Fountain Pen Restoration

Christmas 2014

Merry Christmas from Fountain Pen Restoration!  2014 has been a slow year at the old workbench.  It’s not for lack of projects, which are piling up as I write this.  Some times, however, family and job do take priority status.  I have been cataloging projects for 2015 and look to get started shortly with repairs, photos, and research.

In the past seven years, my Christmas post has often shared a photo of vintage Christmas Advertisements featuring various pens.  This years is a simple Sheaffer pitch from probably the late teens or early 20s.  The Solid Gold set would certainly be nice to find under the tree this year!

 photo DSC_0001_zps364e40d4.jpg

To all of you who communicate with me through the year, and to those from year’s past – have a Happy Holiday Season, and a wonderful 2015.


December 24, 2014 Posted by | Christmas, Christmas Pen, Sheaffer | , | 4 Comments

Sheaffer Hunting Dog

I do not collect desk sets, though I have stumbled into a few from time to time. Previous restorations and articles over the last five years are as follows ~

Rube Goldberg Ink Delivery Machine – December 21, 2007

Fishing For A Desk Base – January 19, 2008

Gold Bond Stonite Desk Pen – December 17, 2008

Atlas Appliance Desk Pen  –  March 10, 2010

As you can see, the last time I restored one of note was almost two years ago.  For some reason (my guess is storage requirements) these are often overlooked in fountain pen collecting.  This one was found on a table at an antique mall for a pittance.   I had read about Sheaffer desk bases, which often featured animals, over the past few years and decided to bring this one home.  Unfortunately, no pen was available – probably snatched many years earlier by someone only interested in pens.  Imagine that…..more on a matching pen for this base later.

Anyway, there was little to do on this one, other than polishing the gold and cleaning the marbled base.  I left the dog alone, as the aging befits him(or her).  All that remained was to find out when this was manufactured and what type of pen would be a match.


Fortunately, I did not have to look very far.  Just recently I discovered two threads  by Roger Wooten – Sheaffer Desk Set Expert – at the Fountain Pen Board and at Fountain Pen Network that discuss various Dog bases.  These place this Hunting Dog base in the area of 1930.  Mention is made that these smaller bases do not often appear in Sheaffer Catalogs, but occasionally in advertisements.

As for a matching pen, it appears from the writing that a Sheaffer Lever Filling Desk pen from the same time period would be appropriate.  Several photos of these pens accompany the Fountain Pen Network thread.  I will now have to keep an eye open for a nice one (black)  to restore.

For much more information on these Sheaffer Sets, I would encourage you to check out this site.

Keep an eye out for these bases.  They often show up more than the pens!

Snapbucket,Filter: Quadrant,Frame: Round White

February 14, 2012 Posted by | Desk Pens, Sheaffer, Sheaffer Hunting Dog | , , | 2 Comments

How To Make A Sheaffer Touchdown In 1950

Popular Science, in its November 1950 issue, published an article on How Your Fountain Pen Is Made. It discusses the manufacture of an unnamed Sheaffer pen.  In reviewing the photos it is clear that it is a Sheaffer Touchdown.  This would make sense given the time that this article appeared.

Even though the article is dated, it is an interesting look into the manufacturing process in Fort Madison in 1950.  I picked up many interesting pieces of information.  Of particular interest to me is the fact that it took 6 weeks and 318 different operations to make a pen.  Contrast that to the mass production of items today….

I also enjoyed the section on gold conservation – suctioning the gold off the floors and through the laundry – to salvage gold dust to be reused.

For your reading pleasure ~




From my article dated May 2,  2008, Sheaffer Valiant Touchdowns, here is a photo of the large and thinner models produced before and after 1950, and the larger model taken apart.



Finally, 1949 and 1952 advertisements for these popular, and relatively easy to restore, Sheaffer Touchdowns.


NG Nov 49



February 9, 2011 Posted by | Sheaffer, Sheaffer Valiant Touchdown | , | Leave a comment

Craig Fountain Pens

This week, I worked on two Craig pens that I have had for about six months.  I wanted to reread some information that I had read a while ago on them, before commencing on the restoration.

I will discuss what I have learned about these pens later.  Below are the two lever fillers after I have taken them apart.  Both had sac remnants inside, which I did not save for the photo.  Both are lever fillers and the BCHR (black chased hard rubber) is clipless.


