Fountain Pen Restoration

Artcraft In Argentina

Artcraft Pens are pens that I started taking an interest in after picking one up, restoring, and writing about it in August of 2009 ~ Artcraft Fountain Pens.   At that time I had done a bit of research from afar, utilizing a Birmingham, AL museum curator and several local sources.  After writing the above post, several knowledgeable collectors contacted me, both formally and mysteriously.   One person mentioned that the Company, led by J. G. Erwin picked up and left for Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1934.  I continued to seek out Artcrafts and wrote two more articles on them:

Cromer Artrcraft Lifelong Fountain Pen –  March 2, 2010

An Artcraft Wedding –  January 11, 2011

All three posts discussed Artcraft pens from the 1920s and 1930s in Birmingham, Alabama.  Over the course of the last year or so I have been corresponding with a few collectors in Argentina and gather bits and pieces on Artcraft there.  I was able to secure a couple of their pens and worked to restore them last week.

The first photo below shows the two pens after I have taken them apart.  The pieces are co-mingled,  but two stand out.  First, the top left looks similar to a Parker 51 hood, containing the feeder and nib.  I chose not to take this apart.  With all of my 51 restorations I have done so, but this was especially stubborn to take apart and I decided to just clean it and leave it in one piece – more later.  Second is the gold cap.  There was no jewel in the cap, but there was a chamber and threads where a jewel had been.

You can also see that the parts are very dirty and in need of strong cleaning.

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The first pen that I worked on was the black plastic lever filler.  I completely cleaned all of the parts, including scraping the old sac remnants from the section.   I cleaned the section, inside and out, as well as the feed.  The nib is a “Park Avenue” and I do not know if this is a replacement, or original to the pen.  If a replacement, it was replaced in Argentina, as the pen was purchased there.  Cleaning the nib eliminated all traces of gold plate, but the steel nib fits in with the polished silver cap band and clip.   These arrived in silver and I suspect there was no gold plate on them when new.  I installed a size 16 sac on the section after the feed and nib were inserted.  The section was placed back in the barrel and the lever system works fine .

As you can see, the cap band and clip polished up well, as did the plastic barrel and cap. The pen measures 5 1/8 inches capped and 6 1/4 inches posted. It is very similar to the Parker (Safford) Fifth Avenue in size and style.

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The imprint below reads:

ARTCRAFT PEN CO ARG.

INDUSTRIA  ARGENTINA

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Here is a close up of the Park Avenue nib. Again, I am uncertain as to if this is the original nib.

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The next pen restored is an Escritor with the Parker 51 like hooded nib and aerometric filler.  As I mentioned earlier, I chose to leave the hood/collector/feed/ and nib intact.  I placed them in an ultrasonic cleaner and washed them until any sign of ink was gone.  I then attached a size 14 sac to the section and trimmed it to fit the aerometric filling unit.  I then glued the aero unit to the section and allowed it to sit overnight.  I then began the long task of cleaning the barrel and cap.  Both were very dirty and scratched up.  After quite a bit of effort, I was able to clean these up and, with the help of some scratch remover, I realized that the barrel and section are actually a dark blue.  Below are photos of the pen which measures 5  3/16 inches capped and 6 1/8 inches posted.

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As I noted earlier, the cap had a black plastic jewel that was missing, so I found Parker 51 jewel in my parts bin and used it as a substitute.  I fits perfectly and spices the pen up a bit.

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The imprint on the barrel and on the aerometric filler reads:

Escritor (in script)

INDUSTRIA ARGENTINA

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The two Argentinian advertisements below, that I was able to obtain from a collector in that country, reveal the tie in to Artcraft, or what remained of it in Argentina.  The pen is not a perfect match, but very close.  Editorial Comment – Golf certainly has changed…..

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Finally, a photo of a Parker 51 above this Escritor, showing the similarity.  Given that Parker had a presence in South America, it would be interesting to know if there was any relationship between the two Companies.   As always, I look forward to hearing more from readers who have this knowledge.

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Edit ~  An excellent comment from Rodrigo in Argentina, who has shared his knowledge about these pens.  He states:  The second one, with Parker 51 inspiration iI guess is a Escritor 57 (series ´30s, ´50s and ´60s were aerometric and ´40s were button fillers, someone in metacrylate and others in celuloid, all models with a long range of caps styles and measurements).

About the Parker and Escritor -or Artcraft-, there were no relationship between  both companies. The confusion comes when an few sellers relates Parker brand with his Escitor items (the similar ones) as a strategy of sale. Thank you Rodrigo for this information!

Edit (8-25-14) Aldo, a collector in Argentina has just shared a great find and puzzle piece for Artcraft both in the US and in Argentina.  The following photos are of a Ford’s Deluxe Pen/Pencil combo, from Argentina, and Artcraft.  John Hubbard, a fellow collector and friend has researched the Ford Cromer – Ford Pens connection for quite some time and his website can be found here.  Aldo’s photographs are below.  Thank you Aldo, for this excellent piece of information!

