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Vacumatic Candy Stripe - Best Storage Method



VacNut

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I went to clean my Green Half-Coronet and the tip fell off the end. Looking at the pieces, I realized the celluloid had started to crystallize and decompose while stored in the converted cigar box. I have since isolated the pen and started researching the best methods to store celluloid pens.

 

I have a Vacumatic Green/Brown Candy Stripe stored in a converted cigar box. Looking at the clear tip of the cap, I noticed slight crazing at the jewel threads (besides the usual shrinkage). Does any have any suggestions on the best method to store this pen to prevent or slow down crystallization?

 

I am looking into buying zeolite paper to help absorb any gases. What is the best method to store pens? Any advice or recommendations are greatly appreciated

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Brian-McQueen

Airflow. Keep it out of the sun. Zeolite will help slow it. David Nishimura I think would have suggestions about stabilizing the cap top with solvents and added camphor. You should reach out to him. This is a pen worth trying to keep from falling apart.

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Thank you for the recommendation. I will reach out to him. Luckily, humidity isn’t a problem where I live. I started drilling vent holes in all my converted cigar storage boxes. I may ask David, if he would be willing to remove the diaphragm and prep the pen for storage.

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Brian-McQueen

Keep in mind, too, that wood is acidic. Especially oak. I don't know what type of wood cigar boxes are typically made from, but celluloid storage in wood cases is potentially damaging. Your best options are glass, polypropylene, and polyethylene plastics.

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I have read concerns with cedar, particularly aromatic cedar. I would be curious about people’s experiences with humidors. All the precautions can be overwhelming. I may just drill more holes into the boxes and store the pens with the zeolite paper.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is a very interesting thread.

But it raises a question:

I live in Europe. Any tips about where one can actually buy zeolite?

I have found one place that will sell zeolite powder, sand gravel and rocks, in a dizzying variety of fineness of granules/particles. But not paper. If I cannot find zeolite paper, would the powder/sand/gravel be even slightly helpful? And if so, which is the best size to get?

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This is a very interesting thread.

But it raises a question:

I live in Europe. Any tips about where one can actually buy zeolite?

I have found one place that will sell zeolite powder, sand gravel and rocks, in a dizzying variety of fineness of granules/particles. But not paper. If I cannot find zeolite paper, would the powder/sand/gravel be even slightly helpful? And if so, which is the best size to get?

I found Conservation Resources in Virginia through Richard Binders Website. Very helpful people.

 

In a perfect world, I think the pens should be stored in a metal storage case with drawers and sleeves that keep out sunlight. I suppose there should also be a circulating fan. Unfortunately I don’t have space for a large metal storage case, and there is a certain charm to storing pens of a similar style or model in individual containers so they can be admired or collected as a group.

 

The search continues.

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Brian-McQueen

The BEST storage would be in an opaque glass case, humidity and temperature controlled, with zeolite or some other absorbing material, and fans. Second best would be polypropylene or polyethylene case with similar features. What most people can reasonably do is a polypropylene or polyethylene case with absorbers and maybe some space for air flow, even if they don't have fans. Metal is not a good choice. It can be attacked by the nitric acid.

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  • 3 weeks later...
inkstainedruth

Hmmm. Interesting thread, especially since I have a number of vintage celluloid pens (particularly the Vacumatics).

First off, I never heard of zeolite paper (or zeolite itself before now). In addition, the discussion about acidity of wood is now making me rethink my long-term storage solution of finding a not too horribly expensive antique dental cabinet (yeah, I know, a pipe-dream) and getting ALL the pens, inks, books and journals into one place. Metal cabinets are a lot cheaper but not really too my taste (I have an old house, so anything too Art Deco or industrial-looking just won't look right, IMO). Right now, the pens that are not in rotation are in a bunch of 24 pen [vinyl?] zipper cases from Rockler, and I have them unzipped to keep air flow but also keep the pens out of direct sunlight.

