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Do Eversharps Need Their Breather Tubes?


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I have three Eversharp pens, two Skylines and a Symphony. All of them were bought in working condition, indeed the Symphony was from a supposedly never used batch that Peyton Street Pens had a couple of years back.


Because they were working when I got them, there has never been any reason to take them apart. I did note, however, that the Symphony, although a very nice writer, didn't hold much ink. I hadn't used it in a while for that reason, but filled it a couple of days ago, only to have it go dry again today after light use. I can't say how many pages I wrote with it, as I was alternating with other pens, but we're definitely talking single digits. So I took out the section to have a look at the sac. It's in evidently good condition, and quite long, but by squeezing it I discovered for myself what a lot of other people already knew, that there is a breather tube running practically the whole length of the sac, and presumably taking up a lot of room. On the other hand, my two Skylines, which I'll assume for now have the breather tubes, seem to have much better ink capacity than the Symphony.


Searching on this forum, I found plenty of topics on these breather tubes, such as this one, just to give one example. I learn something new every day. I'd seen breather tubes before in Parker 51 aerometric fillers, but hadn't run into them in lever fillers before. This leads to a number of questions.


  • Is the breather tube actually a necessary part in the Eversharps? Will they work without it?
  • Will they work with a shorter breather tube?
  • Is it likely that the reason for the low ink capacity in my Symphony is the breather tube, or could there be other issues?
  • Did all Eversharp models use these breather tubes?
  • Are there other brands of vintage lever filler that used (and need) breather tubes?


No hurry. I'm cleaning out the Symphony and putting it aside anyway, as there is another pen I want to use. I notice, though, that there seems to be another feature of this tube. It takes a lot more flushes to get a reasonable amount of the ink out of the pen.

"So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do."


- Benjamin Franklin

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The presence of a breather tube enhances the ink capacity of the sac. The longer the tube, the higher the capacity so I would not shorten the tube.


The breather tube also helps maintaining normal air pressure inside the sac. This is quite helpful, not only when you fly an airplane (as stated in 1940s advertisements) but simply because the warmth of the hand warms up the pen and this enhances the pressure inside the sac. This logically results in ink overflow if pressure is not normalized.


I would always replace the breather tube in a pen that originally had one.


FYI: some Skylines and Coronets contained an 'ink wick' instead of a breather tube. The wick was supposed to ease ink flow:




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As joss stated, the breather tube allows the pen to fill more completely. It is very common for the hard rubber breather tubes on Eversharps to either break right where they meet the feed or become loose from the feed. Either of those problems would prevent the pen from filling fully.


Breather tubes also make flushing a pen much more of a nuisance; a trade off for the more complete fill, I suppose.


Lastly, it is unusual to find breather tubes in lever fillers. Eversharp was one of the few companies that used them.

Edited by Pentode
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Thanks. Since the pen is definitely taking in very little ink, perhaps I will have to put it on my list of repair projects. Taking off the sac and checking the breather tube would be the next step.

"So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do."


- Benjamin Franklin

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  • 1 month later...

To my thinking the comments made so far are pretty accurate. Ive slways thought ofvand have written previously that these tubes could just as well been called filler tubes. Skyline filling instructions say to operate the lever 3 or so times. Correct Skyline sacs are tapered, and dont hold a lot of ink in the first place so its necessary to fill as completely as possible. The filler tube accomplished this. Elsewhere on this forum I posted a picture of the tube acting like a fountain spouting the ink out of its topbebdcand cascading ink overvto top and downward fillingvtge sac lever stroke by stroke.

Syd "the Wahlnut" Saperstein

Pensbury Manor

Vintage Wahl Eversharp Writing Instruments

Pensbury Manor




New WAHL-EVERSHARP fountain and Roller-Ball pens

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  • 9 months later...


New to fountain pen repair. I am restoring my Dads old Skyline. New sac, disassembled and cleaned. Writes beautifully, but no real feed. I was able to unblock the feeder tube, but is it possible that a plugged tube would prevent flow?

The tube was very very blocked before cleaning and was able to draw air through to the sac side afterwards but not pressure out the nib direction.

Next where does one find a breather tube and how big a pain is it to change?

Thank you for any help.

Dr D

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Use a guitar string, whichever one is heavier, to clean out the breather tube, I cut the tip to a chisel point so that it will cut through the ink as you turn the tube. Use an ultrasonic after to loosen the rest of the crud, then a syringe to force water through.


A little heat and a twist as you pull will help to get it out. Going back in, again a twist as you push will make for a more secure fit in the end of a section - like putting a mouthpiece in a brass instrument.

Visit Main Street Pens
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Thank you

I take it then that the tube should be open easily and not be obstructed at all.

So far my success rate in making old pens work is 0 for 5. But it is a lot of fun trying to figure things out.

Now to find a guitar string..

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Thank you for the help. Using a very small paperclip. cleaned the tube. I had missed the small round opening in the feed slot. It was so caked over it was not visible at all.

Pen writes fabulous now.

As an even better aide, I was able to fix the feed on a Parkette, and a Wearever deluxe.

Blessings to all.

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