Fountain Pen Restoration

Waterman Taperite Crusader

Back in January of 2011, I restored a  Waterman Crusader, with an open nib. Last week, while heading home through the wilds of Iowa, I stopped at an Antique Mall and happened upon another Crusader, this time a Pen and Pencil set, with the Taperite style hidden nib.

Here is a photo of the pen, after I took it apart for restoration.  You will note that it is in very good shape.  The sac was in pretty good shape, though beginning to harden, and showing signs of wear.  It is better to be safe and go ahead and change it out.  There was absolutely no sign of any usage.

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I replaced the old sac with a trimmed size 16 sac.  As with other Waterman pens of the era, I decided to leave the nib/section/feed assembly alone, as any attempt to separate them for cleaning will probably invite cracking of the brittle plastic.  Better to just give it a quick bath in an ultrasonic cleaner.   After allowing the sac to dry overnight, I reattached  the section (friction fit) to the barrel.  Water testing proved that the pen was leak free and ready to write.

As you can see, the Pencil required no work – just an insertion of 0.9 mm lead.  The lead is fed in through the tip, then advanced by pusing down the cap.  Very nice and easy.

Below are photos of the completed pen and pencil.

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The Fountain Pen measures 5 1/4 inches closed and 6 1/16 inches posted.

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From my post of January of this year, Waterman Early Crusader, I discovered that this model of the Crusader, which is the Second Generation, was produced in and after 1948.

Following are photos of the pen next to an open nib model, the Crusader that I wrote about in January of 2011 and referred to in paragraph one above.  This hooded nib was part of the hooded nib craze fueled in part by the Parker 51 and other models of the time.

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Finally, a 1953 advertisement from my collection, showing this pen in red, as well as Pencil and Ball Point options. This model is the gray version.  It was available in Black, Red, Gray, Blue, Green, and Tan.  By far, the most plentiful are the Black, Gray, and Blue versions.

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When people ask me what pens to start a collection with, I often point them in the direction of the Waterman pens of the late 40s and early 50s.  They are still vintage collectibles, yet not too hard to find and fairly easy to restore.  There are enough models and colors to occupy a collector for quite some time, and (most importantly) they are a pleasure to write with!


November 7, 2013 Posted by | Waterman Crusader, Waterman Pen Company, Waterman Taperite | , , | 2 Comments

Waterman 1st Generation Skywriter

Early in 2012, I spent time in three separate posts discussing two “generations” of the Waterman Skywriter.  What I called the 2nd Generation, produced in the late 1940s and early 1950s, was written about in these two linked posts:

Waterman Skywriter – March 1, 2012
Silver 1950s Waterman Skywriter – May 14, 2012

The 3rd Generation was produced after 1952 and appeared in this linked post:

Waterman 3rd Generation Skywriter – April 19, 2012

A comparative photo of these two versions is below ~


In review~

Waterman Skywriters were produced by Waterman over quite a span of time.  They were first produced in Canada under the Waterman and Aiken Lambert name.  Waterman had purchased Aikin Lambert in the 30s and these first Skywriters used both names. See this link for excellent Skywriter information.  These were produced from sometime in the late 30s into the 1940s.

Interestingly, the name Skywriter was capitalizing on the rising popularity of air travel.  Other Pen Companies had also done this as evidenced by the Wahl Eversharp Skyline and the Sheaffer Skyboy. (follow links to previous posts on these pens).

I have been looking for a decent example of a “First Generation” Skywriter for quite some time, and recently was able to work out a deal for two examples. Below is a photo of the two pens after I took them apart.  The brown pen came as a set and I have included the mechanical pencil.


This was an interesting restoration for a few reasons.  First, as you can see the brown Skywriter has no clip.  Secondly, what you cannot see is that the green Skywriter has a replacement Sheaffer nib.  After cleaning it, I discovered that it is a Sheaffer 33 nib, which fit perfectly into the section/feed.  I cleaned all of the components above – the worst being the brown cap.  It had many layers of dried ink.   I also replaced both size 16 sacs and cleaned out the sections, which are both visualated.  The resulting pens (and pencil) are below.  They measure 4 15/16 closed and 6 3/8 inches open.


Though the same size, you can see the subtle differences in the designs.  The cap banding and barrel ends are different.  However, the levers, sections and feeds are the same.


