Fountain Pen Restoration

Macy’s Fountain Pens

Post No. 218

One of the fun things about restoring and collecting pens is the subsets that some fall into.  In my last post, the Webster Skyrocket fell into interesting categories of Webster Pens, Sears Pens, and Pens that capitalized on the surge and excitement of Air Travel.  This restoration is similar.  The pen is a recently found Macy’s Pen.  Both its lineage and genre are interesting.  First the pen..

As you can see below, it was lightly used in its day.  The plated nib is ink stained and the sac is hard, though still in one piece.  The exterior of the pen is spotless, making for an easy restoration.

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I cleaned the nib and feed in the ultrasonic cleaner.  I left the section to be cleaned by simple swipes with a q-tip and water.  Eventually the section and feed were completely cleaned.  The problem was the nib.  As you can see above, much of the plating of the “Iridium Tipped USA” nib (more on these below) had already worn off from a combination of time and ink.  Gentle ultrasonic cleaning just highlighted the washed out cheap finish.  So, I searched for a replacement and found a perfect fit.  I had a steel Parkette fine nib in my parts bin and it fit the feed and section perfectly.  Combined with the silver cap and lever, it makes a decent pairing.

Below is the completed project, a nice Macy’s branded pen from probably the 1940s or 1950s.  The pen measures 5 7/32 inches closed and 6 3/8 inches posted with the Parkette nib.

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The Manufacturer on the barrel of the pen is the Morrison Fountain Pen Company.

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I have previously restored a few Morrison branded pens~

Morrison Flat Top – August 27, 2010

Morrison Battleship Grey – January 20, 2010

Morrison Wartime Pens – May 4, 2009

Morrison Fountain Pen Company, and some of its sub brands can be found dating back into the 1920s.  This Macy’s pen is a much later example.  I would surmise that this pen dates to the late 40s or 50s, towards the end of Morrison Company Fountain Pens.  I have also restored a few Morrison brands that date from the same time period, and they are photographed below.  Two are Roxy’s and on is a Morrison.  All have steel nibs similar to the original (replaced) nib on the Macy’s pen.

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Here is a close up of the Parkette nib used as a replacement.  It’s silver color fits well with the cap and lever and is commensurate in quality with the “Iridium Tipped USA” nib that was damaged and discolored.

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The photo below is of the Macy’s pen and a Morrison Ballpoint that I recently restored and use with a new refill.  While not a perfect match, it makes a nice set.

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The second collecting subset that this pen falls into, as alluded to in the first paragraph above, is the Retail Store Branded pen group.  My suspicion is that this was a pen sold at R. H. Macy’s, produced by Morrison, and available to the general public.  Macy’s has a long history of having quality pens produced for them by Fountain Pen Companies bearing their name.  Other Store branded pens that I have restored and written about in the past are the Filene’s and Buettell Brothers pens.  These were of lesser quality, ring tops, and earlier models.  My guess is that they were used by employees and not sale items, though again I have no written proof.  If anyone has any evidence, I would love to hear.

These pens, such as the Macy’s do show up from time to time.  In this case, they appeal to both the collector of Morrison Pens and Store Named Pens.  An excellent summary of R. H. Macy Pens has been written by Richard Binder and should be read here.

Whether these areas of focus appeal to the collector, or not, this is a nice user pen, representing the later stages of Fountain Pen production and usage.

Edit:  After completing this restoration and the writing of the above, I obtained a Roxy Fountain Pen (Morrison), that was identical to this Macy’s Pen except for the clip imprint.  Below are before and after photos of its subsequent restoration and a photo next to the Macy’s Pen.  An interesting example of  rebranding by Morrison to bring in some additional income.

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Edit:  Oddly enough, as I finished restoring the Roxy, a third pen arrived, a Morrison.  I won’t go through the restoration, but though not identical to the Roxy and Macy’s pens, it is close. My guess is that it is from about the same time, but is an attempt by Morrison to imitate some of the popular hooded pens such as the Waterman Taperites and Parker 51s.  Note the same barrel, lever, imprint, similar cap, but section that contains a hooded nib, and a shorter length.

