Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Yard-O-Led Millennium Exclusive Limited Edition Fountain Pen in Solid Silver from 2000. Limited to 366 pieces.

Since the early 19th Century, Yard-O-Led has used traditional craftsmanship and production techniques. This time honoured craftsmanship is still maintained today.

Yard-O-Led Millennium L.E. Fountain Pen.

Once every 1000 years are we privileged to celebrate a new Millennium. In celebration, Yard-O-Led handcrafted 366 exclusive solid silver fountain pens - each representing one day of the Millennium year. Inspired by late Victorian and early Edwardian periods each Millennium fountain pen reflects the elaborate styling of the times.

Yard-O-Led Millennium L.E. Fountain Pen.

A heavily fluted barrel and cap accentuate the grand style of the fountain pen. Embossed, decorative ring sections capture the trimmings of style and opulence, which are ever present in Yard-O-Led writing Instruments. The fountain pen has been stamped with a special Millennium silver hallmark as approved by the British Assay Office. This hallmark was only stamped on solid silver writing instrument for a limited time: 1999 - 2000.

Cap: Push on cap, made of heavily fluted solid sterling silver. Cap clip is riveted to cap, vertically stamped 'YARD-O-LED'. Top of clip is engraved with this pen's individual serial number '112'. Cap top has an embossed decorative ring with '2000' stamped. The flat top of pen is stamped with silver hallmarks and the special Millennium identification cross.

Barrel and Section: Heavily fluted solid sterling silver barrel, hallmark stamped in the centre with the five A.D. 2000 identification imprints. Towards the front of barrel is the same embossed decorative ring that appears at cap top, again stamped '2000'. 'MADE IN ENGLAND' is stamped on the barrel just above section. The section has a plain surface sterling silver curving profile. A lip ring between section and nib is stamped '925 STERLING'. The section unscrews from barrel to access filling system, this can be via ink cartridge or piston ink converter. Yard-O-Led ink converter included.

 Pen measures 6.3/8 ins (16.2 cms) long with the cap attached. 7.1/2 ins (19.0 cms) long with cap rear posted.  Cap top ring diameter: 0.75 ins (19.0 mm) measured over embossed cap band. 0.57 ins (14.7 mm) measured over cap top flutes. Weight: 82.6 grams.


Solid 18ct gold nib, rhodium plated with circular breather hole. Nib is stamped with intricate scrollwork and 'YARD-O-LED, 18 ct - 750, M' Nib writing tip is medium and writes an exceptionally smooth line with reasonable flex.

Handmade in England by highly skilled silversmiths. The Yard-O-Led Exclusive Limited Edition is a work of art, as well as being a fine writing instrument. See how Yard-O-Led pens and pencils are still handmade today by visiting http://www.yard-o-led.com and clicking on 'Workshop'. You will find the video of great interest.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Alfred Dunhill Sidecar Brown Alligator Chassis Fountain Pen with Palladium Plated Fittings c.2008

Alfred Dunhill Sidecar Brown Alligator Chassis Fountain Pen with Palladium Plated Fittings c.2008 : 

Alfred Dunhill Sidecar Alligator Skin Bound Chassis Fountain Pen Limited Edition with Palladium Fittings.

Available for your consideration is a rare and authentic Dunhill Sidecar Dark Brown Alligator Chassis Limited Edition fountain pen with 18K gold nib.  Limited to a production run of 1,893 individually numbered pieces, the pen takes its name from the 1930’s Steib sidecar, which provided inspiration for the pen’s design.  Like its renowned luxury motoring accessories, the Dunhill Sidecar fountain pen has been fitted with the finest leathers and is crafted to last a lifetime.

Pen measures 5.3/8 ins (13.8 cms) long with cap attached, 6.1/2 ins (16.4 cms) with cap rear posted. Cap diameter: 0.54 ins (13.7 mm). Weight: 51 .0 grams with converter fitted.

It features a full, rounded barrel and a cap design that evokes the fun and romance of a vintage motorbike.  The sleek, dark brown Sidecar Alligator skin bound brass body is accented with a pinstripe-patterned, palladium-plated metal cap and smooth palladium-plated metal trim, including the retro-style clip and Dunhill 'd' logo on the cap. 

Barrel and Section: Brass metal barrel bound with dark brown Alligator skin. Rear of barrel has the same domed style palladium plated design of cap top, shaped to accept cap. if rear posting is required. Front of barrel has palladium plated band, black resin band and metal screw threads. Tapering palladium plated section, having intricate cast 'waved form' grip. Filling is by cartridge or piston converter, accessed by unscrewing finger grip section. 18k gold nib is a size medium.

