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 Wartime Pens

The discovery of this matchbook cover a few months ago had me on the lookout for a Morrison “Patriot” Fountain pen. I finally found one recently, and proceeded to work on it’s restoration.  This is the only piece of fountain pen ephemera that I have found on a matchbook cover.  I suspect that there are others out there and if you have some, please comment.

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Here is a photo of the same pen depicted on the matchbook after I took it apart.  This photo shows the syringe filler, still attached to the section.  As you can see, the barrel is quite dirty and the gold furniture is tarnished.

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I used a bit of heat and was able to  twist off the syringe tube ~ it is friction fit to the section.   The plunger can be pulled out through the front after the plunger grip is unscrewed.  The photo below shows the filler after it has been taken apart and the cartridge has been cleaned out.

The dilemma with these pens is that the filler was never meant to be repaired..just used through the limited life of the pen.  So, in repair, there are a few options.  First, one can repair the filler to its original condition and this involves rebuilding it by repacking the cartridge and rebuilding the plunger washers.  Secondly, one can simply turn the pen into an eyedropper.  The section screws into the barrel and a seal could be developed.  Third, a sac could be attached to the section and the pen could be simply filled by squeezing the sac and then attaching the barrel.

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Fortunately, I had a simpler solution.  I have had the Morrison set below for about 10 years sitting in the back of my pen chest and when I checked its filling system, it was the same.  I was able to take the filler unit off of the Red Morrison and shellac it to the Army Patriot.

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Here is the filler below after the switch and water test.  I shellacked the unit to the Patriot after fully cleaning the section, nib, and feed.   After the shellac had dried, I water tested it overnight to make sure that the seals are still effective.  There was no leakage in a 24 hour time period and the unit was ready to be reinserted into the pen.

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First, the barrel and cap needed a good cleaning, as did the gold clip and clip ring.  Do not attempt to clean the Army insignia at the cap top as it is covered with a very thin gold plate.  The rest of the furniture may be polished.

Below, is the completed pen, polished and ready to write.

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Here is the cap top logo of the US Army.  These Morrison Pens also came with cap tops of the Navy and Air Force. (Thank you to richardspens.com for this information)  You can see the gold plating on this logo has worn down over the years.  These pens were produced during WWII and marketed to the general public, appealing to the patriotic fervor of the time.  The matchbook states that they could be a “GIFT FOR MEN IN THE SERVICE”.  In fact, they were not military pens as they did not meet the military code for pens, having clips that were not military issue.  For a quick overview of Military Clips, refer to my post of  March 21, 2008, Sheaffer Skyboy Surprise .

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The nib is a large 14K nib in medium point.  There is no Morrison marking on mine and I do not know if this is common or a replacement nib.   Morrison certainly had their own marked nibs on earlier pens.

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Here is the logo, highlighting the unmistakable Army Green color.

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The pen measures 5 3/16″ closed and 6 1/2″ posted.  As the matchbook shows, this was sold for $6.25, including pencil, which is missing from my pen.  In my experience, the Army pens are more commonly seen than the Navy or Air Corps.   I have no idea whether this relates to the manufacturing numbers or not,  but it does relate to the number of US Service Men and Women.  The number of Army and Army Air Corps personnel significantly outnumbered the Navy during World War II.

As with V-Mail ink, reallocation of Pen Factories machinery and materials, and Military Clips, this is another interesting part of Pen History during this time in United States History.

May 4, 2009 Posted by | Morrison Fountain Pens, Morrison Patriot | , | 3 Comments

   

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