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Esterbrook 484 Dip-Less Ink Well


Bitzel
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Having recently acquired a good number of 484 and 444 ink wells and dip-less pens, I've spent the better part of the last three days soaking and cleaning everything. I think I have a ways to go on these parts, still.

 

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The ebonite rods in the ink well feed are the most fascinating to me. Given how many there are and how light they are, I'm afraid to wash them in any meaningful way; washing the feed cup will cause the rods to float up and out and into my sink, and washing them in their own bowl makes me shudder to think what recollecting them would be like. I've resorted soaking them with the metal washer holding them on, rinsing them thoroughly, then removing the washer and letting the rods dry on some paper towels.

 

I shouldn't be surprised at how much ink is still in these old wells and materials, but I am. Still, the process has been quite fun.

 

A

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The feed cup, at least on the 444 and 445, pulls right off, and there's a washer holding the rods into the cup. I gently pulled that washer out, it' comes out easily, and dumped the rods into a wide and shallow plastic bowl I use for my pen cleaning. They don't float, except if the surface tension keeps them on top, and if you're careful, and keep them away from the sink, they clean quite well. I transferred them from bowl to bowl using my fingers and a plastic tweezers I had from a kid's science kit of my son's. The really just need to soak, and maybe gently wash them by rubbing them with your fingers. I then laid them out on a paper towel to dry. That was the most nerve-wracking part for me as I was in constant fear of flicking them across the room or the cat jumping up on the counter to explore the latest playthings. But they dried quickly and I used the tweezers again to put them back into the cup.

 

Good luck!

 

“When the historians of education do equal and exact justice to all who have contributed toward educational progress, they will devote several pages to those revolutionists who invented steel pens and blackboards.” V.T. Thayer, 1928

Check out my Steel Pen Blog

"No one is exempt from talking nonsense; the mistake is to do it solemnly."

-Montaigne

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There is a thread somewhere in the forum with a full explanation and pictures of cleaning the 444. The units with rods are easier to put back into service than units with the foam (which do exist).

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“When the historians of education do equal and exact justice to all who have contributed toward educational progress, they will devote several pages to those revolutionists who invented steel pens and blackboards.” V.T. Thayer, 1928

Check out my Steel Pen Blog

"No one is exempt from talking nonsense; the mistake is to do it solemnly."

-Montaigne

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    • A Smug Dill
      @Texas42 Thank you. I myself have recently had the experience of cleaning out a Wing Sung 699, in which the iron-gall ink has been sitting for six months. No damage to the metal piston rod (whereas, in a Wing Sung 3013 vacuum-filler, it would have been corroded, turned green, and contaminated the ink in mere weeks), but there was a ring of colour at the far end of the barrel that wouldn't budge, and I found it impossible to unscrew the filling mechanism to clean the interior wall of the ink rese
    • Texas42
      Dang. You are a great friend!   One comment as a relative newcomer would be within the cleaning section: issues/differences in cleaning vacuum filler, piston filler in addition to cartridge/converter. I just cleaned out my Pilot 823 and while it wasn't particularly difficult I was a little paranoid about the drops of water that I could not get out. Perhaps this is something you are already including.   Anyway, great project and very thoughtful of you. I know it's a project fo
    • Splat
      Ah Ruaidhri ya wee heid banger, you do indeed have an Irishman’s way wid dose words now. I’ll be from outer Aberdeenshire up in the blizzard riven braes of the Grampians.  Amateur medicine and surgery is it? Well what noble aspirations you do possess, we need to encourage such noble experimentations.  I pondered on leaving my own battered shell to science, but, until I read your pearls of wisdom and lament, I had comedown on the side of leaving my body to Findus frozen foods.  However, your rema
    • austollie
      Hi Smug Dill,   Nice project.  If it were me, I'd cover stuff like: - nib types available, i.e. styles, materials (SS vs gold), flex vs nails; - filling systems (I love the "thingie" comment) and how once can use them in practice (e.g. fill cartridges with a syringe); - pen body materials and their consequences (pen not balanced of too heavy and big for the hand); - and, whilst you've made it clear that you do not like vintage pens, a discussion of these beyond "I d
    • A Smug Dill
      Thanks for your input! Yes, not putting wood in the list of body materials warranting a mention was an oversight. I love pens with wooden bodies, but my main concern, or chagrin, is that I have not come across a wooden-bodied pen with a wooden cap that seals well. Actually, there is one, but it isn't really wood per se: the Pilot Custom Kaede's maple body is resin impregnated. All other wooden pens I have can dry out while capped and undisturbed; that includes several Platinum #3776 models.
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