Restoration of Damaged Waterman Opera Nib

This Waterman Man 100 Opera took a nosedive from a substantial height, and the nib was accordioned as a result:

I restored the shape; here’s the result after the metalworking phase was complete. You can see that the white metal plating (platinum or rhodium, most likely) has been lost during the re-shaping process:

Bent Opera Nib After 1

The final step is the restoration of that plating; in this case, I used platinum, as did Sheaffer when it first introduced this two-tone design in mid-1931:

Restorations like this are quite time-consuming, especially when performed by someone with perfectionistic tendencies, but the results are very rewarding.

BCHR Bankers Service Corp.

This unusual black chased hard rubber lever-filler is marked “The Bankers Service Corporation,” “19 Warren Street, N.Y.” That entity offered a variety of services to banks; here’s one of their ads, from 1922. The pen is of high-quality manufacture, with an unusual groove just aft of the barrel threads — a moat for ink, perhaps?

The nib is a medium-fine with a nice degree of flex, giving a 1.0mm tine spread at 375g of pressure. Unrestored.

$95 plus shipping SOLD.

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A Striking Mabie Todd Blackbird

This is a very sharp-looking pen with an unusual combination of attributes. It has the general exterior form of a pen like the Parker “51” — a torpedo-shaped plastic (celluloid, in this case) barrel, with a patterned metal cap. But the barrel is a beautiful, mineral-like marbled green, and the deeply-chased screw-on cap is finished in rose gold with a yellow gold-finished clip. The pen has a conventional, delightfully-flexible nib which happily opens up to 1.0mm with 350g of pressure, and it will widen a bit more than that. A lever filler, sold unrestored.

$250 plus shipping SOLD.

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First-Year Parker “51”

This is an India Black Parker “51” Vacumatic filler from either the first or second quarter of 1941, the first year of production for the “51”. It has the distinctive white metal jewels in both cap and barrel (these appear to be aluminum, but it’s possible they are silver) and a correct first-version clip with a restored Blue Diamond. The blind cap is properly imprinted for a first-year pen. The barrel is a replacement, as it is also imprinted and bears a 1945 date code; the barrel and blind cap are not a perfect match, as there is a step down from barrel to blind cap (visible in photo of pen capped), but I’d take that over a pen that has had that joint sanded to the dreaded “Coke bottle” profile. Medium, firm nib. Unrestored except for the Blue Diamond.

$320 plus shipping SOLD.

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Sheaffer Ebonized Pearl Balance with Flexible Lifetime Nib

Here’s a Sheaffer short standard lever-filling Balance — that’s a D74VC, for you serious Sheaffer collectors — sporting a scarce flexible nib. There’s a personalization on the barrel, but the color of the pearl chips is outstanding; they don’t show the ambering so often seen in this material. That long-tined flexible nib gives 1.0mm of spread with 450g of 45-degree pressure. Unrestored.

$220 plus shipping SOLD.

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The iCroScope Senior


For years, in addition to carrying my trusty iCroScope, I’d also been using a really comfortable handheld illuminated magnifier at pen shows, and it always draws questions from dealers and other collectors. I am now able to supply these handy devices.

The magnifier is well-constructed of aluminum, with screw joints, not mere press-fit construction, and the lens provides about 8X magnification. The handle contains a pair of AA batteries which power not one but three white LEDs to give bright, even lighting of the subject, which is particularly useful in those dark and dusty antique stores (and at some pen shows!). The lens assembly has an integral graticule at the focus distance, allowing measurement of details in either millimeters or fractions of an inch — a handy feature when sizing up nibs. And because the focus distance is coplanar with the front of the magnifier, you can simply place it flat on a page to measure the stroke width of a writing sample. The head has a rubberized coating, and I can attest to the fact that the whole unit wears extremely well — I’ve had mine for at least a decade and it looks great and works perfectly.

The magnifier comes in a padded, fitted zipper case as shown, and I’ll throw in the batteries — good ones — so you can get started as soon as you receive it.

iCroScope Senior is $30 plus $8 shipping in the US. Please inquire for other destinations or shipping methods. As with the original iCroScope, I do not stock large quantities, so there may be a bit of a wait for one.

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Use this contact form to ask about the iCroScope Senior; it will automatically include the item’s name as the subject, so you don’t need to put that in your message:

The iCroScope


Many years ago, I jury-rigged a removable magnifier onto my iPhone 3’s camera so that I could use it as a digital loupe at the DC Pen Show that year. I thought it would be useful so that I could not only look at pens close-up, but I could also share what I was seeing with others at the same time, and I could capture those images, too.

