Fountain Pen Restoration

Pencraft School Spirit Pens

For those of you who have followed this blog since it started eight years ago, you will know that one of my favorite topics is George Kraker and his colorful career in the fountain pen business in the 1920s.  Just click on his name in the Blogroll to the right and there are many posts regarding his pens in Minneapolis, Chicago, Kansas City, Grand Haven (MI) and Libertyville (IL).

One pen of his that has always eluded me is his bi-color, Libertyville produced, Flat Top lever filler.  The are not extremely rare, but seem to get snapped up quickly if they hit the market.

Speculation is that these were produced and marketed for the School market.  They come in several color variations and the thought is that they targeted various educational institutions  and their school colors.  This would have targeted black and gold schools.  Coincidentally, my oldest daughter is a current college student at a Black and Gold University and this will be an easy one to pass along.  I have another in college – did Kraker make an orange and blue?

Below is the pen after I took it apart.  Like all of his brands of the period (late 1920s), these were solid lever fillers.

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I spent quite a bit of this restoration, as one does with light colored pens (white, yellow etc..) cleaning the body and threads.   For the threads, I have been using a toothbrush and ink remover.  It seems to work very well, as you can see from the photo below.  I also cleaned the section and feed with gentle water and qtips, and made sure to clean the grooves in the feed with an x-acto knife.

The nib (photo below) is a nice Forever No. 3, common in many later model Kraker products.  It polished up nicely and the fit was perfect when inserted back in the barrel.  This one took a shortened size 16 sac.

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

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Here is a close up of the crisp imprint.  As a refresher, George Kraker used his first and middle names reversed as the name of his pen company when he was in Illinois and Michigan.  His full name was George Michael Kraker – thus the Michael-George Company name.  Also, Libertyville was his last stop as a major pen maker.

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Here is a close up of the Forever No. 3 nib. His various models of the period – Dixie, Yankee, Pencraft, Monogram, Minnesota, and a few others – had many different nibs – Warranted, Yankee, Dixie, Everlasting, and Forever (similar to this one).

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Finally, this pen seems to be built on the same platform that he used for many of his other pens which can all be accessed from the menu on the right.  Go Black and Gold!!

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November 23, 2015 Posted by | George M. Kraker, Kraker, Pencraft Pens | , , | 5 Comments

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

Another Yankee Surprise

A pen friend jokingly suggested that maybe I should change the name of this to Kraker Fountain Pen Restoration. I do apologize for the frequent post on these related pens and ephemera, but I keep finding them and other collectors tend to alert me to their existence.  I keep thinking that I have seen most of the variants that I want to, and then another pops up, like the one in this post.  Back on November 1, 2010 I wrote about a Yankee Pen that I restored for a fellow collector – Moore Tuscan And A Yankee Surprise II – that had the first Yankee nib that I had seen.  This week’s pen provides the second.

Below is a photo of the pen after I took it apart.  You can see that the sac was in one piece, though hardened.  Also, there is significant staining around the threads on the barrel where the cap sits.  This is very typical of vintage pens as the ink finds its way into the cap and then to these threads.

Also, the cap band is missing – a sad thing – as the color on this pen is very very good.

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A reader asked if I would post a few action photos, so I will do so in some coming posts.  This week I will show three related to the feed and section.   After taking the pen apart, I cleaned off the old sac remnants from the section nipple.  You can see this process in the first photo below.  I first use an exacto knife to do this over the entire area.  Be careful not to be too aggressive as you do not want to damage the nipple, which will force you to find another…  After this step, I take some sand paper and further sand off the remnants to make a perfectly smooth surface to cement the new sac to.

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I then cleaned the feed.  I first wipe it down, cleaning the old ink and dirt from the outside.  I then take a knife and gently clean out the channels of the feed.  You will be surprised how much old ink and grime comes out of these channels.  Be careful not to damage the channels.  Typically there are smaller channels within the large channel seen.

