Fountain Pen Restoration

Moore Tuscan And A Yankee Surprise (Part II)

If you read my post of last week (Moore Tuscan And A Yankee), you will remember that I recently received two fountain pens from a collector friend in Michigan, with the request to restore two family heirlooms.  The first restoration was a Moore Tuscan, and that was an honor to work on, and a beautiful pen resulted.  The next pen, and the subject of this post, is an old favorite, a Yankee Pen, from Grand Haven Michigan.  I restored and written about several of these over the past four years.  Here are a few, for reference.  Also, any posts (search at right) covering Pencraft, Belmont, or Dixie would be related to this pen.

A Yankee In Michigan – January 27, 2008

A Yankee in Minnesota – May 15, 2008

A Yankee In Chicago – February 18, 2010

You can see from the photo below that this lever filler had a hanging pressure bar, common to many Kraker models of the day.  The sac had hardened and the bar was loose and not attached to the end piece.  I cleaned the gold trim ~ clip, lever and nib ~ being careful not to get any polish on the black hard rubber.  I scraped the section, removing all remnants of the old sac and reinserted the nib/feed to the cleaned section.  I attached a size 18 sac to the section/feed/nib assembly and fit it back into the barrel, where a new large j-bar had been inserted.  The whole mechanism works fine as I tested it with water and let it sit overnight.


Here are two photos of the completed pen, capped and uncapped.  It is a large pen, 5 1/2 inches capped and 6 3/4 inches posted.



Here is the imprint, very crisp and clean.  As discussed many times in the past, the Michael George Company was named for its owner,  George Michael Kraker, the movable pen maker, with stops in Kansas City, Minneapolis, Chicago, Grand Haven (MI) and Libertyville (IL).  I would speculate that this pen was produced in Grand Haven in the mid to late 20s, around the time of the Tuscan pen that belongs to this owner.


Many of the Kraker Pens I have repaired have colored (red or yellow) ends on the caps and/or barrels.  I have not seen one with screw out ends, however.  Here is a close up of the barrel end.  Unfortunately, the cap end is missing.  If anyone has access to an one, let me know as I would like to get it in the hands of the owner.


Now for the Surprise …..  the nib is a Yankee 2.  I have seen Warranted, Forever, Pencraft and Dixie nibs on Kraker Pens of this era, but never a Yankee nib.  I checked with another Kraker collector and he confirmed that he had not seen one either.  Clearly they exist, as evidenced by this nib.  I would love to hear from anyone who has photos of other Yankee nibs and their supporting pens.


So, like the Moore Tuscan restored in the previous post, this pen is now back in Michigan where it was originally assembled.  I was lucky to have had the chance to handle both of them and get a few photographs before they left my workbench.


November 1, 2010 Posted by | Kraker, Yankee Pen | , , | 3 Comments

A Yankee in Michigan

I recently purchased this Yankee Pen and restored it this week. The transformation was dramatic. I became interested in Yankee Pens after finding one that was produced in Minnesota by George Kraker in the early 1920s. I talked about Kraker in my post of December 7, 2007. He produced Kraker Pens in Kansas City, was sued by Walter Sheaffer, moved to Minnesota (in the early 1920s) and began to produce pens there. After a stint in Minnesota, he apparently moved to Grand Haven, Michigan on or around 1923 and operated as the Michael-George Company and produced Pencraft, Yankee and Dixie Pens. He also had a contract during this period to produce pens for other companies, including Monogram Pens for Rexall Stores.

The more of these pens I run across, the more I see the resemblance of the clips, levers, filling systems, and barrel parts. The imprint on this pen states ” NON BREAKABLE”, a phrase seen also on Belmont and Monogram Pens, made for Rexall.


Here is a picture of the Yankee Pen after I reduced it to its base parts.


It has a clip that is very similar to many other Kraker Pens, as well as the red plastic cap top that I have also seen on some Monogram pens.

This pen was very dirty and stained, inside and out. I cleaned each part thoroughly. The nib (Warranted 14K) was cleaned and polished with simichrome and then placed in the ultrasonic cleaner. The old nib remnants were scraped off of the section and it was cleaned with water and a q-tip. The feed was cleaned by soaking and cleaning the channels with a dental pick. Be careful to make sure these old feed ink channels are clear. As you can see, the sac was reduced to dust and a new size 16 was used. The inside of the cap was caked with old dried ink and I use q-tips repeatedly to remove this. This is often overlooked in pen restoration, but is important to producing a clean pen that will not stain in the future. The “Kraker” clip was very tarnished, but after many sessions of simichrome, it shines. I was lucky as this clip was not gold plated, so there was no problem in vigorously working out the stains. The lever was also very dirty and it took some time to restore its shine.

The pressure bar was not salvageable, so I used a long jbar, which fit in the barrel after a little crimping to get it in the long narrow barrel. The black finish on the exterior cleaned up nicely after I applied a regimen of stain remover, polish and carnuba wax. Here is the finished product – a Yankee Pen, produced in Grand Haven, Michigan (c 1924-29).


Be on the lookout for Yankee, Dixie, Pencraft, Kraker, Michael-George, Drew, and Rexall Store Pens of this period. They may just be relatives of this pen – produced by George Kraker during his various business ventures in the midwest during the teens, twenties and thirties. I am currently restoring a Monogram which I will cover in the next post, which I believe he made in Libertyville, IL after he left Grand Haven. Stay tuned…

January 27, 2008 Posted by | Kraker, Rexall, Yankee Pen | , , | 6 Comments


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