I have recently inherited two Pelikan pens, a 100N in tortoiseshell, and a 100N in grey marble, whose restoration process I would like to share with you.
These pens originally belonged to my grandfathers, hadn’t been used for many years, and were suffering from several problems, which a number of specialized repairers that I contacted in Europe – namely in Portugal, Spain, England and Germany – were unable to solve.
Then I was lucky enough to learn about the work of Mr. Francis Goossens, also known as ‘Fountainbel’, who is a retired mechanical engineer from Belgium who nowadays dedicates to develop prototypes of new fountain pens, and to restore old ones. I wrote to Mr. Francis asking him if he would be kind enough to have a look and try to repair my pens, to which he promptly replied saying he would do the best within his power to repair my pens.
Last month I sent my pens to Mr. Francis, and he has just sent them back in a mint and fully functional condition.
Mr. Francis was extremely attentive throughout the reparation process, patiently explaining all the problems he came across, the different possibilities to approach the repairs, and what was at stake.
Throughout this process I have come to admire his work and his ethics, which I think should be known in the fountain pen world. Mr. Francis is a true master of his craft, and a perfectionist unwilling to compromise in the impeccable quality of the work that he so passionately does.
Below I am posting a few images of the repaired pens, and listing the problems that Mr. Francis came across, and which he was able to repair.
Pelikan 100N in tortoiseshell
01_The pen was missing the golden cap rings.
Mr. Francis fabricated new brass ones in his lathe, had them “two cycles” gold-plated by a specialist, and finally swaged them into the cap grooves using an internal back up plug.
The rings grooves in the cap were deepened during a previous repair attempt. Consequently the new cap rings were made with a thicker wall in order to get them tight at the bottom of the grooves nearly flush with the outer cap diameter.
Swaging was a particularly delicate procedure because the cap wall was very thin, and because the rings had to be swaged to get a perfect fit.
02_The cap clip had at some point been replaced a non-original one, and Mr. Francis was able to find an original one and have it gold-plated together with the newly fabricated cap rings.
03_The cap had two lengthwise cracks that Mr. Francis was able to chemically fuse.
04_The cap also had a bit of glue near the rings grooves because a previous repairer, supposedly a specialist, had tried to glue new rings to the cap, and the result was a nightmare.
Fortunately Mr. Francis was able to remove the glue and polish the whole pen, restoring its original shine.
05_Mr. Francis discovered that at some point part of the nib housing of the cap enclosure plug had been cut off, probably to provide a longer screw thread fit between barrel and cap – but which most likely led to the aforementioned cracks. Mr. Francis was able to elongate the bush, restoring it to its original condition.
06_The piston seal was not fully tight, so Mr. Francis installed a new piston seal using two O-rings with silicone grease between both rings, and cleaned the filler.
07_The nib had to be fine tuned, which Mr. Francis also did.
Pelikan 100N in grey marble
01_The filling system was not functional at all.
The ink window had shrunk over time, and for that reason the piston seal was not sealing any more. In addition, there was a linear crack in the barrel threads, which would result in ink seeping through.
In the face of this Mr. Francis fabricated a new green acrylic ink window in which the piston can make its full stroke, with the exact characteristics of the original one. Below you can also find the technical sketch that Mr. Francis elaborated as a preparation for the piece fabrication. The work was so impeccably executed that it is impossible to notice that this is a newly fabricated piece.
02_The ebonite feed missed one of its external fins, so Mr. Francis installed a new feed, now mounted in a new screw-in nib housing allowing easy swapping of nibs assemblies.
03_The cap lip had a long linear hairline crack, and Mr. Francis was able to find an original cap in perfect condition to replace the damaged one.
04_The pen needed a thorough cleaning and polishing, and nib fine-tuning, which Mr. Francis also did.