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Finally, below are all three together.  Interesting look into later Morrison products, and some of their last fountain pen models.

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February 21, 2015 Posted by | Macy's Fountain Pen, Morrison Fountain Pens, Roxy Fountain Pens | , , | 4 Comments

Morrison Flat Top

I have previously discussed the restoration of four Morrison Pens – two War Themed pens, a Gold Plated Flat Top Model, and a Jade Marble Sheaffer look-a-like ~ linked here:

No “Tiers” Shed Here – December 9, 2007
Golden (Fountain Pen) Dreams – March 7, 2008
Morrison Wartime Pens – May 4, 2009
Morrison Battleship Grey Fountain Pen – January 20, 2010

These are relatively easy to find as they show up in on-line auctions quite frequently (also from the same family are Morton, Marathon, Nassau, and Roxy Pens).   Thought to be third tier pens, they are fairly well made, usually have nice 14k nibs and the large flat-top models come in a variety of attractive colors.

This pen came with considerable staining inside and out (a blue – green mess)  and a snapped j-bar.

I spent a considerable amount of time cleaning the cap and barrel and even was able to get a dremel and polish wheel inside of the cap to assist in getting rid of the residual ink.

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Once cleaned, I inserted a new large j-bar and attached a size 20 sac to the reassembled nib/section/ feed.  The nib is a large Morrison / Iridium Point / 14K / N.Y.   The clip also reads Morrison’s and has the familiar “M” surrounded by a wreath.

The end result is below.

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The pen measures 5 1/4 ” capped and 6 5/8″ posted.  Another interesting part of this pen is the lever box.  It resembles a Waterman lever box as it has the reinforced metal box and attached lever most often associated with vintage Waterman’s such as the 52 featured in my post of March 10, 2009, titled Classic Waterman 52.

I have not seen this lever box on other Morrison or Morrison family pens.  It is a much cleaner look and this one is in great shape other than the lever is broken off at the end.  It still works fine and is easy to lift.
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I would place the production of this pen in the 1930s.

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Through the years Morrison Pens made several lower tier pens that resemble this pen.  Here are a few other examples from my collection.

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As I have mentioned in other posts, these were considered third tier pens, but after restoration they come quite close to the more sought after flat tops of the era.  Here is a photo of some of the Morrison family of pens and their clips.

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These are all large pens, very usable, and a nice way to get a vintage flat top without breaking the bank.

August 27, 2010 Posted by | Morrison Fountain Pens | | Leave a comment

Presidential Fountain Pens

Everyone who has spent time around the hobby of fountain pens and read about them has run across the question as to which (if any) fountain pens the Presidents (or other World Leaders) have used. I will not attempt to discuss Eisenhower’s Parker 51, or other favorites here. I will, however, discuss the restoration of two pens named after Presidents – Jefferson and Lincoln. Are there others? I do know that there are Monroe Pens (though I don’t know if they were named after President Monroe), but can think of no others. If you can, please feel free to comment below. I do not even know if Lincoln or Jefferson Pens were named after the Presidents. Remember my article on Franklin Pens of Philadelphia? I mistakenly thought they were named after Benjamin Franklin until research led me elsewhere.  For now, I will assume that the two Presidents shown below are the inspiration for these pens.

Abraham Lincoln, pictured on the left, was the 16th President of the United States from 1861 to 1865, and Thomas Jefferson (right) was the third President of the United States from 1801 to 1809.

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The first photo below is of a vintage Lincoln Fountain Pen after it has been taken apart.  The lower pen is the Jefferson.  As you can see, they are both in decent shape and I would guess that the Jefferson was never inked.  Both are lever fillers and the Lincoln has the hanging pressure bar, which is still in good condition.  As mentioned above, the Jefferson shows no evidence of any ink ever touching its parts.

