Fountain Pen Restoration

Moore Specialist – The End Of An Era

All good things must end, and so it did for Moore Fountain Pens in the Mid 1950s.  Their last fountain pen line was an aerometric filler (similar to the Parker 51, which had already been out for several years, making its debut in 1949).  It was named the Specialist.  It was produced by Moore (after the failed Fingertip) during the early to mid 1950s.  Here is a photo of the pen after I took it apart.  As you can see, the sac is shot and much of the internals were very stained.  The aerometric filler bar was loose and the sac was in pieces.  Not a pretty picture….

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I began by cleaning all of the pieces, being very careful with the brass cap, which I correctly suspected was covered with a very thin gold plating. I attempted to clean the nib, a very cheap “Iridium Tipped” steel nib which was stamped as a Moore Iridium Tipped Medium USA. These old steel nibs never clean up very well, but this one was in fairly good shape and remains writable. It very much reminds me of the nibs on the Waterman 2nd Generation Skywriters, which were contemporary to these. In fact the pen designs are very similar, though the Skywriters were lever fillers.

I continued by cleaning out the inside of the section and feed using water and a q tip.  Next for the rebuilding of the aero filler.  I trimmed a size 16 sac to fit exactly from the section to the end of the aero unit.  Using a new pressure bar (I used a large button filler pressure bar), I trimmed it to the size of the aero unit and attached it to the sac and the end of the section.  It now is visible through the aerometric window and compresses the sac with a gentle push.  The cleaned barrel was then threaded back on to the section after applying a bit of silicon grease to make a nice smooth connection while filling and cleaning. The cap was cleaned only on the inside, and the clip was polished.  I am not certain if it was originally silver, or if gold plating wore off over time.  Farther below, you will see a mint example of a Specialist that has a gold cap and clip.

Below here is a photo of the aerometric filling system before covering up with the barrel.

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Below are photos of the completed pen which measures 5 1/32 inches closed and 5 9/16 inches posted.

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I have also obtained an unused and stickered ($2.00) example of a Specialist.  Interestingly, it has a Waterman Taperite type section, different from the open nib above. It is also the blue color and as I mentioned, the clip is gold, matching the cap. The internal aero filler is the same as is the open nib I have restored. I do not know why they sold different nib styles, but it is the same concept as the Waterman late 1940s and 50s Crusader.  Below are photos of the New Old Stock Specialist, and the restored pen, together.

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Moore Fountain Pens eventually ceased operations in 1956 after this line of pens.  Unlike some of their competitors at the time, they did not jump into the ballpoint pen marketplace.    The Specialist, their last fountain pen, is an interesting glimpse into the end of one of a fine Company that produced many classic and highly collectible pens throughout the early half of the 1900s.

March 21, 2015 Posted by | Moore Pen, Moore Specialist | , | 1 Comment

Moore Fingertip Variation

I am always on the look out for these pens in need of restoration.  Previously, I have written about restorations of two of these pens ~

Moore Fingertip – dated September 6, 2012, and

Moore Fingertip – Generation 2 – dated January 25, 2013

These posts discussed the restoration of two pens, produced in the 1946-1950 time period by Moore.  My terminology of First and Second Generation was my own, and not a description used in any advertising materials or catalogs.  I recently came upon a third variation of the Fingertip, a smaller version of the second generation – pens that do not have the over the cap clip, have a metal cap (in either gold or silver) and a generally cheaper feel.  Speculation is that these  second generation pens were a later version of the Fingertip, towards the end of their unsuccessful production run.

Below is the pen after I took it apart, showing the silver cap and short clip, feed, section, old sac (which was too big and must have been placed there by a later repair job) and barrel. The lever was left in the pen as it was in fine working order.

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I cleaned each part individually, leaving the barrel alone, so that I did not compromise the sticker that is still on the pen.  After cleaning, I cemented a shortened size 16 sac on the end of the feed which was reinserted into the section after cleaning.  After letting the sac sit overnight, I reinserted (friction fit) the section into the barrel and tested with water.  A gentle polishing with a jewelers cloth yielded this completed pen, measuring 4 9/16 inches closed and 5  1/2 inches posted.

