Fountain Pen Restoration

Artcraft Advertising In Argentina

Yes, another Artcraft post. For those not keeping count, here are the others:

Artcraft Fountain Pens – August 18, 2009

Cromer Artcraft Lifelong Fountain Pen – March 2, 2010

An Artcraft Wedding – January 11, 2011

Artcraft in Argentina – June 23, 2011

Artcraft Gold Ringtop Fountain Pen – September 2, 2011

The fourth one listed covered the restoration of two Argentinian produced Artcraft pens, including some magazine advertisements related to the Escritor. These posts over the years have led to a fellow collector and I communicating on the Artcraft brand in his country. He has provided me with several photos of Artcraft pens from Argentina and surprised me recently with this advertisement.  It is a great find for those interested in both US and Argentina branded Artcraft Pens, and even for Parker and Waterman enthusiasts..

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This is an amazing piece of Artcraft history for a couple of reasons. First, it compares the Artcraft pen to two iconic pens, the Parker Vacumatic (looks to be a mid to late 1930s first generation version) and a Waterman Patrician.  Second, the Artcraft pen used for the comparison is almost identical to the pen restored in my post of August 18, 2009 titled Artcraft Fountain Pens ~ photo below.

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Clearly, the advertisement is pointing out the similarities and differences of the three brands.  Much current discussion is spent on the three tiers of fountain pens during this time period.  Parker and Waterman are universally placed in the first tier.  Artcraft is clearly not.  As a fan of their pens, I enjoy seeing it advertised along side of them.

While on the topic of Artcraft, here is another another link to an Artcraft Site, produced by a friend and fellow collector:

Artcraft Collection

Finally, thank you Rodrigo, for this wonderful gift, and for allowing me to share it!

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September 26, 2011 Posted by | Artcraft Fountain Pens, Uncategorized | | 1 Comment

Esterbrook Bowling Pen

The Story behind this restoration takes place in Camden, New Jersey, just across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  In the mid 1800s Esterbrook Pens began in Camden and stayed there until the 1960s.  I have also written about other Esterbrook Pens in the following posts ~

Fountain Pen Restoration 101 – dated May 8, 2008

Esterbrook Pastels – dated July 5, 2011

Esterbrook Nurses Pen – dated August 5, 2011

As you can see below, the Nurses Pen looking pen came to me in quite a state of disrepair and was very dirty.  As discussed in the past, these probably date to the 1950s and are larger in size to the standard pastel pens.  The previous nurses pen that I restored (August 5, 2011 post) had black jewels.  This pen comes with red jewels, similar to some nurses pens, presumably to hold red ink.  This one is a bit different as we will see below.

First for the cleanup and restoration.  As mentioned, this pen came with many purple ink stains (inside and out) and many caked on dirt/grime stains.  This is a bit more problematic with a white pen, obviously, but nothing that a bit of elbow grease can’t solve.  I started by soaking the barrel, cap and nib unit in an ultrasonic cleaner.  Make sure to do each separately, as the ink from each can stain the outside of the barrel and cap and make the job that much harder.  After the ultrasonic clean, I scrubbed the outside and inside of the barrel and cap with scratch remover and a dremel at low speed.  This did a remarkable job on the outside of cleaning things up.  The inside of the cap was caked with ink and required repeated doses of water and q tip as well as small toothbrush.  Cleaning the entire cap inside is necessary to prevent the barrel and barrel threads of getting dirty again.  I use a toothbrush and ink nix on the barrel threads and it does a great job of cleaning them thoroughly, even when white.

The nib unit cleaned up well with a combination of the ultrasonic and a jewelers cloth.

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The finished result is below.  It measures 4 7/8 inches closed and 5 7/8 inches posted.

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The interesting facets of this pen are the two imprints.  First is an impression of the Corporate logo of RCA Victor A.A. (A.A. = Athletic Association).  The second is “200 Bowling Club”.

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RCA Victor, a merger of RCA and the Victor Talking Machine Company had a large Corporate presence in Camden, New Jersey at the same time that Esterbrook did.  The RCA Victor Athletic Association provided the employees of RCA in the Camden area an organized outlet for a wide variety of sports activities.  Please read this link for a few newspaper articles regarding the organization and some of its endeavors.

My guess is that this pen, conveniently purchased or provided by its local neighbor Esterbrook, was given to bowlers who achieved a 200 average, or score.  I have not seen others, but I wonder if they were all white, or if other colors were used as well.  Given the production period of these pens, this would have occurred in the 50s in Camden.

Another interesting side note that ties the two companies together is that when Esterbrook moved out of Camden in 1964, they sold their old factory buildings to RCA.

Here is a closeup of the red cap end.

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Finally, this pen (top) next to the black ended nurses pen from my collection.

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Esterbrooks are very common and highly collectible pens that are quite easy to restore.  Even more interesting are the variants that pop up from time to time.  As I have mentioned in the past, please visit Esterbrook.net  for more expert information on this brand.

8-25-12 Edit: Please note this excellent post form Jon Veley’s Pencil Blog – Right Next Door – which includes an Esterbrook / RCA “Bowling” pencil.

September 13, 2011 Posted by | Esterbrook, Esterbrook Fountain Pens | , , , | 3 Comments

Artcraft Gold Ringtop Fountain Pen

Sometimes good things come in small packages. I am normally not a collector of ringtops, or small fountain pens. The exception to this rule is when it is a brand that I am researching or interested in. The opportunity to pick up another Artcraft (Birmingham, AL) for a ringtop price was too good to pass up. I have written about Artcrafts on three separate occasions ~

Artcraft Fountain Pens – August 18, 2009

Cromer Artcraft Lifelong Fountain Pen – March 2, 2010

An Artcraft Wedding – January 11, 2011

You can see from the photo below that this one comes in three pieces.  The reason for this is that the lever is intact and the feed and nib appear to be fit extremely securely into the section.  I tried to move them with heat and with water help and they did not budge.  This is not a problem as long as you can clean each of them.  I let the ultrasonic cleaner do the work here.  After several cleanings, the assembly was very clean and channels appear to be fully open.

I was careful on the barrel and cap at first, being careful in case the gold was a thin gold plate.   This does not appear to be the case and I was able to clean them using the ultrasonic cleaner and a jewelers cloth.

Finally, I attached a trimmed down (1 3/16 inch) size 14 sac to the section.

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The resulting pen is below, a gold ringtop pen with a screw in barrel.  It measures 3 5/8 inches closed and 5 3/16 inches posted.

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For the sake of comparison, the Artcraft (Bottom) next to a 1920s Wahl Ringtop. The sizes are identical, though the chasing, section configuration, and lever is different.

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Here is a close up of the chasing, the common lever, and clean barrel end.

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The ringtop is also quite clean.

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Finally, a nice medium Artcraft No. 2 nib with the familiar artist’s easel logo.

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The pen has no markings on it at all and I have no proof of whether this is actually an Artcraft, but the nib and its apparent molding to the feed and section lead me to believe that it is.  An Artcraft collector has commented to me that he believes this is indeed an Artcraft.

I am not sure what attracts me to Artcrafts – maybe it is the fact that they were located in Alabama, away from the centers of Fountain Pen production, or maybe the fact that they mysteriously left for South America in the mid 1930s and I don’t know why.  Whatever the reason, I always enjoy hunting them down and learning a little more each time.

Addendum:  I have recently come across some fantastic Artcraft / Argentina ephemera which I will be photographing and posting soon.  Thank you so much, Rodrigo!

September 2, 2011 Posted by | Artcraft Fountain Pens | | 2 Comments

   

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