Fountain Pen Restoration

Waterman C/F

I admit that I came purchase this pen after restoring and using the Waterman Crusader in my post of January 24, 2011. I had never really thought much about the newer Waterman Pen (1950s and 60s), but I enjoyed the Crusader so much, I went out looking for another example. The CF (Cartridge Fill) is intriguing purely from an historical perspective. It is thought of as the first modern widely produced and distributed cartridge pen. I also happen to think that it is pretty sharp looking and reflects the 1950s modern deco styles.

It comes as no surprise that the designer was Harley Earl, a famous automotive designer. Pen companies often contracted with designers to come up with innovative and current designs to attract buyers.

You can see from the photo below that this was a very distressed old pen.  The price was certainly reflective of this, but it was in worse condition than I thought.  The staining is very pronounced and there was a thick layer of crud under the cap.  I figured that I had nothing to lose and began to chip away.  Restoration of this pen was simply limited to cleaning and a bit of nib adjustment.  I started with a small portion of the barrel to see if subjecting it to a harsh dose of polish would do any damage.  I used some polish and a q tip with no results, so I raised the stakes and used a dremel.  The result was good, so I began the process of polishing the barrel and cap in their entirety.  I alternated between the dremel and an ultrasonic cleaner.  I had to use a toothbrush to get under the clip, which is permanently attached to the cap and is rigid.

No restoration of a filling system here as this is a simple cartridge pen.  More on the cartridge later.

After many repetitions of the cleaning rotation, I was able to see that this was once an attractive pen.  Additionally, I flushed the section/nib/feed out several times.  The nib had bent downward toward the feed, and I used a special nib tool to straighten it back out.


The results are stunning.  Here is the completed pen which measures 5 3/8 inches closed and 6 1/16 inches posted.


The cap snaps flush to the barrel when closed, similar to modern pens.


I cleaned out the cartridge and below is a photo of it sitting in the section.  It snaps on to the section nipple similar to other cartridge pens that followed.  The reason that this cartridge is important is that there are no more being produced for this discontinued line, and converters are often difficult to come by.  Thus, I will reuse this one, filling it with a syringe prior to each use.


The next three photos are of a pack of eight green cartridges that I found (unfortunately all are dried out) and one of the cartridges showing the patent number – 2802448, issued in August of 1957 – viewable here.




Here is the imprint on the cap end identifying it as a Waterman C/F.


The nib design is very distinctive.  I believe this pen was made in France after the US Waterman operations ceased in the late 1950s.  Exactly when, I have no idea as these pens have no date markings.  If I were to guess, I would say sometime in the 1960s or 70s – how is that for not narrowing it down?

I have read that one of the problems with these pens over time is significant pitting on the nib and gold trim surrounding the insert. Fortunately, this pen has none of that and the assembly has survived well.


The C/F was introduced in 1953/4 and continued to be produced in the US until around 1958, when Waterman ceased operations.  They were also made in Canada for a time as well as in the United Kingdom and in France.  The French versions were much more ornate than many of the US versions.  Production continued in France until the early 1980s.  I have seen pencils and ballpoints as well.  The most impressive collection of them that I have seen, can be accessed at a thread at the Fountain Pen Network, here.

In the mid 1950s, they were advertised in the Saturday Evening Post, and here is an advertisement from my collection.  It is always nice to know that you can change your ink cartridge in the middle of the dance floor….wonder if they will try that on Dancing With The Stars….


I really like how this pen turned out.  I will enjoy trying it out in the near future and am pleased to have learned another little piece of Fountain Pen History from this predecessor to the cartridge pens of today.


April 7, 2011 - Posted by | Waterman C/F, Waterman Pen Company | ,


  1. Me gustaría saber el valor en el mercado de un estuche de pluma y boligrafo (oro) de waterman c/f, en perfecto estado de conservación,con su correspondiente estuche original

    Comment by Vicente Sesa Ruspira | April 19, 2012 | Reply

  2. I have a similar french waterman cf , it leaks though from the inlay/trim on the section. So basically I get inky fingers kinda like a parker 51 leak from the clutch ring. Any solutions? Shellac maybe?

    Comment by MAS | March 22, 2013 | Reply

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