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Skipping back to the section, I then clean the inside with a q tip and water, dipping the q tip in the water and swabbing the inside of the section.  This will take several q tips, especially for a pen that has been used often.  It is interesting to find out what ink was used last in the pen.   You can see that this one was black.

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After these steps, I reinserted the polished nib and cleaned feed back into the dry and clean section.  I then attached a size 18 sac to the section and let it dry.  Shifting to the cap and barrel, I polished them with scratch remover and polish.   There were the standard surface scratches, but you can see that the color was excellent.  I am not sure why, as these green celluloid pens usually discolor over time, but not this one.  I also spent considerable time on the barrel threads, removing the old ink stains from the inside of the cap.  The inside of the cap also was cleaned to remove all traces of old ink to prevent this from reoccurring.

Here is the finished pen, a mid 1920s Yankee, produced by the Michael George Co. (George Kraker) of Grand Haven, Michigan.  I am searching for a matching cap band and when I find one, this will be the pen I put it on, due to its excellent color.

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Measurements are 5 3/8 inches closed and 6 3/4 inches posted.

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A clean, crisp imprint with the familiar Non-Breakable claim.

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The highlight of this pen is the nib.  It is the second Yankee nib I have seen, and a much larger No. 8.   The down side is that the tip is chipped and in need of replacement iridium.  I am not sure if I want to spring for this, but given the uniqueness of the nib, I might be tempted.

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Kraker also produced a Green Dixie in Grand Haven, with a large Dixie No. 8 nib in Grand Haven.  Photos of this pen can be seen here in my post of August 1, 2008, titled – A Dixie in Michigan.

I won’ t link to all of the articles that I have written on these Kraker related pens, but if you are interested, just click on Kraker, Yankee, Dixie, Belmont, or Pencraft in the Blogroll on the right of this page.  Quite an interesting time line and assortment of pens and brands (at least to me).

June 14, 2011 Posted by | George M. Kraker, Kraker, Yankee Pen | , | 2 Comments

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

Moore Tuscan And A Yankee Surprise (Part II)

If you read my post of last week (Moore Tuscan And A Yankee), you will remember that I recently received two fountain pens from a collector friend in Michigan, with the request to restore two family heirlooms.  The first restoration was a Moore Tuscan, and that was an honor to work on, and a beautiful pen resulted.  The next pen, and the subject of this post, is an old favorite, a Yankee Pen, from Grand Haven Michigan.  I restored and written about several of these over the past four years.  Here are a few, for reference.  Also, any posts (search at right) covering Pencraft, Belmont, or Dixie would be related to this pen.

A Yankee In Michigan – January 27, 2008

A Yankee in Minnesota – May 15, 2008

A Yankee In Chicago – February 18, 2010

You can see from the photo below that this lever filler had a hanging pressure bar, common to many Kraker models of the day.  The sac had hardened and the bar was loose and not attached to the end piece.  I cleaned the gold trim ~ clip, lever and nib ~ being careful not to get any polish on the black hard rubber.  I scraped the section, removing all remnants of the old sac and reinserted the nib/feed to the cleaned section.  I attached a size 18 sac to the section/feed/nib assembly and fit it back into the barrel, where a new large j-bar had been inserted.  The whole mechanism works fine as I tested it with water and let it sit overnight.

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Here are two photos of the completed pen, capped and uncapped.  It is a large pen, 5 1/2 inches capped and 6 3/4 inches posted.

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Here is the imprint, very crisp and clean.  As discussed many times in the past, the Michael George Company was named for its owner,  George Michael Kraker, the movable pen maker, with stops in Kansas City, Minneapolis, Chicago, Grand Haven (MI) and Libertyville (IL).  I would speculate that this pen was produced in Grand Haven in the mid to late 20s, around the time of the Tuscan pen that belongs to this owner.

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Many of the Kraker Pens I have repaired have colored (red or yellow) ends on the caps and/or barrels.  I have not seen one with screw out ends, however.  Here is a close up of the barrel end.  Unfortunately, the cap end is missing.  If anyone has access to an one, let me know as I would like to get it in the hands of the owner.

