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Newbie wondering about restored/modernized pens?
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Drooling over all of these gorgeous vintage pens got me wondering...do people modernize these pens so that they accept cartridges or convertors. Pardon me if this is a really dumb question, but I'm new to this pen fanaticism!



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Admin

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Hi lreiley!

Yes, a couple of custom pen makers "modernize" vintage pens. One that comes to mind is Carl Seidl, known as "Mr. Retrofit" on a couple of forums. He owns "Pens of Dist-ink-tion" (I think that is the correct spelling!), and can be seen at various pen shows. He does retrofit/modernize a variety of vintage pens!

I also have a custom pen that was made around an Esterbrook section a couple of years ago. Chris Hughes ("Appleman") made this pen for me, and it has been great! He used a Parker converter as the filling system. Apparently, when an Estie section is loose (aka- not in an Estie Barrel), the Parker converter will work with it!

Both of these guys are members here at TFPC! I have worked with both, and they are great to deal with! You can see my "Apple Estie" review here under the "Custom Pens" forum. It would have been early 2011, IIRC!

Regards,
Frank

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Newbie

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Is this a halloween prank!

I do hope so.

Because if I understand what is being asked, I'd say-- Gods I hope not!

I'm not certain of the ethics of such a practice. Why would anyone want to do this in the 1st place?

Yes, a pen is someone's property-- they can do what they want with it. (We could get into potion #9 blackening BHR as a real conversation starter.)

But again -- if I understand correctly -- "modernizing" a vintage or antique pen makes no sense. You have just destroyed its value as a collectable pen and turned it into a franken-pen.

For example, I don't know of any reputable restoration expert such as Richard Binder or Gary Lerher who would take say, an 1895 Waterman eyedropper and attempt to mate a cartridge converter to it.

Something that has survived 100 years should be left as is. "Improving" or "modernizing" it is depriving future generations of serious pen collectors the real McCoy.

Would Vintagepens, Gopens, Vacumania, Vintagewatermanpens & other sites sell such bizzarre matings of past & present? Since I've talked to David N, David i, Gary L, & Max D. I'd say the answer would be a resounding "no."

And why would anyone want a cartridge converter in a vintage or antique pen in the first place?

Suddenly levers, J bars, & sacs are too inconvenient or something?

What pens are potentially being destroyed by this practice?

A Parker 61 with cracked polystyrene in fill mechanism I might understand. A perfecly good Parker Jack-knife Safety or Duofold... I'm at a loss for words.

So help me out here. What reasoning-- besides money-- for such a practice?

With respect,

--Bruce



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Hello Bruce!
Welcome to The Community! (Great artwork on your BIO page, BTW!!)

No, I agree with your statement about keeping vintage pens original! But, there are some exceptions, especially when that pen is damaged! I cannot speak for Carl ("Mr. Retrofit"), but I do believe he works from parts pens that are broken/damaged. I have bought parts myself from him in the past!

It was my own desire to build a custom pen from a spare Estie section that I had lying around. This was my first custom, and I wanted something different!
There was recent discussion here about the Eversharp CA pen, and how finding a refill is next to impossible! One of our mods here, DWL, is good at making these pen work again by fitting a modern RB refill into it. I have a Fifth Ave set myself (FP/RB), and I can now use both in my rotation!

SO yes- one should NOT damage/change a perfectly good/functioning/valuable FP just for the sake of doing so IMO. There are people with talent and existing inventory out there to make unique items like this possible (If one desires)!


Regards,
Frank



__________________

"When, in the course of writing events, it becomes self-evident that all pens are not created equal" (Federalist Frank)

We sell quality, known brands at reasonable prices!!

Visit our Store Federalist Pens and Paper!  (TFPC Sponsor!)

(5% Discount for Forum Members! Use Code "FPC" at Checkout!)

Follow our discussion group(s) at www.linkedin.com!  (Fountain Pen Community/Federalist Pens)

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Newbie

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Thanks for reply.

I posted that & then thought later. "Hmmm.... maybe not the best foot to put forward as a newcomer!"

So glad you understood my point of view & hope didn't come off sounding like the pen police or something.

To each his own & a pen *is* someone's property to do as they see fit, but was just thinking WOW! Is this a common practice?

Reassuring to know it's mainly from parts drawer!

enjoy your week

--Bruce



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Here are a couple of FP's from the parts bin that I converted to BP/Gel writers. The green stripe Wearever Pacemaker has a Sheaffer BP front end & came out REALLY nice. I'm quite proud of it. The BCHR Overlay came out pretty good, but it's got a gouge down by the section barrel joint thats pretty ugly.



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