Fountain Pen Restoration

Housekeeping

After researching, restoring , and writing close to 200 posts as I write this in November of 2012, it has come to my attention that some readers are pasting large portions of this blog into their own blogs, making my research, words, and photos appear to be their own.  I do not mind that you link to my blog, but do not cut and paste my information and photos to your websites in parts or in its entirety.   Thank you!

November 3, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Artcraft Advertising In Argentina

Yes, another Artcraft post. For those not keeping count, here are the others:

Artcraft Fountain Pens – August 18, 2009

Cromer Artcraft Lifelong Fountain Pen – March 2, 2010

An Artcraft Wedding – January 11, 2011

Artcraft in Argentina – June 23, 2011

Artcraft Gold Ringtop Fountain Pen – September 2, 2011

The fourth one listed covered the restoration of two Argentinian produced Artcraft pens, including some magazine advertisements related to the Escritor. These posts over the years have led to a fellow collector and I communicating on the Artcraft brand in his country. He has provided me with several photos of Artcraft pens from Argentina and surprised me recently with this advertisement.  It is a great find for those interested in both US and Argentina branded Artcraft Pens, and even for Parker and Waterman enthusiasts..

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This is an amazing piece of Artcraft history for a couple of reasons. First, it compares the Artcraft pen to two iconic pens, the Parker Vacumatic (looks to be a mid to late 1930s first generation version) and a Waterman Patrician.  Second, the Artcraft pen used for the comparison is almost identical to the pen restored in my post of August 18, 2009 titled Artcraft Fountain Pens ~ photo below.

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Clearly, the advertisement is pointing out the similarities and differences of the three brands.  Much current discussion is spent on the three tiers of fountain pens during this time period.  Parker and Waterman are universally placed in the first tier.  Artcraft is clearly not.  As a fan of their pens, I enjoy seeing it advertised along side of them.

While on the topic of Artcraft, here is another another link to an Artcraft Site, produced by a friend and fellow collector:

Artcraft Collection

Finally, thank you Rodrigo, for this wonderful gift, and for allowing me to share it!

September 26, 2011 Posted by | Artcraft Fountain Pens, Uncategorized | | 1 Comment

Artcraft In Argentina

Artcraft Pens are pens that I started taking an interest in after picking one up, restoring, and writing about it in August of 2009 ~ Artcraft Fountain Pens.   At that time I had done a bit of research from afar, utilizing a Birmingham, AL museum curator and several local sources.  After writing the above post, several knowledgeable collectors contacted me, both formally and mysteriously.   One person mentioned that the Company, led by J. G. Erwin picked up and left for Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1934.  I continued to seek out Artcrafts and wrote two more articles on them:

Cromer Artrcraft Lifelong Fountain Pen –  March 2, 2010

An Artcraft Wedding –  January 11, 2011

All three posts discussed Artcraft pens from the 1920s and 1930s in Birmingham, Alabama.  Over the course of the last year or so I have been corresponding with a few collectors in Argentina and gather bits and pieces on Artcraft there.  I was able to secure a couple of their pens and worked to restore them last week.

The first photo below shows the two pens after I have taken them apart.  The pieces are co-mingled,  but two stand out.  First, the top left looks similar to a Parker 51 hood, containing the feeder and nib.  I chose not to take this apart.  With all of my 51 restorations I have done so, but this was especially stubborn to take apart and I decided to just clean it and leave it in one piece – more later.  Second is the gold cap.  There was no jewel in the cap, but there was a chamber and threads where a jewel had been.

You can also see that the parts are very dirty and in need of strong cleaning.

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The first pen that I worked on was the black plastic lever filler.  I completely cleaned all of the parts, including scraping the old sac remnants from the section.   I cleaned the section, inside and out, as well as the feed.  The nib is a “Park Avenue” and I do not know if this is a replacement, or original to the pen.  If a replacement, it was replaced in Argentina, as the pen was purchased there.  Cleaning the nib eliminated all traces of gold plate, but the steel nib fits in with the polished silver cap band and clip.   These arrived in silver and I suspect there was no gold plate on them when new.  I installed a size 16 sac on the section after the feed and nib were inserted.  The section was placed back in the barrel and the lever system works fine .

