Fountain Pen Restoration

Morrison Flat Top

I have previously discussed the restoration of four Morrison Pens – two War Themed pens, a Gold Plated Flat Top Model, and a Jade Marble Sheaffer look-a-like ~ linked here:

No “Tiers” Shed Here – December 9, 2007
Golden (Fountain Pen) Dreams – March 7, 2008
Morrison Wartime Pens – May 4, 2009
Morrison Battleship Grey Fountain Pen – January 20, 2010

These are relatively easy to find as they show up in on-line auctions quite frequently (also from the same family are Morton, Marathon, Nassau, and Roxy Pens).   Thought to be third tier pens, they are fairly well made, usually have nice 14k nibs and the large flat-top models come in a variety of attractive colors.

This pen came with considerable staining inside and out (a blue – green mess)  and a snapped j-bar.

I spent a considerable amount of time cleaning the cap and barrel and even was able to get a dremel and polish wheel inside of the cap to assist in getting rid of the residual ink.

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Once cleaned, I inserted a new large j-bar and attached a size 20 sac to the reassembled nib/section/ feed.  The nib is a large Morrison / Iridium Point / 14K / N.Y.   The clip also reads Morrison’s and has the familiar “M” surrounded by a wreath.

The end result is below.

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The pen measures 5 1/4 ” capped and 6 5/8″ posted.  Another interesting part of this pen is the lever box.  It resembles a Waterman lever box as it has the reinforced metal box and attached lever most often associated with vintage Waterman’s such as the 52 featured in my post of March 10, 2009, titled Classic Waterman 52.

I have not seen this lever box on other Morrison or Morrison family pens.  It is a much cleaner look and this one is in great shape other than the lever is broken off at the end.  It still works fine and is easy to lift.
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I would place the production of this pen in the 1930s.

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Through the years Morrison Pens made several lower tier pens that resemble this pen.  Here are a few other examples from my collection.

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As I have mentioned in other posts, these were considered third tier pens, but after restoration they come quite close to the more sought after flat tops of the era.  Here is a photo of some of the Morrison family of pens and their clips.

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These are all large pens, very usable, and a nice way to get a vintage flat top without breaking the bank.

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August 27, 2010 Posted by | Morrison Fountain Pens | | Leave a comment

1941 Vacumatic Maxima

In my post of October 13, 2008 I wrote about a 1942 Vacumatic Maxima that I restored and sent the nib to Greg Minuskin to be stubbed and repaired. This past weekend I restored a similar pen – a 1941 (2nd Qtr) Golden Pearl Vacumatic Maxima.

As you can see from the picture below, this one needed an extra dose of tender loving care. I am not sure why the nib is stained the way it is – perhaps it was stored in an almost-empty ink bottle for a while. When I took it apart, the diaphragm was nothing more than crumbs. These are the best pens to work on as they often (though not always) yield the biggest surprises and the most satisfaction. That is, if there are not further major problems under the surface.

Some problems that can arise with vacs are troublesome – broken diaphragms (which can be solved by searching through the parts bin ), or worse – a cracked barrel, which will prevent the vacumatic seal necessary to operate the filling system. Again, solvable, but not without a substitute part or resealing the crack or hole.

Fortunately, this grungy looking pen had nothing lurking to prevent a clean restoration.

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I grabbed a diaphragm and installed it in the old speedline filler after taking out the old pellet. Pellet removal (covered in previous posts) can take several minutes if not drilled out. Fortunately, this took about 10 seconds as the old pellet was extremely brittle. So, the new diaphragm was installed on the filler. The nib / breather tube / section / feed all cleaned up easily with my new (yes I bought a new one) ultrasonic cleaner. The barrel cleaned up to the best transparency I have seen in an old vacumatic. The clip unit is in great shape and the blue diamond is clean.

After reassembly, here is the pen.

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To complete the good news, the nib is a nice medium with lots of iridium left. Finally, I prefer this pen to the Vac in my October 13, 2008 post as it has a jeweled blind cap. Double Jewels just look better to me.