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I thoroughly cleaned the gold furniture on both pens, including nibs, which were both large Warranted 8’s, with plenty of tipping material on them.  I did clean the outside of the Jefferson with scratch remover and polish as it is plastic.  The Lincoln, I left alone as it was quite clean, and I did not want to damage the hard rubber or mottled patterm.  The Lincoln took a size 18 sac as did the Jefferson.  Make sure to use a sac that leaves a bit of room.  You do not want to use a sac that fits too tightly in the barrel.

Below are photos of the finished pens.  The Lincoln was made by National Pen Products in Chicago.  My estimate for its production would be in the late 1920s.  I would suspect that the Jefferson was a later pen, produced in the 1930s.  I am uncertain as to who produced the Jefferson, though have read speculation that it is in the same family as Morrison/Morton pens.  Some evidence of this possibility will be discussed later.

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Note the darker ring in the plastic of the Jefferson below.  I am not certain what caused this as there was nothing in the box that might have caused this.  Perhaps there was a price ring on the pen that disappeared prior to my finding it.

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This photo shows the two “Presidential” pens together.  Measurements are as follows:

Lincoln ~  5 15/32″ capped and 6 1/2″ posted

Jefferson ~  5 15/32″ capped and 6 27/32″ posted

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The imprint on the Lincoln, which is one of the most detailed National Pen Products imprints I have seen.

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Like the rings of a tree, this is a nice addition, a ringed look to the top of the cap on the Lincoln.

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Interesting clips ~  The top is the Lincoln with the familiar National Pen Products leafy branch and flower.  You will see this clip on many of their brands.

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The Jefferson clip has a familiar wreath,  seen on many Morrison – Morton – Marathon pens.  Check out the vintage clip shot in my article No Tiers Shed Here, written on December 9, 2007 which shows similar wreath surrounding the first letter of the Pen Names.  This makes me think that the theories that I have heard about Jefferson Pens being related might be true.

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Here is a photo of the Jefferson box with the phrase ” The Gift Beautiful” on the lid.  The interior has a velvet (damaged) seat for two writing instruments. If the second was a pencil, it was missing when I found it. The logo for the Jefferson follows in the second photo. It is found on the inside of the box lid.

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These pens are not as valuable as those used by Presidents to sign treaties and legislation, but another way to collect “Presidential” pens.

June 8, 2010 Posted by | Jefferson Fountain Pens, Lincoln Fountain Pens, Morrison Fountain Pens, National Pen Products | , , , , | 1 Comment

Morrison Battleship Grey Fountain Pen

I have previously written about Morrison Fountain Pen Restorations in three previous posts ~

No Tiers Shed Here — December 12, 2007

Golden Fountain Pen Dreams —  March 7, 2008

Morrison Wartime Pens — March 4, 2009

The Morrison Family of Fountain Pens are some of my favorite third tier pens as they are often well made and have quite good nibs.  This pen is one I have not seen before.

Below you can see the lever filler after I found it.  It had never been used before, but was in quite a neglected state.  You can see the sac has hardened and the nib is very discolored.  The cap rings, clip and lever have also taken on a greenish brown hue.  I first tested the gold furniture and determined that it was not cheap gold plate and could be polished back to its original gold color.  I then took quite a bit of time to scrub the cap and barrel and polish them.  The section and feed were soaked and cleaned.  I then reinserted the nib and feed into the section and attached a large size 20 sac.  A large j-bar was reinserted into the barrel and the  friction fit section was placed back in the barrel.  More on the nib later…

Here is a photo of the unposted and posted pen.  It measures 5 3/8 inches closed and 6 7/8 inches posted.    The clip looks to have plating wear and to have lost its gold, but if has not and this is a lighting issue.

I am intrigued as to how these were sold, or to whom they were sold.  The box has “A GIFT OF SERVICE”  on the top.  Morrison did market to the Military as shown in the advertising and pen in my Morrison Wartime Pens article of March 4, 2009.  This pen seems to be directed to members of the US Navy or Veterans in appreciation of their service.