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Now for the Surprise …..  the nib is a Yankee 2.  I have seen Warranted, Forever, Pencraft and Dixie nibs on Kraker Pens of this era, but never a Yankee nib.  I checked with another Kraker collector and he confirmed that he had not seen one either.  Clearly they exist, as evidenced by this nib.  I would love to hear from anyone who has photos of other Yankee nibs and their supporting pens.

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So, like the Moore Tuscan restored in the previous post, this pen is now back in Michigan where it was originally assembled.  I was lucky to have had the chance to handle both of them and get a few photographs before they left my workbench.

November 1, 2010 Posted by | Kraker, Yankee Pen | , , | 3 Comments

Kraker Civil War

This pen came exactly as shown, without two very important parts, the feed and a nib. As you can see, it is very dirty and I have no idea how long the nib and feed have been missing. It is a yellow Kraker Yankee, produced in Grand Haven, Michigan. I keep finding new colors of these pens, produced in the short time Kraker was in Grand Haven in the mid to late 1920s.  My Title ” Kraker Civil War” is simply a play on George Kraker’s use of Dixie and Yankee Pens as two of his brands and my curiosity as to why.  I have not been able to come up with any reason for this.  Some have speculated that it was a marketing issue, but there is no hard evidence that one brand was targeted at a specific area of the Country (North vs. South).   As you will note if you link to Yankee and Dixie Pen Articles in the Blogroll to the right, both pens were produced in various of Kraker (Michael George Company) locations, though I have not seen a Dixie made in Minnesota or Chicago, or a Yankee in Libertyville, IL.  That does not mean they were not, I just have not seen one.

On to the restoration.  My biggest problem, aside from the dirt and grime on the yellow barrel and cap, was the missing feed and nib.

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I searched through my parts bins and though I had a few nibs that may have solved the nib problem, I had no feed that fit the section well with these nibs.  So, I started to sift through my collection looking for a section that was similar in size to the Yankee section and came across this candidate below.  It is a pen I have had for probably ten years and seldom use due to its very large size of 5 7/8 inches closed.  It has no markings on it but my guess has always been that it is a National Pen Products (Chicago) pen due to the markings on the lever.  I also suspect that someone had replaced the clip at one time.

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I removed the section/feed/nib from the barrel and the sac was in good shape.  I checked my records and I had put a size 20 sac on this one in 2004.  It still seemed good to me and I tested it with water to be certain.  The fit into the Yellow Yankee barrel was perfect and now all I had to do was work on the appearance of the barrel and cap of the pen to produce a nicely restored pen.  Now I have a missing feed and nib on this pen, but Warranted 8 nibs are relatively easy to find and I will keep and eye out for the correct feed.

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I first checked the hanging pressure bar of the pen with the sac inserted and it was fully functional.  That was good enough for me, as these are difficult to get back to their proper position once removed.  If it fails to function in the future, it will be simple to remove it and replace with a long j bar.

I cleaned the outside of both the barrel and cap with Pentiques scratch remover and a dremel.  As you can see, this did the job.  I then used polish and wax to complete the job.  I also gently cleaned the nib, clip, lever, and cap band with a jewelers cloth.  The completed pen is below, measuring 5 1/2 inches capped and 6 3/4 inches posted.

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Here is the Civil War angle.  Below is this pen and below it is a Dixie that was produced a few years later in Libertyville, IL by Kraker (see this link for more information on the Dixie).  As I mentioned above, I do not have any information as to why Kraker used the Yankee and Dixie names, though it appears that the Dixie name appears later in his pen producing life.  Here is an example of two virtually identical pens, produced 104 miles apart that carried different names.  Libertyville was Southwest of Grand Haven, but certainly not in the heart of Dixie.  There is a series of articles appearing in the fine magazine produced by the The Pen Collectors of America – The Pennant – that is written by two very knowledgeable Kraker collectors, which may shed more light on the naming of his pens.  Until then, it is fun to see the variations.

