Posted in Restoration

Stylograph Black

Stylographic pens, sometimes called “stylos”, have a writing tip made of a metal tube with a fine wire inside to regulate ink flow. Stylos were the first mass-produced fountain pens to achieve broad market success. Duncan MacKinnon, a Canadian druggist patented his “ink pencil” in Canada in 1875, followed by Alonzo Cross patenting his “stylographic pen” which held its own ink in 1880.

Company Back Story

The Inkograph Company aka Ink-O-Graph, is a pen manufacturer founded in 1914 by brothers Joseph and William F. Wallace of New York City. The company produced Inkograph stylographic pens, Leadograph mechanical pencils, and Wallace fountain pens. Their products were retailed primarily by F. W. Woolworth & Co. In the 1930s, the company introduced its own brand of open-nib pens under the Ink-D-Cator brand. After Parker released the “51”, Inkograph followed suit. Inkograph was purchased in 1952 by the Risdon Manufacturing Company of Naugatuck, Connecticut, continuing operations into 1962.

My Pen

Is a black celluloid Model 70-200 dating from the 1940s. It is a lever-fill model with a weighted gravity feed wire. When the wire comes in contact with the paper, it is pushed inward allowing the ink to flow. The wire assembly is weighted at the opposite end and should move freely, but it doesn’t move at all. Spoiler alert, this becomes an adventure.

Infographic 70-200

The pen looks good in this picture, all accents – cap clip, cap ring, and lever are gold plated showing little to no brassing.

Refurbishment

I made an effort to ascertain if it was made of celluloid acetate, celluloid nitrate, a resin, or even ebonite. I’m settling on celluloid nitrate as there is a faint tell-tale odor. Using a Sunshine cloth, the pen received a good surface cleaning. The gold plate polished up nicely without removing any finish.

After a working the cloth, I realized the “stuff” on the pen was still … on the pen. SURPISE! It appears to me that the finish has been damaged resulting in a pitted surface and discoloration. +#$%&*

Since the wire is stuck and protruding from the tube, I removed the tube/nib assembly from the section. Discovering that the weighted wire structure is broken free of the weight which is lodged in the section. It is possible that by removing the tube/nib assembly I am responsible for the damage, but there was no other way. I removed the wire from the tube, it is bent but repairable.

Next, I removed the section from the barrel. SURPRISE! Someone had installed an ink sac that was a fraction of the length needed to reach the pressure bar. Not to mention it was rotting. With the ink sac removed, access to the weight was easy.

Using a thin screwdriver inserted into the section from the ink side I pushed out the weight and SURPRISE! The weight was coated in a plastic shell, which had split repeatedly and now gave off an odor reminiscent of vomit. Fortunately, a little soap and water eliminated most of the odor. I was successful in sanding down the malformations created by the splits in the plastic coating. The weight was not perfectly shaped but almost free-flowing within the section. SURPRISE, a large portion of the plastic covering broke off. @#$%&*

What all this means is I have not finished my refurbishment. I will probably leave the surface issues as is, but I am considering recoating the weight. Here lies my issue. What do I coat it with that I can be comfortable will not damage the writing wire, dissolve in ink, or damage the section? The latter I believe is celluloid acetate or a resin.

Vital Statistics

  • Capped length 119mm
  • Uncapped length 111mm
  • Barrel diameter 12mm
  • Cap diameter 13mm
  • Weighs in at 16g
COPYRIGHT © 2021-2022 DANNY WATTS and CHRONICLES OF A FOUTAIN PEN.
Posted in Restoration

WTH Happened – Beware of Your Ink Choice

Back Story

The Waterman Expert was introduced circa 1995, as a lightweight plastic-bodied pen featuring a distinctive two-tone, beveled steel nib. The Expert I nib has a little piece of plastic going through the nib which maintains the nib in relation to the feed. The trademark “W” is aft of this plus “Waterman Paris” is engraved on the underside of the nib diameter.

On the cap between the trim rings is their trademark script “W,” with “Waterman Paris” on the opposite side. The jewel atop the cap is solid plastic embossed with “W”. The first generation of Experts had a much more robust and durable snap cap system than its predecessors.

Circa 2000, Waterman introduced the second-generation Expert. The body is now made of lacquer over brass much like the Hemisphere which dramatically increased the pen’s weight. The Expert II also sported a redesigned yet inferior nib. The clutch was also redesigned in the cap however, it failed to engage the barrel securely.