The late Maryann Zucker, pen dealer and appreciator, saw my setup and urged me to develop it further and to offer it to other collectors. I took her advice, and the result was the iCroScope. My original prototype used a suction cup, but the version I’m offering now uses a magnet, and it works with most current mobile phones.

There are now many add-ons available for using cell phone cameras as mini-microscopes, but I have tried lots of them and in my opinion, the lens set I sell has the finest optics of any such kit I’ve examined. The lenses are all glass, not plastic, and the images on the screen, and in the captured photos, look terrific.

Here’s the system in use with an iPhone 6 Plus, along with a sample crop from an image. The picture is completely unretouched except for the cropping; click on it to see the full-resolution version.

iCroScope Snorkel stub nib detail iPhone 6 Plus

Here are a few more samples. These were taken a few years ago with the relatively modest camera on the iPhone 4, so they will not have the quality or magnification possible with more modern devices, but they give an idea of what’s possible. Click on the images to view larger versions.

The iCroScope is $25. First Class shipping is $3 to US destinations, and $15 internationally. Please allow up to six weeks for delivery, as stock levels vary considerably.

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Use the form below if you’d like to send me a question about this item.

Sheaffer Shucker

This tool was designed to break loose the metal liners of Sheaffer pens from the ’40s and ’50s. Those sleeves are press fit and cemented in, and they are very difficult to remove. Unfortunately, this tool was unsuccessful, but it was really nice-looking, so I was happy anyway. They can’t all be home runs.

You can send a private note to me using the form below. The message I’ll receive will automatically include a reference to the item on this page.

Parker “51” Inner Cap Wrench

An inner cap wrench is essential in order to immobilize the inner cap when unscrewing the jewel and clip bushing of a Parker “51”. My version of this tool doesn’t differ significantly from the style used by Parker repairpeople. Rather than a wooden handle, I make the wrench from a single piece of aircraft aluminum and I form and knurl the integral handle; I also provide a slip-on sponge rubber grip (now shown) for those with more tender digits (ok, I use that version).


I am not accepting orders for this tool at this time, but that might change in the future.

You can send a private note to me using the form below. The message I’ll receive will automatically include a reference to the item on this page.

Parker Vacumatic Filler Seat Reamers

These tools are designed to clean and re-face the tapered seat inside the barrel of a Parker pen that uses the Vacumatic filling system. The diaphragm in such a pen is clamped between the seat in the barrel and the tapered bushing that rides on the shaft of the filler unit, and those joints need to be perfect seals, so it is essential that the tapered seat be free of any old diaphragm or cement residue, and that it have a smooth, uninterrupted surface. My seat reamers have hardened, tapered cutting flutes with just the right amount of relief behind the cutting edges to take a very slight shaving with some pressure, allowing both the cleanup of the seat and some re-cutting as needed. The reamers are made in three sizes, which covers all the Vacumatic filler sizes made.

Here are two sets of reamers with two different styles of handles. Each of these sets is presently owned by a prominent pen restorer.


I am not accepting orders for this tool at this time, but that might change in the future.

You can send a private note to me using the form below. The message I’ll receive will automatically include a reference to the item on this page.

Chilton Wingflow Inlay Replacement

A client had a Chilton Wingflow in wonderful condition, except that one of the gold filled inlays had been lost. I fabricated a replacement piece and fitted it.

The completed job


Scalloped Line Parker “51” Cap

This cap was sent in by a pen dealer as a throw-in gift with another job; he thought I could harvest the inner components for my parts stock and toss the shell. I took that as a challenge.

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A Sterling “51” Cap with Serious Issues

This cap apparently drank too much, because it got hammered. I brought it up to a presentable state.

DWL_Hammered_51_Cap_Before_125125 DWL_Hammered_51_Cap

Lined Gold Filled Parker “51” Cap Dent Reversal

A relatively humble cap in the “51” pantheon, and having relatively mild damage, but still deserving of an aesthetic overhaul, I think.

Parker_51_Parallel_Lines_Before135149 Parker_51_Parallel_Lines

Lustraloy Parker “51” Cap Restoration

This stainless steel cap had some severe scarring. I took care of that, and applied a period-authentic finish (which, by the way, is not produced by simply spinning the cap against an abrasive surface).

MN_Scarred_WB_Before_1_125125sharp MN_Scarred_WB_1

Lined Sterling Parker “51” Cap Restoration

This cap looked like it went 15 rounds with Rocky Marciano. I cleaned it up enough to make it quite presentable.


Parker “51” “Empire” Cap Dent Reversal

This once-proud “Empire” Heirloom Parker “51” cap had accumulated a variety of dents and dings. Its new owner wanted to bring it back to its original glory, and I was happy to take on the challenge.

Shubin_Empire_Cap_Before1125125 Shubin_Empire_Cap_1