Fountain Pen Restoration

Hintz Fountain Pens Part II

I have to apologize for not documenting a restoration in the past two weeks, but I have been traveling around the Country for my job over the past month and have had no time to spend on the workbench. My box of pens that need work is full, but only being home on weekends has taken its toll on the repair queue. I did run across a cool post card recently that I would like to share, however.

If you remember, I restored a Hintz Pen and summarized the restoration in an article dated October 5, 2009. (Link)

In the article, you will see marketing materials that target Birthday’s and Christmas as occasions for buying a $1.00 (and up) fountain pen for your friends or family.

Those cards featured flowery nature scenes.  This card is very interesting in comparison.  It is presumably from a similar time period, as the Christmas sale pitch, address and price are the same.  However, the White House photo is far more interesting to me, even if there is no mention of the landmark on the reverse of the card.

Just for fun, here is a photo of the White House as it appears today.  Not a whole lot has changed over the past one hundred years, at least to the architecture of the President’s home.


Even if you find yourself away from your pens, there are some interesting finds relating to pens out there.  A few minutes in the post card bin at a flea market, estate sale, or antique store can turn up some interesting tidbits.


September 24, 2010 Posted by | Hintz Fountain Pen | | Leave a comment

Franklin Fountain Pens

Article # 125

This week’s pen is a Franklin Pen Company Eyedropper. I found this one lying in a pile of old pens. One thing about old Black Hard Rubber Pens is that they tend to blend into the woodwork when searching antiques stores, estate sales, and garage sales. They lack the color and tend to be overlooked. Fortunately the tarnished gold bands caught my eye.  Here is a photo of the only five parts of the pen after I took it apart.  Eyedroppers are by definition easy to restore.  There is no filling system and all one needs to do is clean the pen up and make certain it has no cracks or holes to allow the ink to escape.

I went back over the 121 articles I have written over the past years and only five have been written about Eyedroppers.

The Hintz Pen ~ October 5, 2009 (more on this related pen below)

Lucas Fountain Pens ~  May 12, 2009

Houston Pen Company – Tracy, Minnesota ~  August 26, 2008

Houston Pen Company ~  April 10, 2008

Eaton Pen ~  December 6, 2007

Pity this, as they are such a simple ink system, and one that holds a lot of ink.

I polished up the gold ornate bands and nib.  As with any Black Hard Rubber, you should be careful to keep any moisture and polish away from the rubber to prevent discoloration.  I was fortunate that this pen has retained its black color and has not suffered any browning that is common with these pens.  I reassembled the nib / feed / section after scraping the feed channels to remove old dirt and ink.


The completed pen is below  –  a Franklin Pen Company Double Band Eyedropper.  The pen measures 5 5/16 inches closed and 6 13/16 inches posted.  As with any Eyedropper, you should test the barrel and section / feed / nib for any leaks,  I filled the pen (using an eyedropper, of course) with blue ink and left it standing nib down overnight to check for leaks.  After the first night, I did notice a bit of ink on the paper towels beneath the pen, so I tool the assembly apart again repeated the process.  I noted that I had not put the feed in squarely the first time.  The second test went well and there was no leakage.  I cleaned the pen out and it is now stored, ready to write.


Here is a photo of the pen closed.  The flower pattern on gold bands is typical of many pens of the period and adds a nice touch.


As I mentioned above, one of the previous restorations I have done was of a Hintz Pen, dated October 5 of last year.  In that article, I speculated that Franklin Pen may have produced the Hintz Pen for the Hintz Store.  Having worked on this pen and researched a bit more about the Franklin Pen Company, I believe this to be the scenario.

The next two photographs are of the Franklin and Hintz Pens next to each other.  They are very similar (chasing and bands) and the key is that they both have Franklin No. 3 nibs with identical feeds.  I did some searching and here is a link to the feed filed by Franklin for this same feed ~ Franklin Cooley Feed Patent 1892 ~



There are collectors who specialize in Franklin Pens, so I will not pretend to be an expert, but from what I do know, the Franklin Pen Company was founded by Franklin Cooley and John Goodrich in the late 1800s in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  When I first saw these pens referred to years ago, I incorrectly assumed that they were named for Benjamin Franklin.  Clearly I was wrong.  I have also read that these founders moved to Philadelphia from somewhere in New York State to escape the already crowded pen manufacturing and retail business in place there and to enter a less saturated market.

