Fountain Pen Restoration

Sheaffer Junior Flat Top Fountain Pen

The mid 1920s were an interesting time in fountain pen production.  It marked a widespread change in materials from hard rubber to plastic materials.   This weeks restoration is a good example of the period and interesting in that it is so similar to other pens that it competed against for the consumer dollar ~ or three in this case.  The main competition was the Parker Duofold, which was very similar in size and shape, differing mainly in its filling system which was a button fill.  My Post of March 15, 2008, Parker Lapis Duofold Junior Fountain Pen covers the repair of a Duofold Junior and its button filling mechanism.

Below is the Sheaffer Junior size Flat Top pen after I have taken it apart.  The jbar is in the pen and functional.  There was no sac in the pen, so someone has already taken it apart and decided not to restore it.  You can see the ink discoloration that plagues so many vintage pens.  The ink has gotten into the cap and the threads and cap have discolored the barrel and its threads.  The nib is in good shape as is the section and feed.

I spent a considerable amount of time cleaning the stains as well as sanding down some bit marks at the end of both the cap and the barrel.  The owner of this pen was quite a chewer…  The inside of the cap was also filled with dried up ink which caused much of the external problems.  I cleaned it with a combination of the ultrasonic cleaner and q-tips.

I cleaned the nib, clip, lever and cap band with Pentiques metal cleaner.  I cleaned the section and feed with q-tips and water, paying special attention to the feed channels which were caked with dried ink and dirt.

I used a size 18 sac, refitting it on the section/feed/nib and reinserting it into the barrel.

Below is a photo of the completed pen, a “3-25” model in Coral Red.  This was the name that Sheaffer gave to this color.  As you can see it closely resembles the same orange/red of the Duofold.  These pens were produced by Sheaffer from the mid 1920s through the end of the decade and probably into the 1930s.  I do not have any Sheaffer catalogs from this time period, so will not attempt to give exact dates, but the general period is accurate.

The Coral Red color was the least common of the Sheaffer Flat Top colors of the period.  More plentiful were Jade, Black, and Pearl/Black.

Later models may have had a different lever system, lower clips and/or a humped clip as opposed to the straight on with this pen,

This pen is referred to by many collectors today as a Junior Flat Top, or 3-25.  The 3-25 logo appears in two places on the pen ~ on the nib, and at the top of the cap, to the right of the clip.  The 3 apparently refers to the cost of the pen at the time ~ $3.00 and the 25 refers to a 25 year guarantee.  No white dot lifetime guarantee on this pen.  I have also read that this model may have been referred to as an SC where S stands for Short (as opposed to the larger Flat Top model) and the C for a model with a Clip.

Below are the two 3-25 imprints.

As I mentioned earlier, the red/orange flat top was a popular pen of the period and many Companies, large and small, first, second and third tier, produced these pens.  Below are (from top to bottom) an Oxford (European Production), this Sheaffer 3-25, a Parker Duofold Junior (single band non-streamlined), and a Chicago (NPP?) Paris Pen Company Pen.

If you like colorful pens, these vintage Sheaffers are a good bet to provide a sound writing experience and are relatively simple to restore. Solidly constructed, they often survive in fairly good shape.  Keep an eye out for them and their black, jade and black/pearl counterparts.


March 19, 2010 Posted by | Sheaffer, Sheaffer 3-25 | , | 1 Comment


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