Fountain Pen Restoration

Clipless Waterman 52

I recently found this pen in a pile of old pens, passed over at an antique store as damaged goods. At first blush, it looked like another no name Black Chased Hard Rubber pen. Closer examination revealed that the underneath the after market clip and dirty nib, was a Waterman 52. I last restored and wrote about a 52 in my post of March 10, 2009 – Classic Waterman 52. That article discussed a nice example of a Gold Banded (Repousse) model. The next two paragraphs are from that post ~

Most vintage fountain pen collections should include a Waterman Fountain pen. The L.E. Waterman Fountain Pen Company started in New York in the 1880s and was a stalwart in the Fountain Pen business during the production dates of the 52. Lewis Edson Waterman was the founder of the company in the late 1800s and credited with its successful start.

The Waterman 52 was produced during the 1915 to 1930 time period. This period marked a high water mark for Waterman as they produced a large number of varieties of hard rubber pens. The 52 was one of the most common and survives in large numbers today. Relatively simple to restore (provided all of the parts are in good condition), it often has large flexy nibs which several collectors enjoy using.

As I mentioned above, this model is a clipless one.  The pen had an aftermarket clip attached, which I immediately removed.  I do not like these.  I certainly understand why they were used, but practicality aside, they usually leave gouges and discoloration – enemies to restoration. Clipless models were produced in the 52 line of pens, presumably to be used with aftermarket clips or without clips for easier carrying in a bag, purse, or case.

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Below is a photo of the pen after I took it apart.  The inside pressure bar is still intact.  You can see that the old sac has hardened and come out in pieces.  The only wording that can be seen on the nib is the number “2”.  (more on the nib later)  Also note the damage done by the aftermarket clip in the center of the cap.

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Remembering that these pens are made of hard rubber eliminates, for me, the use of water in cleaning the exteriors.  I did use a bit of water to swab out the inside of the cap, the inside of the section and the grooves of the feed.  I then polished the lever and went to work on the nib.  It is 14K and after I cleaned off the rest of the old caked on ink from it, I realized it was not Waterman No, 2 (the appropriate nib for this pen), but a Hallmark No. 2.  A photo of this nib and additional research follows later.

I reassembled the section / feed / nib and attached a size 16 sac to the section.  The only remaining work was to remove the damage done by the aftermarket clip.  Some rust like substance had attached itself to the cap where the clip had been and I worked at this with my fingernail and a dry cloth.  I also used a small amount of toothpaste, just enough abrasive substance to work out the final remnants.  I then rubbed it clean using a clean cloth and let it sit.  I really is quite amazing that there really is little evidence that the clip had been there for many years.

Here are two photos of the pen closed and posted ~

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It measures 5 5/16 inches closed and 6 1/2 inches posted

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Waterman 52s came in many varieties.  I won’t attempt to discuss the Waterman numbering systems, which would be enough to confuse anyone, but in summary the 52 came in several different colors, textures, and with add-ons.

Some of the more common are~

Black Hard Rubber / Black Chased Hard Rubber / Red Hard Rubber (Cardinal) / Woodgrain / Rippled (black and red) / Filigree Overlay / Gold Banded

This pen, at the bottom of the photo below is this plain BCHR version without a clip.

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It appears to me that the nib had been on this pen for quite some time and was not a recent replacement.  The questions arise as to where did the Hallmark nib come from and was there a Hallmark Pen or Pen Company?

Research led me to two items of interest, summarized by the threads at Lion and Pen, with the following links ~

Hallmark Pen Barrels – my friend, the late Dennis Bowden, discusses a Hallmark barrel and the possibility it is related to Kraker (I know…not another Kraker connection).

Hallmark Pen Company (NY) and Hallmark Nib – Various collectors discuss the existence of Hallmark Pen Co. in NY and a nib sighting similar to mine.  The interesting thing here is that the nib mentioned was being sold by Max Davis, noted Waterman collector and author.  A connection to Waterman – maybe?

I have no other information on the Hallmark Nib.  I have sent out some queries and will update this post if I learn more.

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Below is a photo of the familiar Waterman marking, identifying the model number on the bottom of the barrel.

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Here is the standard imprint, seen on Waterman 52s.

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And finally, and advertisement from the September 1926 National Geographic (these are great sources of information)

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This pen turned out well.  It has retained its deep black color, with few signs of any discoloration at all.   The damage done by the aftermarket clip was removed and I am currently using it with Diamine Imperial Blue ink.  The Hallmark nib has some nice flex to it, similar to many of the Waterman nibs of the period.

If anyone has any Hallmark information, please let me know through the comments below.  Thank you.

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April 25, 2011 - Posted by | Hallmark Pen Company, Waterman 52, Waterman Pen Company | , , ,

9 Comments »

  1. I’m thinking about buying a Waterman 52 with a flexible nib (preferably a wet noodle) so I can try flex writing. However, it seems that restored 52s vary a lot in price.

    I’ve seen some decent 52s at around $150 and they looked in good shape. Since I don’t have a huge budget for pens, even $100 is a bit expensive for me. On the other hand, I’ve seen much more expensive 52s at $200, $300 and up.

    Would you happen to know what a good price for a decent flex Waterman 52 is? Can $150 get me a good pen? How about $100 or under?

    Comment by Peninkcillin | April 30, 2011 | Reply

    • I have a Waterman 52 with gold bands. The sac has crumbled and I cannot open the pen at all. Can anyone please help me?

      Comment by Dave | September 9, 2013 | Reply

      • Gentle heat to the area where the section meets the barrel. Then use a pair of section pliers to gently twist off the section. Patience is the key. Do not get the heat source too close to the hard rubber, and do not use any water. Over time it should loosen and separate.

        Comment by PKM | September 9, 2013

  2. I have a pen with Hallmark on the barrel/nib/clip. Contact me if you want info/pics.

    Comment by Maria Malerba | July 23, 2014 | Reply

    • Maria,

      I would love to see some photos and hear additional information. Contact me at phil.munson@gmail.com.. Thank you!

      Comment by PKM | August 2, 2014 | Reply

      • Will U be at the dc pen show? I am bringing it there.

        Sent from my iPhone

        >

        Comment by Maria Malerba | August 3, 2014

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