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New Toy -- And It's My First Snorkel!


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#1 inkstainedruth

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 19:11


Santa decided to be good to me and give mean early Christmas present.... :bunny01:
I was poking around an antiques mall near where I live last week and found a Snorkel in the wild! :thumbup: Being that it's my first one I have LOTS of questions. I did a little research and I believe that it is a Valiant (because of the nib, and the size of the ring on the bottom of the cap). The mechanism appears to be in relatively good shape (sorry -- I don't have pix of the tube fully extended from the nib, because I didn't realize exactly how the thing worked until the day after I took the photos... :embarrassed_smile:). All the photos were cropped to fit the upload size limit; and a few of them were enhanced slightly for brightness or contrast in order to make the image more clear, but are unretouched otherwise.
The pen is about 5-5/8" capped (4-15/16" uncapped) and about 6-7/8" when posted.
Posted Image
Posted Image
There don't appear to be any scratches or cracks in the barrel.
The barrel is a little over 3/8" in diameter, with the imprint is about halfway down the barrel -- the "MADE IN USA" part is very faded (this was one of the "adjusted" photos). Posted Image
The end cap (blind cap?) is about 5/8" long and has vertical grooves in it (the photo doesn't really show how dirty the grooves are).
Posted Image
Both pen and cap are appear to be grey plastic (but look a bit darker than the image of "Pastel Gray" on Richard Binder's website -- closer to one of the greens in tone, but I would still call it grey). The section is black with narrow concentric grooves. The clutch ring (?) is silver-toned and has the threads for screwing/unscrewing the cap; the cover for the sac is also silver-tone.
Posted Image
The cap has a gold-colored clip and a 3/8" gold colored band on its open end (neither are marked as being 14K), and there is a raised white dot above the clip (sorry, I don't have a separate picture of the band).Posted Image
The nib is marked as 14K, and is two-toned, but with no serial number; as I understand it from my research, this is a Triumph 2T 14K nib.
Posted Image
I couldn't find any markings as to the nib size or type (I gather that there is a reasonable range. although not to the extent of Esterbrook nibs).
As I said before, the Snorkel mechanism *seems* to be in working order (whether it actually takes up ink is something I haven't yet determined). The tube (which appears gold colored as well, although it's hard to tell, because it's fairly dirty) extends out just over 1/8" when the end cap is turned, and then out to about 1/4" total when the end cap and filler sac holder (don't know the technical terms) are pushed back into the barrel.
http://www.fountainp...nded_view_1.jpg
Posted Image
The end of the the Snorkel tube is angled, and that angled end appears to be at a 90° angle to the nib itself.
When I removed the nib and feed (they unscrewed easily)
Posted Image
there is a black gasket on the tube.
Posted Image
http://www.fountainp...ction_view2.jpg