As you can see, the cap band and clip polished up well, as did the plastic barrel and cap. The pen measures 5 1/8 inches capped and 6 1/4 inches posted. It is very similar to the Parker (Safford) Fifth Avenue in size and style.

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The imprint below reads:

ARTCRAFT PEN CO ARG.

INDUSTRIA  ARGENTINA

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Here is a close up of the Park Avenue nib. Again, I am uncertain as to if this is the original nib.

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The next pen restored is an Escritor with the Parker 51 like hooded nib and aerometric filler.  As I mentioned earlier, I chose to leave the hood/collector/feed/ and nib intact.  I placed them in an ultrasonic cleaner and washed them until any sign of ink was gone.  I then attached a size 14 sac to the section and trimmed it to fit the aerometric filling unit.  I then glued the aero unit to the section and allowed it to sit overnight.  I then began the long task of cleaning the barrel and cap.  Both were very dirty and scratched up.  After quite a bit of effort, I was able to clean these up and, with the help of some scratch remover, I realized that the barrel and section are actually a dark blue.  Below are photos of the pen which measures 5  3/16 inches capped and 6 1/8 inches posted.

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As I noted earlier, the cap had a black plastic jewel that was missing, so I found Parker 51 jewel in my parts bin and used it as a substitute.  I fits perfectly and spices the pen up a bit.

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The imprint on the barrel and on the aerometric filler reads:

Escritor (in script)

INDUSTRIA ARGENTINA

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The two Argentinian advertisements below, that I was able to obtain from a collector in that country, reveal the tie in to Artcraft, or what remained of it in Argentina.  The pen is not a perfect match, but very close.  Editorial Comment – Golf certainly has changed…..

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Finally, a photo of a Parker 51 above this Escritor, showing the similarity.  Given that Parker had a presence in South America, it would be interesting to know if there was any relationship between the two Companies.   As always, I look forward to hearing more from readers who have this knowledge.

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Edit ~  An excellent comment from Rodrigo in Argentina, who has shared his knowledge about these pens.  He states:  The second one, with Parker 51 inspiration iI guess is a Escritor 57 (series ´30s, ´50s and ´60s were aerometric and ´40s were button fillers, someone in metacrylate and others in celuloid, all models with a long range of caps styles and measurements).

About the Parker and Escritor -or Artcraft-, there were no relationship between  both companies. The confusion comes when an few sellers relates Parker brand with his Escitor items (the similar ones) as a strategy of sale. Thank you Rodrigo for this information!

Edit (8-25-14) Aldo, a collector in Argentina has just shared a great find and puzzle piece for Artcraft both in the US and in Argentina.  The following photos are of a Ford’s Deluxe Pen/Pencil combo, from Argentina, and Artcraft.  John Hubbard, a fellow collector and friend has researched the Ford Cromer – Ford Pens connection for quite some time and his website can be found here.  Aldo’s photographs are below.  Thank you Aldo, for this excellent piece of information!

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June 23, 2011 Posted by | Artcraft Fountain Pens, Escritor Pens, Uncategorized | , | 1 Comment

Fountain Pen Restoration In 1946

Popular Science magazines are a great source of information when researching Fountain Pens.  I find them fascinating to read for glimpses back to our culture at any point in time.  In my article How To Make A Sheaffer Touchdown In 1950 (dated February 9, 2011), I published a scan of a 1950 Popular Science article that described the manufacturing of Sheaffer pens in 1950.

Four years previous to that, in April of 1946,  Harold Strand (a prolific Popular Science and Popular Mechanics writer over the years) wrote this article on Home Repairs For Fountain Pens.  Not to be confused with Frank Dubiel’s Fountain Pens – The Complete Guide To Repair And Restoration, or the more current Pen Repair, by Jim Marshall and Laurence Oldfield, or Richard Binder’s Website – richardspens.com, it nonetheless is a simple way to solve some of the minor issues that probably came up in 1946 lever fillers, and still arise today.

In reading through this we need to also remember that lever fillers were relatively new in 1946 compared to today, and the damage not as severe as we see on our workbenches today.

For your reading pleasure….from 1946 ~

Pop Science April 1946

I just wish that it was still true that a simple “twist and a pull” was all it takes to separate the section from the barrel….

