Fountain Pen Restoration

Three Pencils Just For Fun

Occasionally, I cover pencils in my restorations.  Often times they come as part of a set, as I have covered in articles about Parker 51,, Parker Vacumatic, Striped Duofold, and Sheaffer sets.   As a fountain pen collector, you constantly run across vintage mechanical pencils in your searches and they are frustratingly more common than the pens we covet.  I usually resist the temptation to clutter up my pen case with pencils, but when they are available for a very low price, it is hard to resist.  The three pencils that I restored this week were all found at less than a dollar apiece, so I could not resist.  They came in varying conditions – two completed sets, and one has an interesting story and interior.

The first photo below is of the simple opening of all three.  All were mechanically sound, but a bit dirty and without lead.


The first pencil I cleaned up is a very clean example of a Sheaffer brown striped pencil with a military clip.  This would seem to place it in the World War II time period of the early 1940s.  It measures 5 1/8 inches and takes 0.9 mm pencil leads.  The lead is inserted and then fed using a twist motion of the barrel and cap.  What is nice about this pencil is the wide 14K band.  There is a clear area of the band that was available for signature or initial of the owner.  This pencil’s was left blank. As you can see from the top photo, the eraser is old and dried up.  It can be lifted and there is room for spare pencil lead. I cleaned the eraser and inserted an ample supply of 0.9mm lead.


I do no know what the corresponding pen is for this pencil.  My guess is that it has a larger signature band than the two brown striped military clip models that I have.

The photo below is of two pens from my collection, both Sheaffer lever filling Balance models from the early 1940s.  Not a perfect match, but close.


The second pencil is a mid 1930s Vacumatic Junior Pencil, made in Canada, based on the imprint.  You can see from the topmost photo that the largest issue with this pencil is the pitted tip.  I worked long and hard to try to clean this up and the best I could do is the result below.  It measures 4 5/8 inches and also advances lead and is filled by twisting the cap and barrel in opposite directions.  It takes a much larger lead – using a 1.15mm lead.


Below is a photo of this pencil with a 1935 Vacumatic Junior that I restored in a June 20, 2008 article.  I had restored a similar US made pencil to pair with this pen in a previous pencil article, so this will be a user pencil and the other, which is in great shape, will stay with the pen.


The final pencil is a bit of an oddity and just for fun.   There is no corresponding fountain pen, but a bit of history that actually fits in with some fountain pen history.

The vintage mechanical pencil below is a Ritepoint Pencil.  On the pencil it indicates that Ritepoint is in St. Louis, Missouri.  Google searches of Ritepoint generate many interesting mechanical pencils with all sorts of advertising twists.

First, the particulars of this pencil.  It measures 5 5/8 inches long and the lead (it takes 0.9mm lead) advances and is filled by holding the point and twisting the full barrel.  You can see from the first photo above that the barrel pulls apart to reveal a large eraser and small lead storage area.  The clip reads Ritepoint, and underneath there appears a list of Patents.


I researched the patents and they are below.  Clicking on each will take you to the Patent Summary and Drawings.

Osborne Balanced Pencil

Lipic Ornamental Device

Lipic Ornamental Device II

Here is a copy of the Lipic Ornamental Device drawing from 1941.  In the abstract they refer to inserting an image, symbol, or advertising device in the top of the pen to be viewed through the window at the top of the pencil.


My pencil was fortunately not used in their diagrams, appearing after the patent process.  I am not certain what Mr. Dow was promoting, but suspect it was just a pencil (New Peek Pencil) that was a novelty and could be used to promote a business or product.  Research indicates that the Louis F. Dow Company was a large National Promotional firm that produced all types of articles such as pens and calendars to promote businesses.  They were known to use  models such as the one in this  pencil for these promotions.   Before anyone sends emails about content, I can assure you that Miss Negligee is fully clothed.  The photos below are a bit hazy as it was difficult to get my camera to take a photo through the small hole.




An interesting tidbit that I learned about Ritepoint / St. Louis (the maker of the pencil)  when researching the patents is that they were associated with the Lipic family in some way.  I am sure that the St. Louis collectors out there know the connection, but the patents for both Ritepoint Pencils and Lighters carry the Lipic name as you can see above.  I have already discussed Lipic Pens in an article on The Radium Point Pen, dated January 22, 2009.  Further information on the Lipic Company can be found there.

Ritepoint pencils, as mentioned above, came in many different styles, with floating scenes, personalities, and perpetual calendars.  The ones I have seen, including this one, are very well made, and continue to be very functional today.  Here is a link to another Ritepoint review from a very good Mechanical Pencil blog that I check out regularly ~ Dave’s Mechanical Pencils … Ritepoint.