Now for all the questions (I have many :blush:).
First of all: Am I correct in that this is a Pastel Gray Snorkel Valiant (based on the clip, band, and nib)? And if so, any idea of its vintage? I think from what I read the Valiants are dated '52-'59, with only the first year having a serial number on the nib.
Secondly, any clue as to how to find out what kind of nib it is? I'm sort of guessing an F or M, but other than that I can't tell -- and there are no markings that I could find other than thinking that since I'm not seeing any markings on the section either, it's not a shorthand nib.
Thirdly: Is the slant of the tube end supposed to match the nib slant? Is it okay that it doesn't? And if it isn't, how much of an issue is that going to be for filling/writing (and how trivial a repair is that going to be?
Fourth: What's the best way to go about cleaning and flushing the pen? I downloaded an image with directions as to fill the pen; and I'm not such a noob that I *do* know to not stick the whole nib into ink -- but what about water? Do I want to clean the entire assembly or just the Snorkel tube? And any recommendations for how to clean the barrel without damaging it?
Fifthly: What shape is the gasket in to more experienced eyes? Does it need to be replaced, or is it okay for the moment?
Lastly (but most importantly) -- how do I tell if the sac is in good shape (especially since it's covered)? Do I just try filling the pen (and hope it's not too clogged or that there's an issue with the slant of the tube end)? And if the sac is bad (the pen leaks or doesn't fill) -- is this a trivial repair that I can do myself (as long as I'm walked through it or watch a video or something)? Or is this something to leave to the pros?
I think I did pretty well price-wise for an unrestored but possibly working Snorkel (saw a link to an Ebay post for a restored Shaeffer Admiral for more than 3 times what I paid).
There was also some other Shaeffer pen in the store -- I think it was some sort of c/c filler, but I don't know Shaeffers at all; the woman said "it's a Snorkel" but when I looked at the nib of it it was clear that it wasn't. Then I picked up this one :eureka: and thought "Oh boy, oh boy....!" The BEST part was when she told me that everything in the store was 25% off (I guess for the holidays). Those were the only 2 FPs in the case. Everything else looked liked click BPs do people really collect *those*? :blink:
Pardon the length of this post, but I really never thought I'd be even reading this forum, let along posting to it!
I know that folks are busy this time of year, so if I don't get reponses before January that's okay -- I won't have time to try and play with it before then. Although I did spend a lot of time on Saturday and Sunday going "Look, look! Isn't this just the COOLEST thing you've ever seen!" and generally being really annoying to non FP people. :roflmho:
Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

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#2 Happy Harry

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 19:39

Pastel grey ( by default as it's the only grey). As to date with this pen it's a "first model" which means '52 maybe early '53, again the two features are the shorter section and the gold tube. Nib looks standard and as you suggest F of M , at a guess I'd lean to F (?).The slant should match the nib slant. Water is fine, it's the internals ( the spring that operates the snorkel) that water/moisture affects. Get the pen restored !! To work properly the pen has to be airtight ( it uses air pressure to compress the sac) and there's an o-ring in the end of the barrel as well as the point gasket that needs to be in good order along with the sac.
The other pen was probably a Touchdown of some sort.

#3 Paul Raposo

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 20:29

Hi Ruth.

Great find. Guaranteed you'll have either a lotta fun, or a lotta grief servicing this ;)

When I worked on my first Snork, I used Ernst Bitterman's site as a guide:

Renewing the Rubber in a Sheaffer Snorkel

Also Richard Binder's site:

How to Restore the Snorkel/PFM Filling System

And David Nishimura:

Sheaffer Snorkel & PFM Repair

As for dating, a picture of the Snorkel mechanism alone will give us a better idea of the approximate date of manufacture.

As for the tube, most times just sliding the mechanism into the section the correct way, will align the tube with the feed. I've only had to remove the tube from the sac plug once to align it, and that was after the previous owner of the pen botched the repair.

I think your best bet would be replacing the sac, point seal, and the o-ring in the barrel. That way you're guaranteed years of use. You can get parts from David Nishimura at vintagepens.com:

Replacement ink sacs for Snorkel

I've done 7 Snorkels so far, and there was only one pen that gave me a lot of trouble. The rest went fairly well. Once you repair one Snork, you can repair others.
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#4 sargetalon

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 23:53

Great find! I'm still looking for my first snorkel. I'll be following your pen rehab with great interest. Let us know how it goes and any lessons you gain from the experience.

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#5 Happy Harry

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 01:56

As for dating, a picture of the Snorkel mechanism alone will give us a better idea of the approximate date of manufacture.

As for the tube, most times just sliding the mechanism into the section the correct way, will align the tube with the feed. I've only had to remove the tube from the sac plug once to align it, and that was after the previous owner of the pen botched the repair.



