Fountain Pen Restoration

Waltham Pens and Ted Williams

It is certainly easy to estimate the production period for this pen.  I came across this coupon which clearly shows an April 1942 date for the promotion of a Waltham Button Filling Pen, with Visualated section to gauge the ink supply.  All for $.35.  Not bad, when compared to a $3.50 pen that has the same attributes, but no personalization or streamlined design.  I wonder if the pen that they were using for comparison was the Parker Duofold, or Striped Duofold?  They were the predominant button fillers of the period and before.


Here is a photo of the pen after I took it apart.  The nib is gold plate as is the clip and cap band.  At 35 cents, who could complain?

The button filler is a bit different than the Duofold in that the metal unit is one piece (embedded) and screws directly into the barrel.   The button on the Duofold is a lone piece and not part of a unit, pulling directly out of the barrel.  I did not unscrew the button unit and fortunately the pressure bar was in great shape and I did not need to craft another.  As you can see, the bar has a pointed end which clicks into the button inside the barrel.  After cleaning the inside of the cap and barrel I reset the bar into the button.

The section is a see-through version and had to be scraped clean of old sac remnants.  As I mentioned above, the furniture is gold plate, so I gently cleaned the clip, band, and nib.  You can see that most of the plating had already worn off the exposed parts of the nib, so I merely polished it up.  The cap band was the only part of the pen to retain much of its gold color.

I inserted a size 18 sac into the barrel after coating with pure talc and cementing it to the section/feed/nib.  The button filler works well and the pen held water overnight and it released a steady stream.


Here is a photo of the completed Waltham Pen, a 1942 button filler.  It measures 5 inches closed and 6 inches posted.


This photo shows the visualated section, marketed as an ink viewing feature.  The  nib reads “Waltham / Duo-Way”.


The imprint, in “Genuine 23 -Carat Gold Leaf” as shown in the above advertisement, reads ~ Gaylord Hagge ~ as shown below.


I do not have any background on the Waltham Pen Company, or brand of pens.  Waltham was a name that was well-known as a producer of watches and located in the Boston, Massachusetts area.  The mail-in offer for this pen was to the U.S. Name-Plate Company in Chicago.  Another piece of the puzzle is that the celebrity name on the mail-in offer pen was Ted Williams, a popular baseball player for the Boston Red Sox during this time.  Clicking on his name will link to his baseball history and statistics. 1942 was certainly a time to use Williams in advertising as he was fresh off an incredible season where he hit .406, the last player to hit over .400 in a season.  It is not certain that the name on the ad is “the” Ted Williams, but the timing leads me to believe the intent is there . Perhaps these pens were produced in the Boston area (Williams / Waltham Watches) or in Chicago (U.S. Name-Plate / Button Fill). I have also seen an advertisement for Phoenix Pen and Novelty in New York City that produced a Waltham Combo pen in 1931, though I do not know if they are related.  Finally, here is a link to a December 13, 1942 (after the above coupon expired) newspaper advertisement in the St. Petersburg (FL) Times. Waltham Pens (the ad appears directly to the right of the linked article) The retail price at the drug store has now risen to $.59, but the offer of printing still stands.

I hope that an astute pen historian will comment with more information and I will add to this article if I receive further research.

Here are a couple of photos of Ted Williams, one being his plaque in Cooperstown’s Baseball Hall of Fame.



Waltham pens are still plentiful and fairly easy to find in the vintage pen marketplace.  They are fairly well made, though firmly placed in the third tier of vintage pens. I have also seen some Fountain Pen / Pencil Combinations that they produced.   With little resale value, it still provides a unique peek into third tier advertising, and even a link to one of baseball’s finest hitters.

10/24/09 EDIT:  Antonios Zavaliangos was kind enough to comment with some excellent information on Waltham Pens that I want to reprint here ~

“From what I found Waltham Pen Company was a name used by Starr Pen Co. which was established in 1935 by the Starr family.  These people bought the “remains” of Conklin Pen Co. and continued to make pens under the name Conklin.  They also made pens under the names Waltham Pen Co and Winchester Pen Co.  Apparently there is a 1948 complaint against them primarily for using the Winchester name as it was alleged that they tried to imply that the pens were made by or affiliated somehow with the Winchester pen company.  This is referenced in the Trade Regulation Reporter c. 1948.  Google books has a limited view link to this case and the name “Waltham Pen Company” is also shown there.”

Thank you,  Antonios for this information.


October 21, 2009 Posted by | Ted Williams, Waltham Pens | , | 5 Comments

Duocraft Fountain Pens

Fountain Pen Restoration Article Number 100!  It is hard to believe that this is the 100th post here since November of 2007.  I hope that the readers have found a few that they have enjoyed.  Thank you for your comments, suggestions, corrections, and additions to many of these.  Hopefully the next 100 will be worth the read.  On to this week’s fountain pen.

Not a lot of information seems to be available to me on this Vintage Pen Company – Duocraft.  An exploded view of this large fountain pen is below and you can see the expected lever fill remnants of years of sitting are evident.  The sac has hardened and the jbar was corroded beyond use.  The most interesting part of this pen is the nib.  It is a three tined nib, more often referred to as a Music Nib.  More on that later…

As you can see, the pen needs a new j bar (large size) and sac (size 20), as well a general cleaning.