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Interestingly, this seems to be a demi-version of the second generation Moore.  In the photo below, you can see the differences in sizing between the two later Fingertips and the Original version.

For review, here are some of the main differences between the earlier and later versions, copied from my January 25, 2013 post ~

~ The first produced pen had some national magazine advertising, the second has none, as far as I have seen.

~ The first pen was longer and appears to have been produced in more color combinations

~ The second pen only came in metal caps.  Mine has an attractive silver cap with gold clip.  I have also seen examples in all gold.

~ The first pen has an “over the cap clip, whereas the second pen has a mid cap clip, with a decorative bubble on the top of the cap.

~ The silver section is larger on the first pen, though the gold inlaid nib seems to be the same size (not so on the demi model).  The nib on the second generation pen has two breather holes as opposed to one in the first produced pen.

~ The first pen has a screw on cap, the second is friction fit with a clutch ring.

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Model numbers appear on all versions on the barrel, and also on price sticker, which was still legible on this demi model.  Both versions of the full size Fingertip were stamped 96B on their barrels.  The smaller second generation model is stamped 77B, but the price sticker appears to read 76B.   I would like to get my hands on some Moore catalogs to see what they indicate.  For comparison, the $8.75 price held for all three of these models.

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These Fingertips, no matter which version or size are an interesting pen, marking an unsuccessful attempt by Moore to compete with Parker and Sheaffer in the streamlined pen craze of the late 1940s.   I am pleased to have found these three different examples to restore.

Also, from previous posts, an advertisement for the original Fingertip from 1946, and a grouping of major Pen Company pens, contemporary to the Fingertip.

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February 25, 2014 Posted by | Moore Fingertip, Moore Pen | , | Leave a comment

Moore Fingertip Generation 2

Post Number 200 ~

I recently restored and wrote about a Moore Fingertip Fountain Pen on September 6, 2012.

Briefly, Fingertips were produced by Moore from 1946 to 1950. More information on them can be found in the link above.

A second generation, or smaller variant was produced later in the Fingertip run at the same $8.75 price point.  Neither pen is easily available now, but this second, smaller pen is a bit rarer.  I was fortunate to find one recently and decided to move it forward in the repair queue, as I had just recently restored the larger “Vintage Wine” colored model linked above.

Below is the exploded view of the pen.  There was no old sac inside, leading me to believe that a previous owner had taken it apart, and not finished the restoration job.  Less work for me!

I did have to clean the section unit in the ultrasonic cleaner, elimination any ink remains.  I also scraped off the old sac from the section and attached a trimmed size 18 sac to the cleaned, dry surface.  I inserted a small jbar, which fit perfectly, without having to be shaved, and the pen was ready  for assembly.

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Here is a photo of the size 18 sac and section/nib, prior to insertion in the barrel.

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Below are two photos of the pen after completion and polishing with a jewelers cloth.  The pen measures 4 15/16 inches closed and 6 inches posted.

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The nib is a hard and inflexible fine.  As mentioned in my initial post of the first generation Fingertip, this appears to be the norm with these pens.

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I find the next two photos interesting, comparing this second generation (top) and the first generation (bottom).

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There are several differences between the two.  Here is a partial list from what I have observed in restoring the two.

~ The first produced pen has some advertising, the second has none, as far as I have seen.

~ The first pen was longer and appears to have been produced in more color combinations

~ The second pen only came in metal caps.  Mine has an attractive silver cap with gold clip.  I have also seen examples in all gold.

~ The first pen has an “over the cap clip, whereas the second pen has a mid cap clip, with a decorative bubble on the top of the cap.

~ The silver section is larger on the first pen, though the gold inlaid nib seems to be the same size.  The nib on the second generation pen has two breather holes as opposed to one in the first produced pen.

~ The first pen has a screw on cap, the second is friction fit with a clutch ring.