Here is a closeup of the Aikin Lambert (US) nib that was on the brown pen.  I replaced it onto the green pen, which is the more complete pen, having an appropriate clip.


The Imprints of the two first generation Skywriters are identical, as you can see below.  What is interesting to me is that they were both made in the United States.  Much of what I have read of these pens is that they were produced around the time that Waterman purchased Aiken Lambert in the late 1930s.  Further, most information points to pens being produced in Canada.  Obviously, production was also occurring in the US, as these two pens point out.  I have seen many of these in similar stripe patterns as well as marble plastic patterns.



From top to bottom – First, Second and Third Generation Skywriters.


It seems to me that there are not too many pen models over the years that have endured this many drastic design and production changes.  Many have had various generational differences, but few this dramatic.  By the time the third generation occurred, the pen had changed into a CF clone, and production had moved across the Atlantic Ocean!


As with the later Skywriters, little advertising exists for these Canadian and US pens.  Nonetheless, they are interesting collectibles, just like their younger versions.

December 3, 2012 Posted by | Waterman Pen Company, Waterman Skywriter | , , | 4 Comments

Waterman Skywriter

This week’s pen is not an expensive or highly sought after collectible, but an interesting corner of Waterman, and fountain pen, history.

Waterman Skywriters were produced by Waterman over quite a span of time.  They were first produced in Canada under the Waterman and Aiken Lambert name.  Waterman had purchased Aiken Lambert in the 30s and these first Skywriters used both names. See this link for excellent Skywriter information.  These were produced from sometime in the late 30s into the 1940s.

Interestingly, the name Skywriter was capitalizing on the rising popularity of air travel.  Other Pen Companies had also done this as evidenced by the Wahl Eversharp Skyline and the Sheaffer Skyboy. (follow links to previous posts on these pens)

The second “generation” of these Skywriters were produced by Waterman in the 1950s and are represented by this restoration pen.   Produced mostly in the 1950s, they were primarily a chrome adorned lever filler, but this one has gold filled cap, lever, and nib.  A third generation was produced in the 1950s and resembled the Waterman C/F (cartridge filler), but was still a lever filler and had an open nib, not a C/F type nib.

The second generation Skywriter below had normal wear to its parts.  As you can see, it came apart fairly easily with the assistance of a little heat.  The nib and feed knocked out of the section, and the original sac had separated from the section, needing to be replaced.  The section, feed, and nib were cleaned up and a new size 16 sac was fitted to the section unit.  I buffed out a few scratches on the barrel and polished the cap and nib as well.


The finished burgundy / gold pen can be seen below.  It measures 5 1/8 inches closed and 6 1/16 inches posted.



Below is a photo of the gold plated M – 24 Sky Writer nib.


The Skywriter spanned a few decades and many of these low priced pens can still be found today in varying models and configurations.  Interestingly, very little information exists on them.   Waterman did not highly advertise them or catalog them, probably due to the fact that they were an entry level pen.  If anyone has any written material in the form of advertising or catalogs on these lines, I would love to see it!

For those looking for a low priced, reasonably made, fountain pen…. this is another pen to think about finding and restoring.

March 1, 2012 Posted by | Waterman Pen Company, Waterman Skywriter | , | 6 Comments

Waterman’s Nurse’s Pen

Nurse’s pens were not only produced by Esterbrook. The following post discusses the restoration of an Esterbrook Nurses Pen ~

Esterbrook Nurses Pen – August 5, 2011

This week’s restoration is a Nurses Pen produced by Waterman (US). You can see the exploded view of the pen below.  Note the hardened sac, and discoloration around the lever.

I did  a thorough lever fill restoration.  I started by cleaning the pen completely.  The section needed to have the old sac removed and the feed needed to be cleaned and have the channels scraped of old dried ink.  I polished the Waterman nib in an ultrasonic cleaner and with a jewelers cloth.  The lever was gently cleaned with a jewelers cloth.  I dumped the cap into the ultrasonic cleaner as the build up of blue ink was deep and caked on and under the inner cap.  Once the entire pen was cleaned, I attached a size 16 silicone sac (see below) after it was trimmed for size.  I decided on silicone due to the light color of the pen and my desire to keep it as white as possible.


The completed pen measures 4 7/16 inches closed and 5 7/16 inches posted.