The Jade plastic model was fairly simple to restore.  I cleaned the barrel insides and removed all traces of the old sac and jbar.  I also cleaned the inside of the cap.  After using an xacto knife to scrape the section free of the old sac and adhesive, I used a q tip to clean the inside of the section.  I also cleaned the feed off and scraped out the channels which were filled with old ink residue.  The nib, a Warranted 14K #3 was cleaned with metal polish.  The lever, clip, and cap band were a more difficult task.  They are not gold and probably brass.  I had to spend a considerable amount of time cleaning these with a stronger polish and dremel.  Eventually, I got the old brassing off of each and the pen looks quite good.  I installed a new (small) jbar, reset the feed and nib in the section and attached a size 16 sac to the section/feed/nib.   I then reinstalled the section (friction fit) to the barrel and the pen is ready to go after some gentle polishing of the outside of the barrel and cap.


The BCHR Craig was an even easier repair.  As you do not want to expose the rubber to any moisture and there are no clip or cap ring, the only item to be polished is the lever.  The nib, feed, and section were treated as with the jade pen and reinstalled with a size 16 sac and full size jbar.  The completed pen, which also has a Warranted 14K #3 nib, is below.  The black hard rubber is still about 80% black, with faint traces of browning from age.


The completed pens measure as follows ~

BCHR – 5 1/2 inches closed and 6 5/16 inches posted

Jade – 4 5/16 inches closed and 5 5/16 inches posted


Side by side, the rather crude imprints on each pen.


Craig Pens were a sub-brand of Sheaffer Pens in the early 1900s.  The name came from Walter A Sheaffer’s son, Craig.  They were a lower priced and lower quality pen.  The information on these pens is a bit sketchy and even has some potential tie-ins to George Kraker, who worked for Sheaffer before going out on his own, only to be sued and lose to Walter Sheaffer.  A lengthy discussion and debate on Craig, Sheaffer, Kraker and many more can be found here ~ Sheaffer, Kraker, Craig, Bon-Ton etc..

One of the things that makes collecting vintage pens so rewarding and frustrating at the same time is the scarcity of information that is available on many of these  lesser known brands.  The reward is when a piece of information is found that solves a mystery.  Every fountain pen has a story – some are just harder to find.

January 3, 2011 Posted by | Craig Fountain Pens, Sheaffer | , | 3 Comments

Sheaffer Holiday Pen 1997

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to All from Fountain Pen Restoration.  Each of the previous Christmas Posts have featured vintage Christmas Post Cards and the Sheaffer Holly Pen:

Christmas 2009
Christmas 2008
Christmas 2007

This year, I was lucky enough to pick up Sheaffer’s second Holiday Pen ~ The Snow Pen ~ which was produced in the same type of box as the Holly Pen (1996), in 1997.

Here is the pen, sitting on a 1913 post card with a nice Holiday Sentiment ~

Years May Come

And Years May Go

May Happiness

You Always Know

Merry Christmas


Here is the front of the Snow Pen box


And the inside flap, describing the Frederic Mizen painting ~


The snow pen is actually a Prelude model cartridge/converter fill.  Research indicates that these also came in sets with a matching ballpoint, though it appears that mine came without this option.  As you can see, it is a fine point.


Here is a photo taken along with the 1996 Triumph Holly Pen (broad nib).  The Snow Pen was the end to the “Holiday Originals”  two year series.  I do not know if the plan was to continue for more years, but this pen marked the end to a unique marketing campaign.  I am certain that vintage pen collectors, and especially Sheaffer collectors would have loved to see Holiday Pens based on the Balance, Pen For Men, Snorkel, and a Large Red Flat Top…


So, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, to all pen collectors and restorers out there.  Have a great Season and here is to many more pens to discover in the future!

December 20, 2010 Posted by | Christmas, Christmas Pen, Sheaffer, Sheaffer Holiday Originals | , , | 3 Comments

Three Pencils Just For Fun

Occasionally, I cover pencils in my restorations.  Often times they come as part of a set, as I have covered in articles about Parker 51,, Parker Vacumatic, Striped Duofold, and Sheaffer sets.   As a fountain pen collector, you constantly run across vintage mechanical pencils in your searches and they are frustratingly more common than the pens we covet.  I usually resist the temptation to clutter up my pen case with pencils, but when they are available for a very low price, it is hard to resist.  The three pencils that I restored this week were all found at less than a dollar apiece, so I could not resist.  They came in varying conditions – two completed sets, and one has an interesting story and interior.