My Pen

Is Bordeaux in color (sounds so much better than burgundy) with gold trim accents. When I acquired the pen the nib was heavily crusted with dried ink, but the barrel and cap were free of scratches and tooth marks. Plus, there was no brassing of the cap rings or the clip.

The feed used in generation 1 Experts is unique. There is a small piece of plastic that protrudes through the nib, henceforth known as an anchor block. This piece of plastic sits atop of the fins of the feed. In this picture, the anchor block is facing in the wrong direction. It is so small I could not determine which direction it was facing. It is very easy to lose, especially on a carpet – experience speaking x2. The anchor block is about the size of an uncooked grain of rice.

Now things get interesting, where do I begin? I bought the pen knowing the tines needed some TLC. The tines bowed outward yet coming together at the tips. This I could correct and I did.

But when I removed the nib and feed from the section – SURPRISE! The diameter portion of the nib was heavily damaged. It appears the owner was an ignoramus having inked the pen with some sort of gallic ink and failed to clean the pen.

Damage caused by Gallic Ink

Welp iron-gall inks should only be used in dip pens, they contain gum arabic or maybe Ferro-gallic to increase the permanency of water-based ink. These chemicals are corrosive and both increase the already corrosive level of the ink. Resulting in damage to the nib and pen. I’m now looking for a gently used Expert I beveled steel nib and a feed.

With all this damage, I suspect the pen will have issues holding a vacuum inside the ink reservoir. However, I am considering making a go at repairing the nib using silver solder – what do I have to lose? The lesson to learn is this, Gallic ink is bad, while the pen is good. The previous owner used the wrong ink, did not clean the pen, and welp I now have one or two new topics to blog about. I look forward to the day when I can use the pen.

Posted in Pens, Restoration, Stories

Ink-o-graph Sty·lo·graph·ic

Definition of stylographic

  • used in stylography (that’s clear as mud)
  • being a fountain pen that has a fine writing point fitted with a needle which by the pressure of the point on a surface is pushed back to release the flow of ink (now we are talking)

Stylographic pens, sometimes called “stylos,” have a writing tip made of a metal tube with a fine wire inside to regulate ink flow. Stylos were the first mass-produced fountain pens to achieve broad market success. Duncan MacKinnon, a Canadian druggist, patented his “ink pencil” in Canada in 1875, followed by Alonzo Cross patenting his “stylographic pen” which holds its own ink in 1880.

Company Back Story

The Inkograph Company aka Ink-O-Graph, is a pen manufacturer founded in 1914 by brothers Joseph and William F. Wallace of New York City. The company produced Inkograph stylographic pens, Leadograph mechanical pencils, and Wallace fountain pens. Their products were retailed primarily by F. W. Woolworth & Co. In the 1930s, the company introduced its own brand of open-nib pens under the Ink-D-Cator brand. After Parker released the “51”, Inkograph produced similar pens. Inkograph was purchased in 1952 by the Risdon Manufacturing Company of Naugatuck, Connecticut, and continued operations into 1962.

My Pen

Is a mottled ebonite Model 20M (I believe) circa the late 1920s. It is a lever filler model with a weighted gravity feed wire. It is nearly flawless, with minor scratching, no brassing, no teeth marks – looking good!

Inside the tiny tube is a wire. When the pen touches the paper, the wire is pushed inward allowing the ink to flow. The wire assembly is weighted at the opposite end and moves freely.

I gave the pen a quick surface cleaning and then set about taking it apart. It does need a new ink sac, and the wire did not appear to be bent – cool. I can hear the weight sliding as the pen is tilted and the wire makes an appearance, better yet.

Installed a #20 ink sac, the barrel easily holds a large sac. The lever is a little loose and doesn’t stay snug.

I removed the wire assembly and found it is ebonite. The wire attaches to an assembly arm, cone-shaped. The cone acts as a plug regulating ink flow when engaged.

The wire measure 11mm, the cone 27mm (excluding the weight); 3mm wide at the weighted end. The entire assembly is 50mm long.

The feed is interesting, it clearly does not have any fins or traditional “nib” features so how does air get into the reservoir displacing the ink? I tracked down patent applications for confirmation and the G1 grove allows air to enter into the chamber between the threads. Air then transverses the h1 hole into the reservoir as ink flows out along the wire. This is the same process as the breather hole in a fountain pen nib.

Wondering how to ink it, I stuck the nib into a bottle of Pelikan 4001 black and worked the filler lever. The ink was drawn in! The 1928 advertisement says this pen never leaks, so I shook and shook the pen. It did not leak. Stylographic pens often need to be held nearly vertically. I wrote with the pen in the same fashion as a typical fountain pen (55 degrees). It worked perfectly, plus the ink flowed immediately. I’m super happy with the pen.

