Frankenpen V – Getting Wild and Crazy!

I seem to have a soft spot for pens with pretty celluloid, no matter whether they are rare top of the line models or something that sold for a dollar (or maybe less).  I sometimes purchase a lot of pens to get one particular item, and most of the time the others don’t turn out to be interesting.  Occasionally though, one catches my eye.  A recent lot included two syringe filler pens, one red marbled and the other a grey and pearl marbled.

Frankenpen V capped

Syringe fillers generally are the lowest of the low, and I suspect that these two were no exception.  But the grey and pearl celluloid was pretty… A quick look revealed that the rubber washer that once formed the seal on the syringe was completely gone, and the seal around the shaft that would have kept the ink inside, rather than in one’s shirt pocket, was damaged.  I was not encouraged, but then I remembered having restored another low end pen with pretty celluloid, a Stratford bulb filler, not too long ago.  Here’s the post on that restoration:

It occurred to me that basic bulb fillers aren’t very different than syringe fillers, so I thought “Why not convert this pen to a bulb filler?”  That would eliminate the syringe shaft and seal completely and add ink capacity in the process. I would need two things: a bulb – easy enough to make from an ink sac, and a breather tube – essential to filling the pen when multiple squeezes of the bulb are required.

Fortunately, I still had the second section/feed/breather tube from the donor pen used in  my Stratford restoration.  A little work with a jeweler’s file reduced the diameter of the donor section just enough to fit tightly into the barrel of the syringe filler. I added a better nib from my parts box – just a nice plated nib, nothing fancy – and that end was done.

At the distal end of the barrel, where the syringe shaft had once extended, I needed a nipple so that I could attach my bulb.  My model railroad parts department yielded some styrene tubing that was a tight fit.  I cut it to the right length and glued it in place, then cut a silicone ink sac to fit over the nipple and inside the blind cap.  I used a silicone sac so that the filling process could easily be seen.

While the shellac was drying on the bulb, I turned to the cap, where the clip was completely gone.  Another trip to the parts box turned up a fairly nice clip from a Marxton parts pen. With my trusty X-acto knife, I cut slots in the cap to match the mounting tabs of the Marxton clip.  The cap also had a sad looking cap band, totally lacking its original very thin gold wash.  Not having a better band, I used a little Rub-n-Buff to make it more presentable.

Before I assembled everything, I polished the celluloid with Micro-Gloss – easier to do with everything apart.  All shined up…attached the clip, slipped on the cap band, and screwed on the blind cap and cap.  Done!

The pen holds a substantial amount of ink and a little smoothing on 4000 and 12000 micromesh was all that was required to make the nib perform quite acceptably.

So here it is: Frankenpen V  Click any image to open the gallery for larger views.


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