Fountain Pen Restoration

A Dixie In Illinois

In my post of August 1, 2008, A Dixie in Michigan, I discussed the repair of a very clean green marble Dixie Pen, made by George Kraker in Grand Haven, Michigan.   Kraker, whose pens I have covered from Minneapolis to Grand Haven, Michigan, and to Libertyville, IL in the following posts,

Hard Rubber Midwest Style December 7, 2007
A Yankee In Michigan January 27, 2008
Rexall Monogram February 7, 2008
A Yankee In Minnesota May 15, 2008
Belmont/Rexall And Yankee Cousins May 22, 2008
Pencraft June 1, 2008
A Dixie In Michigan August 1, 2008
Drew Pen Company October 3, 2008

was certainly a busy and transient pen maker. I even have a pen of his made in Kansas City prior to his stint in Minnesota. But that is for another time.

This pen, made in Libertyville, dates to sometime in or after 1929, the year Kraker moved there. This would seem to coincide with the marketplace. This pen is similar in color and design to the popular Mandarin Parker Duofold, which was first produced in 1927.

As you can see, the pen was a stained mess when I received it.  This is very typical of vintage yellow pens as they show all of the old ink and scratches very well.

Two things stood out with this pen.  First, the nib was not a Dixie No. 8 or a Warranted No. 8 as I have seen with these pens, but a Parker Vacuum Fill nib.  The Vacuum Fill was the pen produced by Parker around 1933 between the Parker Golden Arrow and eventually the Vacumatic.  Thus the nib is a bit rare and unusual .  I don’t know when it was put on the pen, but it was not recently.  The entire pen was caked inside and out with greenish ink residue, which also is found all over the nib.  Also, the nib and Parker feed are perfect matches for the section and fit snugly, exposing just the right amount of nib.  Resale on the Vacuum Fill nib would be attractive, but for now I think I will keep it with the pen.

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Another piece of evidence that the nib / feed / section have been on the pen for a while was the fact that when I eventually got the section out of the barrel, the sac and pressure bar were still inside and both came out with quite a bit of work and were completely shot.  The sac was very hard and in may pieces and the bar was corroded and brittle.

Below, is a photograph of the pen after I was able to take the section out.  One should always be careful in removing the section with pens, but yellow pens seem to be very brittle and certainly will show any stress cracks that might develop during this process, if care is not taken.

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I spent several days working on the inside and outside of this pen, attempting to remove all of the old scratches and stains.  It was quite a challenge.  I used my ultrasonic cleaner and then many qtips, towels, dental picks, and polishes to attempt to clean it up.  The threads were particularly difficult, but I was able to get them completely clean using Ink Nix and a toothbrush.

I installed a new j-bar and a size 18 sac and reinstalled the Vacuum Fill Nib.  Tested with water, it performs well.

Here are pictures of the pen after completed.  It measures 5 1/2 inches capped.

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The imprint reads:

DixiE

NON-BREAKABLE

LIBERTYVILLE, ILL. – PAT.

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Finally, here is a picture of two of my Dixie Pens, one from Michigan and one from Illinois.  Both are in less common finishes.  Considered third-tier imitation pens, they perform well and are all part of the pen trail of George Kraker.

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November 26, 2008 Posted by | Dixie Fountain Pens, Kraker, Parker Vacuum Fill | , | 2 Comments

   

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