I have not seen the article, but have seen reference to an article in the May 2000 issue of Penworld, by Franklin expert and collector John Roede, which fully covers the history of the Franklin Pen Company.  I am currently trying to get a copy and if I do so, I will add some further history to this posting.

Finally, here is a photo of the Franklin and Hintz nibs – perfect matches.


I have found another Hintz Pen and some additional advertising that I will restore and post in a few weeks.  These regional Pen Companies and their relationships certainly make interesting research opportunities, not to mention the pens which still perform well after 100 years.

May 13, 2010 Posted by | Franklin Fountain Pen, Hintz Fountain Pen | , | 2 Comments

The Hintz Pen

The beginning of the 20th century was a booming time for the fountain pen as it established itself as a writing tool.  Hard rubber pens were produced by many companies and one retailer, in Reading Pennsylvania, sold his own branded eyedropper ~ The Hintz Pen.  J.G Hintz owned a Stationer’s store in Reading during the first half of the 1900s.  This advertisement shows an early photo of Mr. Hintz and discusses his wares.

Here is the Hintz Pen that I worked on this week.  Below is the exploded view, prior to knocking out the nib and feed to clean. There was quite a bit of ink to clean out as I had dipped the pen several times to enjoy the experience.  More on the nib later..  You can see that it is an eyedropper filled pen and black chased hard rubber (BCHR).  Fortunately, the pen has withstood time well and the chasing and rubber are in good shape, with minimal discoloration or wear.  As with all eyedroppers of the time, the section/feed/nib unscrew from the body of the pen and the ink was poured into the barrel (by an eyedropper type device).    The bonus feature of this pen is the gold overlay on the barrel.  It also has withstood time well and is clean and crisp.

Mr. Hintz sent out birthday post cards and Christmas reminder cards to his customers ~ advertising his product line.  I have been fortunate to find a few of these and pair them with the pen.

A couple of things stand out to me.  First – pens were a major gift and probably given most at special occasions such as Birthdays and Christmas.  Second – the cards were written using several different languages which reflect the high concentrations of immigrants in the United States at the time.

The pen depicted in the card directly below is very similar to the pen I have restored, though mine would have been more expensive than this one due to the  gold decoration.  I wonder what the SOLID GOLD pen looked like that is referred to below?

Below are photos of the completed pen after I have reinserted the feed and and nib and applied a bit of silicone grease to the section threads.  I tested the pen overnight for leaking and it held ink with no leaks.  The pen measures 5 7/8 inches closed and 6 7/8 inches posted.

I have placed an estimated  date of 1910 on this pen.  I have no direct evidence of this as the advertisements and post cards carry no dates.  My estimate comes from the fact that several eyedropper pens that look very similar to this have been placed at this time  by pen historians.  This brings up the question as to where these pens were produced.  Again, I have no Hintz records to go by, but can make a few guesses.   Reading, Pennsylvania is located west of Philadelphia, and about halfway between Philadelphia and Bloomsburg, PA.  Bloomsburg is significant as it was the home of  the Paul E. Wirt Pen Company . Clicking on the name will lead to and excellent history of Wirt Pens. This pen resembles photos I have seen of some Wirt Pens and it is not too long a stretch to think that they could have been produced by Wirt.   The nib suggests another producer.   It is a Franklin No. 3 (seen below).  The Franklin Pen Company also produced pens for other companies and the Franklin Nib would seem to make this the most likely scenario, given no hard written evidence.

The imprint and gold overlay, still crisp clean.

The Franklin / Philadelphia nib which leads to a guess as to where the parts were made. The nib, as with many of these vintage eyedropper nibs, is extremely flexible.

These regional pens pop up from time to time and it is fun to try and trace their history and relationship to the larger pen community.  Certainly, the Hintz Store sold a quality product and this one has survived after one hundred years.

October 5, 2009 Posted by | Franklin Fountain Pen, Hintz Fountain Pen | , | 4 Comments


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