A pretty little ringtop pen in red and bronze marbled celluloid turned up in a lot of pens that I purchased recently. It had no name and no nib but was otherwise in pretty good condition. This small pen with a double cap band brightened up nicely when I used some of Ron Zorn’s special pen polish on it.
I’m one of those people who would rather repair something than just throw it away. I knew this pen had little value to a collector, but certainly it was pretty enough to become a daily writer for someone. I looked around for a donor nib and found a sad Sheaffer that someone had laid on something hot, with disastrous results. A basketweave pattern was impressed into the plastic all the way down one side, and it was warped and discolored. It’s only saving grace was a 3-25 non-Lifetime nib that looked to be in good condition. Continue reading
Recently I purchased an Esterbrook desk pen on ebay. When it arrived, I was surprised and pleased to find that it had an Eversharp Skyline 14K gold nib instead of the usual steel Esterbrook nib. I inquired about this swap and found that it is relatively easy to do. Continue reading
Several ink manufacturers have introduced so-called inkball pens lately. These are rollerball pens that use fountain pen ink in standard international cartridges. A friend of mine shown me his inkball from J. Herbin Inks and I decided to try one.
The J. Herbin inkball wrote well, but because it was made of clear plastic, it just didn’t appeal to me. So it thought, “what if I could fit this inkball mechanism into a good looking pen? I had a third tier pen with no nib, an Imperial in pretty green celluloid, that seemed to be just the right surrogate body for the inkball.
I removed the section from the Imperial and found that the inkball section was a perfect fit. Meant to be! So, the J. Herbin inkball now resides in a pretty pen, writing smoothly and lookin’ good. Frankenpen II – the best of the old and the new.
Yesterday, out of the blue, another Frankenpen project whirled into view. A friend who knows my fountain pen addiction dropped off a ziploc bag of parts pens. In the bag were three Sheaffers – two with Triumph nibs and a slim one one with a slim Lifetime nib; one Waterman Black Hard Rubber model 12 1/2 with all its parts but in mediocre condition; an Artcraft beyond any possibility of restoration but with a great gold nib; and a brown, green, and black no-name pen in translucent plastic. Continue reading
Frankenpen is a term used derisively to describe a pen that has been assembled from mismatched components. Sometimes pens claimed to be “rare” are in fact Frankenpens, created, accidentally or deliberately, from parts that fit just fine but were never combined in that fashion by the factory. But sometimes a Frankenpen is a well-intended salvage operation using good components from two or more pens, with no attempt at deception. Continue reading