The two photos below show the Yankee / Grand Haven, MI and Dixie / Libertyville, IL pens next to each other.  They are unmistakeably Michael – George (Kraker) pens, with the differently colored cap and barrel ends, single cap bands, and distinctive clip.

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Here is a closeup of the clean imprint, with the typical large first and last letters.

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Finally, the replacement Warranted No. 8 large nib, taken from the blue marbled National Pen shown above.

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Kraker pens in the late 1920s presented a large number of variations, and pens that are colorful and well made.

August 4, 2010 Posted by | Dixie Fountain Pens, Kraker, Yankee Pen | , , | Leave a comment

The House Of Pencraft

I enjoy restoring large flat top pens like these. The Kraker bodies of the late 1920s and early 30s were very colorful and I really enjoy the various colors that they used for end pieces. This week’s pen is no exception, and has a few twists.

As you can see below, it came from an estate, and in a Pencraft box, complete with instructions.  At first glance, there is nothing very unusual. It is a Kraker Pencraft, made in Libertyville, IL, which dates it in the very late 1920s or very early in the 30s.  At that time Kraker had a contract to produce pens for Rexall, under the name Monogram, among others.  The box says Pencraft and the directions are for Pencraft/Dixie Pens and Pencils.

Below is the pen after I reduced it down to its parts.  The hanging pressure bar still works and is in good shape so there is no need to replace it with a jbar.  From what I can see, it appears that the pen was never used as there is no indication of ink anywhere in the pen (cap, nib, feed, section or hardened sac).  I would guess that it had been in the box for quite some time.  The nib, clip, cap bands, and lever all polished up well and needed little work.  I polished the outside of the barrel and cap which are black smooth plastic.  After assembling the section/feed/nib, I attached a size 18 sac and reinserted the section into the pen.   The hanging pressure bar system works well and the pen is ready to go.

Below is the restored pen, a Monogram/Pencraft with orange and yellow ends.  What I had not noticed when I received the pen was that the cap has a familiar Monogram clip and a Pencraft Body.  When I first looked at the pen I just assumed that the cap “jewel had discolored to a dark/dirty yellow.  Now it is clear that the cap is a mismatch.  The two fit together perfectly ~ just the imprints and jewels are mismatched.

The pen measures 5 7/16″ capped and 6 13/16″ posted.

So why are the cap and barrel different?  Well, I can only hazard a few guesses, and will never really know.

Perhaps, the pen was repaired and when it was sent back to Pencraft for repairs they substituted either the cap or barrel.  Or perhaps this pen was produced near the end of the production in Libertyville and they were just using up remaining parts.  Or perhaps the pen was a mistake and either the barrel or cap was placed in error.  I can play “perhaps”  for quite a while, and we will never know.  My leaning is that they were near the end of production in Libertyville and simply using up parts and this pen was the product.

Below is the direction sheet that was in the box.  Note the ink stains.   This seems to run against my initial observation that the pen had not been used before.  The title of this article ~ The House Of Pencraft ~ comes from the pencil page.  I had never seen this term before.

I looked up the name Theodore Haake on the internet and no persons with ties to fountain pens or Michael George came up.  I am not certain if this was the owner of the pen (though this is written in pencil) or possibly someone from the factory.

Here is the strong imprint, with Michael George Co (Kraker) mentioned.

The nib is a Forever Nib #6.  I have seen Forever, Everlasting, Dixie, and Warranted Nibs used on Kraker pens of this era.  Everlasting and Forever are interesting names, perhaps in response to Parker and Sheaffer’s ” Lifetime ” guarantees.

It seems that sometimes ” the more we know, the less we know”.  These mysteries of the vintage pen are often intriguing and forever and everlastingly a challenge to sort through.