Cap:  Cap design is taken from the 1930's Steib sidecar. Full round palladium plated pinstripe screw cap. Palladium plated pocket clip. Domed cap top, with palladium 'd' within black enamel inset. The cap top has the individual serial number engraved.

The Dunhill Sidecar Alligator Chassis Limited Edition Fountain Pen is limited to 1,893 pieces to celebrate Dunhill’s founding year.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Montblanc 'Peter I the Great' Patron of Arts - 1997 Limited Edition 4810 - Repair

Montblanc 'Peter the Great' Patron of Arts 4810 Limited Edition

As a Montblanc fountain pen collector, as well as restoring vintage and classic pens, the opportunity to acquire this wonderful Montblanc Peter the Great Limited Edition 4810 was irresistible "Fools rush in where others fear to tread"!

I knew the pen would arrive with problems. The dealer who sold it to me had previously had it returned from a customer who had complained that it would not fill correctly. There are obviously a number of reasons why a piston filling fountain would not fill properly.

Carefully dismantling the pen barrel, removing piston assembly and removing the pierced overlay, the first problem could easily be seen. For some reason, the section had been forced away from the  barrel. I knew from previous service and restoration work on similar Montblanc's, that metal overlays can become loose and rotate on the barrel. However, to force the section away from barrel would mean that the barrel was too short or the overlay was too long. The image below shows the gap of around 1.0 mm between barrel and section.

Measuring the length of the barrel, compared to my own Peter the Great, for some reason the barrel of the pen with forced away section was exactly 1.0 mm shorter. It appears that a previous owner had attempted to reduce the length of the barrel, in order to prevent the overly rotating on the barrel.  This did not explain why the barrel had been turned down 1.0 mm when only 0.10 mm would have been sufficient to secure the rotating overlay.

I turned my attention to the piston filling assembly. The piston seal itself was badly scared, again this could be a contributing factor as to why the pen would not fill properly. This was not normal wear, something within the pen barrel could have only caused this type of damage! (see image below)

Using a borescope, I inspected the internal bore of the barrel. The front 90% of the bore was smooth with no scratches. The threads which hold the piston assembly in place were also undamaged. Just below the internal threads, a shoulder which acts as the transition between internal threads and bore had been damaged when someone had previously attempted to remove the piston. I suspect the damage was caused by a sharp metal instrument. As to how and why this damage occurred remains a mystery!

I can only speculate that when the piston assembly was previously removed,  the piston became detached from the sliding piston rod. This would normally require the piston to be pushed out of the rear of the barrel using a wooden dowel, accessed from the front end of the barrel. Damage to the internal retaining lip of the piston was consistent with the damage to the rear of the piston bore if a sharp instrument had been used to 'pick' out the piston from the rear of the barrel.

This again would have caused filling problems. Ink is drawn up into the barrel by suction/vacuum effect as the piston is retracted within the barrel. The vacuum created within the barrel, which holds the ink from running back out of the nib, was being lost as the piston seal passed over the damaged part of the bore at the rear of piston travel.

I subsequently discovered that the pen had been returned to Montblanc in Hamberg for repair after the initial attempt to fix the rotating overlay had failed. Being a limited edition, a replacement barrel would have probably had to of been specially manufactured. Montblanc quoted €720 for the repair, not surprisingly, the customer declined this quote. The pen was returned, and the "butchery" began.

Hepworth Dixon Repair and Restoration.

There were two problems which had to be overcome.

Increasing the length of the barrel to achieve the correct length to securely locate and lock overlay in place, without applying undue pressure on the section.

Either fully bore out the barrel to remove the damaged rear end section and substitute the piston seal with one of a larger diameter. Alternatively, manufacture a modified piston having a greater length, so that when the piston was fully retracted, the seal remained within the undamaged bore of the barrel.

Three piston seals are shown below. The left-hand seal is the original from the pen itself. Center, is the piston and seal I manufactured with a greater diameter, to accommodate a full re-bore of the barrel. The right-hand piston and seal to fit the existing bore, being longer, thus preventing the seal from reaching the internally damaged bore at the rear of the barrel.

To increase the length of the barrel, I turned up a brass collar with a spigot. Bored a recess in the brass rear section of the barrel to accommodate collar spigot. Using epoxy resin, the spigot was glued into the rear of the barrel. Carefully mounted in a lathe collet, the extension collar was turned to match both external and internal diameters of existing barrel. Having precisely measured the length of the metal overlay, the collar at the rear of the barrel was turned down to the exact length of the overlay, plus a margin to ensure the overlay would be a tight fit when the pen was re-assembled. Finally, the brass collar was sprayed with enamel to colour match the pen's green barrel.

