Wednesday, 5 December 2012

What to buy a pen collector for Christmas!

As we approach that manic time of the year, trying to find the right gift for a loved one or friend who admires anything to do with traditional writing instruments can be perplexing.

We primarily restore vintage fountain pens, however, we do have available a wide range of pre-owned classic fountain pens in stock. These major brand classic's which are all genuine, but no longer in production make wonderful and thoughtful gifts for a fraction of the price of their modern counterparts. We have put together a small selection of these luxury fountain pens, all fully serviced and supplied in their original boxes. These pens and many others are available now from Hepworth Dixon Classic Pens.

Fountain pens pictured above, from top to bottom:-

1. Montblanc Noblesse Oblige in Dark Green
2. Dunhill Classique in Vermeil Barley

3. Aurora Kona in Burgundy

4. Montblanc Meisterstuck Classique in Burgundy

5. S.T. Dupont Classique Laque de Chine

6. Parker 180 Torsade 

Visit website soon. See in detail all pens above and many more besides.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Must de Cartier Vendome Fountain Pen

Cartier fountain pens are more than just a writing tool. They combine the precision of watch making with the exquisite opulence of jewellery, making Cartier fountain pens highly collectable.

In the early 1980's Cartier launched their 'must de Cartier Vendome' range of writing instruments. The Vendome is accented by 'Trinity Rings', three gold plated interwoven rings around top of cap. The yellow ring stands for faithfulness, the pink for love and the white for friendship. This pen proudly carries the Cartier double 'C' trademark, cast onto cap top.

Hepworth Dixon have recently fully serviced a wonderful pre-owned and cherished Cartier Vendome fountain pen and are pleased to be able to offer it for sale.

Pen has ink cartridge filling system. Features include; gold plated metal body in square panelled design, 18 carat solid gold nib, button operated retractable cap clip, lever mechanism to remove cassette cartridge holder and user rotational nib holder.

We believe this particular pen was manufactured c.1982. It is sold fully serviced, in original box with ink cartridge. For further information visit: 

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Rare Parker 180 'Torsade' Fountain Pen

Casual observers viewing this Parker 180 Torsade fountain pen with its spiralled black lacquer over gold  design would probably consider it to be "just another old Parker fountain pen from the 1980's". How wrong they would be! The serious Parker pen collector will realise that this particular 180 style, which was made in France during 1981, is indeed very rare.

Parker 180 'Torsade' Fountain Pen

The Parker 180 Torsade/spiral fountain pen was a limited production pen for the high end Jewelry Store market in Europe. The design of the Torsade (torsade being the French word for 'twist') is reminiscent of a barber pole or candy-stripe. It's design was created by incising alternating width groove spirals in the pen base metal. Parker coated the pen with a charcoal grey enamel lacquer, and polished the pen so the enamel lacquer only remained in the grooved spirals.

The effect of the lacquer and spirals is stunning, and provides the pen with a jeweled appearance. The trim of the pen is very similar to that of the Parker 75. The clip is the identical arrow clip that appears on the Parker 75, and the cap tassie is a similar beehive tassie, with a slightly different indentation from that of the later Parker 75 tassie. The barrel tassie is unique to the Parker 180. Date coding of 'UC' on cap band is 2nd quarter 1981 production

The Parker 180 is a slim pen, the nib style is quite unique -- it is flat and triangular in shape. The nib is a 14K solid gold fine point French nib, with the proper French gold marks on the nib. The designation of this pen, Parker '180' relates to the nib's flat design and ability to write in two different line styles. By rotating the pen in-hand through 180 degrees, the writer is provided with nib having two distinctly different degrees of flex.

We have examined the pen and could not find any defects in the finish. Pen is supplied in original Parker presentation case and like the pen it is in immaculate condition.This factor indicates that the pen was either not used or rarely used. The enamel appears to be the same as it was when it left the factory. We would rate the pen as in Near Mint to Mint condition. This pen is a superior representation of the Heritage series 180s and would make a worthy addition to any Parker fountain pen collection.

Whilst determining the providence of this pen, we were advised by a renowned authority on Parker pens that it was probably "a test run". A similar Parker 180 Torsade sold on e.bay in June 2012 for $552.

As with all Hepworth Dixon vintage and classic pens, we have cleaned, fully serviced and write tested this pen. It is now available to purchase from our website.