Here is the nib, an unremarkable Ideal 14K.


Waterman made these pens and often sold them in sets.  Some contained a matching pencil and thermometer holder.  Others had a matching pen with a red cap top, to match the black one seen on my pen.  Supposedly the red pen was to be used by the nurse with red ink for night hospital charts and the black pen used with black ink on day patient charts.  Apparently the previous owner of this pen had no black ink and used blue..

Below is an advertisement from a May 1942 Saturday Evening Post, found in my collection.  This is one of the few advertisements I have seen for this pen.  It was included in a larger promotion for the war time Commando.  I have isolated the Nurses Pen section in the second photo.



Waterman also made these pens in Canada, and the ones that I have seen have red and black jewels on the cap top, instead of the bands seen in these US pens.

I probably will not use this pen to preserve the white color.   It does, however, make a nice partner to the Esterbrook Nurses Pen, and another interesting corner of fountain pen history.


Waterman’s (top) / Esterbrook (bottom) Nurses Pens

January 4, 2012 Posted by | Waterman Nurses Pens, Waterman Pen Company | , | 1 Comment

Clipless Waterman 52

I recently found this pen in a pile of old pens, passed over at an antique store as damaged goods. At first blush, it looked like another no name Black Chased Hard Rubber pen. Closer examination revealed that the underneath the after market clip and dirty nib, was a Waterman 52. I last restored and wrote about a 52 in my post of March 10, 2009 – Classic Waterman 52. That article discussed a nice example of a Gold Banded (Repousse) model. The next two paragraphs are from that post ~

Most vintage fountain pen collections should include a Waterman Fountain pen. The L.E. Waterman Fountain Pen Company started in New York in the 1880s and was a stalwart in the Fountain Pen business during the production dates of the 52. Lewis Edson Waterman was the founder of the company in the late 1800s and credited with its successful start.

The Waterman 52 was produced during the 1915 to 1930 time period. This period marked a high water mark for Waterman as they produced a large number of varieties of hard rubber pens. The 52 was one of the most common and survives in large numbers today. Relatively simple to restore (provided all of the parts are in good condition), it often has large flexy nibs which several collectors enjoy using.

As I mentioned above, this model is a clipless one.  The pen had an aftermarket clip attached, which I immediately removed.  I do not like these.  I certainly understand why they were used, but practicality aside, they usually leave gouges and discoloration – enemies to restoration. Clipless models were produced in the 52 line of pens, presumably to be used with aftermarket clips or without clips for easier carrying in a bag, purse, or case.


Below is a photo of the pen after I took it apart.  The inside pressure bar is still intact.  You can see that the old sac has hardened and come out in pieces.  The only wording that can be seen on the nib is the number “2”.  (more on the nib later)  Also note the damage done by the aftermarket clip in the center of the cap.


Remembering that these pens are made of hard rubber eliminates, for me, the use of water in cleaning the exteriors.  I did use a bit of water to swab out the inside of the cap, the inside of the section and the grooves of the feed.  I then polished the lever and went to work on the nib.  It is 14K and after I cleaned off the rest of the old caked on ink from it, I realized it was not Waterman No, 2 (the appropriate nib for this pen), but a Hallmark No. 2.  A photo of this nib and additional research follows later.

I reassembled the section / feed / nib and attached a size 16 sac to the section.  The only remaining work was to remove the damage done by the aftermarket clip.  Some rust like substance had attached itself to the cap where the clip had been and I worked at this with my fingernail and a dry cloth.  I also used a small amount of toothpaste, just enough abrasive substance to work out the final remnants.  I then rubbed it clean using a clean cloth and let it sit.  I really is quite amazing that there really is little evidence that the clip had been there for many years.

Here are two photos of the pen closed and posted ~


It measures 5 5/16 inches closed and 6 1/2 inches posted


Waterman 52s came in many varieties.  I won’t attempt to discuss the Waterman numbering systems, which would be enough to confuse anyone, but in summary the 52 came in several different colors, textures, and with add-ons.

Some of the more common are~

Black Hard Rubber / Black Chased Hard Rubber / Red Hard Rubber (Cardinal) / Woodgrain / Rippled (black and red) / Filigree Overlay / Gold Banded

This pen, at the bottom of the photo below is this plain BCHR version without a clip.