June 24, 2010 Posted by | Belmont Pens, Dixie Fountain Pens, Kraker, Monogram Fountain Pens, Pencraft Pens, Rexall, Yankee Pen | , , | 1 Comment

A Yankee In Chicago

I understand if you are growing tired of these Yankee in …. articles. Every time that I write one, I think it is my last. I have already detailed the restoration of Yankee Pens from Minnesota, and Grand Haven, Michigan in these posts from two years ago:

A Yankee In Michigan – January 27, 2008

A Yankee in Minnesota – May 15, 2008

Belmont Rexall And Yankee Cousins – May 22, 2008

I have not seen a Yankee in George Kraker’s next stop after Grand Haven, Michigan which was Libertyville, IL.  That doesn’t mean they do not exist, but I have not seen one.  So, after the Minnesota and Michigan articles on Yankee Pens, I thought I was done.

Then I ran across this nice little pen, a Yankee from Chicago, IL.  Given the material, Black Chased Hard Rubber (BCHR), I would place this pen in the period after Kraker left Kansas City and before he went to Michigan, in the early 1920s.  I have read that his name pops up both in Minneapolis and in Chicago during this time and this pen is a good representation of his work in Chicago.  Research from Lion and Pen historians here, indicates Michael George Co. in Chicago in 1923. (Thank you to Dennis and Jineen for their extensive Kraker work).

As you can see, the pen is a clipless lever filler.  The hanging pressure bar has broken and there is general wear.

I emptied the barrel out, including the old sac remnants and lever anchor.  I also gently polished the lever, which has a light gold wash on it.  The nib, a Warranted Number 3, was vigorously polished to its original shine.  As this is a BCHR pen, I did little other cleaning as I do not like to expose the hard rubber to any liquids or polishes.  I did clean the inside of the section and the channels of the feed prior to reassembling the section/feed/nib and a size 16 silicon sac.

The resulting pen is below.  As mentioned above, it was produced as a clipless model and measures a smallish 4 5/8″ closed and 5 7/8″ posted.

The imprint below is a common Kraker look, with the large YE.  As mentioned in the past, Michael – George Co. is the name of the Company that Kraker used, reversing his first and middle names.

The lever is the familiar Kraker lever (Lotz) that is found on many of his early pens produced in Minnesota.  I have posted photos of this lever in several previous articles for Yankees, Drew, and Winter Robbins Pens.

Here is a closeup of the 14K Warranted 3 nib which is quite flexible, as is common for the time.

Just when I thought I had finished my collection of these Midwest gems, I was fooled again when I found this pen.  Reading through the research on Kraker and his many exploits, there are still a few out there.  Does anyone have a Kleeno?

February 18, 2010 Posted by | Kraker, Yankee Pen | , , | Leave a comment

Monogram Pearl and Black Fountain Pen

Black and Pearl pens are treasured by collectors for their interesting patterns, and for the lack of surviving clean examples.  Time (insert aging sacs and ink residue) has not been kind to these pens and most have discolored badly. All of the large pen makers of the 20s and 30s made them ~ most notable are the Parker Duofold, Sheaffer Balance, and Wahl Gold Seal Pearl and Black Pens.  A collector can expect to pay $ 500 and above for clean examples of the pens listed above.

This brings me to this week’s restoration.  It is a large Monogram pen in Pearl and Black that probably dates to the late 1920s, the same time that the Big Three were producing Pearl and Black beauties.  As you may recall, Monogram Fountain Pens were a house brand of Rexall Stores, made during this period by George Kraker.

Previous posts referring to Monograms are as follows:

Rexall Monogram – February 7, 2008
Pencraft – June 1, 2008

Below is a photo of the pen after taking it apart.  You can see that the parts are in good shape, aside from a stained feed and nib, as well as the gold bands and lever.  The sac and j-bar were absent from the pen after I removed the friction fit section/feed/nib assembly.  I thoroughly cleaned each piece, making certain to scrub the inside of the cap and removing all of the ink residue.  All of the gold parts cleaned up to their original luster and the pen was ready for reassembly.  As this is a large pen, a large j-bar and long size 20 sac were used and attached to the section/feed /nib.  This will guarantee a very large ink supply in the future.  I used a silicon sac to help prevent future discoloration of the barrel, which has survived quite well.