Below is a photo of the nib, a Warranted 14K No. 5.  The main problem with the nib is that it is very bent, and the tipping material is gone from the left tine.  This is work that is beyond my scope and as this is a unique nib, I decided to go ahead and get it re-tipped in lieu of replacing it with a spare regular nib.  You may recall that I have done this with another pen, a Parker Vacumatic in an article from October 13, 2008 ~ 1942 Parker Vacumatic Maxima. Greg Minuskin does exceptional work, and his turnaround times, and communication, are outstanding.

Below is a photo of the newly re-tipped Music Nib, which I received back in one week’s time.  The photo is complements of Greg Minuskin.

Music Nibs, so named as they are very useful in forming the characters necessary to compose music on music sheets, are available on a a few current pens.  However, they were rarely offered on vintage pens and this is the the first vintage music nib that I have run across.   Duocraft pens are often found with these nibs and it makes me wonder if they were aiming this product at the music community.  The design of the nib allows for fine horizontal lines and wide verticals and well as a very flexible flow.

I cleaned the old sac off of the section – cleaned the section and feed and inserted the retipped nib and feed back into the section. I reinserted a large jbar back into the barrel, checking for a firm fit.  The barrel and cap, including the gold furniture were thoroughly cleaned and polished.  Remember to take the time to clean the inside of the cap, as years of dried ink is usually lurking there.  As I mentioned  earlier, a size 20 sac was used and attached to the section/nib/feed unit before fitting back into the barrel.

Below is are two photos of the completed restoration.  The pen measures a large 5 9/16 inches capped and 6 1/2 inches posted.

The imprint is still crisp and did not need to be highlighted with white to be seen.  As you can see, Duocraft was in Brooklyn, NY.

My talents are not in calligraphy, but here is a quick writing sample showing the line variation that this nib permits.

These pens do pop up from time to time and at reasonable prices.  Should the nib be in good shape, they are an excellent way to show off your writing flair, and maybe compose a symphony or two!

Edit (10-14-09) ~ Please refer to this excellent article on another Duocraft Fountain Pen (with far more pleasing use of the pen and ink) that was kindly forwarded to me by the author. Thank you…

October 13, 2009 Posted by | Duocraft Fountain Pens, Minuskin Nibs, Music Nib | , | 4 Comments

The Hintz Pen

The beginning of the 20th century was a booming time for the fountain pen as it established itself as a writing tool.  Hard rubber pens were produced by many companies and one retailer, in Reading Pennsylvania, sold his own branded eyedropper ~ The Hintz Pen.  J.G Hintz owned a Stationer’s store in Reading during the first half of the 1900s.  This advertisement shows an early photo of Mr. Hintz and discusses his wares.

Here is the Hintz Pen that I worked on this week.  Below is the exploded view, prior to knocking out the nib and feed to clean. There was quite a bit of ink to clean out as I had dipped the pen several times to enjoy the experience.  More on the nib later..  You can see that it is an eyedropper filled pen and black chased hard rubber (BCHR).  Fortunately, the pen has withstood time well and the chasing and rubber are in good shape, with minimal discoloration or wear.  As with all eyedroppers of the time, the section/feed/nib unscrew from the body of the pen and the ink was poured into the barrel (by an eyedropper type device).    The bonus feature of this pen is the gold overlay on the barrel.  It also has withstood time well and is clean and crisp.

Mr. Hintz sent out birthday post cards and Christmas reminder cards to his customers ~ advertising his product line.  I have been fortunate to find a few of these and pair them with the pen.

A couple of things stand out to me.  First – pens were a major gift and probably given most at special occasions such as Birthdays and Christmas.  Second – the cards were written using several different languages which reflect the high concentrations of immigrants in the United States at the time.

The pen depicted in the card directly below is very similar to the pen I have restored, though mine would have been more expensive than this one due to the  gold decoration.  I wonder what the SOLID GOLD pen looked like that is referred to below?

Below are photos of the completed pen after I have reinserted the feed and and nib and applied a bit of silicone grease to the section threads.  I tested the pen overnight for leaking and it held ink with no leaks.  The pen measures 5 7/8 inches closed and 6 7/8 inches posted.

I have placed an estimated  date of 1910 on this pen.  I have no direct evidence of this as the advertisements and post cards carry no dates.  My estimate comes from the fact that several eyedropper pens that look very similar to this have been placed at this time  by pen historians.  This brings up the question as to where these pens were produced.  Again, I have no Hintz records to go by, but can make a few guesses.   Reading, Pennsylvania is located west of Philadelphia, and about halfway between Philadelphia and Bloomsburg, PA.  Bloomsburg is significant as it was the home of  the Paul E. Wirt Pen Company . Clicking on the name will lead to and excellent history of Wirt Pens. This pen resembles photos I have seen of some Wirt Pens and it is not too long a stretch to think that they could have been produced by Wirt.   The nib suggests another producer.   It is a Franklin No. 3 (seen below).  The Franklin Pen Company also produced pens for other companies and the Franklin Nib would seem to make this the most likely scenario, given no hard written evidence.

The imprint and gold overlay, still crisp clean.

The Franklin / Philadelphia nib which leads to a guess as to where the parts were made. The nib, as with many of these vintage eyedropper nibs, is extremely flexible.

These regional pens pop up from time to time and it is fun to try and trace their history and relationship to the larger pen community.  Certainly, the Hintz Store sold a quality product and this one has survived after one hundred years.

October 5, 2009 Posted by | Franklin Fountain Pen, Hintz Fountain Pen | , | 4 Comments


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