It appears to me that the nib had been on this pen for quite some time and was not a recent replacement.  The questions arise as to where did the Hallmark nib come from and was there a Hallmark Pen or Pen Company?

Research led me to two items of interest, summarized by the threads at Lion and Pen, with the following links ~

Hallmark Pen Barrels – my friend, the late Dennis Bowden, discusses a Hallmark barrel and the possibility it is related to Kraker (I know…not another Kraker connection).

Hallmark Pen Company (NY) and Hallmark Nib – Various collectors discuss the existence of Hallmark Pen Co. in NY and a nib sighting similar to mine.  The interesting thing here is that the nib mentioned was being sold by Max Davis, noted Waterman collector and author.  A connection to Waterman – maybe?

I have no other information on the Hallmark Nib.  I have sent out some queries and will update this post if I learn more.


Below is a photo of the familiar Waterman marking, identifying the model number on the bottom of the barrel.


Here is the standard imprint, seen on Waterman 52s.


And finally, and advertisement from the September 1926 National Geographic (these are great sources of information)


This pen turned out well.  It has retained its deep black color, with few signs of any discoloration at all.   The damage done by the aftermarket clip was removed and I am currently using it with Diamine Imperial Blue ink.  The Hallmark nib has some nice flex to it, similar to many of the Waterman nibs of the period.

If anyone has any Hallmark information, please let me know through the comments below.  Thank you.

April 25, 2011 Posted by | Hallmark Pen Company, Waterman 52, Waterman Pen Company | , , , | 9 Comments

Waterman C/F

I admit that I came purchase this pen after restoring and using the Waterman Crusader in my post of January 24, 2011. I had never really thought much about the newer Waterman Pen (1950s and 60s), but I enjoyed the Crusader so much, I went out looking for another example. The CF (Cartridge Fill) is intriguing purely from an historical perspective. It is thought of as the first modern widely produced and distributed cartridge pen. I also happen to think that it is pretty sharp looking and reflects the 1950s modern deco styles.

It comes as no surprise that the designer was Harley Earl, a famous automotive designer. Pen companies often contracted with designers to come up with innovative and current designs to attract buyers.

You can see from the photo below that this was a very distressed old pen.  The price was certainly reflective of this, but it was in worse condition than I thought.  The staining is very pronounced and there was a thick layer of crud under the cap.  I figured that I had nothing to lose and began to chip away.  Restoration of this pen was simply limited to cleaning and a bit of nib adjustment.  I started with a small portion of the barrel to see if subjecting it to a harsh dose of polish would do any damage.  I used some polish and a q tip with no results, so I raised the stakes and used a dremel.  The result was good, so I began the process of polishing the barrel and cap in their entirety.  I alternated between the dremel and an ultrasonic cleaner.  I had to use a toothbrush to get under the clip, which is permanently attached to the cap and is rigid.

No restoration of a filling system here as this is a simple cartridge pen.  More on the cartridge later.

After many repetitions of the cleaning rotation, I was able to see that this was once an attractive pen.  Additionally, I flushed the section/nib/feed out several times.  The nib had bent downward toward the feed, and I used a special nib tool to straighten it back out.


The results are stunning.  Here is the completed pen which measures 5 3/8 inches closed and 6 1/16 inches posted.


The cap snaps flush to the barrel when closed, similar to modern pens.


I cleaned out the cartridge and below is a photo of it sitting in the section.  It snaps on to the section nipple similar to other cartridge pens that followed.  The reason that this cartridge is important is that there are no more being produced for this discontinued line, and converters are often difficult to come by.  Thus, I will reuse this one, filling it with a syringe prior to each use.


The next three photos are of a pack of eight green cartridges that I found (unfortunately all are dried out) and one of the cartridges showing the patent number – 2802448, issued in August of 1957 – viewable here.




Here is the imprint on the cap end identifying it as a Waterman C/F.


The nib design is very distinctive.  I believe this pen was made in France after the US Waterman operations ceased in the late 1950s.  Exactly when, I have no idea as these pens have no date markings.  If I were to guess, I would say sometime in the 1960s or 70s – how is that for not narrowing it down?

I have read that one of the problems with these pens over time is significant pitting on the nib and gold trim surrounding the insert. Fortunately, this pen has none of that and the assembly has survived well.


