Fountain Pen Restoration

The Tandem Pen and Pencil

This week brought an interesting 1920s or earlier BCHR (black chased hard rubber) Combo to me. I do not know much about it, but the quirkiness of the setup attracted me to it. Quirky yes, high quality no.  There are collectors who specialize in Combination Pens (combos), which usually included a fountain pen and pencil in the same instrument.  I am not one of them, and do not pretend to have any knowledge of their history, production, variants etc…., but this is a cool one.

You can see the pen/pencil that I found, after I took it apart, below.  Note the gold plated nib and lever.  The nib reads “Gold Plate”  and is extremely pitted.  The sac was dried and reduced to dust.


I removed all of the old sac from the barrel, and the old lead from the pencil feed.  As the combo is black chased hard rubber with good color and chasing, I left the pencil section and barrel alone.  You can see that the “Gold Plate” nib is in very bad shape, so I went looking for a replacement.  I found a perfect size match in a MPCO (Moore Pen Company) 14K No. 3.  It fit perfectly in the section.  I attached a size 14 1/2 sac to the section and let it dry overnight.  The lever shown below is also gold plate, so I was very conservative in cleaning it, just wiping it with a jewelers cloth briefly.  Below are the three components below, ready for reassembly.


The pen and barrel screw into the back of the pencil (size 0.9mm lead) via threads.


Below, after the pen is inserted, this is the final setup of the pen/pencil.  This is how the combo would be carried – note that there is no clip, and the threads on the top of the pen’s section.


When using the pen, the pen section screws backwards into the pencil, allowing either to be used.  The combo measures 5 3/16 inches closed and 6 13/16 inches when the pen is exposed.


The only markings are the following, appearing on the pen/lever barrel and pencil sections.  The patent was applied for, but I have been unsuccessful in finding any approved patent for The Tandem pen.  I do not know who produced this, or if it ever was in wide production.



The patent linked and shown below is of a similar time period (though maybe a bit later) and is indicative of many of combos, which have the pen and pencil on the same barrel, with a cap.  Both The Tandem, and this more common design do protect the pen nib, though in different ways.



The Tandem did not ever enjoy widespread popularity, nor did any combination models, but is an interesting side of Fountain Pen history.  There are collectors who specialize in Combos.  I can certainly see their attraction.


February 11, 2013 - Posted by | The Tandem Pen/Pencil |


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