Fountain Pen Restoration

Lady Sheaffer Skripserts

If there are flocks of seagulls, prides of lions, and gaggles of geese, what is the group of pens below?  How about a school of Skripserts?   Anyway, these have been recently acquired in a trade with a collector for some Vacumatic repair parts.  I have never collected these, and have only had two that I found in an antique store years ago.  They do no require much work other than general cleanup, as they are Sheaffer Cartridge Pens, using standard Sheaffer cartridges.

You can see them taken apart below.  Clipless, they break down to just three pieces, assuming you do not want to take the feed and nib out.


After cleaning, here are the resulting group of five.  Closed, they measure 5 3/8 inches and posted 5 7/8 inches.


The Paisley pen retailed for $10.00, the two Tulle’s for $12.50, and the two Moires were priced at $15.00.   Pens ranged from $10.00 for the base models all the way up to $110.00, in a range of styles that totaled 19 pens.


Pencils and select desk pens were also available in sets and these pens were later (1962) available with a closed nib, as opposed to this triumph style nib. Below is an old photo of a set I picked up many years ago showing the mentioned matching pencil.


The advertisement below, targeting the female graduate, is from 1959.   Two of the pens featured in this advertisement are seen above, the black and gold Tulle and the brushed gold Moire.  I also believe the pencil is the match for the brushed silver Moire above.


Sheaffer began this line of pens in 1958, continuing sales until the mid 1960s, when fountain pens were being heavily replaced by the ballpoint pen.

What makes these pens so unique and collectible are a variety of factors.   First, there are many variations (19) and the color and finish selections are very colorful and unique.  The fact that they were cartridge pens means that many have survived to today with little or no damage and need for repair.

For additional information on these pens, and some fantastic drawings and copies of Skripsert catalog pages, please read the July/August 1994 issue of Pen World article on these pens, by Stuart Schneider.


May 25, 2011 Posted by | Lady Sheaffer Skripserts | | 7 Comments

Fountain Pen Restoration In 1946

Popular Science magazines are a great source of information when researching Fountain Pens.  I find them fascinating to read for glimpses back to our culture at any point in time.  In my article How To Make A Sheaffer Touchdown In 1950 (dated February 9, 2011), I published a scan of a 1950 Popular Science article that described the manufacturing of Sheaffer pens in 1950.

Four years previous to that, in April of 1946,  Harold Strand (a prolific Popular Science and Popular Mechanics writer over the years) wrote this article on Home Repairs For Fountain Pens.  Not to be confused with Frank Dubiel’s Fountain Pens – The Complete Guide To Repair And Restoration, or the more current Pen Repair, by Jim Marshall and Laurence Oldfield, or Richard Binder’s Website –, it nonetheless is a simple way to solve some of the minor issues that probably came up in 1946 lever fillers, and still arise today.

In reading through this we need to also remember that lever fillers were relatively new in 1946 compared to today, and the damage not as severe as we see on our workbenches today.

For your reading pleasure….from 1946 ~

Pop Science April 1946

I just wish that it was still true that a simple “twist and a pull” was all it takes to separate the section from the barrel….

May 18, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 1 Comment

Parker Canadian 51 Set

This set came to me in a trade for some extra parts that I had in my possession.  I was interested in this particular set because it is a Canadian one and the gold caps are in quite good shape.  You can see from the photo below that there is one small ding in the pen cap, but that everything else seems to be in order.


I first started with the pencil.  Vacumatic pencils were rotary pencils, meaning the cap is twisted to load the lead and to expel new supplies.  I used 0.9mm black lead in this pencil and it is ready to go.  I polished the cap and cone with metal polish and then cleaned up the pencil body with a combination of scratch remover, polish and wax.

The pen presented no particular problems other than the need for a new diaphragm and general clean up.  I thoroughly cleaned all of the parts above, paying particular attention to the barrel and any stray pieces of the old diaphragm that always seem to stubbornly stick to the barrel, just inside the top where the vac filler sits.  The breather tube, another problem area, was in good shape with no cracks or  holes.   The nib was a pleasant surprise as it is probably a medium, which is always a nice find as so many of these vintage 51s have fine nibs.  I used a debutante sized diaphragm on this 51 and the re-installation went well.  I polished the cap and nib with metal polish and the barrel, cap, and hood with scratch remover/polish/ and wax.  The blue diamond (which I failed to capture above) was devoid of its blue coloring. To replace this, I use Testor’s Enamel Model Paint Number 110 – Blue. I dip a pin into the paint and get a small amount on the pin head. I then touch the pin head in the diamond and the small amount usually fills the diamond perfectly without spreading over the edges. The resulting pen and pencil set is below.


The date code is located on the barrel, at the point where it meets the trim ring and the hood.  It reads



Thus, the pen is a Dove Grey Canadian made set from 1946.  You can see from these photos that the pencil has discolored (the last photo in the box is the most accurate).  This is attributed to the fact that they were made from different materials.  The pens were made of Lucite and the pencils were made of Celluloid.  The celluloid has not stood up as well over time.  These Dove Grey pencils tend to turn darker and greenish.


Referencing the excellent book on Parker 51s ~ Parker 51, by David and Mark Shepherd – gives some background on the box that this set came in.  It was a designed by Robert Gruen and Associates of New York during the 1940s for Parker 51 sets.  Another Gruen presentation box appears in my post of April 9, 2010 – Double Jewel Parker 51.  This box is a little different in that it is a lighter faux leather and designed for single jewel models.


The photo below is the best representation of the color difference between the pen and the pencil of this set.  Aside from discoloration of the pencil, this is an excellent set and representation of Canadian Vacumatics for a collection.


May 9, 2011 Posted by | Parker 51, Parker Pen - Canada, Parker Pen Company | , | 1 Comment


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