Fountain Pen Restoration

Cromer Artcraft LIFELONG Fountain Pen

This week’s pen is a beat up hard rubber Artcraft, from Birmingham, Alabama.  Not exactly the first place we think of as a fountain pen production center during the 1920s and 1930s, but they made some nice pens, and I wish I had a few more.  This one came to me via eBay and was advertised as a Cromer Pen.  Fortunately, I had done a small amount of research for this article ~ Artcraft Fountain Pens – August 18, 2009 ~ and remembered that Ford D. Cromer was President of Artcraft Pens in 1930.

When the pen arrived, I checked the worn imprint, and it was indeed an Artcraft Pen, though the imprint was different than the pen restored in my August article.

As you can see, this pen is quite beat up, and the red hard rubber is stained.   There is also a small crack in the cap lip.  Cracks in hard rubber pens are not a good thing.  Plastic pen cracks are  much easier to deal with.

You can also see that there was once a cap band and that it is now missing.  The lever is in good shape, but the j bar is broken and corroded.

I began restoration by cleaning the gold clip, lever, and nib.  All three cleaned up well with a jewelers cloth and small amount of polish.  The hard rubber is another story.  As you know, hard rubber does not stand up well to water and other liquids.  The largest stain was near the large cap hole opposite the clip.  I used a very small amount of toothpaste on this stain and gently removed as much as possible.  Other than the barrel threads, I did not clean the rest of the pen.  I did scrub the inside of the cap with light amounts of water and a q tip – removing most of the old ink.  On pens with years of caked layers of ink, this can be a long and tedious job.  Cleaning the cap and internal threads guarantees that the barrel and barrel threads will remain clean as well.

This is a large pen, measuring 5 1/4″ closed and 6 3/4″ posted requires a large j bar and a size 18 sac, which were inserted into the barrel and attached to the reassembled nib/section/feed.

Below is the completed pen, with the Large LIFELONG imprint.

The full imprint is very faded, but reads:

Cromer Artcraft      Pen Company

Artcraft                       Fountain Pens

Birmingham              Alabama


In the middle of the two columns is the familiar Artcraft logo – an artists palette, with the words Makers of Artcraft inside.

I tried to get a close up of the Cromer Artcraft below to give you an idea of the type.

The nib that came with this pen is an Aiken Lambert Warranted Number 4.  My guess is that this is a replacement, but I have no evidence of this.  The other Artcraft restoration that I have done (August 2009 article referred to above) had an Artcraft nib, but that pen was probably produced at a later date that this one.

The history of Artcraft is interesting, though incomplete to me.  What I do know is in the August 18, 2009 article, complete with Artcraft moving to Argentina in 1934.  They continued to produce pens there, as I have received photos of some from collectors in response to this previous article.


March 2, 2010 - Posted by | Artcraft Fountain Pens |

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