Fountain Pen Restoration

Moore Fingertip

The Moore Fingertip Pen is a fountain pen I have been in search of for quite some time. I have run across a few, but they have been in distressed external condition. Recently, this pen crossed my path and I made a nice trade for it.

Moore Pens began near 1900 in Boston, Massachusetts and were a significant player in the fountain pen world for a good part of the first fifty years of the 20th Century. The Fingertip was their answer to the streamlined pens of the 1940s, highlighted by the Parker 51 and Sheaffer Triumph nibbed pens. Fingertips were made from 1946 to 1950, and unfortunately for Moore, did not enjoy the successes of the Parker and Sheaffer pens, and mark the beginning of the end for Moore. However, they were solid pens, and are extremely collectible today. Part of that collectibility is due to the failure of the line, as less were sold over the four years of production.

Below is a photo of the Fingertip after it was taken apart. The stainless steel section is friction fit to the barrel. I have heard that extreme care needs to be taken in removing the section, as the barrel is very prone to cracking. Fortunately, with gentle heat from my heat gun, the section separated with no problems. You can see the sac had hardened and broken apart in the barrel.

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I scraped the old sac off the section edge and cleaned out any remaining sac remnants from the barrel.  The lever system was in great shape and the pen shows no evidence of any usage.  This is confirmed when I rinsed the section in an ultrasonic cleaner, and also by the clean sales sticker on the cap, reverse side to the clip (see photo below).  I attached a size 18 sac to the section, using sac cement, and allowed it to dry overnight.  The friction fit section was then securely placed back in the barrel and the pen is ready for use.  Fingertips are well known for their rigid nibs.  This one is no exception.

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The pen measures a 5 1/8 inches closed and a substantial 6 3/8 inches posted.  Given the fit of the cap, I would think most would write without posting the cap.

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Here is a closeup of the price sticker, found on the cap, reverse of the clip, matching the price of $8.75 for pen only, quoted in the advertisement from my collection, below.

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From 1946 (Saturday Evening Post) – this is a rare advertisement for the Fingertip, aimed at the graduate.

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And a closeup of the pricing and features.  A few comments ~ Number 3 states that the lack of an exposed feed prevents fingers from getting ink on them.  Actually, users of this pen often note that it does bleed onto the fingers from the section/nib.  And Number 5 states that there is a full selection of pen points for every individual writing requirement.  I have never seen a catalog, or Moore publication, depicting all of the points available, but most I have seen in person or in print seem to be of the standard medium or fine variety.  If anyone has additional information on wide, italic, or other nibs, I would like to have the information to add here.

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As mentioned earlier, Fingertips were produced from 1946 to 1950.  They came in six solid colors (Black, Vintage Wine (this pen), Sunset Red, Stardust Blue, Woodsman Green, and Eiderdown White).  There were also two striped colors produced – Autumn Pearl and Seaspray Pearl.  These are a bit rarer, and command a higher price in today’s marketplace.

The Fingertip was a response to the trend by pen makers to produce more streamlined pens.  The major US manufacturers all had their entries in this competition.  Below are five pens from my collection that represent some of the entries.  All have streamlined features and had varied successes.  Obviously the Parker Vac 51 and the Sheaffer Triumph models were winning designs and marketing victories, and led to many further models and successes.  The other three, including the Moore Fingertip, were not so successful, and to varying degrees, marked the decline of their ability to compete in the future pen marketplace.

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Finally, the packaging.  You can see in the photo above that the Fingertip set (fountain pen and pencil) came in an attractive snap case.   This single sale pen ($8.75) came in the rather plain box photographed below.

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The Fingertip disappeared in 1950.  I really like this pen – the weight and uniqueness of the styling.  Though not successful in its time, it is still very collectible, and marks an interesting transition period in United States Fountain Pen history.

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September 6, 2012 - Posted by | Moore Fingertip, Moore Pen |

2 Comments »

  1. Phil,

    Very good post. The Fingertip really is a beautiful pen. I particularly admire the way the clip and the nib exhibit the same styling and present much the same image whether capped or open.

    John Hubbard

    Leap, and the net will appear ~ Zen saying

    Comment by John Tryon Hubbard | September 7, 2012 | Reply

  2. I don’t think I’ve previously seen a picture of the whole pen before (everyone’s fixated on that point), and I wonder if the shape of the barrel below the joint isn’t an inducement to adopt a very high grip and avoid finger stains that way. Regardless of mechanical considerations, it is a very pleasant pen to look upon.

    Comment by ravensmarch | September 12, 2012 | Reply


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