The first photo below is of the simple opening of all three.  All were mechanically sound, but a bit dirty and without lead.


The first pencil I cleaned up is a very clean example of a Sheaffer brown striped pencil with a military clip.  This would seem to place it in the World War II time period of the early 1940s.  It measures 5 1/8 inches and takes 0.9 mm pencil leads.  The lead is inserted and then fed using a twist motion of the barrel and cap.  What is nice about this pencil is the wide 14K band.  There is a clear area of the band that was available for signature or initial of the owner.  This pencil’s was left blank. As you can see from the top photo, the eraser is old and dried up.  It can be lifted and there is room for spare pencil lead. I cleaned the eraser and inserted an ample supply of 0.9mm lead.


I do no know what the corresponding pen is for this pencil.  My guess is that it has a larger signature band than the two brown striped military clip models that I have.

The photo below is of two pens from my collection, both Sheaffer lever filling Balance models from the early 1940s.  Not a perfect match, but close.


The second pencil is a mid 1930s Vacumatic Junior Pencil, made in Canada, based on the imprint.  You can see from the topmost photo that the largest issue with this pencil is the pitted tip.  I worked long and hard to try to clean this up and the best I could do is the result below.  It measures 4 5/8 inches and also advances lead and is filled by twisting the cap and barrel in opposite directions.  It takes a much larger lead – using a 1.15mm lead.


Below is a photo of this pencil with a 1935 Vacumatic Junior that I restored in a June 20, 2008 article.  I had restored a similar US made pencil to pair with this pen in a previous pencil article, so this will be a user pencil and the other, which is in great shape, will stay with the pen.


The final pencil is a bit of an oddity and just for fun.   There is no corresponding fountain pen, but a bit of history that actually fits in with some fountain pen history.

The vintage mechanical pencil below is a Ritepoint Pencil.  On the pencil it indicates that Ritepoint is in St. Louis, Missouri.  Google searches of Ritepoint generate many interesting mechanical pencils with all sorts of advertising twists.

First, the particulars of this pencil.  It measures 5 5/8 inches long and the lead (it takes 0.9mm lead) advances and is filled by holding the point and twisting the full barrel.  You can see from the first photo above that the barrel pulls apart to reveal a large eraser and small lead storage area.  The clip reads Ritepoint, and underneath there appears a list of Patents.


I researched the patents and they are below.  Clicking on each will take you to the Patent Summary and Drawings.

Osborne Balanced Pencil

Lipic Ornamental Device

Lipic Ornamental Device II

Here is a copy of the Lipic Ornamental Device drawing from 1941.  In the abstract they refer to inserting an image, symbol, or advertising device in the top of the pen to be viewed through the window at the top of the pencil.


My pencil was fortunately not used in their diagrams, appearing after the patent process.  I am not certain what Mr. Dow was promoting, but suspect it was just a pencil (New Peek Pencil) that was a novelty and could be used to promote a business or product.  Research indicates that the Louis F. Dow Company was a large National Promotional firm that produced all types of articles such as pens and calendars to promote businesses.  They were known to use  models such as the one in this  pencil for these promotions.   Before anyone sends emails about content, I can assure you that Miss Negligee is fully clothed.  The photos below are a bit hazy as it was difficult to get my camera to take a photo through the small hole.




An interesting tidbit that I learned about Ritepoint / St. Louis (the maker of the pencil)  when researching the patents is that they were associated with the Lipic family in some way.  I am sure that the St. Louis collectors out there know the connection, but the patents for both Ritepoint Pencils and Lighters carry the Lipic name as you can see above.  I have already discussed Lipic Pens in an article on The Radium Point Pen, dated January 22, 2009.  Further information on the Lipic Company can be found there.

Ritepoint pencils, as mentioned above, came in many different styles, with floating scenes, personalities, and perpetual calendars.  The ones I have seen, including this one, are very well made, and continue to be very functional today.  Here is a link to another Ritepoint review from a very good Mechanical Pencil blog that I check out regularly ~ Dave’s Mechanical Pencils … Ritepoint.

Sorry for the diversion again into pencils.  Once and a while it is fun to pick up a few and get them working again.   Not all of us can do a Crossword Puzzle with a fountain pen, can we?

