Posted in Restoration

Keystone: A Brand, A Model or Wearever

The keystone fountain pen, a taper-cap eyedropper-filling model produced by Soper & Sievewright, was fitted with a manually-operated ink shut-off to prevent leakage while in the pocket and also provided an option to fill the pen by removal of a threaded plug in the back end of the barrel.

Keystone was also a pen model name used by David Kahn, Inc. for one of the Wearever pens. Kahn, a manufacturing company operating in New Jersey, was founded in 1896 by David Kahn, a Jewish immigrant. Kahn’s company manufactured ornate pencil cases, mechanical pencils, and pens. The Wearever brand of fountain pens was introduced circa 1918. In the late 1920s, Kahn adopted the injection molding process developed in Germany, making them the first manufacturer to produce injection-molded pens.

This Keystone is a model, or is it a brand name …. we know that Wearever used Keystone as one of its model names, and this pen looks very much like the Jefferson pens produced by Wearever. I’m inclined to believe this pen is one of the Wearever models known as Keystone.

My Pen

Not trying to be a Negative Nancy, but let’s start with my complaint about the pen. The pen is overall in good shape and attractive but some idiot who previously “restored” it shellacked the section to the barrel after installing an undersized ink sac. I can’t take any pride in sloppy work but I guess “good enough” is as good as some people can manage – I’m a firm believer in the Peter Principle.

Now on to the pen!

Let’s start with the ink sac and section, as you can see this is all jacked up. OMG, it gets even better, the refurbisher did not bother to remove the old sac. Its remains are in the barrel as well as its remnants are still on the section under the newly installed sac – oh this going to be fun.

I had no problem removing the lever, and most of the previous ink sac, which was still rubberized-ish. Naturally, the J-bar broke when I tried to remove it. Or maybe it was already broken, but no worries I can make a new one. I eventually removed the old ink sac from the barrel making use of a wax carving tool and an X-Acto knife.

Then I pulled the nib and feed out by accident, which turned out to be a good thing, The underside of the nib was coated with a white stain. Using an old polishing cloth I went to work on the stain. The nib is imprinted with the verbiage “gold plated,” well as I worked the cloth to remove the stains so did the remaining gold plate.

Look closely below you will notice a series of cracks radiating out from the clip. I’m confident these are manufacturing defects and not related to misuse.

After manufacturing a new J-Bar, I made quick order reassembled the pen; installed a #20-sized ink sac in the process. Time to ink it up and give it a go!

Can’t say I was impressed with how the pen writes. We all know I am not a fan of Fine point nibs. After inking up the pen I had to coax the ink to flow. The feed is not suited for fast writing and would be a horrible choice for note-taking.

Overall, I like the looks of the pen. Yes, it is sorta cigar-shaped but it is flat on both ends so I am good with this. Plus the colors, etc make up for the shape. I was planning on selling it but instead, I think I will replace the nib with a contemporary nib. I’ll make it a project.

Vital Statistics

  • Capped length 125mm
  • Uncapped length 120mm
  • Barrel diameter 12mm
  • Cap diameter 13.5mm
  • Weighs in at 14g.

Reference Material

COPYRIGHT © 2021-2023 DANNY WATTS and CHRONICLES OF A FOUTAIN PEN.

Author:

I'm a loser as my wife likes to tell me, I enjoy researching dead cousins and playing with fountain pens.

7 thoughts on “Keystone: A Brand, A Model or Wearever

  1. Interesting read. Well done for the perseverance. A lot of work for a slow fine nib? Slow nibs are very nice at times. I have a couple of generics like that. They produce neater handwriting for myself due to more time in application to letter shapes. Your test words and drawing looks like the consistency in ink flow works okay too. This is one beautiful looking pen though. Impressive making another bar! Hats off. All the best.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Post has been all over the place here too. Some sellers have too many items to juggle and post and can get confused. Shouldn’t happen. Be nice if they mistakenly sent a Montblanc though. Trouble is, ethics would kick in and you’d tell them they made a BooBoo. 😆

        Liked by 1 person

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