Fountain Pen Restoration

Wilson Fountain Pen Advertising

On February 9, 2009 I wrote an article Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery – The Wilson Pen Company. It focused on a Parker Vacumatic “look-a-like” fountain pen, produced in India.

After the restoration of that pen and the writing of the article, I was fortunate to find very colorful box that Wilson apparently used to display and/or ship these pens.  It measures 5 1/2″ by 6 3/4″ and held ten pens in metal slots.

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The art is interesting.  I believe the attempt is to compare the pen to a smooth sailing boat.  In the photo below I have inserted the pen from the previously referenced post.  Clearly, the same model but in a different color.  I wonder if they came in blues, reds, or blacks, to match the other common Vacumatic colors?

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10-12-13 Edit: An outstanding piece, written by Purvi Sanghvi, a relative of the founders of Wilson Pens, can be found here. It details some of the history of Wilson Pens!

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July 20, 2009 Posted by | Wilson Pen Company | | 3 Comments

Belmont Pen and Pencil Combination

Another local antique store find ~ and a bit of a departure from straight fountain pens.  This is the first Fountain Pen / Pencil Combination that I have restored since I started writing these articles in November of 2007.  I have a few in my collection, but am not a big fan of them.

I went in to the antique store on the way to a bakery in small town Minnesota and asked if they had any old pens.  The owner pulled out this pen/pencil and a vintage Sheaffer Balance set.  Thinking I would be drawn to the Sheaffer he began to talk about it, but the barrel was cracked and when I saw “BelmonT” on the Combo, I jumped.  As you know by now, I am interested in Belmont Fountain Pens  of all sorts ~ particularly those produced by George Kraker for Rexall.  $5.00 later, I was on my way to the bakery with my find.  Here are a few previous posts that include Belmont pens.

Belmont/Rexall And Yankee Cousins May 22, 2008

Belmont Pens At The Rexall Store August 18, 2008

Did He Say Pencil? April 2, 2009

Here is the Combination Pen after I took it apart.  I did not take the pencil portion apart and tested it with 1.1mm lead and worked.  As you can see, the major problem was deterioration of the metal parts and a sac that had hardened and crumbled.

I cleaned all of the gold parts and they cleaned up without any loss of color, so I believe they are not gold plate.  I inserted a size 16 sac onto the section/feed/nib and inserted into the barrel.  The sac has to be trimmed a bit shorter than normal as the pencil “side” takes up a bit of the barrel.  The pencil takes size 1.1mm lead and as with most vintage pencils, the lead is inserted in through the tip ~ put the lead in the tip and reverse the tip until the lead engages into the pencil.

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Here are the after photos.  As you can see, the instrument cleaned up well and I would best describe the color as rust.  The only flaw is the pencil tip, which was very tarnished when I found the pen and after cleaning, it is a bit washed out.

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As mentioned, Belmont was a Rexall Store brand of Fountain Pen and Pencil.  The contract for making Belmont’s was held by George Kraker and also The Moore Pen Company of Boston.  I am not certain which produced this pen for Rexall, but I am leaning towards Kraker (in either Grand Haven, MI or Libertyville, IL).  I am open to correction on this and would welcome any additional information.  I have seen photos of Kraker combos before, though I do not own one.  Thus, he had access to the parts to make this pen.  The lever also resembles a Kraker locking clip and this is why I am leaning to his Company as the producer.

Here is a closeup of the imprint, with the familiar “Non-Breakable” and “Sold Only At The Rexall Store”.

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This closeup gives a nice idea of the interesting barrel colors.

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And finally, the nib ~ a Warranted No. 2.  It is a smooth medium and I have filled it with Waterman Havana Brown and am using it this week.

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Keep scouring the antique malls….there are still pens to be found….

July 13, 2009 Posted by | Belmont Pens | | 3 Comments

Spors Fountain Pens / Live Update

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I have posted several articles about Spors Fountain Pens and their advertising.  I have found their pens interesting, challenging to restore, and local, as they were marketed out of LeCenter, MN.

For reference or if you missed these articles written over the last couple of years, here are links to each of these articles ~

Made In Japan ~ February 13, 2008
Spors Fountain Pen Entertainment Center ~ September 17, 2008
Spors Fountain Pen Advertising in 1927 ~ March 25, 2009

I have recently received some correspondence from the grandson of Frank (Franz) Spors, Mr. Dennis Spors.  He is still operates a consulting business in Michigan and uses the same Company Name as his grandfather.

He shared some interesting information on the Spors Company.

Quoting from an email correspondence that he has kindly given me permission to share ~ “The fountain pens were the beginning of a business that lasted as a wholesaler into the 1960’s. In the beginning primarily stationary and novelties were featured. Later there were yearly catalogs of items, even diamonds and watches. Spors Company provided all of these to independent retail outlets throughout the Midwest. Their strength was the sales network. With the growth of chain outlets expanding into small towns, the business did not survive in that form. The business does however continue.”

In the articles above, I have mentioned that some of these Spors Pens were made in Japan and WWII obviously stopped the shipment of these pens to Minnesota distribution.  Mr. Spors shares this additional interesting information on his grandfather and the challenges of the World War.

“Frank had to be careful during WWII and not try to order anything from the enemy / neutral sources. Given that most of his cousins were German Staff Officers, the FBI watched him throughout the war.”

Once again, thank you to Dennis Spors for sharing this information with me on the Spors Company and its founder, Frank (Franz) Spors.

I have acquired a 1933 Spors catalog and will be sharing some pen advertisements from it in the future as I get a chance to scan them.

Happy Fourth of July.


July 1, 2009 Posted by | Spors | | 4 Comments

   

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