Fountain Pen Restoration

Lakeside Thumb Flller

The pen I worked on this week is a Lakeside “thumb filler”. I will call it a thumb filler, though there is not a sleeve on the barrel that protects the bar which is inside the thumb hole. You can see the components, prior to repair, below. The top three items are the barrel, internal sleeve, and pressure bar which will sit atop the sac inside the sleeve. The sleeve is made of brass or similar metal and the barrel and cap of black chased hard rubber (BCHR).

In a previous post (12/11/07) I talked about a Lakeside pen that was one of the fountain pen brands of Montgomery Wards. I am less certain about this pen. In the early 1900s there was another Chicago based retailer of various items, Lapp & Flershem, that had brand pens by the names of Banner, Lakeside, and Remington. Lapp & Flershem went out of business in 1922. I do not know if there was a relationship between the two companies either before or after the end of Lapp and Flershem.

Thus, I am not sure who made this pen (National Pen Products / Chicago) and where they were sold (Montgomery Ward, Lapp & Flershem). If someone has some insight, I would appreciate a comment to this post to educate us all. To me, that is half the fun of vintage pens – unraveling their pasts.

Here is a closeup of the imprint. The shading on the BCHR leads me to believe there was a small cover for the thumb hole at one time.


The restoration involved cleaning the pressure bar, nib feed and section completely. I also polished the internal sleeve, though it is not visible. It now shines and is a brass color. I put the nib, feed and section back together and attached a size 18 sac to the section with sac cement. After drying overnight I placed the pressure bar on to the top of the sac and slid the sleeve over the bar and sac. The pressure bar sits on the sac below where the sac attached to the section to allow free movement when pressed and to allow the sleeve to fit to the section. The barrel is then screwed into the section, being careful to align the pressure bar with the barrel thumb hole.

Below is the finished product – water tested and ready to write.


Just for fun, I thought I would post a modern version of this old filling system. In 2001, the Ohio (USA) based fountain pen manufacturer, Bexley, produced a sleeve filler. I was able to acquire one of these last year and replaced the sac.

Here is a picture of this new version of an old filler. It is fun when one of these old systems is brought back.


The total cost for the Lakeside pen was about 10% of the modern Bexley. Both are nice pens, but it shows that you can obtain quality pens that write well (and with flex) at an attractive price. The restoration and history lessons are an added bonus.


April 18, 2008 Posted by | Hard Rubber Pen, Lakeside Pens, Montgomery Ward | , | 2 Comments

Store Pens

Not storing pens – that will be the subject of another post at another time – but Store Pens. Many “department” stores, or “drug” stores, had their own brand of pens that were only available at their stores (or through mail order from them). In the introductory post of this blog, I showed an Eaton Pen, available through the Canadian Eaton Stores. Many US stores also had their own brands of Fountain Pens. I will highlight a few that I have restored with a bit of their history.


Lakeside pens were made for Montgomery Ward Stores to sell both in-store and through catalogs. Here is a discolored green flat-top lever filler that I have had for quite some time. I picked up the box and instructions at a later date, thus they are not original to the pen. The discoloration is due to the sac and ink inside deteriorating over time and reacting to the celluloid exterior.


The nib is a nice Warranted Number 8, and this pen is ready to write.


Webster is one of the Sears pens. They sold more than Webster’s, and I will get to some of those brands in later posts, but I will show a couple of examples of Webster Pens here. The first is a BCHR (black chased hard rubber) pen that probably dates to the 1920s. Sears contracted with Chicago area manufacturers to make their pens and their are several theories as to who manufactured these pens.


As you can see, the chasing of the black hard rubber is excellent on this pen. I have not yet restored this pen. It is in my repair queue and I hope to get to it shortly. It will need a new sac and pressure bar, but the rest of the pen is spotless, as you can see. The nib is a Warranted No. 4.

Here is another Webster, dating to the 1930s which looks very similar to a few Parker pens of the time period. There is speculation that Parker Pens made some of these for Sears at their Janesville, Wisconsin location. This is a button filler and I installed a new pressure bar and sac, as well as cleaning up the nib, feed and button. It writes well and has a Webster 14k No. 4 nib. I really like this pen due to the similarities it shares with the Parker Parkette and Challenger, which are of the same era.

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These pens are just the tip of the iceberg, when discussing store-brand pens. Future posts will discuss Rexall, Thompson, and other Sears brands.

December 11, 2007 Posted by | Lakeside Pens, Montgomery Ward, Parker Pen Company, Sears, Webster Pen | , , , , | Leave a comment


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