You can date early Snorkels with a degree of accuracy for the simple reason the design and features evolved quickly. The first model snorkel had the short section and gold tube as per the OP pen, this was a feature when released in late '52 and had disappeared from the ads by March '53 which allows this pen to be dated to that period. The second model ( two "first year" models) didn't have the gold tube but retained the shorter section. The third model had the common longer section. The two early models have a different shaped snorkel mechanism which does not fit the later models nor can you simply slide the mechanism out and rotate 90 degrees as in later models as it only fits one way. It may be simply a matter of starting to thread the nib from a different point ( I can't remember if there are several starting threads or not) otherwise the tube needs re-positioning.This pen seems in fairly good condition, while Snorkels aren't that difficult to restore if you have the desire to do so there is always a risk when "learning" and it's far better to practice on a pen that is in poor condition ( if any thing goes wrong...just keep it for parts..), so I'd suggest a professional restore for this one.

#6 inkstainedruth

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 02:40



As for dating, a picture of the Snorkel mechanism alone will give us a better idea of the approximate date of manufacture.

As for the tube, most times just sliding the mechanism into the section the correct way, will align the tube with the feed. I've only had to remove the tube from the sac plug once to align it, and that was after the previous owner of the pen botched the repair.



You can date early Snorkels with a degree of accuracy for the simple reason the design and features evolved quickly. The first model snorkel had the short section and gold tube as per the OP pen, this was a feature when released in late '52 and had disappeared from the ads by March '53 which allows this pen to be dated to that period. The second model ( two "first year" models) didn't have the gold tube but retained the shorter section. The third model had the common longer section. The two early models have a different shaped snorkel mechanism which does not fit the later models nor can you simply slide the mechanism out and rotate 90 degrees as in later models as it only fits one way. It may be simply a matter of starting to thread the nib from a different point ( I can't remember if there are several starting threads or not) otherwise the tube needs re-positioning.This pen seems in fairly good condition, while Snorkels aren't that difficult to restore if you have the desire to do so there is always a risk when "learning" and it's far better to practice on a pen that is in poor condition ( if any thing goes wrong...just keep it for parts..), so I'd suggest a professional restore for this one.


Well, playing with the mechanism with the nib and feed removed and then screwing the nib unit back on seems to have solved the tube end slant issue at least somewhat. So that's one less issue to worry about (just removing the feed unit and then putting it back while starting from a different position wasn't enough by itself) -- although it looks as if that's something I will have to remember and keep an eye on in future.
And thanks for the links and advice I've gotten from people so far. Wow. Who'd have thought that in less than a year I would go from one little cartridge pen which I thought at the time I bought it was a small -- okay, tiny :rolleyes: -- fortune (I mean, I paid *nine dollars* for a *pen* :lol:) to be calmly discussing the relative merits of attempting to restore a vintage pen -- any pen, let alone something with this as highly an engineered a fill system -- myself! :thumbup:
Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth
"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

#7 Paul Raposo

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 02:43

You can date early Snorkels with a degree of accuracy for the simple reason the design and features evolved quickly. The first model snorkel had the short section and gold tube as per the OP pen, this was a feature when released in late '52 and had disappeared from the ads by March '53 which allows this pen to be dated to that period. The second model ( two "first year" models) didn't have the gold tube but retained the shorter section. The third model had the common longer section. The two early models have a different shaped snorkel mechanism which does not fit the later models nor can you simply slide the mechanism out and rotate 90 degrees as in later models as it only fits one way. It may be simply a matter of starting to thread the nib from a different point ( I can't remember if there are several starting threads or not) otherwise the tube needs re-positioning.

From what I've read, the first year pens had a simple flat disk on the sac protector, where the spring would rest; the later versions had the cup that the spring fits inside. Also, the first year pens had dimples on the sides of the sac protector to hold the plug, while the second generation had crimped ribs, and the third generation had the V shaped notches on the sac protector.

All the pens I've working on so far have been Canadian, with two being first gen. Neither had a gold tube, so that may have been a USA production version, while the Goderich plant went the "economical" route. As for sections--all of my pens have the same length section, however the nib units were different lengths--the first generation Triumph nib units were longer than the second and third generation nib units.

