Fountain Pen Restoration

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.

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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.

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

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The Clip and the Capital R, for Radium.

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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.

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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.

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

   

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