.

The repair was a straightforward button filler job. I used a size 16 sac and made sure to cover it with pure talc prior to insertion in the barrel. The old pressure bar was used and it had already been smoothed so it will not pinch the sac at the section, leading to a broken sac. Another reminder, as I have stated in previous posts, is that these are threaded sections and care should be taken when removing the section to turn the section and not to pull or rock.

Two photos of this Duofold Junior are below. You can see that the imprint is well preserved it did not need to be highlighted by a crayon.

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The Lucky Curve Feed was patented by George Parker in the late 1800s and you can see it was still in use into the late 1920s. It was a successful patent and designed to help ink to go back into the barrel of the pen when the pen was not in use and in the pocket.

September 4, 2008 Posted by | Duofold, Lucky Curve, Parker Pen Company | , | 1 Comment

   

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