As for the sections and fitting the mechanism--I've had a few sections with the three identical sized grooves, and one large groove, but the mechanism actually had all four ribs of similar size. If this was a later replacement, I'm not sure, but that it happened with three pens is interesting. Unless that was just something particular to Sheaffer Canada.

Interesting information all around.
There are a thousand thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up a pen to write.
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#8 Paul Raposo

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 02:51

Double post.

Edited by Paul Raposo, 20 December 2012 - 02:52.

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#9 Paul Raposo

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 02:52

Well, playing with the mechanism with the nib and feed removed and then screwing the nib unit back on seems to have solved the tube end slant issue at least somewhat. So that's one less issue to worry about (just removing the feed unit and then putting it back while starting from a different position wasn't enough by itself) -- although it looks as if that's something I will have to remember and keep an eye on in future.

There's a good chance that if you replace the point seal, it will completely line up the feed with the tube. This was an interesting point Harry made, as I noticed it with the first Snorkel I worked on, and had replaced the point seal.

Wow. Who'd have thought that in less than a year I would go from one little cartridge pen which I thought at the time I bought it was a small -- okay, tiny :rolleyes: -- fortune (I mean, I paid *nine dollars* for a *pen* :lol:) to be calmly discussing the relative merits of attempting to restore a vintage pen -- any pen, let alone something with this as highly an engineered a fill system -- myself! :thumbup:
Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

That's how it always goes, Ruth :thumbup: I say go for it and service that pen, Ruth :clap1:
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#10 WayTooManyHobbies

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 12:14

Hi, Ruth.

Congratulations, that is a beautiful pen. From your pictures, the condition looks very good. I have a snorkel of the same vintage (thin ring and gold tube), and it's one of my absolute favorites.

As to the nib width, I think Sheaffer may not have marked the early pens. Every other snorkel I've seen is marked.

All of the rubber should be replaced. Richard Binder has a very nice tutorial with plenty of pictures. There are a few gotchas in servicing these pens, so read the whole thing first and take it slow if you plan to do it yourself. David Nishamura sells a kit at his site or on Ebay that includes the proper point seal, bladder, and o-ring.

Good luck!

#11 Happy Harry

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 10:15


You can date early Snorkels with a degree of accuracy for the simple reason the design and features evolved quickly. The first model snorkel had the short section and gold tube as per the OP pen, this was a feature when released in late '52 and had disappeared from the ads by March '53 which allows this pen to be dated to that period. The second model ( two "first year" models) didn't have the gold tube but retained the shorter section. The third model had the common longer section. The two early models have a different shaped snorkel mechanism which does not fit the later models nor can you simply slide the mechanism out and rotate 90 degrees as in later models as it only fits one way. It may be simply a matter of starting to thread the nib from a different point ( I can't remember if there are several starting threads or not) otherwise the tube needs re-positioning.

From what I've read, the first year pens had a simple flat disk on the sac protector, where the spring would rest; the later versions had the cup that the spring fits inside. Also, the first year pens had dimples on the sides of the sac protector to hold the plug, while the second generation had crimped ribs, and the third generation had the V shaped notches on the sac protector.

All the pens I've working on so far have been Canadian, with two being first gen. Neither had a gold tube, so that may have been a USA production version, while the Goderich plant went the "economical" route. As for sections--all of my pens have the same length section, however the nib units were different lengths--the first generation Triumph nib units were longer than the second and third generation nib units.

As for the sections and fitting the mechanism--I've had a few sections with the three identical sized grooves, and one large groove, but the mechanism actually had all four ribs of similar size. If this was a later replacement, I'm not sure, but that it happened with three pens is interesting. Unless that was just something particular to Sheaffer Canada.

Interesting information all around.


Yes, your correct !! I had to go and pull a few apart to check. The early sections only vary in that the ringed grip is greater and the snorkel mechanism will fit either section, only the early one fits one way.

