Fountain Pen Restoration

Presidential Fountain Pens

Everyone who has spent time around the hobby of fountain pens and read about them has run across the question as to which (if any) fountain pens the Presidents (or other World Leaders) have used. I will not attempt to discuss Eisenhower’s Parker 51, or other favorites here. I will, however, discuss the restoration of two pens named after Presidents – Jefferson and Lincoln. Are there others? I do know that there are Monroe Pens (though I don’t know if they were named after President Monroe), but can think of no others. If you can, please feel free to comment below. I do not even know if Lincoln or Jefferson Pens were named after the Presidents. Remember my article on Franklin Pens of Philadelphia? I mistakenly thought they were named after Benjamin Franklin until research led me elsewhere.  For now, I will assume that the two Presidents shown below are the inspiration for these pens.

Abraham Lincoln, pictured on the left, was the 16th President of the United States from 1861 to 1865, and Thomas Jefferson (right) was the third President of the United States from 1801 to 1809.

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The first photo below is of a vintage Lincoln Fountain Pen after it has been taken apart.  The lower pen is the Jefferson.  As you can see, they are both in decent shape and I would guess that the Jefferson was never inked.  Both are lever fillers and the Lincoln has the hanging pressure bar, which is still in good condition.  As mentioned above, the Jefferson shows no evidence of any ink ever touching its parts.

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I thoroughly cleaned the gold furniture on both pens, including nibs, which were both large Warranted 8’s, with plenty of tipping material on them.  I did clean the outside of the Jefferson with scratch remover and polish as it is plastic.  The Lincoln, I left alone as it was quite clean, and I did not want to damage the hard rubber or mottled patterm.  The Lincoln took a size 18 sac as did the Jefferson.  Make sure to use a sac that leaves a bit of room.  You do not want to use a sac that fits too tightly in the barrel.

Below are photos of the finished pens.  The Lincoln was made by National Pen Products in Chicago.  My estimate for its production would be in the late 1920s.  I would suspect that the Jefferson was a later pen, produced in the 1930s.  I am uncertain as to who produced the Jefferson, though have read speculation that it is in the same family as Morrison/Morton pens.  Some evidence of this possibility will be discussed later.

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Note the darker ring in the plastic of the Jefferson below.  I am not certain what caused this as there was nothing in the box that might have caused this.  Perhaps there was a price ring on the pen that disappeared prior to my finding it.

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This photo shows the two “Presidential” pens together.  Measurements are as follows:

Lincoln ~  5 15/32″ capped and 6 1/2″ posted

Jefferson ~  5 15/32″ capped and 6 27/32″ posted

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The imprint on the Lincoln, which is one of the most detailed National Pen Products imprints I have seen.

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Like the rings of a tree, this is a nice addition, a ringed look to the top of the cap on the Lincoln.

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Interesting clips ~  The top is the Lincoln with the familiar National Pen Products leafy branch and flower.  You will see this clip on many of their brands.

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The Jefferson clip has a familiar wreath,  seen on many Morrison – Morton – Marathon pens.  Check out the vintage clip shot in my article No Tiers Shed Here, written on December 9, 2007 which shows similar wreath surrounding the first letter of the Pen Names.  This makes me think that the theories that I have heard about Jefferson Pens being related might be true.

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Here is a photo of the Jefferson box with the phrase ” The Gift Beautiful” on the lid.  The interior has a velvet (damaged) seat for two writing instruments. If the second was a pencil, it was missing when I found it. The logo for the Jefferson follows in the second photo. It is found on the inside of the box lid.

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These pens are not as valuable as those used by Presidents to sign treaties and legislation, but another way to collect “Presidential” pens.

June 8, 2010 Posted by | Jefferson Fountain Pens, Lincoln Fountain Pens, Morrison Fountain Pens, National Pen Products | , , , , | 1 Comment

Diamond Medal Wide Band Fountain Pen

This week’s restoration was found at an antiques store in Central Wisconsin this Winter while taking a break during a business trip.  It was in a glass amidst many other pens and pencils.  Kind of a “Diamond Medal In The Rough”, pardon the pun….