May 18, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 1 Comment

Friendly Pen Neighbors

I had just read that there was going to be a Sheaffer Museum opening up in Fort Madison, IA in the near future.   About the same day that I heard this, a package arrived in the mail…

I had not ordered any pens, and Christmas shopping is several weeks in the past, so I was wondering what it was.  I opened the package under the watchful eyes of my three daughters, all hopeful it was some lost Christmas goodie I had forgotten about and had been lost in the mail.

I opened the box to a pleasant surprise!  Inside was nice handwritten note from Sam of Pendemonium, located in Fort Madison, the former home of Sheaffer.  She had acquired a large collection of pens and assorted “stuff”, including good old wooden pencils (remember them?).  And she thought that she would separate them out and she sent me the Minnesota ones.  Knowing that I like the history of Writing “Stuff” as much as restoring them and using them, she sent me a gold mine.

Now I am looking forward to researching the various imprints.  And believe it or not, one has the name of one of my wife’s relatives.

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With the Sheaffer Museum opening sometime in the future and a great Store like Pendemonium in Fort Madison, we may have to make a family car trip this summer.

Thanks again, Sam for you kindness and generosity…

February 1, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Double Jewel Parker 51

Finally! I stumbled on this set a while ago as I have wanted to add a double jewel 51 to my collection for quite some time.  Double Jeweled 51s commenced the first year that Parker introduced the 51 – 1941.  First year Double Jewels are priced at a premium and separate themselves in many ways.  They had the date imprint on the blind cap and several caps from first year 51s are exceptional and rare.  The set that I acquired is not a first year set, but I am happy to have finally found one to use.  As a bonus, there is a pencil and well preserved box.

Below, you can see the exploded view of the components.  The only difference from the other 51 Vacumatics that I have written about ~

Black And Gold Parker 51 Vacumatic ~ September 25, 2008

Final Year For Parker 51 Vacumatics – 1948 ~ January 15, 2009

and several others (see Categories at right)

is that the blind cap has a jewel on the end as opposed to the conical blind cap.  Thus the term “double jewel”.  The blind cap for this pen can be seen in the lower left of the photo, with the jewel to the left of the cap.

All of the parts are present below, so the restoration was very straightforward.

I need to clean the pen thoroughly first as there was old ink stains throughout as well as the usual diaphragm remnants in the barrel.  Make certain that they are completely removed before proceeding to put the new diaphragm assembly back into the rear of the pen.  I used a debutante size diaphragm on this pen as with all of these Vacumatics.  The furniture is all gold and I used a combination of my Ultrasonic Cleaner and a jewelers cloth to polish the caps (both pen and pencil), nib and clips.  Note the ring that sits on the barrel between the barrel and the hood.  I believe the gold in the middle of the silver on these rings is gold plate and be very careful cleaning these as the gold plate can wear off.  I was careful to leave this alone and you can see from the second photo below that the gold remains.

I won’t go into detail on the restoration of this set as you can refer to one of the links above or in the Parker 51 Categories on the right of this page.  The most important items to remember, in my opinion, are to fully clean the inside of the barrel, to fully remove the old diaphragm pellet from the filler unit cup, and to make sure that the diaphragm is cut to the right length and seats perfectly in the barrel (use a gooseneck flashlight to confirm this) after the filler unit is fully replaced.

Below is the completed set.

As with the single jewel 51 Vacumatics, the double jewels came in four primary colors – India Black (this pen), Cordovan Brown, Cedar Blue, and Dove Grey.  Three more rare colors were Buckskin (tan), Nassau Green, and Yellowstone (mustard).  As mentioned, the Double Jewels are very highly sought after, with particular attention being paid to first year (1941) models.

The matching pencil is a twist mechanism and is turned clockwise to advance the lead.  The eraser is intact and the lead loads by inserting through the tip and twisting counter-clockwise.  Later pencils, produced with Aerometric 51s had mechanisms that advanced the lead by pushing down on the cap.

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This set was produced in the fourth quarter of 1948, at the end of the Vacumatic 51 run.  By this time the Aerometric was being rolled out to replace the Vacumatic Filling system.  This also marked the end of the Double Jewels, as Aerometrics were only produced with a Single Cap Jewel.

The date stamp for these pens is on the barrel, just below the ring.  First year models differ and their date stamps can usually be found on the blind cap.