For further information and price, this pen can viewed on Hepworth Dixon website:

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Vintage Fountain Pen Repair

At Hepworth Dixon we are constantly being asked "Are you able to supply parts, materials and tools for fountain pen repair". We have supplied the occasional item to long standing customers, but this practice as always been on an 'ad-hoc' basis.

As demand has increased significantly in recent months, we have decided to take the step of listing and offering a range of basic pen repair items which can be acquired directly from our website. Items have been placed in three categories; parts, materials and tools.

  • Parts - Ink sacs, pressure bars, 'J' bars, seals etc.
  • Materials - Shellac, silicone grease, French chalk, abrasive sticks, polishing paste.
  • Tools - Flushing bulb, knock-out block, Vacumatic wrench, pellet pusher, barrel and cap brushes.

Pen Restoration - Materials
Pen Restoration - Tools

Repairing and restoring your own vintage writing instrument can be highly satisfying and rewarding. It is however a project which should not be attempted on a whim, mistakes  can work out costly. Knowledge is the key. Understanding vintage pen design, materials of construction, methods of joint sealing, operating mechanisms and the various weaknesses, quirks for a given fountain pen.

Pen Restoration - Parts
There are many sources of reference available in books and on the internet, with information on the various process and techniques involved. We would highly recommend 'Pen Repair - Second Edition' by Jim Marshall and Laurence Oldfield. This book provides an excellent insight into general restoration techniques along with detailed procedural steps for specific pen models.

For more information and availability of pen restoration tools, materials and parts visit:

Friday, 19 October 2012

Montblanc 234 1/2 Fountain Pen - Fully Restored

Produced in the 1940's and recently restored by Hepworth Dixon. This stunning Montblanc 234 1/2 vintage fountain pen is now offered for sale via our website.

Restoration involved a full overhaul of telescopic spiral filling mechanism, the original cork seal had shrunk allowing ink to ingress internal workings at rear of pen barrel. Unused for decades, dried ink now clogged spiral flutes resulting in total seizure.

Having carefully retracted piston assembly through rear of pen, we set about the task of intricately restoring individual spiral telescopic sections. Image on below shows our newly restored piston assembly, fitted with new wax sealed, two part cork barrel seal.

Restored piston assembly shown
at three levels of extension
The amber ink view window on this pen is very clear. What many do not realise is that the whole barrel is in fact made from amber coloured resin. The gloss black appearance was achieved by by dipping the amber body, including thread section in black celluloid with the ink view window masked off. Over zealous owners could easily over polish their prized position, wearing away the outer black coating, resulting in unwanted barrel transparency.

Clear amber ink view window
The inside of ink view widow on this 234 was heavily ink stained, even after ultrasonic cleaning. By internally plugging barrel with rubber bungs to protect blackened areas, we were able to polish window, removing  ink stains effectively.

The same level of care must be adopted when attempting to polish barrel exterior. Fortunately this 234 was free of dents and abrasions, so only very fine cut plastic polish was needed to bring up a gloss shine. Cap is made soley from black celluloid, so with cap rings and Montblanc lettering masked and clip removed, hand polishing soon brought surface finish back to a high standard.

Nib has been tested, and is proven to be manufactured from stainless steel. This material was used extensively during the war years as gold had become scarce and hard to obtain. Nibs of this period were also made of Palladium, very few as the cost of palladium was very similar to that of gold.                                                                                                                                                              Initial impressions of a quality Montblanc fountain being fitted with a steel nib were questionable. Having written with this pen, any doubts on nib performance had been totally unfounded, it writes beautifully.

Overall this has been a particularly satisfying restoration project. Now complete, this rare fountain pen is available to purchase through our website: 

Collectors of fine vintage fountain pens can read detailed description, and view many more images. 

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Pelikan 100N - Fully Restored

Very occasionally, when acquiring vintage fountain pens for restoration, we come across something a little special. This was the case with a late 1940's rare Pelikan 100N piston filling fountain pen with grooved clip and ribbed centre band.