I finally got around to working on it this week and below is the photo after I took the pen apart.  Two things stand out here.  First, the sac is completely hardened, showing that the pen had not been used, or opened in quite some time.  Second is the lever system.  This is a “hanging pressure bar” found on many of these Chicago pens.  Instead of the common jbar found on many lever fillers, the hanging bar was attached through a hinge in a circular anchor at the top of the cap.  See my article dated February 7, 2008 titled Rexall Monogram for a photo and brief discussion of this lever – bar system common to National Pen Products pens.

Unfortunately, the anchor was broken on this pen and I will have to improvise.

The pen was thoroughly cleaned.  I used a dremel and cleaner on the outside to the cap and barrel, including the gold cap band, lever, nib, and clip.  They did not show any signs of wear, and with gentle cleaning and I was able to be more aggressive once I determined they were not a cheap gold plate.  The inside of the cap was cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner and with qtips to get rid of the inevitable caked on ink.  The channels of the feed were traced with a sharp hobby knife and cleared.   I used a size 16 sac on this one ~ attaching it to the section/feed/nib with sac cement.

Below are two photos of the completed pen which measures 5 1/2 inches closed and 6 9/16 inches posted.

I then photographed the pen along side of a larger (width) Diamond Medal I have had for quite some time.  You can see that it is a narrow pen.  The wider pen compares in size to a large OS Sheaffer or Parker Duofold.

The nib is a Diamond Medal No. 2, fairly small to fit the narrower pen and section.  It has a fair amount of flex, not unusual to pens of this era.

Here is the crisp imprint on the clip, which cleaned to a very shiny gold.

Diamond Medal Pens were produced for Sears Roebuck and sold  by them during the 1920s and 1930s.  The earlier production pens of the 1920s came in a variety of plastics and were produced by National Pen Products of Chicago, IL.    This would be an NPP pen, that Sears would have probably sold in its stores and through its famous and popular catalog.   Later Diamond Medal Pens were produced for Sears by Parker, including vacumatic and button fillers that resemble the Parker pens of the 30s.  But those are for another day…

You never know where you might find a user and collector quality pen.  Thank you to those that have shared their “finds in the wild” with me back channel.  They are still out there…

February 1, 2010 Posted by | Diamond Medal Fountain Pens, National Pen Products, Sears | , , | 2 Comments

There Is A Woman In My Fountain Pen !

Who is this and why is her photo inlaid into this Good Service pen? I threw this question out to several people and the responses were varied. They ranged from the pen was given to loved ones at the time of this woman’s death, marriage, birthday or anniversary. The inlay is very smooth and not just a photo glued on to the pen. It is inlaid and quite well done.

What I do know is that this is a pen manufactured by either National Pen Products , probably using parts produced by C. E. Barrett, also of Chicago, or by Parker, who also made some Good Service Pens. Good Service was a Sears Brand, sold in their stores and through mail order. I would only be guessing, but I might lean toward this being a Parker product due to the green marble, and feed/section which look similar to several of the Parker Challengers and Parkettes that I have.

Anyway, back to the lovely woman in my pen. If anyone has seen other examples of these types of pens from this time period (30s – 40s), I would love to see them and hear what they were used for or why they were produced.

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As for the restoration, it was a straight forward lever filler repair. However, as you can see the section and feed were brittle and came apart when I attempted to knock out the feed. This was easily fixed as I had a spare Challenger feed and section that fit the barrel and nib ( a Warranted 14k ).

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I thoroughly cleaned the inside of the barrel and cap which were caked with blue ink, replaced the feed and section and refitted the nib. A size 16 latex sac was used to complete the filling system. The gold parts polished up nicely and the pen (and picture ) were polished and buffed.

Here is the end result. I like to think that the woman on my pen is much happier with her new surroundings.

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For good measure, here is a photo of the imprint. I believe the faded logo in the middle is the Sears and Roebuck logo.

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11-30-2012 Edit: David Nishamura has written an excellent web article on Doric Inlays in which he publishes Wahl Eversharp brochure that details that they will do similar inlay work to their Doric pens. Interesting reading and a glimpse into what was done to this pen, perhaps. Both Companies were in Chicago…..

A link to David’s excellent post is here.

August 7, 2008 Posted by | C. E. Barrett, Good Service Pen Company, National Pen Products, Parker Pen Company, Sears | , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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