Fountain Pen Restoration

Did He Say Pencil?

Once in a while a fountain pen collector runs across other writing instruments out in antique stores, on-line auctions, and garage sales.  Occasionally we use them, though we will never admit it.

I rarely purchase any vintage writing instruments other than fountain pens and am usually not interested in completing a pen/pencil set, or in purchasing one already complete.  But, once in a great while I will run across a pencil that strikes my fancy, and usually it is one that matches a restored pen.  Here are two examples.

The first photo is of a 1936 Parker Vacumatic Pencil, that matches the Burgundy Marble Vacumatic Junior that I restored in my post titled Parker Vacumatic Lockdown Filler, dated June 20, 2008.

Not much to the restoration of this.  I did not go any further than the four parts here.  I suspect that a vintage pencil restorer would break the pen down further and actually work on the internal mechanisms.  That might spell disaster for me, and as the pencil seems to twist and turn well, I concentrated on cleaning it up and replacing the old eraser with one that is usable.

You can see that the old eraser is shot and that the burgundy marble finish is just a bit dirty.  The cap jewel is just a two part jewel and clip.  As I write this I now notice that the cap is missing  from this “before” photo.  The part on the top left is a storage case for extra leads and is inserted into the barrel with the eraser on top for use.

I carved out the old eraser with an X-Acto knife and carved a new one from an existing pencil eraser so that it would fit.  I polished the clip, jewel and point and it was ready to be reassembled.

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This (photo directly below)  is the second pencil ~ a Belmont.  I have written several posts on Belmont Pens.  The post that has a fountain pen that closely matches this pencil is Belmont/Rexall and Yankee Cousins, dated May 22, 2008.

Again, I did not venture into the internals of the pencil.  The cap pulls off to reveal the eraser and a chamber for extra lead, of which there are several.  I did shave down the eraser to make for usable surface and polished up all of the silver and the cap.  The cap reads: BELMOMT Made in USA.  The cap twists to push the lead out of the point and loads by putting the lead in through the point end and twisting the cap counterclockwise until the lead catches.  This is the same lead procedure as the Vac Pencil above.

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Here is a photo of the finished 1936 Vacumatic  pencil.  I don’t think that it got much use in its day,  as it is very clean after some gentle polishing.  It is a smallish pencil, at 4 5/8″.

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The imprint below shows that it was made in the third quarter of 1936, consistent with the timing of the red/burgundy marbled Vacumatic Junior.

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Here are two photos of the lead / eraser holder.  It appears that these were resold as entire units as the instructions advise to throw away when the leads are used up and replace with a full one.  You can also see the new eraser that I carved to fit.  It now works like new.  Fortunately, there are still six remaining leads in the cartridge.

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Below is this pencil next to the Vacumatic Junior that I reference in the Parker Vacumatic Lockdown Filler post above.  The pen was produced in 1935, so I have not reunited a set, but they work well together.  Interestingly, the book Parker Vacumatic (2008, written by Geoffrey Parker, David Shepherd, and Dan Zazove) mentions on page 258 that most pens were sold individually and that only one in six customers bought sets.  This is apparently true, as they state that few pencils seem to have survived to today.

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Following  is a photo of the not-as-ornate Belmont pencil.  Probably more suited for school or the workshop, it is a solid pencil.  It measures an inch longer than the Parker at 5 5/8″.

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Finally, here is a photo next to a Belmont Fountain Pen.  I am not certain if this pencil was sold individually or as a set, but this pen is a fairly close match to what the pen may have looked like.  My gut tells me the pen is a bit older in the time scale, and several Companies made pens for Rexall/Belmont, so it is a reach at best.

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I hope my side trip into the unknown of pencils was not too far off course from Fountain Pens, but I think it was an interesting diversion.

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April 2, 2009 - Posted by | Belmont Pens, Fountain Pens and Pencils, Parker Pen Company | , ,

2 Comments »

  1. I don’t collect mechanical pencils, but have accumulated several that I like to use from time to time. It’s nice to have a few sets like you now have.

    Comment by Jon | April 2, 2009 | Reply

  2. […] Did He Say Pencil? […]

    Pingback by Did He Say Pencil? : Penpedia | April 7, 2009 | Reply


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