July 7, 2010 Posted by | Lipic Fountain Pens, Parker Pen Company, Parker Vacumatic, Ritepoint Mechanical Pencils, Sheaffer, Vintage Mechanical Pencils | , , , | 1 Comment

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

More National Geographic Fountain Pen Advertisements

A trip to the Used Book Store yielded a few more interesting advertisements last week.  Even better when they relate to restored pens!

This first photo is from the National Geographic dated March 1951.  It depicts a Sheaffer TM Valiant Touchdown Fill. Comparing this Thin Model to the previous Thicker version is exactly what my photo from the post titled 1949 Sheaffer Valiant Touchdowns – The Big Ones shows. I have put a copy of that photo after this advertisement.

My post titled Valiant TM Touchdown shows the restoration of this very 1950-52 pen.

NG Mar 51


The next advertisement is from a November 1949 National Geographic and again depicts pre-snorkel Touchdown sets.  Notice both the closed nibbed (triuimph) Sentinel Deluxe and Valiant, as opposed to the lesser priced Statesman Set.

NG Nov 49

Esterbrook Pens are a popular choice among collectors due to their availability, colors, ease of repair, and each of nib change.  I restored a mid-1950s CH model in this post from May 8, 2008 ~ Fountain Pen Restoration 101.  The photo below from the March 1951 points out (no pun intended here) the ease of switching out the nibs on these pens to fit ones writing style or needs.  Below the advertisement I have attached a photo of two previously restored Esterbrooks and their approximate production dates as they more closely resemble the pen in the advertisement.

NG Mar 51


The next two photos promote the very popular Parker 51, which I have discussed in numerous posts.  The first is from the February 1945 National Geographic and the final advertisement is from the November 1949 NG.

This first advertisement is for the time period before the Vacumatic was phased out and the Aero-metric took over as the filling system on this model.  The next to last paragraph is especially interesting to me as it states that “Parker 51’s will be more available”.  Given the time period and the fact that the war time rationing by Parker and other pen makers was ending, this was a true statement.

The final paragraph mentions the mid 1940s Vacumatic Colors of Black, Blue Cedar, Dove Grey, and Cordovan Brown.  The days of the Aero-metric and more colors were still a few years away.

Vacumatic 51 Restoration posts that have already been published here are as follows:

Black and Gold Parker 51 Vacumatic ~   September 25, 2008 (photo below)

Final Year for 51 Vacumatics 1948 ~   January 15, 2009

A pen that looks very much like the $15.00 1945 pen below was featured in the first post and I have placed a small photo under this advertisement.

NG Feb 45


Finally, this 1949 advertisement for the Aero-metric fill 51, which had just replaced the Vacumatic version.  The post war economy was heating up.  They mention the increase to eight colors and even offer sets up to $275.00.

NG Nov 49

These advertisements continue to be a great way for those of us who are not able to get our hands on original catalogs or sales materials to study the history of fountain pens.  Next stop ….  the public library.

June 17, 2009 Posted by | National Geographic, Parker Pen Company, Sheaffer | , , | Leave a comment

National Geographic and Your Fountain Pens

Over the past holiday season, one of my daughters became interested in reading some old Life magazines that were at her grandparents home.  Given her interest, we headed out this past weekend to an old book store to see if we could find a few for her to have at home.  We found no Life Magazines, but did find several National Geographics.

What a great source of pen history can be found in these magazines, as well as many old magazines.  A quick scan of ebay will show a large amount of sellers of pages cut out of old magazines for vintage fountain pens.  As we scanned the magazines I noted that there were many advertisements in the pre-depression years and post WWII years, which would make sense from an historical perspective.  As an aside, the auto ads of the late 1920s are very cool.  Just like pens, there were many auto manufacturers that did not make it through the depression years.

The most accurate way to date our vintage pen collections is from Pen Company literature such as catalogs and production records.  Of course, not all of us have direct access to these and have relied on the kindness and hard work of past collectors who have shared this information with us all.  Another way is to look at old advertisements such as these to confirm the historical place of our collections.

Below are two photographs that I took of pages from the National Geographics, which have images of pens in my collection ~ both have been in my collection for quite some time and not covered by previous posts as they were restored prior to 2007.