Vital Statistics

  • Capped length. 132mm
  • Uncapped length. 123.5mm
  • Barrel diameter 13mm
  • Cap diameter 16mm
  • Weighs in at 23g
COPYRIGHT © 2021-2022 DANNY WATTS and CHRONICLES OF A FOUTAIN PEN.
Posted in Collection, Pens, Restoration, Reviews, Stories

The 1950’s Parker Parkette

The Parkette

A family of pens manufactured by Parker, but generally considered a third-tier pen. Evolving from the Parco, Parkette produced began in 1932 and ran through 1941. The pen was Parker’s answer to inexpensive competition while providing the Parker name and mystique. The Parkette generally lacked the quality of flagship Parker pens of the time (Duofold, and Vacumatic).

The Parkette was Parker’s first pen to make use of a lever-filling mechanism. A common option amongst other manufacturers but not one Parker pens ever would regularly embrace. Eventually, the lever-fill mechanism would find its way into other “third-tier” Parker pens, including the Duo-Tone (not to be confused with Duofold) and the Writefine.

The 1950s Parkette

It is a common practice for pen companies to reintroduce former names as a means of adding nostalgia. Parker introduced one last model to the Parkette family in 1950. The new pen included a lever-filling system and contemporary styling (a metal cap and a hooded nib). The newest Parkette did not fare well against period Parker’s.

My Pen

I have a grey 1951 Parkette. It is in very good shape, without any bite marks, or scratches, but it leaks. I know grey is boring but I like it with the shiny metal cap. It appears to have the same “defect” other hooded Parker’s shared – a gap between the hood and the nib. While researching the Parkette, it seems this pen is not favored amongst collectors and is considered cheap and not worthy of the time and effort to repair it – got my attention now.

This seemed odd to me, when I removed the ink sac I found the pen had a breather tube (more on these another day). A breather tube is used in better pens when the filling system fails to completely fill the reservoir with one cycle of compression and vacuum. This is a feature commonly not found in cheap pens and I would know, I have 3 Arnolds.

Refurbishment

I replaced the too-short ink sac, being careful not to remove the breather tube. I tried to remove the hood but found it is held firm by glue. I made a valent effort to remove it but when all options failed and applying solvents was the only choice, I stopped. The cap retention ring thingy was a little tarnished, nothing a Sunshine cloth could not remedy. The only real damage is a minute amount of brassing on the cap clip.

Not wanting to leave the feed, nib and breather tube as is, I used a bulb syringe to flush them out. I was surprised to see flakes of dried ink accumulate in the sink. My concern appeared warranted.

All done and ready to ink up and give it a go.

Welp, I’m happy to say it writes well. It is a fine point nib which is not one of my faves but this one does very well. The nib is a little wet but that may be excess ink from the filling fixing in the hood.

Vital Statistics

  • Capped length. 132mm
  • Uncapped length. 121mm
  • Barrel diameter 11mm
  • Cap diameter 12mm
  • Weighs in at 16g

For a “cheap” pen not worthy of my time, the only complaint is a manufacturing defect (in my opinion). The cap is secured is pressure the cap retention ring thingy. The pen lacks a clutch ring as found in a 51, thus the cap is not adequately secured. I picked it up one day by the cap and the pen went flying. Luckily I made a good catch.

Posted in Restoration

Mabie Todd Swan Leverless

Company Back Story

Mabie Todd is one of the longest-lived manufacturers of writing instruments. Tracing its roots via gold nib and pencil manufacture to the 1840s. The company proper was established in 1860 in New York City. Swan pens were introduced in 1887, with UK production beginning in 1905.

Mabie Todd became a wholly-owned British company in 1915, with US manufacturing continuing until the late 1930s. Mabie Todd and the Swan were successful, known internationally as “the pen of the British Empire.” Although the company initially prospered in the postwar period, production ceased before the end of the ’50s.

Leverless

The Swan Leverless model featured a unique filling system, patented in 1932. It appears the pen is a piston filler or has a blind cap at the aft end of the barrel. Nope. Rotating the end cap one-half of a turn causes a metal bar to sweep the interior of the barrel. In doing so it compresses the ink sac. Rotate the cap back into position and allows the ink sac to expand again, filling with ink. A breather hole in the barrel facilitates air ventilation into the pen’s body as the ink sac is depressed.