Here is a photo of the completed pen which measures a very large 5 1/2 inches closed and 6 7/8 inches posted.  The double cap band and top cap band are a nice touch to this premium Rexall brand pen.

The clip is a typical Kraker clip seen on many of his Pens (Yankee, Dixie, Belmont, and Monogram).

The nib is a very large “Everlasting” L, which I assume to be for Large.  In my April 24, 2009 post, Pencraft Chicago the Pencraft / Kraker nib was a Pencraft “L”. These nibs with sizes occur in some of his pens.  I am not certain that this nib is original to this pen, but tend to think it is, given the “L”.

Here is a photo of the imprint on the barrel.  It reads:

The Monogram Pen

NON BREAKABLE

SOLD ONLY AT The Rexall Store

Given the popularity of the Pearl and Black pattern of this pen and the fact that Kraker was still making pens for Rexall in the late 1920s,  I would guess that this pen was produced in Libertyville, IL in the late 20s by Kraker’s Pen Company.   It is a very attractive pen and the color has survived very well over the past 80 years.

January 12, 2010 Posted by | Kraker, Monogram Fountain Pens | , | 1 Comment

Kraker Mess

I picked up the two pens in the photograph below from someone that I suspect used them for parts to add to  a group of Kraker produced pens.  The nice thing about several of these pens is that some of the parts are interchangeable.  The two pens I received were a red/orange Dixie Flat Top and a Black Belmont with red cap top jewel.  The black Belmont is the same model as the pen I restored in this post of May 22, 2008, titled Belmont / Rexall and Yankee Cousins.

The photo below shows the pens after I have taken them apart.  The Belmont arrived complete, while the Dixie was without a feed and nib.

I decided that I wanted to restore the orange Dixie more than the Belmont as I already have a similar Belmont, and though I have several Dixie pens, I have none in this color.

As you can see, there was significant staining on the Dixie.  Some sort of black/gray stain was covering both the barrel and cap.  I gently sanded this out and then applied a scratch remover and polish to these areas.  The result was a total eradication of the stains.  The clip, cap rings (2) and lever were not cheap gold plate, as I always fear, and cleaned up well using metal polisher and then my ultrasonic cleaner.  A new J-bar was needed as the old hanging bar  had corroded.  I removed the base of the hanging unit first and then inserted the long  j – bar.

Next was the nib…it was a short Warranted 2 nib that has seen better days.  I attempted to clean it up, but it was substandard and my suspicion is that it was just thrown on to sell the Belmont.  I tossed it and found a larger Warranted No. 2 nib in my nib bin. (nib bin = 2 word palindrome !)   Ok, its not a nice Dixie nib, but I am not sure that George Kraker used Dixie nibs on these.  It fits well and it’s larger size seems to fit this longish pen.

The Belmont barrel, cap, and section were polished and banished to the parts drawers for future project use.  I may have a spare feed and nib somewhere, but the Dixie was my focus.

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Below is the completed pen ~ my first orange Dixie, clearly a pen made in response to the successful Duofold Big Red’s of the day.

The barrel imprint reads ~

DixiE

Non – Breakable

Grand Haven, Mich. Pat

Given the time frame for George Kraker’s stay in Michigan, this pen was probably produced sometime between about 1925 and 1929.  This would confirm its production during the heyday of the Parker Duofold and other large flat top pens.

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The photo below shows the new Warranted No. 2 nib loaded and ready to write.

Other Dixie posts, showing the diverse colors used by the Michael George Company in these pens are ~

A Dixie In Illinois / November 26, 2008 (this pen would have been produced later than the Michigan pens)

A Dixie in Michigan / August 1, 2008

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The pen is a large one, measuring in at 5 3/8″ capped and 6 5/8″ posted.

I have seen at least one other color for these.  Other than the jade, mandarin, and orange, I have seen a marbled white/brown and black, similar to the Parker pearl marlbed Duofolds.  I will have to keep looking….

August 3, 2009 Posted by | Belmont Pens, Dixie Fountain Pens, Kraker | , , | Leave a comment

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