Fountain Pen Restoration

Charles Keene – Keene Fountain Pens

One of the advantages of having a blog such as this, where I can cover a wide variety of non commercial fountain pen topics, is that I get to talk with many people with similar interests. Some are experts, who communicate to share their knowledge and expertise, and some are fellow collectors who want to share similar experiences and add to the discussion. Once and a while, I hear from family members of persons discussed in various articles. I was fortunate to correspond with Frank Spors’ son on a few occasions, who shared valuable historical information on a few post about Spors Pens that I wrote a few years ago. I also have communicated with fellow collectors in Alabama and Argentina, who have shared many Artcraft Pen historical references that I would never had found.

A few weeks ago I received an email from the great granddaughter of the recipient of the letter below.  You can see that the letter was written to Mrs. Long by Charles Keene,  her cousin.  She had apparently attempted to assess the value of an antique, and possibly sell it.  I have previously written about Charles Keene in my post of February 21, 2011 – Keene Fountain Pens.  In that post I discussed Keene pens and their relationship with Eclipse.  The letter confirms the referenced New York address in 1931.  It also lists foreign locations and confirms that pens were certainly not his main product line.  I wonder what type of pen he used to sign this letter in 1931???

Mrs. Long died a few months after receiving this letter at age 55.  Her mother and Charles’ father were brother and sister, from Augusta, Maine.  Her great granddaughter also shared this obituary from the New York Times in 1947.

Charles obit from the New York Times published 27 Jul 1947 reads:
Charles A. Keene, retired diamond merchant and jeweler, formerly of many years proprietor of a store at 180 Broadway, New York, died here today in the Cape Cod Hospital after a week’s illness. As had been his custom for a long time he was spending the summer at his house in East Dennis. He was born eighty-one years ago in Windsor, ME, a son of William G. Keene.
Mr. Keene’s wife, Sadie B. Keene, who died on Sept 2, 1929 left her husband a life interest in her estate. of which the net value was appraised in Nov 1930, at $2,530,025. Mr. Keene’s New York residence in recent years was the Hotel Waldorf-Astoria.

I am thankful to Mrs. Long’s great grandaughter for sending this to me and granting me permission to share it here. It is another contribution to the history of fountain pens, shedding light on one of it’s fringe participants.


August 17, 2011 Posted by | Keene Fountain Pens | , | 3 Comments

Esterbrook Nurses Pen

Nurse pens, not purse pens.  There is a difference when discussing Esterbrook Pens of the 1950s.  In an earlier post – Esterbrook Pastel Pens – I discussed the restoration of an Aloha Gold Purse pen from the mid to late 1950s.  Esterbrook also produced a similar looking pen during this period, the Nurses Pen.  It looks very similar to the pastel line of pens, but is all white.  There actually was a white pastel pen also.  I have seen it with white jewels and there may have been other jewels for the purse pen, though I am not certain.

However, this Nurse’s pen is a different animal.  Below, you can see the pen after I took it apart.  As with the pastel pens, the plastic tends to be very brittle and one needs to be wary of cracking when working on them.  The sac on this one was still attached to the section and usable.  I decided to take it off, however and replace it with another size 16 sac.  This is the first, and only white pen that I have owned.  You can see that the threads were very ink stained, as was the inside of the cap.  The jbar inside the barrel was fully functional and there was no reason to take it out.  So, I spent most of my time cleaning the outside of the pen and inside of the cap.   I use Ink Nix on a toothbrush to clean threads and the results are usually very good.


Here is the completed pen with a 1555 Gregg (designed to be used for Shorthand – remember what that was?).


The pen measures 4 7/8 inches closed and 5 7/8 inches posted.  It is essentially the same size as an Esterbrook SJ.


Here is the inside of the cap – clean of all of the old ink stains.  This will assure the barrel threads remain clear of ink stains.


The Nurse Pen Imprint.  I am not an Esterbrook expert at all, but do know that these imprints changed over the years and dating of pens can often be done by the imprint.


The 1555 Gregg / Shorthand nib.  This is not a highly sought after nib, and provides a rather fine line.


Here is the Nurses pen, next to the Gold Pastel Purse pen from my post of July 5, 2011, Esterbrook Pastels.


Nurses pens came in white, with a variety of jewels.  This is the black jewel model and I have seem them with red and green jewels as well.  These other colors are more sought after than this model, with the green jeweled pen being the most difficult to find.  The cap differences were supposedly to match the different ink colors that a nurse would use.

Esterbrook pens present a myriad of models and colors for the collector – all very popular.  Keep an eye out for these colorful nurse and purse pens.  Though not very practical due to their tendency to stain quickly, they are an interesting side to fountain pen history.

August 5, 2011 Posted by | Esterbrook, Esterbrook Fountain Pens | | Leave a comment


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