Mabie Todd Swan Leverless sweep bar. The screw extends through the end of the barrel and the cap attaches to it.

Interestingly, the ink sac needs to completely fill the inside of the barrel. The use of an undersized sac will negate the sweeping action and the sac will not fill with ink.

Replace the sac

The section fits into the barrel via a friction fit. What makes the sac replacement of the leverless system unique is the need to remove the nib and feed from the section. Reinstall the section and set (fulling expand) the sac within the barrel by inserting a chopstick or similar item via the hole in the section. Only then are the nib and feed installed.

My Pen

I believe this pen to be an early version as it has a flat top and a Swan ‘medallion’ set into the cap. The pen is most likely ebonite, as determined by the smell – of old tires

My Swan appears to be a model L470/60, though there are no numbers on the pen. The pen is finished in black with a gold cap clip and gold cap ring. The barrel imprints are clear and sharp. This model and trademark logo date the pen to around 1934.

The nib is a Swan 3 while the feed has “Swan M2” stamped on it, and “Swan” stamped on the section. There are no other markings on the pen.

The top of the cap has the gold swan ‘medallion’ embedded in the blind cap and the Swan symbol stamped on the clip.

I did not notice any brassing on the clip or the cap ring.

I inked up the pen and gave it a go. The nib has a lot of flexibility but it is a fine nib (not a fave). The ink unfortunately, writes very wet. Combined with a flexible nib and cheap paper – the result it is not an impressive. I cannot blame the pen.

The ink is Scribo Grigio

Vital Statistics

  • Capped length. 127mm
  • Uncapped length. 116mm
  • Barrel diameter 11mm
  • Cap diameter 13mm
  • Weighs in at 17g

——————————- Reference Material ————————-

Posted in Restoration

Gold Starry, More Than A Ladies Pen

Company Backstory

The origins of Gold Starry date to 1909 with the marketing of Conway Stewart fountain pens in France, under the Gold Star brand name. In 1912, the name was changed to Gold Starry.

In 1921, Gold Starry became a wholly-owned French pen manufacturer of fountain pens, thus ending the import of English pens. Production initially occurred in a pavilion on the outskirts of Paris The company adopted the slogan “le stylo qui marche” (the pen that works). Characterized by the trademark consisting of a star, the Manifacture Francaise engraving on the barrel.

A lever fill model was introduced in 1927. My pen is a streamlined style, made popular by the Shaeffer Balance. This dates the pen to the 1930’s.

My Pen

My pen came from a seller in Rouen France. It is a small mottled ebonite lever filler with a gold loop to attach the pen to a chain and worn around the neck. As with my other 2 Gold Starry’s, there were surprises, some good, some not so good, but all awaiting for me to find.

The most obvious issue is the opening for the lever. It appears a tool was inserted into the opening and used to widen the opening to reinsert the lever and the snap ring. Feeling empowered I decided to try and restore the lever opening/barrel to its original shape.

I removed the lever and j-bar. Armed with an aluminum straw that fit the barrel perfecting, I set the tea kettle to boil. Taking hold of the straw, the damage section of the barrel is lightly applied to the steam for 15 seconds. Then inserting the handle of a spoon into the leveler slot (to prevent the accidentally over correction of the misshaped opening), applied pressure to each side, evaluated the results then the process repeated until the barrel is acceptable. The steam did leave a misty finish to the barrel which quickly came off when a Sunshine cloth was applied.

Before and After

Speaking of the lever, it turned out to be an interesting find. I’ve only seen levers that are plain, this one has a small raised accent shaped like an hourglass. Unfortunately, the hourglass is well worn and hard to see.

Also an interesting find is the J pressure bar, it reminds me of a Shaeffer SH pressure bar but in reverse and this pressure bar is in 2 pieces. The workmanship is really quit impressive.

The ink sac is also a surprise. Firstly, it is too large for the pen. A #18 sac has installed in the pen, which completely filled the inside of the barrel less the j-bar. Secondly, the ink sac is secured to the section by a string – no shellac. WTH. After reinstalling the J-bar, a #16 ink sac was inserted and determined that to be too large with the J-bar. I’ve settled on a #14 which I don’t have so I ordered a couple.

I decided to remove the nib and feed because there was some kind of white chalky “stuff” on the underside of the nib, plus the feed is out of position relative to the nib. Another interesting find, the nib is oblique.

Normally, I would ink up the pen and give it a go, but I am still waiting for the #14 ink sac. The nib is very flexible so I dipped the nib into Waterman Serenity Blue ink. The nib needs a visit to a nibsmith but definitely is flexible.