The box that this set came in is still in quite good shape.  This box is brown faux leather with gold trim and was one of the common boxes designed for Parker and used for Double Jewel sets.  Sets with original boxes certainly make these pens and pencils more valuable and are great display pieces.  I was very lucky to find these all together.

So, after all of these years of collecting, I finally found one of these, was able to restore it, and I look forward to trying it out in the near future.

April 9, 2010 Posted by | Parker 51, Parker Pen Company, Uncategorized | , | 5 Comments

Thanksgiving

It is cold here and a good day to sit back with family and reflect on what to be thankful for.  No pens today, just an early morning run and family.  Thanks to all of you who have helped me through the first two years of this and I look forward to continuing to speak with you and learn.

November 26, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pencraft

Last week’s post – Belmont/Rexall and Yankee Cousins – was about two pens that were nearly identical, but made with different imprints; one for a Kraker Company and one for Rexall Stores. This week follows a similar theme. The pen restored this week is a Pencraft, made by the Michael George Company of Libertyville, Illinois. The Michael George Company was a Company owned by George M. Kraker, a man discussed in many of the posts in this blog. As you may recall, Kraker left Grand Haven, Michigan in 1929 and moved to Libertyville. I am not sure how long he was in Libertyville, but he did show up in Chicago by 1938. In Libertyville, he produced pens for Rexall and under his own Pencraft, Dixie and possibly other names.

This pen came to me in typically discolored condition.

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As you can see, the pen is a typical lever filler that needed to be cleaned from top to bottom. Interestingly, this one came with no lever on the inside. Someone had previously taken it apart, but had not finished the restoration. I cleaned the nib with simichrome and an ultrasonic cleaner and also scraped the section to remove remnants of the old sac.

I inserted a new j-bar and size 16 sac and the resulting pen is shown below.

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Below is the imprint showing the Pencraft and Libertyville, Ill. location.

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And the Pencraft “30” 14K nib.

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Finally, this pen above the pen restored in my February 7 post – Rexall Monogram – in which I surmised the Monogram pen below (sold at Rexall Stores) was made by Kraker, prior to the contract with Rexall expiring.

Based on the similarity of the two pens, I may have been on the right track.

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June 1, 2008 Posted by | Kraker, Monogram Fountain Pens, Pencraft Pens, Rexall, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Belmont/Rexall and Yankee Cousins

Back on January 27th of this year I wrote about restoring a Yankee Pen, made by a George Kraker Company in Grand Haven, Michigan. The post can be found under the title: A Yankee in Michigan. I just picked the pen up below and it bears a very close resemblance. The clear red top is just a bit wider and brighter, but the chasing, lever, and clip are identical. Both also have the same feed, section and Warranted No. 2 nib. Also, the barrel print type is the same. The only difference is that this pen reads:

BELMONT

PAT

NON BREAKABLE

SOLD ONLY AT

THE REXALL STORE

The Yankee Pen, covered in the referred post reads:

YANKEE

NON BREAKABLE

GRAND HAVEN, MICH. – PAT

As you can see from the picture below, this pen came with a severely tarnished clip and lever, as well as a very grimy nib. There was no pressure bar present, so I replaced the j-bar and added a new sac. I spent quite a bit of time and energy on cleaning the lever and clip. I used Simichrome and a Dremel to grind away the initial caked-on grime and then used tooth picks and q-tips to remove the tarnish from the hard to reach areas. The sac remnants were completely removed from the section and a new size 16 sac was cemented to the section. The nib polished up completely and looks new. The nib and feed were inserted into the section and the pen was water tested.

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Here is the completed pen with shiny Warranted No. 2 nib. I used a white crayon to highlight the crisp imprint.
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I have placed the two pens referred to above next to each other to show the similarity.

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I have read that George Kraker still had the contract to produce pens for Rexall when in Michigan and later possibly in Libertyville, IL (refer to my post of February 7, 2008 titled Rexall Monogram). These pens are just another proof of this. I have read that the contract was then taken over by the Moore Pen Company of Boston, MA. Later Belmont pens contain several Moore-like characteristics which back this up.

I will post some of these in later posts.

May 22, 2008 Posted by | Belmont Pens, Kraker, Monogram Fountain Pens, Rexall, Uncategorized, Yankee Pen | | 3 Comments

   

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