Now it was time to make the decision. Fully bore out the barrel and use the increased diameter piston and seal, or use the extended piston and seal? I choose to go down the route of the extended piston. Fully boring out the barrel to remove damaged area would have been possible, but ensuring an ultra smooth finish to the bore would be more difficult.

The length of piston travel would also have to be modified to accommodate the extra 6.0 mm length of the piston. The piston slide had to be reduced by the same 6.0 mm. This could not be achieved by simply turning off the rear end. The plastic piston slide has a brass insert at the rear, which acts as the  engagement of the spiral worm drive. The piston slide had to be shortened from the front end and a new piston locating recess formed.

Below is the re-assembled, modified piston and turning knob assembly. The second image shows the lengthened barrel with its extension collar colour matched to the barrel.

I would have to point out that due to the modified piston assembly, the barrel ink capacity has been reduced by approximately 10%.

The fully re-assembled 'Peter the Great' fountain pen is now fully functional, draws and holds ink perfectly. A tricky and complicated repair, but well worth the effort.


Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Visconti Homo Sapiens Bronze

Visconti Homo Sapiens Bronze

More than five thousand years ago Homo-sapiens marked the dawn of human history and the invention of writing thus began. The same age discovers metallurgy, allowing the mastery of metals which signified the beginning of human evolution all the way to the invention of the wheel.

Visconti conceived the Homo-sapiens range of writing instruments for real writers, for those to whom the fountain pen continues to represent an essential travelling companion, a daily friend to share the same civilization that writing helped create.

The pen is made from a material that is as antique as the world around us: lava from the Etna volcano. Lava has many characteristics that make it very unique in the manufacturing of writing instruments. Visconti has successfully produced a material containing over 50% pure basaltic lava, catalysed together with resin in a formula that is patented and obviously kept secret. The extraordinary characteristics of basaltic lava practically transform it into a material perfectly fit to writing instruments.

Visconti lava characteristics:
Virtually unbreakable: It has a high degree of resilience
Slightly hygroscopic: allowing it to absorb hand sweat during use
Dense: to the touch, allowing the best possible finger-relaxing grip

Unquestionably new in the range of materials employed in the making of fountain pens

Natural Bronze Fittings

All metallic parts of the pen were inspired by the Bronze Age. The Bronze Age, almost contemporary to the invention of writing, marked the dawn of human civilization. The clip, the decorative rings and the metal accessories, with the exception of the piston, are all in bronze. Homo-sapiens is made with natural bronze like the antique formula that does not require plating or protection treatments which alter its original almost pink colour and which can be easily polished with special products.

The high vacuum power filler charging system is made of titanium, the only material resistant to ink aggressiveness.

Top of the pen has Visconti’s 'My Pen' system incorporated. A rare earth magnetic which allows the user to change cap top for his/her personalised initials. This is a lovely touch. The pen has a twist cap but it’s not your normal twist cap. It has a cleverly designed thread that requires less than a quarter of a turn to uncap the pen.

23 ct 950 Palladium 'Dreamtouch' Nib

With Homo-sapiens Visconti introduced the first ever made 23 ct 950 palladium Dreamtouch nib.
Dreamtouch is the term coined to define a nib that requires no pressure whatsoever in order to write, it traces in a gentle way thoughts and words for dream-like handwriting.

Palladium has interesting physical features that allow the production of fountain pen nibs; its manufacturing is possible today thanks to new metal-fusion technologies and to the welding of iridium tips.

Palladium actually melts at much higher temperatures than gold: 1552°C against 1063°C. It is therefore obvious that this metal has better mechanical features; being more resistant than gold and that any manufacturing process involving palladium becomes a lot more challenging.

The international classification system lists only four precious metals and their related titles: platinum, palladium, gold and silver.

The 23 ct 950/1000 palladium nib is the purest precious metal nib ever manufactured in fountain pen history. In other words, it contains 95% pure palladium against 75% pure gold in the 18 ct nib and 58% gold in the 14 ct nib.

Flexibility and Memory: Palladium has the best possible properties for any type of writing, enhanced by some 30% compared to the same nib in 18 ct gold.

Resistance to ink corrosion has been improved up to 100% thanks to the pureness of the material to an extent to which no protection treatment of the plating is needed.

We think of Homo-Sapiens as a fountain pen that can bring to mind a time-frame: starting from lava as generating material, passing through bronze - recalling the beginning of the act of writing, and ending with palladium – the metal of the future.