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August 17, 2010 Posted by | Parker Pen Company, Parker Vacumatic | , | 5 Comments

Kraker Civil War

This pen came exactly as shown, without two very important parts, the feed and a nib. As you can see, it is very dirty and I have no idea how long the nib and feed have been missing. It is a yellow Kraker Yankee, produced in Grand Haven, Michigan. I keep finding new colors of these pens, produced in the short time Kraker was in Grand Haven in the mid to late 1920s.  My Title ” Kraker Civil War” is simply a play on George Kraker’s use of Dixie and Yankee Pens as two of his brands and my curiosity as to why.  I have not been able to come up with any reason for this.  Some have speculated that it was a marketing issue, but there is no hard evidence that one brand was targeted at a specific area of the Country (North vs. South).   As you will note if you link to Yankee and Dixie Pen Articles in the Blogroll to the right, both pens were produced in various of Kraker (Michael George Company) locations, though I have not seen a Dixie made in Minnesota or Chicago, or a Yankee in Libertyville, IL.  That does not mean they were not, I just have not seen one.

On to the restoration.  My biggest problem, aside from the dirt and grime on the yellow barrel and cap, was the missing feed and nib.

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I searched through my parts bins and though I had a few nibs that may have solved the nib problem, I had no feed that fit the section well with these nibs.  So, I started to sift through my collection looking for a section that was similar in size to the Yankee section and came across this candidate below.  It is a pen I have had for probably ten years and seldom use due to its very large size of 5 7/8 inches closed.  It has no markings on it but my guess has always been that it is a National Pen Products (Chicago) pen due to the markings on the lever.  I also suspect that someone had replaced the clip at one time.

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I removed the section/feed/nib from the barrel and the sac was in good shape.  I checked my records and I had put a size 20 sac on this one in 2004.  It still seemed good to me and I tested it with water to be certain.  The fit into the Yellow Yankee barrel was perfect and now all I had to do was work on the appearance of the barrel and cap of the pen to produce a nicely restored pen.  Now I have a missing feed and nib on this pen, but Warranted 8 nibs are relatively easy to find and I will keep and eye out for the correct feed.

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I first checked the hanging pressure bar of the pen with the sac inserted and it was fully functional.  That was good enough for me, as these are difficult to get back to their proper position once removed.  If it fails to function in the future, it will be simple to remove it and replace with a long j bar.

I cleaned the outside of both the barrel and cap with Pentiques scratch remover and a dremel.  As you can see, this did the job.  I then used polish and wax to complete the job.  I also gently cleaned the nib, clip, lever, and cap band with a jewelers cloth.  The completed pen is below, measuring 5 1/2 inches capped and 6 3/4 inches posted.

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Here is the Civil War angle.  Below is this pen and below it is a Dixie that was produced a few years later in Libertyville, IL by Kraker (see this link for more information on the Dixie).  As I mentioned above, I do not have any information as to why Kraker used the Yankee and Dixie names, though it appears that the Dixie name appears later in his pen producing life.  Here is an example of two virtually identical pens, produced 104 miles apart that carried different names.  Libertyville was Southwest of Grand Haven, but certainly not in the heart of Dixie.  There is a series of articles appearing in the fine magazine produced by the The Pen Collectors of America – The Pennant – that is written by two very knowledgeable Kraker collectors, which may shed more light on the naming of his pens.  Until then, it is fun to see the variations.

The two photos below show the Yankee / Grand Haven, MI and Dixie / Libertyville, IL pens next to each other.  They are unmistakeably Michael – George (Kraker) pens, with the differently colored cap and barrel ends, single cap bands, and distinctive clip.

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Here is a closeup of the clean imprint, with the typical large first and last letters.

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Finally, the replacement Warranted No. 8 large nib, taken from the blue marbled National Pen shown above.

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Kraker pens in the late 1920s presented a large number of variations, and pens that are colorful and well made.

August 4, 2010 Posted by | Dixie Fountain Pens, Kraker, Yankee Pen | , , | Leave a comment

   

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