Vital Statistics

  • Capped length. 99mm
  • Uncapped length. 84mm
  • Barrel diameter 10mm
  • Cap diameter 11mm
  • Weighs in at 9g
Posted in Heat Seating, Nibs, Restoration

Heat Setting an Ebonite Feed Without Burning Down the House

Heat setting an ebonite feed is a topic of much conjecture, often viewed as some deep dark secret shrouded in mystery, like the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Addressing ink flow issues is not a rare or uncommon problem for fountain pen users. The cause of flow issues can be attributed to a variety of reasons. Before jumping to costly conclusions and if you have an ebonite feed there is a quick and easy “try this first” option – heat set your nib. Heat setting is a great option when addressing the following issues:

  • Consistent railroading
  • Dry writing
  • Hard starting
  • Dripping
  • Excessive leaking into cap
  • Blobbing
  • Excessively wet writing
  • Swapping nibs

Consulting the Parker Repair Manual 5115 (8th edition), the following guidance is provided. To achieve a consistent, and trouble-free ink flow, the nib must fit snuggly against the feed.

They recommend a process called “heating down” the feed. This is accomplished by lightly rotating the nib and feed through a flame. Then wet your finger in cold water, place the nib dorsal side down against a hard surface, like a table, and rub the feed in a back and forth motion. Pressing it against the nib produces a custom tight fit.

I strongly recommend that you do not use an open flame to heat down a feed. Vintage celluloid pens are highly flammable and there is a much safer alternative.

Let me introduce you to the hot-water-heat-setting method. No special skills required beyond the ability to boil water, and it works great. Using the hot water you can heat set a feed as many times as needed until the desired fit is had and the correct ink flow is achieved.

Begin by boiling water, it needs to be hot. Pour the hot water into a glass or jar, but only enough to immerse the nib up to the section. It is best if the section is not submerged. Leave the nib and feed in the hot water for 30-35 seconds then remove from the hot water. Now, place the feed on your thumb and gently squeeze or pinch the feed and nib together. Holding it for 20 seconds, allowing the ebonite to cool. Ink the pen and evaluate the results. Repeat as needed.

If you are heat-setting a vintage pen with a black ebonite barrel, I would remove the section from the barrel, eliminating any chance the barrel may come into contact with water. I had a very bad experience where my 100-year-old black ebonite pen turned green the instant the barrel got wet….

Thanks for reading, let me know if this has been helpful. It has for me. Until next time.

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 then being developed in Germany, making them the first manufacturer to produce injection-molded pens.

This Keystone, is it 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 reassembling the pen, installing a #20 sized ink sac. 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.

Vital Statistics

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

1935 Parker Challenger

(Revised from the original posting on 16 March 2021.)

The Parker Challenger was manufactured from 1934 to 1941 and was a surprise success for the George Parker Company. The pen was introduced in February of 1934 during the Vacumatic era and featured a button filler made of the same material as the Vacumatics but at less than half the price. The Challenger was offered in two sizes, slim or standard, and sold for $2.50, whereas the Vacumatic sold for $7.50 and the Parkette for $1.25, making it priced right as a gift pen for school students.

My Pen

When I got my Parker Challenger as a consultation prize for bitching about excessive shipping cost on another purchase. It was in horrible condition, the clip and cap ring is heavily brassed. The ink sac was dried-up, and the section is frozen to the barrel and the nib won’t pull out. The date code 13 is stamped on the barrel, meaning it was manufactured in Q1 1935.

How to refurbish it, I pulled out my Parker Repair manual, which was apparently a bad idea. In the repair manual, it indicated that the plunger section needed or could be removed using the Parker pen vise. Turns out you aren’t supposed to take the plunger section out so when I tried and tried all I did was damage the threads of the plunger cap. Now there are no teeth to hold the cap on.

So I got working on the section and the nib. Both aren’t budging, using a hair drier and soaked them for days, they finally came apart. A peek inside the barrel revealed the pressure bar mixed up with the dried ink sac.

Feeling frustrated I did a Duck Duck Go search and found 2 articles, one on The Fountain Pen Network and the other on Fountain Pen Restoration detailing how to refurb a Challenger, well shit. This is when I realized the vise was a mistake. Removing the plunger was no problem but the pressure bar wasn’t moving. Using a dental pick, I broke up enough of the sac to free the pressure bar, then removed the remaining sac.

I found a guy in South Dakota with a spare clip for the Challenger – I ordered one. Well, the clip arrived and the hole in the washer is too small. At first glance, it is otherwise identical to the one I took off. Placing them side by side the new one is a little shorter.