The C/F was introduced in 1953/4 and continued to be produced in the US until around 1958, when Waterman ceased operations.  They were also made in Canada for a time as well as in the United Kingdom and in France.  The French versions were much more ornate than many of the US versions.  Production continued in France until the early 1980s.  I have seen pencils and ballpoints as well.  The most impressive collection of them that I have seen, can be accessed at a thread at the Fountain Pen Network, here.

In the mid 1950s, they were advertised in the Saturday Evening Post, and here is an advertisement from my collection.  It is always nice to know that you can change your ink cartridge in the middle of the dance floor….wonder if they will try that on Dancing With The Stars….


I really like how this pen turned out.  I will enjoy trying it out in the near future and am pleased to have learned another little piece of Fountain Pen History from this predecessor to the cartridge pens of today.

April 7, 2011 Posted by | Waterman C/F, Waterman Pen Company | , | 2 Comments

Waterman Crusader

This week I was fortunate to work on a pen that came to me in a trade.  I have never ventured into the Waterman Taperite world of fountain pens and I selected this pen, as I have always admired its styling.  I had never written with one, repaired one, or really researched their history, so this was a good learning experience.

Below is a photo of the pen after I took it apart.  You can see the remains of the semi-hard sac that I was able to pull out in pieces.  The silver ring is the clutch that sits between the section and the barrel – allowing the inner cap to firmly grasp the pen.  Finally, the section is a friction fit to the barrel.


I opted to leave the section / feed / nib together and not attempt to knock out the feed and nib.  The opening at the front of the section looks too small and the section is fairly thin – both lead me to think that attempting to knock out the feed would damage the section.  In lieu of this, I cleaned the section, scraping off the old sac.  I then subjected it to many baths in the ultrasonic cleaner, removing an traces of the old purple ink that had been used.  I also tested the channel to make sure it was clear and no ink was left.  Below are two photos of the cleaned section / feed /nib after a thorough cleaning – the lower photo showing the smooth feed.



Here is the completed section with the size 16 sac (trimmed to fit into the barrel).


I also polished the barrel and section to clean up a few surface scratches and to shine it up a bit.  I read that the caps are prone to scratching and wear, so I did not touch the cap with any polish or cleaner for fear of damaging the gold color.


The pen measures 5 1/4″ closed and 6 1/16″ posted.


Here is a close up of the imprint which is nice and crisp.  This was made in the US, sometime in 1948, or after.


The nib is a Waterman Ideal 14K “Rigid”.  Writing with it confirms it is quite firm and a medium.


A little background I have accumulated on Waterman Taperites ~

The Taperite Line of pens commenced in 1945 with two models – the Stateleigh and the Citation. In part, it was Waterman’s answer to the extremely popular Parker 51 and its hooded nib.  My pen is an open nib, but many Taperites were hooded nibs that also came in an open nib version.  After that, changes occurred as they added models and sizes to the line as the 40s progressed.  The particular pen in this post is a Crusader that appeared around 1948 and thereafter.  There was a previous version of the Crusader that did not have the gold striped cap.  It also appeared in a smaller version and as a set, with pencil, and/or ballpoint (ugh).  In the advertisement from November of 1953 (below) you can see the Crusader set(s) available and their prices.  Note that they came in gold and silver caps for some color combinations.

(note that a comment below from a Waterman expert points out my mistake – “Waterman’s seems to have reserved “Taperite” for the semi-hooded pens (see, e.g., the 1953 ad copy: “Points in Taperite or Standard model”). So your pen here is a Crusader, but not a Taperite.” )  Thank you to the reader for pointing out my error.  I am glad I continue to learn about these pens….


Some other models were the Medalist, Dauntless, and Corinth – all introduced in the late 1940s.  The three advertisements in this post are from my collection and show some of these models which were produced in both the United States and in Canada.

Saturday Evening Post – December 16 1949 (showing several different models and the open nibbed Crusader in Red)

SEP Dec 16 1949

And from a year later ~ the Crusader with matching pencil.


Colors were Black, Blue, Green, Red, Tan, and Gray.  I have not followed these pens very closely, but it seems to me that I have seen many more Black, Blue and Gray pens.

January 24, 2011 Posted by | Waterman Crusader, Waterman Pen Company, Waterman Taperite | , , | 6 Comments


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