Both Fingertips marked a transition period in fountain pens and an unsuccessful attempt by Moore to compete with the more successful Parker and Sheaffer streamlined pens of the period.  They are no longer plentiful, and putting together a large collection would be cost prohibitive to most collectors, but one is an interesting collection addition.

January 25, 2013 Posted by | Moore Fingertip, Moore Pen | , | 3 Comments

Moore Fingertip

The Moore Fingertip Pen is a fountain pen I have been in search of for quite some time. I have run across a few, but they have been in distressed external condition. Recently, this pen crossed my path and I made a nice trade for it.

Moore Pens began near 1900 in Boston, Massachusetts and were a significant player in the fountain pen world for a good part of the first fifty years of the 20th Century. The Fingertip was their answer to the streamlined pens of the 1940s, highlighted by the Parker 51 and Sheaffer Triumph nibbed pens. Fingertips were made from 1946 to 1950, and unfortunately for Moore, did not enjoy the successes of the Parker and Sheaffer pens, and mark the beginning of the end for Moore. However, they were solid pens, and are extremely collectible today. Part of that collectibility is due to the failure of the line, as less were sold over the four years of production.

Below is a photo of the Fingertip after it was taken apart. The stainless steel section is friction fit to the barrel. I have heard that extreme care needs to be taken in removing the section, as the barrel is very prone to cracking. Fortunately, with gentle heat from my heat gun, the section separated with no problems. You can see the sac had hardened and broken apart in the barrel.

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I scraped the old sac off the section edge and cleaned out any remaining sac remnants from the barrel.  The lever system was in great shape and the pen shows no evidence of any usage.  This is confirmed when I rinsed the section in an ultrasonic cleaner, and also by the clean sales sticker on the cap, reverse side to the clip (see photo below).  I attached a size 18 sac to the section, using sac cement, and allowed it to dry overnight.  The friction fit section was then securely placed back in the barrel and the pen is ready for use.  Fingertips are well known for their rigid nibs.  This one is no exception.

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The pen measures a 5 1/8 inches closed and a substantial 6 3/8 inches posted.  Given the fit of the cap, I would think most would write without posting the cap.

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Here is a closeup of the price sticker, found on the cap, reverse of the clip, matching the price of $8.75 for pen only, quoted in the advertisement from my collection, below.

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From 1946 (Saturday Evening Post) – this is a rare advertisement for the Fingertip, aimed at the graduate.

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And a closeup of the pricing and features.  A few comments ~ Number 3 states that the lack of an exposed feed prevents fingers from getting ink on them.  Actually, users of this pen often note that it does bleed onto the fingers from the section/nib.  And Number 5 states that there is a full selection of pen points for every individual writing requirement.  I have never seen a catalog, or Moore publication, depicting all of the points available, but most I have seen in person or in print seem to be of the standard medium or fine variety.  If anyone has additional information on wide, italic, or other nibs, I would like to have the information to add here.

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As mentioned earlier, Fingertips were produced from 1946 to 1950.  They came in six solid colors (Black, Vintage Wine (this pen), Sunset Red, Stardust Blue, Woodsman Green, and Eiderdown White).  There were also two striped colors produced – Autumn Pearl and Seaspray Pearl.  These are a bit rarer, and command a higher price in today’s marketplace.

The Fingertip was a response to the trend by pen makers to produce more streamlined pens.  The major US manufacturers all had their entries in this competition.  Below are five pens from my collection that represent some of the entries.  All have streamlined features and had varied successes.  Obviously the Parker Vac 51 and the Sheaffer Triumph models were winning designs and marketing victories, and led to many further models and successes.  The other three, including the Moore Fingertip, were not so successful, and to varying degrees, marked the decline of their ability to compete in the future pen marketplace.

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Finally, the packaging.  You can see in the photo above that the Fingertip set (fountain pen and pencil) came in an attractive snap case.   This single sale pen ($8.75) came in the rather plain box photographed below.