#12 Paul Raposo

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 16:01

Yes, your correct !! I had to go and pull a few apart to check. The early sections only vary in that the ringed grip is greater and the snorkel mechanism will fit either section, only the early one fits one way.

I've learned some new things from you too, Harry :thumbup: Anytime I pick up a new Canadian pen, it's always a mystery as to what I'll find inside ;)
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#13 psfred

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 15:29

I have only gotten one Snorkel that actually filled properly as recieved, and it had only been used once and properly flushed (sold by the original owner who got it in 1956 and didn't like it). All the others have bad point seals, petrified sacs, and occasionally rust.

I would plan to either have it restored (it's not that expensive, although you may have to wait a bit) or do it yourself. Attempting to fill it with a leaking sac will result in a badly rusted spring if you do get ink in it, and that's a very bad thing.

Lovely pens, I carry one every day.

It was quite a thrill to get my first one, as I've wanted one as long as I've known what pens were. Darned ads in National Geographic, they have me itching for a Parker 75 too, and I suspect I'll never get one!

Peter

#14 mhosea

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 22:44

Am restoring my first Sheaffer snorkel now. It's such a risk buying things off Ebay to restore but I've been lucky with a couple of ugly ducklings that I got without a challenge (and would have lost if there had been one). One was a Waterman Stalwart. Encrusted with red ink, it looked like junk, but it cleaned up very well. This Sheaffer Snorkel Special was like to it in some ways because it also needed some cleanup due to dried ink. But it's actually in excellent+ condition other than needing the usual restorative rubber replacements and a little metal polish. I don't think it ever made it far from the box.

Incidentally, Richard's page has helped me a bit more than any other. I was confused by two things. One is that my tip gasket had hardened but was otherwise almost pristine-looking, as if it were a machined piece of hard rubber. At first I wasn't sure if it was part of the nib section, but eventually I realized it what it was and knocked it off. The barrel o-ring was also like that in a way, white rubber flattened to the point of looking like it was a Nylon washer that was always supposed to look like that. Once I realized it had to go, I got it out without much difficult (chipped it to break the circle and then was able to pull it out).

Waiting on parts now.

Edited by mhosea, 02 January 2013 - 00:03.

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#15 jptech

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 04:47

how much is too much to pay for a fully restored snorkel admiral?

#16 Happy Harry

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 09:37

how much is too much to pay for a fully restored snorkel admiral?



Condition is a major factor, as is color and nib. Say one in "excellent" condition ( means signs of use but no major faults) in a basic color ( black, burgundy, pastels green or blue and grey) around $70 on ebay up to $120 odd from a quality dealer with warranty/return policy etc. Add a bit more for other colors (~$30/$40), add even more for a rarer nib ( flex,stub and like) say another $50~$80. If it doesn't make sense...welcome to the world of Sheaffer!!

#17 falarcon

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 06:49

Ruth,Did you repair it? I have done several snorkel repairs. We can try to repair yours at a Steel City Pens meeting?Hoping to make one soon.Francisco
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#18 inkstainedruth

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 23:44

Ruth,Did you repair it? I have done several snorkel repairs. We can try to repair yours at a Steel City Pens meeting?Hoping to make one soon.Francisco


Nope -- in fact I haven't even had time to try filling it (all I've really done is drag it out going "look what I got -- isn't this just the COOLEST thing you've ever SEEN?" :roflmho:). Life has been completely insane since I bought it, between the holiday traveling and recovery from same, plus most of this week I have to do cooking and baking for the thing I'm going to this weekend (not to mention wrapping last minute/belated Xmas presents for some friends, and for the gift exchange at the thing I'm going to).
I will have the pen with me tomorrow night, but would *love* help repairing it at some point. (Admittedly, though, re-sacking the Esterbrook I got in September is a higher priority, and I haven't had time to do *that*, even though I've had the parts and supplies for a while....)
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#19 Sheaffer King