Here is a photo of the completed pen, in its box.  The box contains two slots for writing instruments and I am going to assume there was a matching pencil at one time.  Morrison did make pencils to match their pens as is evidenced by other models.

The nib is a bit different than any Morrison’s that I have seen, with Morrison in cursive with a flourished “M”.  In fitting with the large pen, it is a large 14K No. 8 nib.

Here is the imprint, which refers to “BATTLESHIP GREY” as the pen name.  Clearly a Navy reference, this would seem to be a pen marketed as an appreciation gift to a US Navy Sailor for his or her service to their Country sometime after World War I (Thank you Greg, for this reference).  These are not as common as other Morrison brands, though I have seen a few in the past year.

January 20, 2010 Posted by | Morrison Fountain Pens | | 1 Comment

Golden (Fountain Pen) Dreams

Gold pens are highly sought after, some more than others. Here are a couple of extreme examples. The first two pictures are of a Morrison 14K Gold Filled Flat top that measures 5 1/8″ capped. These are a nice pen to find (as well as other third tier makers) to satisfy the vintage gold need. The price can be very reasonable. I paid $26 for this pen. It did not look quite this good when I found it, but as with most vintage Morrison’s, the Warranted 14K #4 nib is a good one with a little flex and repairs are straightforward.

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The filler is a standard j-bar and lever and I did need to replace the jbar as well as add a size 16 sac, as the barrel is quite narrow. One needs to be very careful when cleaning the exterior of these, as the gold is a gold plate and aggressive polishing will probably lead to a worn exterior. I did minimal cleaning of the exterior and the results are satisfactory. These pens seem to be quite plentiful in varying conditions and I would suggest waiting for one with a nicely preserved exterior. This design also came in a silver as well.

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Just for comparison, below is a Parker Lucky Curve, probably dating to the early 1920s, in 14K Gold. Roughly the size of a Duofold Junior, it is stunning in all gold, including the section.

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Both pens are vintage gold, and the bank doesn’t have to be broken to find a nice, restorable example.

March 7, 2008 Posted by | Duofold, Morrison Fountain Pens, Parker Pen Company | , , | 4 Comments

No “Tiers” Shed Here

Today, I restored a 1930s (?) Marathon lever filler. Nothing special about this one, except for the very bright green celluloid found under the layer of black grime that reduced this to a $1.50 pen on ebay. I have quite a group of restored Marathon’s in my collection. I was initially drawn to them by their name and the tie-in to my hobby of distance running. I then discovered that Marathon’s, Morton’s and Morrison pens can be quite good pens if they have survived somewhat intact through the years. They all carry the distinctive “M” on the clip.

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Little is known, or shared, about their origin. I know it was in New York and lasted for several decades. I also believe there is a tie in with Nassau and Roxy pens.

All of these are classified as “second or third tier” pens. This recognizes that they were not the premier pens of their day. This was reserved for Parker, Wahl, Waterman, and Sheaffer. However, some of the second and third tier pen makers put out some outstanding pens that are a pleasure to use today.

This pen is a green lever filler, that required quite a bit of internal and external cleaning. The clip and nib (a Warranted No. 4) were covered with a black grime. The internal j-bar was intact and reusable. So, I cleaned it all up, knocked out the nib and feed, and cleaned them. I put it all back together, installing a size 16 silicone sac. I use silicone sacs on these bright plastic pens to prevent discoloration in the future, as the sac begins to age and decompose. It is a shame these were not used in the past, as so many beautiful pens are discolored as the sacs and ink inside have reacted with the pen bodies and caps to ruin some great color patterns. I have some Parker Green and Marbled Duofolds that have been restored to almost new condition, but the discoloration keeps them from being outstanding specimens.

Here is a picture of the finished product, along with a close up of the distinctive M clip and bright celluloid material.

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As soon as the sac cement dried, I filled this up with Waterman Blue-Black and it is now being used in my rotation — third tier or not!

December 9, 2007 Posted by | Marathon Fountain Pens, Morrison Fountain Pens | , | Leave a comment

   

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