Fountain Pen Restoration

Typhoo Tea Fountain Pen Cards

Back on January 19, 2008, I wrote in a post titled Tea Anyone?, about the restoration of  Typhoo Tea Fountain Pen (photo below).


In that post, I also shared two photos of  cards that came with the English Tea.  One was Trees of the Countryside and one was Interesting Events in British History.   Recently, I was fortunate to find a few more.  The sets that I acquired are from the Wild Flowers In Their Families and British Birds And Their Eggs sets.  I have photographed a few below.

Interestingly, the Coronation Year Offer for the Vacuum Filler is from the 1937 Coronation of George VI.   Coronation History can be viewed here.

I do not have any Typhoo pens from this vintage, and my pen is from an earlier vintage.  However, I find these cards an interesting part of Fountain Pen History.  To read more about the sets produced, read this web article.




I am glad that I stumbled on to these cards, three years after working on the Typhoo Lever Filler.  They are another interesting glimpse into fountain pens and their place in history.


July 25, 2011 Posted by | Ty.phoo | | 7 Comments

Libertyville Dixie In Green And Black

George Michael Kraker made pens all over the Midwest (Kansas City, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Grand Haven, MI. All of these have been well covered in various posts over the years here. Libertyville, IL was his final stop, at least as far as the major production of pens is concerned. As varied as his stops in the Midwest were the brands of pens he made. Click on the blogroll at the right for Yankee, Belmont, Pencraft, Drew, and Monogram pen brands, and his influence is evident. Dixie Pens were a later model of his, perhaps to counterbalance his earlier and lasting Yankee brand. They were usually well made, colorful and often sporting contrasting colored cap and/or barrel ends.

This week’s project is no different, although a pattern I had not seen in person before. My friend, the late Dennis Bowden, had a few that he shared photos of with this pattern and I had always hoped to find one.

As you can see below, the pattern is a green and black plastic swirl.  Nothing exceptional to the pen – it is a standard Kraker lever filler, with the locking lever.

The sac had hardened, and the hanging lever system was still in place and functional.  Having an intact sac allows one to compare sizes, though I know that these usually take size 16, it is nice to have an old one to compare.

The nib is a Warranted No. 3.  Other Dixie’s that I have have all been made in Grand Haven, MI, except for a large yellow one, and had a mixture of Warranted and Dixie Nibs.  It needed quite a bit of careful cleaning, which was done with Pentiques metal cleaner and a slow dremel.


The section and feed were cleaned thoroughly using qtips for the section, after the old sac was cleaned off, and with an x-acto knife for the feed and its various grooves.

The inside of the cap was completely cleaned as I like to remove all the pesky ink deposits that like to reside here. The outside of the barrel and cap were polished along with the clip and cap band, which are not cheap plate and hold up well to polish.

The final result of this smallish pen is below.


The pen measures 4 1/4 inches capped and 5 3/4 inches posted.


I would be interested to see if there is a corresponding large pen, with No. 8 nib, as many of the surviving Dixie’s are this larger size. I am always on the lookout for these and look forward to more patterns and sizes.
Edit (11-24-15) – I was fortunate to find a pencil that matches this pen.  Two exceptions,  however.  The corresponding pencil in the photo below is a Pencraft, not a Dixie, and is a larger size when the Dixie is closed.  This adds a bit of fuel to the question I raised above about there being a larger size pen available in this plastic stock.  However, there is no mistaking the same plastic stock and design.  Both have Libertyville imprints as well.  Nice Kraker set!

 photo DSC_0009_zpsfdv3zzog.jpg

July 15, 2011 Posted by | Dennis Bowden, Dixie Fountain Pens, George M. Kraker, Kraker | , , , | 1 Comment

Esterbrook Pastels

This week’s restoration is and Esterbrook Pastel “Purse” pen from the mid 1950s.  It is amazing how many fountain pen collectors have started their collections with Esterbrooks, but it makes sense.  They are plentiful (especially the earlier J, SJ, and LJ models in the basic colors) and relatively reasonable in price, and quite easy to restore.  The interchangeable nibs also make them attractive.  As common as they are, it is somewhat amazing, and embarrassing that I have only discussed them in one previous post out of over 150.  The pen that I worked on this week is specifically an Aloha Gold Purse Pen from sometime around 1957.  These pastel pens are much more difficult to find, especially in good condition.

Below is a photo of the pen after I took it apart.  Be especially careful when taking these pens apart as the plastic used in the pastel series of pens is much less sturdy than the standard Esterbrook  pen.  It tends to be quite brittle and prone to cracking.

Fortunately, this pen came apart fairly quickly and without incident.  You can see that the nib is barely stained and the threads are moderately inked.  So the repair consisted of gentle cleaning an polishing.  The lever and internal jbar are in perfect working order and there is no reason to replace them.  I am not certain of the nib is original.  Most of these that I have seen carry a lower level 1551 type nib.  This one had a 9556, which is a nice fine nib.


Here is the pen after polishing and replacement of the section into the barrel and screwing in the nib unit.


These pastel pens are smaller than the SJ model and measure 4 3/8 inches closed and 5 1/4 inches posted.


Here is the Aloha Gold pen between two slightly earlier models (Aqua and Pink).  The earlier pastels purse pens had black jewels.  Later colors were brighter and often had more colorful jewels (as this aloha gold model has yellow jewels)


I have a couple of Esterbrook advertisements that have photos of pastel purse pens.  The first one, from late 1954 shows a yellow, earlier purse pen with plain black jewels.


This second advertisement, from 1955, shows an aqua set, in a nice Petite-Pak in a “findable” case.  These cases are highly collectible and are a nice addition to any collection if found in clean condition and matching the pen and pencil.


Esterbrook collectors have a wide array of choices of styles and colors to collect.  For additional information, I would recommend the following resources ~

The Fountain Pens of Esterbrook, by Paul Hoban (1992)


and an excellent website, founded and maintained by an Esterbrook expert ~  Both of these resources assisted me in this article.

July 5, 2011 Posted by | Esterbrook | , | 2 Comments


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