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 15:41


Santa decided to be good to me and give mean early Christmas present.... :bunny01:
I was poking around an antiques mall near where I live last week and found a Snorkel in the wild! :thumbup: Being that it's my first one I have LOTS of questions. I did a little research and I believe that it is a Valiant (because of the nib, and the size of the ring on the bottom of the cap). The mechanism appears to be in relatively good shape (sorry -- I don't have pix of the tube fully extended from the nib, because I didn't realize exactly how the thing worked until the day after I took the photos... :embarrassed_smile:). All the photos were cropped to fit the upload size limit; and a few of them were enhanced slightly for brightness or contrast in order to make the image more clear, but are unretouched otherwise.
The pen is about 5-5/8" capped (4-15/16" uncapped) and about 6-7/8" when posted.
Posted Image
Posted Image
There don't appear to be any scratches or cracks in the barrel.
The barrel is a little over 3/8" in diameter, with the imprint is about halfway down the barrel -- the "MADE IN USA" part is very faded (this was one of the "adjusted" photos). Posted Image
The end cap (blind cap?) is about 5/8" long and has vertical grooves in it (the photo doesn't really show how dirty the grooves are).
Posted Image
Both pen and cap are appear to be grey plastic (but look a bit darker than the image of "Pastel Gray" on Richard Binder's website -- closer to one of the greens in tone, but I would still call it grey). The section is black with narrow concentric grooves. The clutch ring (?) is silver-toned and has the threads for screwing/unscrewing the cap; the cover for the sac is also silver-tone.
Posted Image
The cap has a gold-colored clip and a 3/8" gold colored band on its open end (neither are marked as being 14K), and there is a raised white dot above the clip (sorry, I don't have a separate picture of the band).Posted Image
The nib is marked as 14K, and is two-toned, but with no serial number; as I understand it from my research, this is a Triumph 2T 14K nib.
Posted Image
I couldn't find any markings as to the nib size or type (I gather that there is a reasonable range. although not to the extent of Esterbrook nibs).
As I said before, the Snorkel mechanism *seems* to be in working order (whether it actually takes up ink is something I haven't yet determined). The tube (which appears gold colored as well, although it's hard to tell, because it's fairly dirty) extends out just over 1/8" when the end cap is turned, and then out to about 1/4" total when the end cap and filler sac holder (don't know the technical terms) are pushed back into the barrel.
http://www.fountainp...nded_view_1.jpg
Posted Image
The end of the the Snorkel tube is angled, and that angled end appears to be at a 90° angle to the nib itself.
When I removed the nib and feed (they unscrewed easily)
Posted Image
there is a black gasket on the tube.
Posted Image
http://www.fountainp...ction_view2.jpg

Now for all the questions (I have many :blush:).
First of all: Am I correct in that this is a Pastel Gray Snorkel Valiant (based on the clip, band, and nib)? And if so, any idea of its vintage? I think from what I read the Valiants are dated '52-'59, with only the first year having a serial number on the nib.
Secondly, any clue as to how to find out what kind of nib it is? I'm sort of guessing an F or M, but other than that I can't tell -- and there are no markings that I could find other than thinking that since I'm not seeing any markings on the section either, it's not a shorthand nib.
Thirdly: Is the slant of the tube end supposed to match the nib slant? Is it okay that it doesn't? And if it isn't, how much of an issue is that going to be for filling/writing (and how trivial a repair is that going to be?
Fourth: What's the best way to go about cleaning and flushing the pen? I downloaded an image with directions as to fill the pen; and I'm not such a noob that I *do* know to not stick the whole nib into ink -- but what about water? Do I want to clean the entire assembly or just the Snorkel tube? And any recommendations for how to clean the barrel without damaging it?
Fifthly: What shape is the gasket in to more experienced eyes? Does it need to be replaced, or is it okay for the moment?
Lastly (but most importantly) -- how do I tell if the sac is in good shape (especially since it's covered)? Do I just try filling the pen (and hope it's not too clogged or that there's an issue with the slant of the tube end)? And if the sac is bad (the pen leaks or doesn't fill) -- is this a trivial repair that I can do myself (as long as I'm walked through it or watch a video or something)? Or is this something to leave to the pros?
I think I did pretty well price-wise for an unrestored but possibly working Snorkel (saw a link to an Ebay post for a restored Shaeffer Admiral for more than 3 times what I paid).
There was also some other Shaeffer pen in the store -- I think it was some sort of c/c filler, but I don't know Shaeffers at all; the woman said "it's a Snorkel" but when I looked at the nib of it it was clear that it wasn't. Then I picked up this one :eureka: and thought "Oh boy, oh boy....!" The BEST part was when she told me that everything in the store was 25% off (I guess for the holidays). Those were the only 2 FPs in the case. Everything else looked liked click BPs do people really collect *those*? :blink:
Pardon the length of this post, but I really never thought I'd be even reading this forum, let along posting to it!
I know that folks are busy this time of year, so if I don't get reponses before January that's okay -- I won't have time to try and play with it before then. Although I did spend a lot of time on Saturday and Sunday going "Look, look! Isn't this just the COOLEST thing you've ever seen!" and generally being really annoying to non FP people. :roflmho:
Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth


If you want a matching pencil pendemonium has a matching one. i can send a link if you want.I

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#20 Sheaffer King

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 15:41


Santa decided to be good to me and give mean early Christmas present.... :bunny01:
I was poking around an antiques mall near where I live last week and found a Snorkel in the wild! :thumbup: Being that it's my first one I have LOTS of questions. I did a little research and I believe that it is a Valiant (because of the nib, and the size of the ring on the bottom of the cap). The mechanism appears to be in relatively good shape (sorry -- I don't have pix of the tube fully extended from the nib, because I didn't realize exactly how the thing worked until the day after I took the photos... :embarrassed_smile:). All the photos were cropped to fit the upload size limit; and a few of them were enhanced slightly for brightness or contrast in order to make the image more clear, but are unretouched otherwise.
The pen is about 5-5/8" capped (4-15/16" uncapped) and about 6-7/8" when posted.
Posted Image
Posted Image
There don't appear to be any scratches or cracks in the barrel.
The barrel is a little over 3/8" in diameter, with the imprint is about halfway down the barrel -- the "MADE IN USA" part is very faded (this was one of the "adjusted" photos). Posted Image
The end cap (blind cap?) is about 5/8" long and has vertical grooves in it (the photo doesn't really show how dirty the grooves are).
Posted Image
Both pen and cap are appear to be grey plastic (but look a bit darker than the image of "Pastel Gray" on Richard Binder's website -- closer to one of the greens in tone, but I would still call it grey). The section is black with narrow concentric grooves. The clutch ring (?) is silver-toned and has the threads for screwing/unscrewing the cap; the cover for the sac is also silver-tone.
Posted Image
The cap has a gold-colored clip and a 3/8" gold colored band on its open end (neither are marked as being 14K), and there is a raised white dot above the clip (sorry, I don't have a separate picture of the band).Posted Image
The nib is marked as 14K, and is two-toned, but with no serial number; as I understand it from my research, this is a Triumph 2T 14K nib.
Posted Image
I couldn't find any markings as to the nib size or type (I gather that there is a reasonable range. although not to the extent of Esterbrook nibs).
As I said before, the Snorkel mechanism *seems* to be in working order (whether it actually takes up ink is something I haven't yet determined). The tube (which appears gold colored as well, although it's hard to tell, because it's fairly dirty) extends out just over 1/8" when the end cap is turned, and then out to about 1/4" total when the end cap and filler sac holder (don't know the technical terms) are pushed back into the barrel.
http://www.fountainp...nded_view_1.jpg
Posted Image
The end of the the Snorkel tube is angled, and that angled end appears to be at a 90° angle to the nib itself.
When I removed the nib and feed (they unscrewed easily)
Posted Image
there is a black gasket on the tube.
Posted Image
http://www.fountainp...ction_view2.jpg