On initial inspection, even before unscrewing the cap, it was obvious that pen had seen little use in the past sixty years. The impressed Pelikan logo to top of cap was deep with no loss of infill paint, gold filled clip and centre band showed no sign of rubbing or plating loss.
The delicate procedure of removing piston filling mechanism revealed that barrel internal bore was heavily soiled with dried ink, also elastomer resin piston seal had hardened and shrunk. The usual process of soaking and rubbing seal in warm oil did not rejuvenate seal sufficiently to provide an adequate suction for piston to draw ink when filling.

Early Pelikan 100's had cork seals on piston, a reversion to this type of seal was going to be the best option to ensure good filling and sealing characteristics on our pen. Dried ink was removed from barrel bore, this was then internally polished to remove all scratches which had been caused by hardened old seal. A new piston head was turned from acrylic resin, along with left handed threaded locking/adjusting cap.

Using two separate layers of natural cork bonded together, a larger than required disc was cut with a hole drilled through the centre to fit snugly over piston spindle. Using a lathe, the cork seal was sanded to size whilst mounted on rotating piston spindle. Cork seal then sealed and lubricated by boiling in sterin wax. Restored spiral piston and knob assembly refitted into rear of barrel, allowing final adjustment of piston seal against internal barrel, expanding cork by means of threaded seal cap through nib section end of barrel. Pen now draws full volume of ink when filling.
Setting original 14 carat gold nib, adjusting feeder and delicate hand polishing of barrel/cap external surfaces completed this pen restoration project.

This fully restored Pelikan 100N fountain pen is currently available to purchase from the Hepworth Dixon website, here you will find full description, many more images and price information. 

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

1990's Montblanc Meisterstuck Pens

The very first Montblanc Meisterstuck 146 fountain pens were produced in gloss black and striated patterns of celluloid, just after W.W.II in 1948. During the 1980's there was a revival of the fountain pen. Many manufacturers took advantage at this time to re-produce fountain pens from a bygone era. Parker Duofold Centennial and the Waterman Man 100 were classic examples of this trend. Montblanc had the advantage of ageless design from its Masterpiece range of 142, 144 and 146 models dating back to 1948.

Montblanc Meisterstuck 146 Fountain pen - 1990's
Montblanc were one of the first pen manufacturers to replace celluloid with thermo plastics (Precious Resin), as material of choice. In the early 1950's, and with the addition of a new model, the  149, Meisterstuck 140 series consisted of 142, 144, 146 and 149. All fountain pens being piston filling.

Montblanc Meisterstuck
A late entry to the Meisterstuck 140 series came in 1994 with the introduction of a cartridge filling fountain pen, Montblanc Meisterstuck 147 Traveller. Its general appearance and size are identical to that of Meisterstuck 146. The 147 utilizes an ingenious cartridge carrier system which unscrews from rear of pen body, revealing two standard Montblanc cartridges mounted back to back.

Montblanc Meisterstuck
The Montblanc Meisterstuck 147 is the ideal fountain pen for individuals who frequently travel. No need to carry an ink bottle around, if you run out of ink it's simply a matter of changing over cartridges. That is of course, if you remembered to replace the empty ink cartridge the last time you ran out. Montblanc supplied the 147 with a bespoke leather travel case, which had pockets to hold up to four additional ink cartridges.

Montblanc Meisterstuck
One of the benefits of the more traditional Montblanc piston filling fountain pens, is that frequent writers could utilise the pen's large barrel capacity to charge with ink, the equivalent of many small cartridges. By holding the pen horizontally, writers could always check remaining ink level through transparent ink view window.

Montblanc 147 showing ink cartridge carrier
Purchasing a new Montblanc Meisterstuck 146 or 147 today, will invariably cost a great deal of money, such is the quality of manufacture and  prestige of owning a Meisterstuck. Please be aware that fakes are widely available. Always purchase new Montblanc fountain pens from a reputable dealer.

Hepworth Dixon primarily service, restore and sell vintage fountain pens pre 1970, many of which are Montblanc. We also collect used, post 1970 classic Montblanc's. These we sell having first been verified as genuine product. All are fully serviced and any repair work meticulously carried out.

Gold two tone nib used on both
Montblanc 146 and 147 fountain pens

Visit our classic fountain pens for sale page:- to view in detail Montblanc Meisterstuck 146 and 147 fountain pens.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Classic Parker Fountain Pens. England 1950's

The Parker plant in Newhaven, England produced it's first Parker pen, the 'Victory' back in 1945 (prior to acquisition, the factory had been owned by 'The Valentine Pen Company'). For sixty five years, a wide and diverse range of models were produced. However, in 2010, Parker production ceased in the U.K., with all operations moved to Nantes in France. The Newhaven factory will be remembered for producing quality fountain pens, some of which attained iconic status.

