Fountain Pen Restoration

Aska Fountain Pen And Watch

Post # 123 ~

They say that the Swiss make some of the world’s best timepieces. They also made Fountain Pens. In this week’s restoration, I have found a combination of the two.

It is an ASKA fountain pen, made in Switzerland.  I have searched high and low, including in both vintage watch and pen sites and have come up with very little in terms of information on the date or history of this pen.

I have seen photos if ASKA pens before, but none with watches on the top, and no historical information.

Below is a photo of the pen after I took it apart.  Note that this is a button filler,  not uncommon in many vintage European Pens and very similar to the Parker button filling Duofolds.  I have documented the restoration of  another European Button filler in my post of September 24, 2009 – P.W. Akkerman Button Filler – a pen from the Netherlands, produced in the late 1930s.

Other button-fill articles that cover the basics of this filler restoration are:

Waltham Pens And Ted Williams –  October 21, 2009

Parker Duette Junior – June 25, 2009

Parker Button Fill Striped Duofold – February 1, 2009

Lucky Curve Feeds – September 4, 2008

Parker Jade .. Pre – Duofold – July 8, 2008

Parker Lapis Duofold… – March 15, 2008

Of particular concern with this restoration were the nib and the pressure bar.  The size of this barrel dictated that I had to trim a large pressure bar by about 3/8 of an inch to assure the right fit.  As I have mentioned before, when trimming pressure bars, make certain to smooth the trimmed edge to assure a clean fit that will not rip the sac.  The nib was a ” NEWFLEX / INOX.DORE No. 3″.  The English translation is that it is Stainless Steel coated with gold.  Well, the gold had worn off, except for that part in the section (as seen below) and the steel has begun to discolor and pit quite badly.  Having solved the pressure bar by measuring a new one and installing it with a size 16 sac, I proceeded to search my spare nib drawer for a perfect fit.  The nib that finally fit like Cinderella’s slipper was a Sheaffer’s Feather Touch Number 5.  I do not recall where I got this nib, but was happy to find that it fit perfectly to the feed and into the section.  When replacing nibs, it is a good idea to seal test the feed/nib/section assembly to assure a leak-proof fit.

I reassembled the pen and cleaned the barrel and cap with scratch remover and polish.  I also polished the clip and cap rings (note that one of the rings is misshapen).  I filled the pen with water and stored it upright to test the feed/section/nib for leaks overnight and none appeared.  Had they appeared, I would have had to look for another nib, or possibly built up the feed a bit.

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Below are photos of the pen capped and posted.  It measures 5 1/4″ and 6  1/4″   in these positions.

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The logo is interesting.  I am not certain what the artwork is ~ a mushroom with a boot stem?  As I mentioned before, I have seen ASKA pens before, but none with an attached watch.

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The clip is gold, as it withstood vigorous cleaning with no color loss and it now stands out.  I like the rolling clip end, seen in the US on vintage Wahl pens.  This feature was to assure that the clip slid in and out of the pocket easily.

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Here is a close up of the replacement nib, a lower tier Sheaffer nib.

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Now to the watch.   I admit that I know nothing about watches and less about Swiss watches, and a preliminary search yielded little about CERVUS (if that is the print on the watch face).

The next two photos highlight the watch, which surprisingly still runs.  After winding it up, it runs correctly for about six hours.  As you can see, it is Swiss made.  I did not attempt to clean or polish it as I did not want to get any liquids near the watch mechanism for fear of damaging it.

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Now that I have this AKSA, I will be able to put it in my pocket with my SPORS and know both the time and direction I am heading with the help of two fountain pens.  Talk about high technology…..

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Though not a Mont Blanc, Montegrappa or other valuable Vintage Pen from Europe, this certainly is an attractive, functional, and curious piece of Fountain Pen History.  I look forward to hearing from some of the experts out there to fill in the gaping holes in my research on this one.

Edit (4-26-10) ~ A Reader notes that the logo on the pen is as follows:  “The image you were wondering about depicts a crossbow on a gun stock.”

Edit (1-11-13) ~ Please see this post at Fountain Pen Network, which identifies ASKA brand as Swiss, with ties to Italian Fountain Pen Companies.  Also photos of later model ASKA pens and original nibs.
ASKA Fountain Pen Network Link

April 25, 2010 Posted by | ASKA Fountain Pens | | 9 Comments

Parker 51 Pencil

It is time for another pencil post to break up the fountain pen stuff…though they are all related. This week’s find is a very neat Parker Vacumatic 51 Writefine Pencil, dating sometime between 1940 and 1948, the Vacumatic 51 run.

