Fountain Pen Restoration

Fountain Pen Surprises

Looks can be deceiving!   Below are five fountain pen barrels and caps that certainly appear to be various forms of vintage pens.  Before you glance down the page, try and guess what surprise awaits inside each…..

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The first “instrument” (from the top) is a Holy Water Sprinkler.  Produced by an unknown maker, it has a gold (worn) cross on the side of the barrel and is a cheap button filler.  Many of the major fountain pen manufacturers made this for priests to use during a mass, or to take with them when calling on the sick, or those not able to be at church.  I have seen examples from Parker and Waterman, and read about a Leboeuf model as well.  All of these are of higher quality than this “no- name” version, but any are highly collectible.

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Here is a close up of the end of the sprinkler.  The Aspergillum  measures 5 5/16 inches capped and 5 3/16 inches posted.  The lack of a nib leads to the shorter capped measurement.

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The cross on this is simply a gold painted indentation to the barrel and has worn off.  I plan on repainting it as soon as I can come up with the correct Testor’s match.

The second instrument is a Duo Fast Stapler.  Duo-Fast is a 70 year old Company, based in Illinois (USA), still specializing in all types of fastening processes and tools.  These are relatively common and can be found on-line for low prices.  I am not sure how practical they were, and if they had any mass use, but probably were a promotional item.  Finding one with the correct staples is a plus, as most are without them.

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A closeup of the tarnished clip.

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The stapler measures 5 3/16 inches capped and the instrument does not post.

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The third instrument is a green Taylor thermometer holder.  The Taylor Instruments Company was founded by George Taylor in Rochester, NY in 1851, and still exists today – selling precision measurement devices.  This green plastic pen cap and barrel is of third tier quality and has an internal metal bar to keep the thermometer in place and from moving.  It reminds me of a j-bar in a lever filler, with out the lever…

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The holder measures 4. 7/8 inches closed.

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The last two instruments are postal scales – in – a – pen.  The first one, in black hard rubber, was produced by the Exact Weight Scale Company of Columbus, OH.  There is an imprint on the cap end to this effect.

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The imprint on the side of the barrel suggests that it was made for the Atlas Novelty Company of Chicago and Pittsburgh.  According to a web search, “The Smith Scale Co., manufacturer of the Exact Weight Scales, was “organized in 1916, for the purpose of making scales under the patents of Walter Standish Smith.” Smith later changed its name to Exact Weight Scale Co., was in Columbus, OH and was in business at least until 1973 as evidenced by patents assigned to the company”.  Further research shows that the Company may have lasted longer than this and well into the late 8os, though in Canada.

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The scale, used for letters that would be clipped (the clip on this model is broken) to the end for weighing was produced in many variations – black/black (this one) – black/white – white/red – and later plastic models in white pearl (see below) and green marble. Years of production were probably in the 1935 to 1955 range, due to postal rates shown below.  Most of the earlier variations included advertising or promotional messages similar to this one.

The end of the barrel has the instrument name – Postalett.  A Patent Search shows that Patent No. 2,009,363 was issued to William Scheurer of the Exact Weight Scale Company in 1935.  A full view of the patent can be found here.
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The scale itself, showing the 8 ounce limit for letters, and the rates for the time period.

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The last fountain pen look alike is also a postal scale, and I believe it is a later product, made by, or for, the same Company.

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The scales are the same as in the earlier all black model, as is the letter clip., but I am quite certain this is also a Exact Weight Scale Company Postalett.

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These are just a few of the many fountain pen look-a likes that were produced over time.  Some novel, some useful, and some spiritual.  All have fooled the collector when scouring an estate sale or antique store.  I have a few more that I will clean up and ready for another article soon.

October 22, 2012 Posted by | Duo Fast Stapler Pen, Holy Water Sprinkler, Postalett, Taylor Thermometer Pen | 3 Comments

Filene’s Fountain Pen

What is it with Department Stores and Yellow Ringtop fountain pens?

In my post of January 16, 2012 , I restored and discussed a yellow ringtop with the Buettell (Dubuque, IA) imprint on it. Buettell was a Store in Dubuque and this pen has the Filene’s imprint.  More on Filene’s later.

As with many vintage yellow flat tops that were used, old ink is a staining problem that is difficult to deal with.  As you can see below, this pen was no exception.

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I performed all the usual cleaning and repair steps on this one.  The plastic barrel and cap are of fairly cheap quality and remind me of the Townsend pen that I restored back on October 12, 2011.  I spent a lot of time on the barrel threads.  As I have mentioned before, I find that a toothbrush works well with some kind of ink remover such as Ink Nix.  I removed all of the old sac and replaced it with a trimmed size 16.  The nib was cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner and finished off with a jewelers cloth.  The barrel and cap outsides were gently cleaned with scratch remover and polish.  The inside of the cap was caked with old ink and I cleaned it in the ultrasonic cleaner and then with qtips and water.  Ever after all of the ink was removed, you can see below that the cap is permanently stained as the old ink has altered the yellow plastic.  I finished up by cleaning the section and feed and reinserting the nib.  Finally, I attached a shortened size 16 sac to the section/feed/nib and inserted it into the barrel.

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The pen measures 4 5/8 inches closed and 6 inches capped.

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Here is a closeup of the barrel imprint – FILENE’S.  Filene’s was a department store that was started in Boston in the late 1800s and built their flagship store there in 1912.  The famous retailer continued in operation until the early 21st century.

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The nib, which I am thinking is not original to the pen, is a Wahl Eversharp Signature 2, and in very nice condition.  I am uncertain as to its originality because I do not think this would be a Wahl product.  I do not know who did make it, but Wahl would not be on the top of my list. The nib, which has been in the pen for a while, is a nice addition, however.

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Here are my two “department store” pens together.  The top pen is this Filene’s pens and the bottom is the Dubuque, IA Buettell Brothers Pen.  I would be interested to know if these were provided to employees to use in the stores (the ringtop would make it easier to wear carry and use), or as gifts.   Yellow would certainly make them stand out!   As mentioned in the Buettell article, I would place these in the 1930s range of production, based on the style.  Certainly, Filene’s was a vibrant retailer in Boston at that time.

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I would be interested to hear if anyone has any other large retail store logo pens from this time period.  An interesting subset of the fountain pen world, to be sure…..

October 6, 2012 Posted by | Buettell Brothers Dubuque Iowa, Filene's Fountain Pen | , | 1 Comment

   

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