In England during the early 1950's, Parker Newhaven was producing Parker Duofold and Parker 51 fountain pens. Fully restored and ready to write, Hepworth Dixon are currently offering two fine examples of these models for sale;  Parker 51 Aerometric with Lustraloy cap and Parker Duofold AF with gold filled trim, both pens in classic gloss black.

Top: Parker Duofold AF. Bottom: Parker 51 Aerometric

Parker 51 Hooded Nib and Section 
Parker 51 Aerometric

Parker had first introduced the '51' in the U.S with a 'Vacumatic' filling system in 1943. By 1947 they were being produced in Newhaven. In 1949, the first pen's with a brand new filling system, known as 'Aerometric' were introduced, a pressure bar acting on a 'Pli-Glass' sack, which was in turn was housed in a cylindrical stainless steel protective casing.

The '51' had a push-on, pull-off cap, secured by a superior clutch mechanism. A wide range of caps in different metals and patterns were available. Colours included; Black, Navy Blue, Grey, Burgundy, Teal, Forest Green, Cocoa and Plum. There was also an all metal version called 'Flighter' with 'Lustraloy' cap and barrel. Perhaps the most recognisable feature of the Parker 51 was it's hooded nib. It is interesting to note, that the design of '51' nib system with high capacity secondary ink collector was developed to enable the use of super-fast drying inks.

Parker 51 in Black with 'Lustraloy' Cap
Parker 51 'Aerometic' Filling System

Parker Duofold AF

The first fountain pens carrying the 'Duofold' name were introduced in 1921, these were large button fillers with distinctive flat tops, made in the U.S.A. Newhaven started producing a more rounded style  Duofold in 1946. Still a button filler with colour matching jewels to both cap and barrel. This new style Duofold was not unsurprisingly given the suffix 'NS' (New Style).

Parker Duofold AF - England 1948 to 1953
Parker Duofold AF Button Filler

In 1948 the Duofold was again re-styled. The barrel tassie ring and jewel were removed and a new style Aluminium push button filler adopted, now known as Duofold AF (Aluminium Filler).

Both pens shown are available for sale fully restored and ready to write. Visit for more details.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Parker Duofold Lucky Curve - 1920's

Hepworth Dixon are always on the look out for quality vintage fountain pens worthy of restoration. Recently we came across a very drab looking Parker Duofold Jr. Lucky Curve button filler from the 1920's. It soon became obvious that over the past 90 years, this pen had seen very little use. No sign of sulphurisation to black hard rubber, edges of flat top and bottom milled caps crisp with a strong barrel imprint.

Parker Duofold Jr. Lucky Curve - early 1920's

Anyone who is familiar with the 'lucky curve' ink feed system  would be aware of the correct method of nib and feed removal. A previous amateurish attempt at replacing ink sac had resulted in damage to the section. By attempting to pull feeder out from front of section, ink sack connection lip was split in three places. Thankfully the 'Christmas tree' feed was undamaged. The name Lucky Curve actually comes from the patented curved design of feeder. A curved end to the feed is in contact with the inside of ink sack. Capillary action drains excess ink out of feed when not in use.  

There was nothing for it, but to manufacture a new section from old stock 1920's vulcanite bar (BHR) which we obtained some years ago from a chateaux clearance in France. Many hours of intricate lathe work later, a perfect replica section emerged. We were also able to salvage and restore the original three piece pressure bar.

As can be seen from images the gold plating has stood up well to the test of time. The very early Duofold Junior pens c.1922 were produced without a cap band. In 1923 an optional girdle (cap band) was offered, these were made in either 14k solid gold or 12k gold filled. These first gold girdles were retro fitted and didn't fit flush to barrel surface, being slightly proud. We can date this particular Duofold to c.1923 as it has the raised gold band.

Although chalk filled for the purpose of photography, the barrel imprint on this pen is very clear, as can be seen in image.

This fully restored and ready to use Parker Duofold Jr. Lucky Curve fountain pen from the 1920's is now available to purchase from Hepworth Dixon. For full details and further images, please visit our website.