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June 23, 2011 Posted by | Artcraft Fountain Pens, Escritor Pens, Uncategorized | , | 1 Comment

Another Yankee Surprise

A pen friend jokingly suggested that maybe I should change the name of this to Kraker Fountain Pen Restoration. I do apologize for the frequent post on these related pens and ephemera, but I keep finding them and other collectors tend to alert me to their existence.  I keep thinking that I have seen most of the variants that I want to, and then another pops up, like the one in this post.  Back on November 1, 2010 I wrote about a Yankee Pen that I restored for a fellow collector – Moore Tuscan And A Yankee Surprise II – that had the first Yankee nib that I had seen.  This week’s pen provides the second.

Below is a photo of the pen after I took it apart.  You can see that the sac was in one piece, though hardened.  Also, there is significant staining around the threads on the barrel where the cap sits.  This is very typical of vintage pens as the ink finds its way into the cap and then to these threads.

Also, the cap band is missing – a sad thing – as the color on this pen is very very good.

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A reader asked if I would post a few action photos, so I will do so in some coming posts.  This week I will show three related to the feed and section.   After taking the pen apart, I cleaned off the old sac remnants from the section nipple.  You can see this process in the first photo below.  I first use an exacto knife to do this over the entire area.  Be careful not to be too aggressive as you do not want to damage the nipple, which will force you to find another…  After this step, I take some sand paper and further sand off the remnants to make a perfectly smooth surface to cement the new sac to.

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I then cleaned the feed.  I first wipe it down, cleaning the old ink and dirt from the outside.  I then take a knife and gently clean out the channels of the feed.  You will be surprised how much old ink and grime comes out of these channels.  Be careful not to damage the channels.  Typically there are smaller channels within the large channel seen.

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Skipping back to the section, I then clean the inside with a q tip and water, dipping the q tip in the water and swabbing the inside of the section.  This will take several q tips, especially for a pen that has been used often.  It is interesting to find out what ink was used last in the pen.   You can see that this one was black.

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After these steps, I reinserted the polished nib and cleaned feed back into the dry and clean section.  I then attached a size 18 sac to the section and let it dry.  Shifting to the cap and barrel, I polished them with scratch remover and polish.   There were the standard surface scratches, but you can see that the color was excellent.  I am not sure why, as these green celluloid pens usually discolor over time, but not this one.  I also spent considerable time on the barrel threads, removing the old ink stains from the inside of the cap.  The inside of the cap also was cleaned to remove all traces of old ink to prevent this from reoccurring.

Here is the finished pen, a mid 1920s Yankee, produced by the Michael George Co. (George Kraker) of Grand Haven, Michigan.  I am searching for a matching cap band and when I find one, this will be the pen I put it on, due to its excellent color.

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Measurements are 5 3/8 inches closed and 6 3/4 inches posted.

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A clean, crisp imprint with the familiar Non-Breakable claim.

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The highlight of this pen is the nib.  It is the second Yankee nib I have seen, and a much larger No. 8.   The down side is that the tip is chipped and in need of replacement iridium.  I am not sure if I want to spring for this, but given the uniqueness of the nib, I might be tempted.

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Kraker also produced a Green Dixie in Grand Haven, with a large Dixie No. 8 nib in Grand Haven.  Photos of this pen can be seen here in my post of August 1, 2008, titled – A Dixie in Michigan.

I won’ t link to all of the articles that I have written on these Kraker related pens, but if you are interested, just click on Kraker, Yankee, Dixie, Belmont, or Pencraft in the Blogroll on the right of this page.  Quite an interesting time line and assortment of pens and brands (at least to me).

June 14, 2011 Posted by | George M. Kraker, Kraker, Yankee Pen | , | 2 Comments

Wilson Fountain Pens III

This is the third installment of information about Wilson Fountain Pens (India). My first post was dated February 9, 2009, titled Imitation Is The Sincerest Form Of Flattery. The second, Wilson Fountain Pen Advertising, was dated July 20, 2009. I was originally interested in this pen as it was a very good copy of the successful Parker Pen from the 30s and 40s, the Vacumatic.

In my post of February 9, 2009 I mentioned that Wilson moved to Andheri in 1945, and it appears by this postmark that they (Dhiraj Pen Manufacturing Co.) were located there in 1960.  I had surmised that my pen was from the 1940 and it appears that this pen was still either in production, or being sold, as late as 1960, when this envelope was mailed in 1960.

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Unfortunately, the envelope that I found was empty, and I do not know what Dhiraj and De Sanno and Son were corresponding about.

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No restoration this week, but another piece of the Wilson Pen (The Universal Favorite) puzzle.  In the last few years I have had several inquiries based on the two articles above, and I hope this little bit of ephemera helps add to the collective research.

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Any further information on the Wilson line of pens would be appreciated.

Edit 10/15/11~ David Isaacson has allowed me to share the following photo, which is another interesting piece of Wilson ephemera.  A thread regarding these pens appears here.

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10-12-13 Edit:  An outstanding piece, written by Purvi Sanghvi, a relative of the founders of Wilson Pens, can be found here.  It details some of the history of Wilson Pens!

June 6, 2011 Posted by | Wilson Pen Company | | 6 Comments

   

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