Technical Characteristics

Homo Sapiens Bronze
Collection: 23 ct 950 Palladium Dreamtouch nib fountain pen
Material: Basaltic Lava from the Etna Volcano
Nib: 23 ct 950 Palladium Dreamtouch medium nib
Metallic parts: 100% bronze
Filling System: High vacuum power filler

This particular Visconti Homo Sapians Bronze was originally purchased in 2014. It has been fully serviced by Hepworth Dixon and offered for sale in original luxury case, outer card box and original documentation. Visit our website: www.hepworthdixon.com for details. You will also find many other classic fountain pens for sale. 

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Aurora 88K Vintage Fountain Pen

Repairing broken piston on an Aurora 88K.

Aurora 88K Vintage Fountain Pen

Image above is the fully restored Aurora 88K. This pen when received, had first to undergo major repairs to the piston filling system by Hepworth Dixon.

The piston filling knob rotated, but the piston itself would not move within the barrel, visible through the ink level viewing window.

Removing the piston filling knob and retracting the piston assembly through the section end of barrel, it all became obvious what had happened. The hexagonal piston was broken away by approximately 5mm at the rear end. The worm screw drive was disengaged from piston, preventing any forward or back movement.

The chances of finding a replacement hexagonal piston were very slim. Drastic action had to be taken.

The Repair:

First the damaged end of piston was turned down on a lathe to remove damaged end section. With the piston now shorter, the length of the worm screw would need to be increased. The worm screw drive was cut in half, the sawn ends turned flat, both ends drilled and tapped with a 10 BA internal thread.

Careful measurement of modified piston travel determined the length of required shaft extension insert. The extension piece was turned up in brass and externally threaded both ends.

Using a thread locking compound the modified worm screw was assembled.

Operation and piston travel checked. This was also a good time to fit a new piston seal, comprising of two neoprene 'O' rings.

Piston re-assembled into barrel and secured with new brass drive pin. Piston turning knob replaced with original locking screw and screw access hole plugged. Piston travel again checked once nib section was replaced.

Overall a very pleasing restoration to what initially looked to be a more parts destined for the spares box............  It should be noted that the ink volume held in barrel when filled, has a slightly lower ink capacity due to reduced piston travel.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Montegrappa "Tribute to Ayrton Senna" Limited Edition

Solid gold fountain pen limited to 161 pieces (#43)

Montegrappa "Ayrton Senna" Limited Edition

Ayrton Senna's philosophy of setting lofty goals, meeting the challenge and striving to be the best is what made him a legend. It was this philosophy which inspired the creation of a writing instrument which would honour this great achiever and motivator. 

The "TRIBUTE TO AYRTON SENNA" Limited Edition reflected a new turn in MONTEGRAPPA's manufacturing history for it was the first release to combine two techniques unique to Montegrappa: low relief engraving and high relief hand enhanced die cast. 

The solid gold cap and barrel are delicately adorned with low relief engraving. The engraved patterns, with strong sporting personality, reproduce a shower of the sinuous double "S" SENNA brand logos alternating with a tyre tread design. 

High relief hand enhanced die cast is used to produce the components fitted to the cap, namely a spring loaded clip reproducing the design of a F1 car in solid 18 carat gold, plus a "rain" tyre fitted to the top of the cap, also in 18 carat gold. The tyre is laser engraved with the MONTEGRAPPA trade mark. The SENNA brand logo appears on the central band as does the pen's individual serial number (43/161), the name of the circuit (MONZA) and the date of the particular race (07.09.86).

This "TRIBUTE TO AYRTON SENNA" is provided with an 18K gold medium nib chiselled with the Senna brand Logos and the laurel leaves witnessing Ayrton's victories throughout his three time F1 world champion's career. Continuing Montegrappa's old traditions, the feed is fashioned from ebonite. The fountain pen features a solid gold grip section designed to provide comfort.  

The pen is presented in a large perspex display case reproducing the design of a F1 car. It allows one to view the pen through the cover which accentuates the beautiful details of this inspired writing instrument. `this display makes a bold statement about the pen it encases as well as a magnificent desk top accessory. A cleverly befitting double-pouch to store the pen and its accessories (convertor or cartridge) manufactured in Nomex, a fire-retardent material used for the manufacture of F1 driving gloves, completes the compliment.

The "TRIBUTE TO AYRTON SENNA" Limited Edition collection consisted of:
1960 sterling silver fountain pens
1960 sterling silver rollerballs
161 solid 18K gold fountain pens
41 solid 18K gold rollerballs
These quantities have a special significance for Ayrton's friends and fans. 1960 was the year Ayrton Senna was born. 161 was the number of races in F1. 41 was the number of his victories.

This stunning fountain pen is available from www.hepworthdixon.com. It is un-used, boxed and complete with all dated paperwork