The inside diameter of the brassed clip ring is 10mm while the replacement clip is 7mm. Could it be a Vacumatic clip since Challengers were made from the same plastic or maybe a remodeled Duofold clip,

Removing years of grim, tooth marks, and scratches. Taped over the name and mfr info and started sanding with 1000 grit paper, then 2000, 3000, 5000, 7000 grit paper then I repeated the whole process. Afterward, I went over the pen with a Sunshine cloth. It feels great! and looks good. The process was repeated with on cap.

Time to focus on the section, it had a brown tint from all the grime which required sanding twice. The paper turned brown, but when I finished it looked great. Installed a #20 ink sac. Used the Sunshine cloth on the nib, it shined up great so I also polished up the feed and put the nib back into the section.

Do No Harm

Turned my attention to the damage I did to the plunger cap. Applied 2 coats of sac shellack to the inside of the blind cap threads. It didn’t help so I cut some black construction paper into a thin strip and put it inside the cap, and shellacked it into place – bingo.

OMG, I’ve found a DIY process for nickel electroplating that is “safe and easy.” I gave it a go, didn’t poison myself or blow up the garage, and my wife didn’t divorce me (lol).

Vital Statistics

  • Capped length 132mm
  • Uncapped length 116mm
  • Barrel diameter 12mm
  • Cap diameter 14mm
  • Weighs in at 16g
Posted in Nibs, Pens, Restoration, Stories

Fountain Pen Primer 104: Cleaning and Care

I personally, clean my pen on the day it runs dry or exits rotation. This is done with cold tap water, I use a nasal aspirator (bulb thingie as it is popularly known) to force water through the feed and nib. The converter is rinsed out and the pen is left to air-dry overnight. Once reassembled, I use an old Sunshine cloth (it has been hand washed once) to remove fingerprints and water spots. All my pens are stored in a dark and dry storage box. I do not expose them to sunlight.

I rarely clean the pen if merely switching inks. I enjoy the blended coloration. I know, probably not the smartest thing in the world but hey, it’s my pen. Back to the topic at hand, as my father would say “don’t do as I do, do as I say,” thus without further ado… Cleaning and Care of your pen,

I opted to crowdsource this topic as I am far from the expert and I have established I may be a danger to some pens. Thus, I consulted with the membership of several groups of pen enthusiasts, what follows is their collective wisdom.

When

  • Don’t – simply keep refilling the same pen.
  • When changing to a different ink.
  • When the pen leaves rotation.
  • Clean the pen on the same day/night they run dry.
  • Within a week of running dry.
  • Every few months when refilling with the same ink.

How

  • Rinse in cold water.
  • Force water through the feed and nib with an ear bulb syringe or nasal aspirator
  • Use a blunt-end syringe to rinse out the converter.
  • Piston fillers take time to flush out, but patience and water will win the day!
  • Rinse the cap/barrel with water, then use cotton swabs to remove ink residue and excess water.
  • Add a drop of dish soap to the water if the pen that’s been sitting for a while, or a poorly behaved ink.
  • Sometimes just swap a cartridge for a new one and enjoy the transition between colors.
  • Allow to air dry on a paper towel.

With What

  • Sunshine cloth to polish and removed finger prints and water marks.
  • Distilled water is recommended but tap water is the choice 99.9 percent of the time.
  • Ultra Sonic cleaner on scruffy eBay purchases, or to remove inks stain be misbehaved inks.
  • Cotton swabs to clean caps and barrels.
  • For vintage or used pen, add a drop or two of dish soap to the water before soaking.
  • Rapidio-Eze pen cleaning solution.
  • Sailor pen cleaning kit.
  • Goulet Pens flush for stains.
  • Clean the converters with blunt-end syringe will save time.
  • Ammonia for stubborn ink stains.
  • Use a cotton towel or a connoisseurs cleaning cloth to remove finger prints etc.

Fears and Concerns

  • Polishing pens with a Sunshine cloth or anything else is too abrasive and may remove gold plating.
  • Infrequent cleaning makes the process much more arduous.
  • Never remove nibs from the unit or section as ebonite sections are heat set and will not fit correctly when reinstalled – causes leaks.

On a Lighter Note

  • Do not wash your pen in the dishwasher
  • Do not use a steel wool pad on your pen
  • Do not soak your pen in bleach to remove stubborn ink stains
  • If interested in applying wax or polish to your pen please read my post on polishing first.