Sorry for the diversion again into pencils.  Once and a while it is fun to pick up a few and get them working again.   Not all of us can do a Crossword Puzzle with a fountain pen, can we?


July 7, 2010 Posted by | Lipic Fountain Pens, Parker Pen Company, Parker Vacumatic, Ritepoint Mechanical Pencils, Sheaffer, Vintage Mechanical Pencils | , , , | 1 Comment

Lipic Pens ~ The Radium Point Pen

It is always fun to find a fountain pen from another geographical location.  Lipic Pens were produced in St. Louis, Missouri by the Joseph Lipic Pen Company.  More on Lipic later, after we cover the restoration of this Oversize Flat Top.  First, I will apologize for the shoddy photographs.  My camera had a tough time picking up the dark forest green of this pen.  I would say that the photo that closely matches the color of this pen is the photo of the clip and the dark green in the background.

You can see by the photo directly below that this is a standard lever filler.  The sac came out in several large pieces and the pressure bar was attached to a metal clasp at the top of the inner-cap.  When I scraped out the old sac, the bar came out and the clip on the top had rusted off.  I decided to leave the clasp at the top of the cap inside the pen as insertion of a new long j-bar was not hindered by its presence.

The nib is a nice large Warranted No. 8 in 14K gold and polished up well.  The biggest job was cleaning the section as it had a large glob of the old sac attached, as you can see from the picture below.  It is important to completely remove this to assure a tight fit to the new sac when it is cemented to the section with sac cement.  I scrape it first with and x-acto knife and then use fine sand paper to remove any small pieces and assure a smooth fit with no bumps for air holes.

I used a large size 20 sac and trimmed it to fit the barrel, secured it to the section after refitting the nib and feed.


The key to these large pens is to really make them shine.  Fortunately, this pen was in fairly good exterior shape when I found it and after polishing it and applying carnuba wax it looks great.  The band, clip, and lever were all 14K also, as they survived vigorous polishing.   After the sac cement had a chance to dry, I reinserted the section into the barrel and the completed pen is below.



Here is a close up of the imprint showing the Radium Point Brand and St. Louis, MO, the location of the Lipic Pen Company.


The Clip and the Capital R, for Radium.


To me the name “Radium Point” is a little ominous as radium is a highly radioactive element and if exposed to radium it could lead to all sorts of health problems.  In fact, radium was used in many applications until its deadly qualities became more understood.  It wasn’t used in these pens though ( I hope ), but must have either been a catchy “new science” kind of name, or had some significance to the St. Louis area.  If anyone know the origin of this Radium Point brand name, drop me a note please.

The following information on the Joseph Lipic Pen Company comes from an excellent book, The Write Stuff, Collectors Guide to Inkwells, Fountain Pens, and Desk Accessories, by Ray and Bevy Jaegers.  It has excellent information on the hobby of writing instruments and great photos of pens, desk sets, advertising, letter openers, and inkwells.

George Berg founded the Berg Company in St. Louis in 1853.  In 1904, his son-in-law Joseph Lipic joined the firm and eventually took over in the Company.  In 1910 he patented a successful self filling pen, called the Radium Point Pen.

Here is the Patent as shown in the above referenced book for this 1910 pen.   This is not the same pen as the one I have restored, but rather an interesting hard rubber pen called the Radium Point.

Soon the company expanded from the general St. Louis area to a national market.  They were quite successful for a small pen company in the following years, and have survived to today.

One of my favorite patents of theirs is this pencil / thermometer.

I really do not have an exact date for the production of this pen, though I believe it to be near the late 1920s.  Lipic was going strong at that time and I have a bit of a clue in the photo below.  The plastic translucent jewels on the ends of the barrel and cap are very similar to those of Yankee and Belmont pens previously discussed in these past posts:

A Yankee In Michigan ~ January 27, 2008

Belmont / Rexall and Yankee Cousins ~ May 22, 2008

Clicking on these links will lead to information that these Belmont and Yankee pens were produced in the mid to late 1920s.  So, I would place the timeline on these pens in the same ballpark.

The next question would be — were the parts for these Kraker (Belmont and Yankee) and Lipic (Radium) made in the same place?  If so, where?  Another question for another day.


The good news is that even though I now have more questions to work on, at least I have a nice large pen to use in the solving process.  Keep finding those pens….

Edit, 3-28-15: A fellow pen collector, Marc Packer, sent me the photo of this stunning twin to the Green Lipic above. It seems to be almost identical and it is nice to see another example of this well made pen. Thank you, Marc, for sharing and allowing me to show your photo.

 photo Lipic1_zpspuboswjo.jpg

January 22, 2009 Posted by | Lipic Fountain Pens, Radium Point Pen | , | 17 Comments


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