Fountain Pen Restoration

Libertyville Dixie In Green And Black

George Michael Kraker made pens all over the Midwest (Kansas City, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Grand Haven, MI. All of these have been well covered in various posts over the years here. Libertyville, IL was his final stop, at least as far as the major production of pens is concerned. As varied as his stops in the Midwest were the brands of pens he made. Click on the blogroll at the right for Yankee, Belmont, Pencraft, Drew, and Monogram pen brands, and his influence is evident. Dixie Pens were a later model of his, perhaps to counterbalance his earlier and lasting Yankee brand. They were usually well made, colorful and often sporting contrasting colored cap and/or barrel ends.

This week’s project is no different, although a pattern I had not seen in person before. My friend, the late Dennis Bowden, had a few that he shared photos of with this pattern and I had always hoped to find one.

As you can see below, the pattern is a green and black plastic swirl.  Nothing exceptional to the pen – it is a standard Kraker lever filler, with the locking lever.

The sac had hardened, and the hanging lever system was still in place and functional.  Having an intact sac allows one to compare sizes, though I know that these usually take size 16, it is nice to have an old one to compare.

The nib is a Warranted No. 3.  Other Dixie’s that I have have all been made in Grand Haven, MI, except for a large yellow one, and had a mixture of Warranted and Dixie Nibs.  It needed quite a bit of careful cleaning, which was done with Pentiques metal cleaner and a slow dremel.

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The section and feed were cleaned thoroughly using qtips for the section, after the old sac was cleaned off, and with an x-acto knife for the feed and its various grooves.

The inside of the cap was completely cleaned as I like to remove all the pesky ink deposits that like to reside here. The outside of the barrel and cap were polished along with the clip and cap band, which are not cheap plate and hold up well to polish.

The final result of this smallish pen is below.

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The pen measures 4 1/4 inches capped and 5 3/4 inches posted.

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I would be interested to see if there is a corresponding large pen, with No. 8 nib, as many of the surviving Dixie’s are this larger size. I am always on the lookout for these and look forward to more patterns and sizes.
Edit (11-24-15) – I was fortunate to find a pencil that matches this pen.  Two exceptions,  however.  The corresponding pencil in the photo below is a Pencraft, not a Dixie, and is a larger size when the Dixie is closed.  This adds a bit of fuel to the question I raised above about there being a larger size pen available in this plastic stock.  However, there is no mistaking the same plastic stock and design.  Both have Libertyville imprints as well.  Nice Kraker set!

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July 15, 2011 Posted by | Dennis Bowden, Dixie Fountain Pens, George M. Kraker, Kraker | , , , | 1 Comment

This One Is For You, Dennis

I just received sad news that a friend and fellow collector Dennis Bowden passed away yesterday.  Dennis was a wonderful man, deeply interested in fountain pens, their preservation, and their history.  We traded information regularly and shared a keen interest in Kraker pens and their sometimes mysterious past.  Dennis was always willing to answer a question or trade theories, without ever getting involved in arguments or conflicts that other collectors generated.  He was always the voice of steady reason and just wanted to search out historical information, with the understanding that even if we never find all the facts, the hunt is the fun.  His passing has saddened me, and maybe another collector had it right when he said ~ “these are just pens”.

I looked through my repair queue today and found the perfect pen to restore today – a pen that Dennis would have liked – an early 20s Minnesota Pen Company – Winter Robbins.   George M. Kraker and his Minnesota Pen Company produced these pens, presumably for the Winter – Robbins Stores.  I recently ran into a Minneapolis / St. Paul pen expert who confirmed to me that Winter Robbins was a Twin Cities store.  I have collected several of their pens over the years and I know that Dennis had a few as well.   So Dennis, this one is for you.

Here is a photo of the pen after I took it apart.  It is a lever filler, using the distinctive Lotz lever, common to his early pens.  As you can see, the old sac came out in just a few large pieces.

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As this is a BCHR (Black Chased Hard Rubber) pen, I kept all of the pieces away from its enemy – water.  I scraped the section to remove all remnants of the old sac and adhesive.  I also cleaned the feed gently with water and scraped the channels clear with an x-acto knife.  I used metal polish on the Warranted No. 3 nib and it looks as good as new.  Many of Kraker’s early Minnesota pens have cheap furniture, but the Winter Robbins pens often can be found with gold bands.  This one has a very wide gold band that is clear, presumably engraving could have been included.

The completed pen is below.  It measures a long 5 9/16 inches capped and 6 3/4 inches posted and is quite wide as well.

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Below is the logo on the Hard Rubber, reading

MINNESOTA

WINTER ROBBINS CO.

ST. PAUL,  —-  PAT’D

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An additional photo of a Winter Robbins pen can be seen in my post dated December 7, 2007 – Hard Rubber Midwest Style.  Several other posts relate to George Kraker and his pens and can be referenced by clicking on Kraker links in the Blogroll to the right of this post.

The only blemishes on this pen are the fact that the barrel has started to turn brown as these old hard rubber pens are prone to do, and there is a small chip on the reverse side of the cap, near the cap band.  I filled the pen up with Sheaffer  Peacock Blue and the pen writes well.  I will use it for this week in memory of my friend.

December 11, 2010 Posted by | Dennis Bowden, George M. Kraker, Hard Rubber Pen, Kraker, Minnesota Pens, Winter - Robbins | , , , | 3 Comments

   

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