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The Fingertip disappeared in 1950.  I really like this pen – the weight and uniqueness of the styling.  Though not successful in its time, it is still very collectible, and marks an interesting transition period in United States Fountain Pen history.

September 6, 2012 Posted by | Moore Fingertip, Moore Pen | | 2 Comments

Moore Tuscan And A Yankee

What a lucky week I had in terms of restoring pens.  As a result of Fountain Pen Restoration, I received an email from a reader who noticed the post titled “A Yankee In Michigan“.  He is a pen enthusiast and collector, and had found two pens that belonged to a grandparent.  We should all be so lucky…  he sent them to me for repair and I was pleasantly surprised when I opened up the box.

The pens are below and were photographed after I took them apart.

The top pen is the Moore Tuscan, a full sized model.  The second photo below is the Yankee, a Kraker product from Grand Haven, Michigan.  I will write more about it next week as I gather some additional information.  For this week, I will focus on the Moore.

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As you can see from the first photo, this is a standard lever filler.  The nib was severely discolored and the pressure bar was entirely missing.  The pen had definitely been used and at some point, someone had removed the section and taken the old sac and bar out.  I proceeded to clean the pen, inside and out, paying special attention to completely scraping the old sac remnants from the section.   The Moore is a plastic pen, so the parts can be easily cleaned and polished.  Also, the furniture is gold and polishing cleans it up well.  You can see that the heavily tarnished nib completely recovered its golden shine.

I used a size 18 sac and reattached it to the section / feed / nib assembly.  Insertion of the completed assembly into the barrel was simple and these are friction fit.

Below are photos of the completed pen, posted and closed.

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Here is the imprint on the Tuscan.

LEVER SELF FILLING

THE MOORE PEN CO

BOSTON MASS U S A

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The barrel end identifies this as an L-93 model.

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The Moore Clip

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The Moore Maniflex Nib ~ I tested this and it is an extra fine, with lots of flexibility.

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Below is an advertisement from 1925 that appears at Fountain Pen Network (click here for direct link to publisher), showing the Tuscan line of pens and their prices.  I believe that this is the second from the top, with a $7.00 price tag.  This pen is celluloid, probably dating it after 1925 and closer to 1927 or 1928.   I am not a Moore Pen Company expert, but do know that this pen was a contemporary of the Parker Duofold and Sheaffer Flat Tops.  It is very attractive, but did not fare as well as those lines.  Moore continued in the pen business for quite some time.  Additional Moore information can be found here.

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I have always wanted to own a Tuscan, though they do not appear as often as I would like.  The next best thing is to be able to bring one back to life and gaze at it for a while.  Now, it is on its way back to the owner, and I hope it brings years of enjoyment.

Next week, I will write about the Yankee Pen, which has a surprise nib….

October 25, 2010 Posted by | Moore Pen, Moore Tuscan Fountain Pen | , | 2 Comments

Belmont Pens at the Rexall Store

This post’s restoration brings us back to the Rexall Store of yesteryear. If you check back to my post of February 7, 2008 (Rexall Monogram), I discussed Monogram pens, made by Kraker for Rexall Stores. Over the years, Rexall used several manufacturers to produce their pen and pencil lines. Three major pen lines for Rexall were Monogram, Signet, and Belmont. Belmont pens were named for Belmont, Massachusetts, the home of Rexall head Louis Liggett.(1)

Sometime in the mid 1930s the contract for fountain pens was moved from Kraker to the Moore Pen Company of Boston. The pen discussed in this restoration is probably an example of one of these Moore products.

As you can see this was a distressed pen when it arrived. Priced accordingly at only a few dollars, it was going to require some patience and scrubbing. The j-bar was shot, as was the the clip, lever and two cap bands (located at the top and bottom). The nib, feed, and section were all usable and cleaned up quite quickly. In fact, you can barely see the cap bands in the photo below, they are so blackened.

