Restoring a 1950s Platinum “skeleton” pen

I purchased a lot that included a pen I really wanted and found in it a Platinum pen that is a fairly close copy of a Parker 51 aerometric – so close that its cap and my P51 cap are interchangeable.  The hood, feed, and barrel of the Platinum are made of clear plastic, which I would normally call a demonstrator, but have since learned that the Japanese pen manufacturers make many such pens and refer to them as “skeleton” pens.

I did a water test to see if the pen would fill and although it was in very good cosmetic condition it did not draw any water, so I thought it needed a new ink sac, and a peek past the pressure bar revealed a very deteriorated sac.  The question then was how to remove the sac protector/pressure bar unit to replace the sac.  So, I queried the Japan-Asia forum on Fountain Pen Network and received some good suggestions.

The filler unit was locked to the connector by three small dimples in the metal.  I first tried to rock the unit to ease it off, but it did not budge.  Not wanting to damage plastic of unknown quality, I chose to use a very small drill bit to drill out the dimples.  Once that was done the unit slid off the plastic connector without protest.

The ink sac was stuck inside the sac protector, but a crochet hook soon persuaded all the pieces to come out.  Because of the clear plastic construction, I decided that a complete cleaning was in order.  A combination of ultrasonic cleaner, toothbrush, and flushing with an ear bulb soon dislodged all the dried ink.  Fortunately none of the plastic was permanently stained nor scratched, so it was soon shining like new.

A silicone No. 16 ink sac fitted perfectly, so on it went…pause a while for the shellac to set…then carefully fit the sac protector/pressure bar unit over the sac and securely back onto the connector.  The fit was sufficiently tight that I am not concerned about having drilled out the dimples.

The result is so clean that I have not dared to sully it with ink.  What were these people thinking?  They should have known that the insides of fountain pens are filled with inherently messy liquid and that showing us what is in there is just wrong.  So, here it is, sparkling clean, with a brand new ink sac, ready to write, yet I can’t bring myself to use it.


One thought on “Restoring a 1950s Platinum “skeleton” pen

  1. Terrific article, John – meticulous in practice and description. This would make an engineer or a lawyer proud. Thanks for posting this account.

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