Now for all the questions (I have many :blush:).
First of all: Am I correct in that this is a Pastel Gray Snorkel Valiant (based on the clip, band, and nib)? And if so, any idea of its vintage? I think from what I read the Valiants are dated '52-'59, with only the first year having a serial number on the nib.
Secondly, any clue as to how to find out what kind of nib it is? I'm sort of guessing an F or M, but other than that I can't tell -- and there are no markings that I could find other than thinking that since I'm not seeing any markings on the section either, it's not a shorthand nib.
Thirdly: Is the slant of the tube end supposed to match the nib slant? Is it okay that it doesn't? And if it isn't, how much of an issue is that going to be for filling/writing (and how trivial a repair is that going to be?
Fourth: What's the best way to go about cleaning and flushing the pen? I downloaded an image with directions as to fill the pen; and I'm not such a noob that I *do* know to not stick the whole nib into ink -- but what about water? Do I want to clean the entire assembly or just the Snorkel tube? And any recommendations for how to clean the barrel without damaging it?
Fifthly: What shape is the gasket in to more experienced eyes? Does it need to be replaced, or is it okay for the moment?
Lastly (but most importantly) -- how do I tell if the sac is in good shape (especially since it's covered)? Do I just try filling the pen (and hope it's not too clogged or that there's an issue with the slant of the tube end)? And if the sac is bad (the pen leaks or doesn't fill) -- is this a trivial repair that I can do myself (as long as I'm walked through it or watch a video or something)? Or is this something to leave to the pros?
I think I did pretty well price-wise for an unrestored but possibly working Snorkel (saw a link to an Ebay post for a restored Shaeffer Admiral for more than 3 times what I paid).
There was also some other Shaeffer pen in the store -- I think it was some sort of c/c filler, but I don't know Shaeffers at all; the woman said "it's a Snorkel" but when I looked at the nib of it it was clear that it wasn't. Then I picked up this one :eureka: and thought "Oh boy, oh boy....!" The BEST part was when she told me that everything in the store was 25% off (I guess for the holidays). Those were the only 2 FPs in the case. Everything else looked liked click BPs do people really collect *those*? :blink:
Pardon the length of this post, but I really never thought I'd be even reading this forum, let along posting to it!
I know that folks are busy this time of year, so if I don't get reponses before January that's okay -- I won't have time to try and play with it before then. Although I did spend a lot of time on Saturday and Sunday going "Look, look! Isn't this just the COOLEST thing you've ever seen!" and generally being really annoying to non FP people. :roflmho:
Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth


If you want a matching pencil pendemonium has a matching one. i can send a link if you want.I

Youngest Member of the Fountain Pen Network


#21 inkstainedruth

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 04:40

[/quote]

If you want a matching pencil pendemonium has a matching one. i can send a link if you want.
[/quote]

Thanks, I took a look, but at that price I'd rather be spending the money on pens. Especially since they're asking more than the *original (not sale) price for the pen I got.
If I were a collector (I know, the dreaded "C-word :lol:) I would definitely be interested, because it really did look as if it were a real match to the pen I have (albeit possibly in better condition). But I'm more interested in having a (hopefully) working pen with a really cool fill system that I can use.
Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

#22 leprechaun

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 23:06

The repair of a Snorkel is generally not as difficult as some make it seem.

I have two and they are beautiful writers. I found one in the wild. The other one was in a co-worker's desk at home, he suspects it had belonged to his late father-in-law. It was uninked and still in the box with matching pencil. I about died when he showed it to me. I think it was a combination of my giddy reaction and my generally friendly demeanor that caused it to be transferred to my possession for a price that was so low it was almost criminal.

Edited to remove the pesky "t" that snuck in when I wasn't looking.

Edited by leprechaun, 25 January 2013 - 23:08.