Fountain Pen Restoration

Webster Skyrocket Set

On January 6th of this year, I wrote about the restoration of a burgundy Webster Skyrocket Fountain Pen. A week or so ago, I came upon a similar pen, but a ballpoint. As it was the same burgundy color, I snatched it up and worked to produce a nice set.

Below, you can see the pen after I took it apart.  Ballpoints are fairly simple, just the cap, barrel, section, and ornamental ring, and the refill.  However, as with all vintage ballpoints, the refill is long from being functional.  If you have looked at enough of these old ballpoints, you can start to note which current refills will work and this one looked similar to a Cross refill.

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I have used these Cross / Penatia refills before in the restoration of my collection of Eversharp Kimberly Pens, and have a supply on hand.  I measured one next to the original refill and crimped the end of the Penatia by about one quarter inch, after removing the black plastic end piece.  The only remaining problem was that the original refill was a tad bit thicker as it sat in the section.  I solved this by gluing a small piece of sac to the end of the new refill and it sits perfectly in the section now.

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Below are photos of newly restored Skyrocket set, both closed and posted.  You can see that the design of the ballpoint makes it’s cap longer, though the barrels are the same size.

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The ballpoint is an interesting addition, and is actually very comfortable to write with if you like a larger pen.

April 1, 2015 Posted by | Webster Pen, Webster Skyrocket | , | 3 Comments

Webster Skyrocket

Webster Pens, best known for being a Sears brand, were produced by several manufacturers throughout the years.  These pens were sold both through catalogs and in Stores for years.  An early Black Hard Rubber example appeared here way back in December of 2007 (Store Pens) and again in March of 2008 (Webster Pens).

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Much later, perhaps in the late 1940s or early 50s, this Webster Skyrocket appeared on the scene.  Below you can see the restoration.  It is a simple lever filler, with a nice visible ink window.  I found this one lightly used and a thorough cleaning in the ultrasonic cleaner (section, feed, and nib) revealed a healthy dose of left over black ink.  The sac was nothing more than powder, but the lever was intact.

Here is the before photo.

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After cleaning the feed, nib (14K Webster) and section, I proceeded to polish up the cap and barrel.  As you can see from the photo above, much of the cheap gold plating has worn off of the cap end, band and barrel end.  However the clip and lever have retained their gold.  I attempted to clean the rest of the pen’s plastic, while leaving all of the plating in it’s original, imperfect condition.  I replaced the old sac with a size 16 clear sac to provide for a nice look through the section window when filled with ink.  After the sac was attached, I let it sit overnight and tested with water for any possible leaks.  The resulting pen is below.

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The Pen measures 5 5/16 closed and a very long 6 3/8 inches posted and was probably produced by National Pen Products of Chicago for Sears.  It is a burgundy, or I have seen it described as Dubonnet Red in other Webster models.  I have also seen it in black, and a Ballpoint pen, similar in design, can be found.

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I find these later fountain pens with names such as Skyrocket, Sky Writer, Skyline, and Skyboy,to be interesting to the times that they were produced.  The era of Air Travel and Rockets was just in its early stages and the Pen Companies were no different than the Auto Companies or any number of consumer and entertainment businesses in capitalizing on their popularity and allure.  Please take a moment, if you haven’t already to visit a few that I have written about in the past ~

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Waterman First Generation Skywriter – December 3, 2012

Silver 1950s Skywriter – May 14, 2012

Waterman Third Generation Skywriter – April 19, 2012

Waterman Skywriter – March 1, 2012

Sheaffer Skyboy Surprise – March 21, 2008

This pen is quite heavy in relation to many of its contemporaries and as previously mentions measures a long 5 5/16 inches capped and 6 3/8 inches posted.  Much attention to Webster Fountain Pens is directed to the earlier models and the Parker produced models, but for a user pen, this one shouldn’t be overlooked.

 

January 6, 2015 Posted by | Webster Pen, Webster Skyrocket | , | 5 Comments

Webster Fountain Pens

Webster pens were a brand sold through Sears stores and catalogs in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. Here is an example of a catalog page with a selection of pens, including Websters from the Spring of 1924. This exact pen is not there, but many BCHR (black chased hard rubber) pens similar to it appear.

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Additional information on Store Sold Pens appears in a post that I wrote on December 11, 2007.

I finally had some time to take this pen apart and it was no easy task. The section was very stubborn and I actually had to walk away from the pen yesterday and come back and try again this evening. Finally, the heat worked and the section came out with no cracks. Here is the result of the extraction of the sac and lever. Both would need to be replaced and I used a new j-bar and size 16 sac. The gold polished up well and the Warranted 4 nib has some flex to it.

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The restored pen looks quite good and this is a bit surprising to me. The insides of the pen were quite dirty and the sac/pressure bar were a mess, but the exterior trim, rubber chasing, and imprints are almost mint.
It must have been stored very carefully for many years. As a collector, I am very thankful for this, and wish it happened more often.

Here is a picture if the finished product and side imprint. The SR on the logo stands for Sears and Roebuck.

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March 1, 2008 Posted by | Hard Rubber Pen, Sears, Webster Pen | , | 5 Comments

Store Pens

Not storing pens – that will be the subject of another post at another time – but Store Pens. Many “department” stores, or “drug” stores, had their own brand of pens that were only available at their stores (or through mail order from them). In the introductory post of this blog, I showed an Eaton Pen, available through the Canadian Eaton Stores. Many US stores also had their own brands of Fountain Pens. I will highlight a few that I have restored with a bit of their history.

Lakeside

Lakeside pens were made for Montgomery Ward Stores to sell both in-store and through catalogs. Here is a discolored green flat-top lever filler that I have had for quite some time. I picked up the box and instructions at a later date, thus they are not original to the pen. The discoloration is due to the sac and ink inside deteriorating over time and reacting to the celluloid exterior.

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The nib is a nice Warranted Number 8, and this pen is ready to write.

Webster

Webster is one of the Sears pens. They sold more than Webster’s, and I will get to some of those brands in later posts, but I will show a couple of examples of Webster Pens here. The first is a BCHR (black chased hard rubber) pen that probably dates to the 1920s. Sears contracted with Chicago area manufacturers to make their pens and their are several theories as to who manufactured these pens.

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As you can see, the chasing of the black hard rubber is excellent on this pen. I have not yet restored this pen. It is in my repair queue and I hope to get to it shortly. It will need a new sac and pressure bar, but the rest of the pen is spotless, as you can see. The nib is a Warranted No. 4.

Here is another Webster, dating to the 1930s which looks very similar to a few Parker pens of the time period. There is speculation that Parker Pens made some of these for Sears at their Janesville, Wisconsin location. This is a button filler and I installed a new pressure bar and sac, as well as cleaning up the nib, feed and button. It writes well and has a Webster 14k No. 4 nib. I really like this pen due to the similarities it shares with the Parker Parkette and Challenger, which are of the same era.

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These pens are just the tip of the iceberg, when discussing store-brand pens. Future posts will discuss Rexall, Thompson, and other Sears brands.

December 11, 2007 Posted by | Lakeside Pens, Montgomery Ward, Parker Pen Company, Sears, Webster Pen | , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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