These pencils were sold to match the corresponding Vacumatic 51 in both barrel color and cap design.

Here is the photo of the pencil before I had a chance to clean and polish it. The twist mechanism works perfectly and the eraser and lead supply are full.

I polished the lead cone and cap with a jewelers cloth.  I then polished the barrel with scratch remover, finishing polish, and buffed on a coat of carnuba wax.  Below is the finished product.   The lighting does not do the pencil justice.  It is the Cordovan Brown color.  Remember that the four standard Vacumatic 51 colors were India Black, Cordovan Brown, Dove Grey, and Cedar Blue.  Measurement is 5 3/16 inches long.

These pencils were usually not date stamped (until the Aerometric 51 pencils came along) so I have no idea of the date of the pen.  It is marked that it was made in the U.S. and as it is a Vacumatic pencil, the 1940 to 1948 date range is as precise as I can get.  During WWII some of these were produced with plastic internals to save materials for the war effort.  As I mentioned above, the lead is advanced by twisting the cap clockwise.  This method changed as the pencils paired with Aerometric 51s came in the late 1940s.  These aero pencils advanced the lead by pushing, or clicking the cap.

I do not have the corresponding Vac 51 for this pencil, but I do have a Cordovan Brown Vacumatic (Canadian Production) that comes quite close.  Here they are together in a few different poses.  The pencils were made of celluloid and the pens of lucite, causing the pencils to age darker than the corresponding pen.(see www.parker51.com for this information)   This is certainly true of the pen and pencil below, though they are not an original pair.

In perusing the various writing instrument websites, I often come upon questions as to what types of modern mechanical pencils are recommended.  Many opinions exist, but at $15 USD this came as a good alternative with some good history behind it.  Most 51 pencils are found in a set with the pen, but occasionally one can be found on its own, and if priced right, I would grab it..

For further Vintage Pencil Articles, please revisit ~

Did He Say Pencil? Dated April 2, 2009, which covers a Junior Vacumatic Pencil and a Belmont Pencil.

Sometimes a diversion into pencils is a good thing, but I promise to get back to Fountain Pens next time.

April 17, 2010 Posted by | Fountain Pens and Pencils, Parker 51, Parker 51 Writefine Pencil | , , | 6 Comments

Double Jewel Parker 51

Finally! I stumbled on this set a while ago as I have wanted to add a double jewel 51 to my collection for quite some time.  Double Jeweled 51s commenced the first year that Parker introduced the 51 – 1941.  First year Double Jewels are priced at a premium and separate themselves in many ways.  They had the date imprint on the blind cap and several caps from first year 51s are exceptional and rare.  The set that I acquired is not a first year set, but I am happy to have finally found one to use.  As a bonus, there is a pencil and well preserved box.

Below, you can see the exploded view of the components.  The only difference from the other 51 Vacumatics that I have written about ~

Black And Gold Parker 51 Vacumatic ~ September 25, 2008

Final Year For Parker 51 Vacumatics – 1948 ~ January 15, 2009

and several others (see Categories at right)

is that the blind cap has a jewel on the end as opposed to the conical blind cap.  Thus the term “double jewel”.  The blind cap for this pen can be seen in the lower left of the photo, with the jewel to the left of the cap.

All of the parts are present below, so the restoration was very straightforward.

I need to clean the pen thoroughly first as there was old ink stains throughout as well as the usual diaphragm remnants in the barrel.  Make certain that they are completely removed before proceeding to put the new diaphragm assembly back into the rear of the pen.  I used a debutante size diaphragm on this pen as with all of these Vacumatics.  The furniture is all gold and I used a combination of my Ultrasonic Cleaner and a jewelers cloth to polish the caps (both pen and pencil), nib and clips.  Note the ring that sits on the barrel between the barrel and the hood.  I believe the gold in the middle of the silver on these rings is gold plate and be very careful cleaning these as the gold plate can wear off.  I was careful to leave this alone and you can see from the second photo below that the gold remains.

