Fountain Pen Restoration

Pen And Ink Frames

I was playing with my iPhone this morning and came up with three rough frame projects, combining vintage pens, ink, and vintage advertisements, many of which have appeared here over the past six years. No restoration – just some fun. I hope to use these more in the future, when I learn to be a bit more exact.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App


April 28, 2012 Posted by | Carters, Parker 51, Parker Vacumatic | , , | 1 Comment

Waterman 3rd Generation Skywriter

I first wrote about Waterman Skywriter’s in my post about Waterman 2nd Generation Skywriter’s, dated March 1, 2012.  As you may recall, the second generation Skywriters were produced in the early 1950s, capitalizing on the popularity of air travel, and similar to the efforts of the Sheaffer Skyboy, and Wahl Eversharp Skyliner.  Waterman followed up the second generation effort with the pen below.  You can see from the exploded view that it is a standard lever filler with a size 16 sac. Note the nib/feed/section assembly is typical of the Waterman pens of the period.  I have found that it is more prudent to simply leave these together and run them through an ultrasonic cleaner, instead of taking them apart. The nib sits deep in the section, and the risk of cracking the section is great.  Typically, as with this pen, there is not a lot of built up ink and the section cleans up easily.


So, all I had to do was clean the section unit, polish the nib, and install a new size 16 sac to the section, after trimming it to the small barrel length.

Below is the restored Waterman Skywriter, measuring 5 3/8 inches closed and 5 3/4 inches posted.



Below, you can see that the Skywriter is a cousin to the Waterman C/F (Cartridge Fill).  I have previously restored a couple C/F pens and more can be learned here ~

Waterman C/F – April 7, 2011

Waterman C/F Trade In Set – November 22, 2011

The main difference in the two pens is that the C/F is, of course, a cartridge filler, and the Skywriter, a lever filler.  I look at this mid to later fifties Skywriter as a blend of the open nibbed Waterman’s such as the Crusader, and the C/F.


Here is a photo comparing the last two generations of the Skywriter.  Similar in size, but very different in form.  My feeling is that the quality has been reduced even more with this model, compared to generation 2.


An unexceptional English 14 carat nib is part of this pen, not labeled with the Skywriter name, as with earlier models.  I have seen some third generation models with Skywriter nibs, and wonder if this is original, or a late replacement.


The imprint, confirming that this pen was made in England, and a medium nib,



As with the second generation, very little, if any, advertising information exists on these inexpensive pens.  For the collector, they are an interesting sidelight, even if of lower quality.

I have recently acquired a first generation model, and after restoration, will post further information.  Stay tuned…..

April 19, 2012 Posted by | Waterman Pen Company, Waterman Skywriter | | 2 Comments

Two Wrongs Do Make A Right – Parker Signet

Though I am not an avid Parker 51 collector, I have always wanted to find an all gold example.  This limits the choices to two ~  The Gold Plate Signet/Insignia, or the  Gold Presidential.  As I have yet to win the lottery, my sights have been set on find a Signet / Insignia.  The first question is:  Why do I call this pen by two names.  Without getting into the legal details, it is my understanding that Parker initially named this pen the Signet, and due to this name already being used by another fountain pen, they changed the name to Insignia.  Both were introduced by Parker into their highly successful 51 line of pens in 1949, as aerometric fillers.  I have restored, and written about, many vacumatic and aerometric 51s over the past six years.  Here are a few ~

Double Jewel Parker 51 – April 9, 2010

Black and Gold Parker 51 Vacumatic – September 25, 2008

Final Year For Parker 51 Vacumatics – 1948 – January 15, 2009

Parker 51 First Year Double Jewel – June 16, 2010

Parker 51 Canadian Set – May 9, 2011

As you can see below, it took me a while, but I found two Signet/Insignias.   The first is on the bottom of the photo.  It is was a pen with a very nice cap, clean filling unit and medium nib.  However, the barrel had many, many dents and dings.  I have a fellow pen club member who has the tools to take these out, but he advised that if there are too many and they are deep, the lines of the cap will be compromised when the cap is reworked.  So, I set the pen aside, hoping to find a mate at some point.

Recently, I ran across the perfect match.  The pen on the top of the photo had a close to perfect barrel (with imprint), but a cap with numerous dings and dents.  I brought it home for a very low price, and proceeded to mix and match. Though not the ideal solution, and looked upon negatively by the fountain pen purist, it gave me a very nice looking Signet, and a really bad looking one.


Here is the photo of the final product.  Often called a ” frankenpen”  by collectors, it takes parts from two or more pens to make one.  It suits my purposes, though if I ever resell it, full disclosure would be in order.



The following photo shows the two created pens – the top one being a nice example of a Signet and the bottom, well…a scary example.


Parker also came out with a silver model – the Flighter – at the same time.  Here are the Signet/Insignia and a Flighter from my collection.


The imprint on the barrel – Meta D. O’Connell.  Not much information exists on Meta herself, but she was born into a famous Boston family and was the sister of Lenahan O’Connell.

In an article about her famous brother, it is stated:

“O’Connell, named for his Lenahan grandfather, recalls in a book he wrote about the law firm on its 100th anniversary that his father constantly insisted that his children “always write the words down.” The senior O’Connell believed that the spoken word is all too soon forgotten, “no matter how powerful and eloquent.”

“You must always write them down to keep them from being lost and to ensure they will be preserved for future generations,” the father urged his nine sons and three daughters-Joseph F. Jr., Lenahan, Frederick P, Finbarr, Marisita, Kevin, Brendan, Meta, Lelia, Conleth, Diarmuid, and Aidan. O’Connell’s surviving brother Diarmuid lives in Cohasset.”

Perhaps this pen was used by Meta to “write the words down” as insisted by her father.   In any event, I find it is always interesting to search for the names that I find imprinted on pens from time to time.  You never know what you may learn.  In this example, I was able to follow a story that included a famous Boston legal and political family, including brushes with John Kennedy and Teddy Roosevelt.


I am not an advocate of mixing and matching pen components to create new pens, especially if you can preserve the original pen and parts, but in this example, as long as it is disclosed at any future sale or trade, I have created two usable pens, and one that I will be proud to display.   The bonus is that the acquisition cost is less for both of these pens, than clean example would sell for.

I guess the lesson is that if you are seriously chasing down an elusive pen for your collection and you find an imperfect example, you may want to take it home and wait for the day when another imperfect pen has a different problem, and the parts can be traded out.

April 4, 2012 Posted by | Parker 51, Parker Pen Company, Parker Signet/Insignia | , , | 3 Comments


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