I used a dremel carefully on all of the gold parts to remove as much of the black as possible and then a q-tips, and tooth picks with Simichrome to touch up. After scraping the old sac material from the section I placed a size 18 sac on the section and placed a new j-bar in the barrel.
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Below is a photo of the finished pen. I would say that I probably spent at least 2 hours cleaning this pen. But, as you can see, the end results were worth it. All of the gold parts now shine as they did when they sat on the Rexall shelves.

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Below is a photo of a Moore lever filler from the same time period and the celluloid is the same material. This would seem to back up the statement that this is a Moore product, after the mid 1930s. Moore continued to make pens for Rexall until the early 1950s. I suspect that they also made pencils as well, but that is for another post.

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Finally, here is a photo of the Belmont 14K No. 4 nib. It was very scratchy and I spent time smoothing the tip with very fine smoothing sheets.

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(1) This information provided by Rob Astyk in a thread at Lion and Pen. (website link provided in Blogroll)

August 18, 2008 Posted by | Belmont Pens, Moore Pen, Rexall | , | 2 Comments

Moore – Welty Cooperative Fountain Pen

William Welty has appeared in two of my posts, with his appearance here. It is a tribute to his resilience and persistence in the face of economic and business pressures. These were due to attempting to start and sustain a small size fountain pen company in the Midwest during a time of intense competition from bigger companies and the never ending needs of additional capital and legal battles from the likes of the Conklin Pen Company.

My first mention of Welty was in my post of December 12, 2007 where I restored an Evans Hump Filler pen. That was a pen dating to approximately 1915, a few years before this pen. As you can read in that post, after Welty won his lawsuit against Conklin, he was in need of additional funding and brought in Evans as a partner in the Evans Pen Company. After this he also entered into a relationship with the Moore Pen Company of Boston, MA to produce the Servo, or Moore-Servo pen. This is an example of a pen made in the short time that Welty and Moore were together, before Moore took over the line completely.

Eventually, Welty left Waterloo and headed for Chicago, where he again started up the Welty Pen Company. It was the final move for Welty and the Company seems to have remained there into the 1950s. At the end of this post I will show a picture of a Welty Chicago fountain Pen.

Here is a photo of the dismantled Servo Fountain Pen, which was probably produced sometime after 1917 in conjunction with Moore. The unique Welty Filler Patent can be found by clicking here.

As you can see, the lever is reverse to most lever fillers and opens from front to back. It is a hooked shape lever that attaches to a pressure bar which is under the sac (not above as in most lever fillers). A detailed view of this filler can be seen in the patent link in blue above.

Here is a picture of the pen reduced to its parts. The lever and pressure bar can be seen at the top and end of the barrel. You can see the end of the lever pointing to the front of the pen, ready to be pulled up and toward the back , thus lifting the lever from the bottom of the barrel, compressing the sac.

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This was a relatively simple repair. I cleaned up the old sac remnants from the section, using an x-acto knife. I then cleaned the section with a q-tip, removing all of the old ink. I then cleaned the feed and nib. The feed with water and dental pic in the channel. The nib (14K) using a dremel and simichrome. The nib is a 14K Servo No. 2.

The reverse lever is not gold, and I was able to remove the tarnish with simichrome and a lot of rubbing with a soft cloth. I attached a number 16 silicon sac to the section/feed/nib and inserted it in a different manner due to this unique lever/pressure bar. I held the pen with the lever on top so that the bar released to the bottom of the barrel and slid the sac assembly between the top lever and the bottom, where the bar rests. Now, when the lever is lifted, the bar will be pulled up to compress the sac. This is contrary to the standard lever filler where lifting the lever pushes the bar down into the sac.

Water testing was successful – no leaks and a steady flow of water after filling.

Here is the finished product, followed by the unique imprint showing the largest geographic distance I can remember on a fountain pen imprint.

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As I mentioned earlier in the post, William Welty eventually left Waterloo, IA and headed northeast to Chicago. Here is a picture of a later Welty pen, from Chicago.

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April 26, 2008 Posted by | Evans Pen Company, Hard Rubber Pen, Moore Pen, Servo Fountain Pen, Waterloo, Welty Pen Company | , , , | 2 Comments

   

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