I won’t go into detail on the restoration of this set as you can refer to one of the links above or in the Parker 51 Categories on the right of this page.  The most important items to remember, in my opinion, are to fully clean the inside of the barrel, to fully remove the old diaphragm pellet from the filler unit cup, and to make sure that the diaphragm is cut to the right length and seats perfectly in the barrel (use a gooseneck flashlight to confirm this) after the filler unit is fully replaced.

Below is the completed set.

As with the single jewel 51 Vacumatics, the double jewels came in four primary colors – India Black (this pen), Cordovan Brown, Cedar Blue, and Dove Grey.  Three more rare colors were Buckskin (tan), Nassau Green, and Yellowstone (mustard).  As mentioned, the Double Jewels are very highly sought after, with particular attention being paid to first year (1941) models.

The matching pencil is a twist mechanism and is turned clockwise to advance the lead.  The eraser is intact and the lead loads by inserting through the tip and twisting counter-clockwise.  Later pencils, produced with Aerometric 51s had mechanisms that advanced the lead by pushing down on the cap.

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This set was produced in the fourth quarter of 1948, at the end of the Vacumatic 51 run.  By this time the Aerometric was being rolled out to replace the Vacumatic Filling system.  This also marked the end of the Double Jewels, as Aerometrics were only produced with a Single Cap Jewel.

The date stamp for these pens is on the barrel, just below the ring.  First year models differ and their date stamps can usually be found on the blind cap.

The box that this set came in is still in quite good shape.  This box is brown faux leather with gold trim and was one of the common boxes designed for Parker and used for Double Jewel sets.  Sets with original boxes certainly make these pens and pencils more valuable and are great display pieces.  I was very lucky to find these all together.

So, after all of these years of collecting, I finally found one of these, was able to restore it, and I look forward to trying it out in the near future.

April 9, 2010 Posted by | Parker 51, Parker Pen Company, Uncategorized | , | 5 Comments

Jackwin Fountain Pens

Yellow….

The color yellow is associated with many things from the sun and bright flowers, to cowardice, caution and aging.

Vintage yellow pens are fairly rare.  The most famous is the Parker Mandarin Duofold, which can value at over a thousand dollars in pristine condition.  This week’s pen is far from a Duofold, but a nice example of a third tier imitation from the same time period, if not a bit later.

Below is the exploded view of a Jackwin Fountain Pen in Mandarin Yellow, probably manufactured in the 1920s or early 30s.  You can see the typical staining of the barrel and cap from years of neglect.  The old size 16 sac has hardened and the nib is very dirty.

I cleaned all of the parts in the ultrasonic cleaner and then scrubbed the barrel and cap, inside and out, with a dremel and Pentiques scratch remover and polish.  With these light colored plastic pens, extra time needs to be spent on the threads (0n barrel and inside cap) as they are very often badly stained.  I use Ink Nix and a toothbrush, followed by a trip to the ultrasonic cleaner, and repeat.  The gold furniture polished up well.  The photos below make the clip and cap ring appear washed out, but they retain their gold color and this is a camera (and camera operator) problem.  I cleaned the section and feed in the ultrasonic cleaner and reinserted the feed and polished nib into the section.  The nib is a small Warranted 14K nib with no size number.  I installed a silicon size 16 sac and reassembled the pen.  The final restored Jackwin is below.

Jackwin Fountain Pens were a sub-brand of the Eclipse Fountain Pen and Pencil Corp.  Refer to these posts for further history of Eclipse

Eclipse Gold Filigree Fountain Pen –  January 1,2009
Marxton Flat Top – May 20, 2009

I have placed this pen as a US production (NY / NJ) in the late 1920s.  This coincides to Eclipse’s history and their production of these colorful flat top pens that resemble the popular Parker Duofolds and similar pens of the day.

Vintage yellow pens present numerous restoration challenges above the usual aging issues.  They show discoloration more easily and are prone to cracking near the cap bands.  This one survived well.  For a glimpse of another large yellow flat top restoration from and older article follow this link:

A Dixie In Illinois  –  November 26, 2008

I think every vintage collection should contain one Yellow Pen as they are an interesting corner of the fountain pen history.  Often difficult to find and expensive (Duofolds), these third tier pens are a very attractive alternative to supplement your collection.

April 1, 2010 Posted by | Eclipse Pen Company, Jackwin Fountain Pens | , | 2 Comments

   

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