The first is from a March 1944 issue and it promotes the Sheaffer Triumph ($12.50) pen.  I have a brown and a red one of these models.  They are great pens, as they hold a lot of ink.  I do not own a pencil as shown, however.  Pictures of the red plunger fill and both the red and brown pens follow the advertisement.

Of particular interest in the ad is the statement that “much of Sheaffer’s plant and personnel is now 100% devoted to precision manufacture of armaments.”  During the war, materials used in pen manufacturing were in shorter supply as they were used in the war effort, and Pen Companies such as Sheaffer devoted many of their facilities, equipment, and available employees to making parts for the military.





The above Sheaffer ad also promotes pencil lead and Skrip Ink.  Directly above  is a bottle of ink from my collection that fits this time period, as also confirmed in John Bosley’s Book, VINTAGE INKS, which places this bottle and box in the 1944-48 time period.  Click on the title for a link to his website.


The next advertisement is from a March 1928 National Geographic.  It promotes one of the most famous pens in fountain pen collecting, the Parker “Big Red” Duofold.  Ah, if only we could purchase on of these for $7.00 now.  Not to mention the Mandarin pen inserted at the bottom left.

The Duofold is a button filler. In the following past posts I have restored Parker Button Fillers:

Janesville, Wisconsin Button Fill December 29, 2007
Parker Lapis Junior Duofold Button Fill March 15, 2008
Parker Jade..Pre-Duofold July 18, 2008
Luck Curve Feeds
September 4, 2008

The big red is the most famous of the Parker 1920s Duofolds.  The hard rubber version is especially sought after.   This ad depicts the Non-Hard Rubber, Permanite material.  It is advertised as being 28% lighter than hard rubber.  What I find most interesting is the claim that they are non-breakable.   Stated: “We have thrown these new Duofolds from an aeroplane 3,000 feet aloft and not one has broken“.    I suspect they mean that not one broke in the actual act of throwing, and not upon landing.  Anyone who has restored a number of Duofolds knows that they are to be treated with care to avoid any cracking.


Here is a photo of a Hard Rubber Duofold from my collection.  Not the exact pen depicted above, but the predecessor model from a few years earlier (and 28% heavier).


I was able to capture many more pen and ink related advertisements ~ most of pens I wish I had.   So the next time you are coming up empty looking for fountain pens at a flea market, antique store, garage sale, or estate sale, you can spend some time looking for old magazines and searching for a $7.00 Duofold.

March 3, 2009 Posted by | Duofold, National Geographic, Parker Pen Company, Sheaffer | , , , | 3 Comments

Sheaffer “Rejected” 350/250 Set

This was a fun project – mostly due to the paperwork that accompanied the pen and pencil set.

I came across this late 30s “350” Balance style pen set that was enclosed in the following envelope. The message on the one side is the disappointing ” This pen has NOT been serviced”


On the reverse is the date of December 22, 1952 and the detailed message stating that the pen can not be repaired due to lack of parts.  As I document in my repair below, the only new parts needed were a size 16 sac and j bar.  They did, however, offer a gold allowance to the owner towards the purchase of new black pen.  Obviously, this was not accepted as I acquired this 56 years later with the un-returned envelope.


The repair was very simple.  You can see below the pen after I took the section and nib unit out of the barrel.  The old sac and j bar crumbled out of the pen.  I cleaned the section and nib unit in an ultrasonic cleaner.  As is typical, the cap was filled with old dry ink and I had to clean this up with a qtips and water.  The barrel and cap were buffed out with polish and carnuba wax.  The pencil presented no problems other than the eraser is missing.  I placed a 0.9 mm lead in the tip and reversed it until if held in the pencil.  The “valuable”  gold parts also cleaned up easily, and this is a nice set.


The imprint on the pen is that it was made in Fort Madison, Iowa and is a 350. This apparently referred to the fact that the pen sold for $3.50. The pencil has the same imprint but the number 250. I have seen other 350 Sheaffers that come in a set and the pencil is also marked 250, so I will assume this was sold as a set and that the pencil was sold for $2.50. Maybe Sheaffer gave a discount for both?


The pen measures 4 7/8″ closed and the pencil just a bit shorter at 4 13/16″. I do not know the exact date of production (ah for the Parker dating system), but these were produced from the mid 30s to mid 40s. We can see that Sheaffer was not interested, or unable to repair them by late 1952.


January 6, 2009 Posted by | Sheaffer | | 2 Comments

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