Fountain Pen Restoration

DuoCraft Fountain Pen History

I first wrote about DuoCraft Fountain Pens in a post dated October 13, 2009 ~ Duocraft Fountain Pens .

In that article, I discussed a theory that these pens were produced and aimed at the Music community. One of the nice things about collecting vintage pens are the nice people that you meet. Over the Holidays I was fortunate to meet a knowledgeable collector/user from California while he was visiting relatives here in Minnesota. One of the pens I brought to show was the DuoCraft – Music Nib pen. After the meeting he found this Duocraft brochure for sale on eBay and pointed me in the right direction to find it, and I did in fact make the purchase last week. Fortunately, there were no other interested parties and the cost stayed low. So, thanks to another collector, I have solved some of the mystery of DuoCraft.

My guess that these pens were directed at the Music industry was correct. I have printed the four pages of the brochure below and I think they are very interesting. Clearly DuoCraft was selling items directly to Musicians/Composers/Orchestras and others in the Music Business.

The pens alone came in either a two or three point style. My pen is the three point pen. Cost was a listed $3.50 or $5.00 for including a double sided pencil of black and red leads. The brochure that I purchased reduces these prices to $2.50 for the pen and $3.50 for the set ~ a Christmas Special. Here is a photo of the pen that I restored, and referred to in the link at the beginning of this article.

Page 1 refers to the cost of the pens, showing the two and three point pens as well as the set with pencil.

Page 2 is my favorite ~ referring to the various Music Writers who use the DuoCraft pen. Chick Adams is featured as the Head Arranger for the Abe Lyman Orchestra. Click on the link for a bit of non-fountain pen entertainment. The comments by the rapidly writing Herbert L. Clarke, VP of the American Bandmaster Association (and noted cornet player) give us an idea that these pens were marketed (at least through this brochure) after March of 1935.

Page 3 is non-pen related, but shows that DuoCraft was marketing more than Fountain Pens. The Lightning Arranger looks complicated to me and, as I am not a musician, I don’t know if it was actually effective.

Page 4 mentions the Fountain Pens again near the bottom and also mentions “Music Writing Ink”. I would love to find a bottle or two of that! Also, a nib junkie’s dream ~ 14K Music nibs at $1.75 each, or steel at $.25. There is also a reference to Congressional Style nibs. My guess is that these are the standard two point nibs. I have seen this term used for dip pen nibs, so maybe this is a reference to a standard two point nib.

Finally, the Brooklyn address for DuoCraft Company. Checking Google maps reveals nothing of interest other than a residential (current) neighborhood at
View Larger Map 2025 Menahan Street in Brooklyn.

So, no restoration this week, but a little more background on an interesting niche fountain pen. I will certainly be keeping an eye out for the dual pencil and the ink.


February 9, 2010 Posted by | Duocraft Fountain Pens | | 6 Comments

Duocraft Fountain Pens

Fountain Pen Restoration Article Number 100!  It is hard to believe that this is the 100th post here since November of 2007.  I hope that the readers have found a few that they have enjoyed.  Thank you for your comments, suggestions, corrections, and additions to many of these.  Hopefully the next 100 will be worth the read.  On to this week’s fountain pen.

Not a lot of information seems to be available to me on this Vintage Pen Company – Duocraft.  An exploded view of this large fountain pen is below and you can see the expected lever fill remnants of years of sitting are evident.  The sac has hardened and the jbar was corroded beyond use.  The most interesting part of this pen is the nib.  It is a three tined nib, more often referred to as a Music Nib.  More on that later…

As you can see, the pen needs a new j bar (large size) and sac (size 20), as well a general cleaning.

Below is a photo of the nib, a Warranted 14K No. 5.  The main problem with the nib is that it is very bent, and the tipping material is gone from the left tine.  This is work that is beyond my scope and as this is a unique nib, I decided to go ahead and get it re-tipped in lieu of replacing it with a spare regular nib.  You may recall that I have done this with another pen, a Parker Vacumatic in an article from October 13, 2008 ~ 1942 Parker Vacumatic Maxima. Greg Minuskin does exceptional work, and his turnaround times, and communication, are outstanding.

Below is a photo of the newly re-tipped Music Nib, which I received back in one week’s time.  The photo is complements of Greg Minuskin.

Music Nibs, so named as they are very useful in forming the characters necessary to compose music on music sheets, are available on a a few current pens.  However, they were rarely offered on vintage pens and this is the the first vintage music nib that I have run across.   Duocraft pens are often found with these nibs and it makes me wonder if they were aiming this product at the music community.  The design of the nib allows for fine horizontal lines and wide verticals and well as a very flexible flow.

I cleaned the old sac off of the section – cleaned the section and feed and inserted the retipped nib and feed back into the section. I reinserted a large jbar back into the barrel, checking for a firm fit.  The barrel and cap, including the gold furniture were thoroughly cleaned and polished.  Remember to take the time to clean the inside of the cap, as years of dried ink is usually lurking there.  As I mentioned  earlier, a size 20 sac was used and attached to the section/nib/feed unit before fitting back into the barrel.

Below is are two photos of the completed restoration.  The pen measures a large 5 9/16 inches capped and 6 1/2 inches posted.

The imprint is still crisp and did not need to be highlighted with white to be seen.  As you can see, Duocraft was in Brooklyn, NY.

My talents are not in calligraphy, but here is a quick writing sample showing the line variation that this nib permits.

These pens do pop up from time to time and at reasonable prices.  Should the nib be in good shape, they are an excellent way to show off your writing flair, and maybe compose a symphony or two!

Edit (10-14-09) ~ Please refer to this excellent article on another Duocraft Fountain Pen (with far more pleasing use of the pen and ink) that was kindly forwarded to me by the author. Thank you…

October 13, 2009 Posted by | Duocraft Fountain Pens, Minuskin Nibs, Music Nib | , | 4 Comments


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