Now my plan had been to get something with lots of narrow drawers (which is why a dental cabinet seemed ideal) -- I had previously bought a relatively inexpensive antique wooden spool case with 2 drawers, but haven't gotten it cleaned up yet -- and then a few deeper drawers for stuff like old journals and at least some ink bottles/sample vial trays (if it turns out I still need the IKEA boxes for ink storage, so be it). And then line the shallow drawers with the flocked plastic inserts I've bought at a few pen shows. But now I'm hearing that wood is a problem? I'd think that clear cases would also be a problem because they let light through. And of course I'm *also* wondering if the flocked trays would also have any sort of off-gassing....

And yes, some of the cabinets I've seen on the Bay of Evil appear to be oak or walnut.... But basically, I'm outgrowing the available storage I have (I can only rationally fit 4 sample vial trays into one of the IKEA boxes -- and I think I now have SEVEN of the trays). The boxes (cloth covered cardboard and then covered with some sort of raffia) are deep enough to fit two per shelf on the small fold-down bookcases I have flanking the small antique desk in the bedroom, with the top shelf of one of the bookcases doubles as a night stand. I'm not particular interested in a display case for the pens -- they're expensive for what they are, and "showy" and if I had a bunch of high end pens just bought for the "art" value that would be one thing. But I don't -- I have a bunch of mostly user grade pens and the ones that don't get used haven't been repaired yet.... But they do need to be stored.

My previous plan was a smallish IKEA 3-drawer cabinet to at least put the ink vial trays or the zipper cases into, and then figure out some way to attach casters so it could fit under the desk, and moveable if needed -- but that didn't really work and the cabinet is still only partially assembled (and the casters I bought will make it too tall to fit). Then I saw a dental cabinet at an estate sale I was at right before everything shut down around here -- but way beyond anything I could afford). And now people are saying, basically, is that the best is glass, followed by plastic? :huh:

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

 

ETA: Sorry for rambling -- I first woke up this morning at about 10 of 6, then had to get replacement wiper blades for the car at 9 AM and then go get myself take-out breakfast.... So if I'm a little incoherent this morning, it's because I didn't get a good night's sleep and am hoping the caffeine (glazed chocolate donut and hi-test coffee) will help at least a little....

Edited by 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."

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For my vacumatics,I purchased old(er) Parker brass display trays and made boxes out of acid-free matte board. I started storing a sheet of Zeolite with each box. The Vacs tend to be more stable with the exception of the candy-strip Vac. After the crystallization of he Eversharp, I make it a point to open each box once a week and let it air out uncovered for a day.

7A4274EF-C785-4299-9CD4-F69A67965107.jpeg

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That's a heck of an array of Maximas!

Thank you. It is a relatively small collection, compared to others on this forum. About twenty-two years ago, I walked into an antique store and the owner showed me an Emerald Vac Maxima 2nd Gen. I just kept looking at it in my hand, twisting it back and forth. I was absolutely amazed. Even back then, he wanted $800 for the pen. There was no way I could afford it, so I walked out of the shop empty handed. I have been making up for it ever since.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Brian-McQueen

Thank you. It is a relatively small collection, compared to others on this forum. About twenty-two years ago, I walked into an antique store and the owner showed me an Emerald Vac Maxima 2nd Gen. I just kept looking at it in my hand, twisting it back and forth. I was absolutely amazed. Even back then, he wanted $800 for the pen. There was no way I could afford it, so I walked out of the shop empty handed. I have been making up for it ever since.

 

I think 12 black Maximas beats most collections. I have a lot of different models, but not 12 of the same Maxima. I imagine you probably have multiples of the other colors as well?

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I think 12 black Maximas beats most collections. I have a lot of different models, but not 12 of the same Maxima. I imagine you probably have multiples of the other colors as well?

You really don't want to know the answer to that question...I've seen his parts bin.

San Francisco International Pen Show - The next great pen show is on schedule for August 27-28-29, 2021. If we all do what we need to do...you can Book your travel and tables and make SF 2021 the Return. 
 

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inkstainedruth

I'll admit that I don't want twelve pens of the same color. I had trouble keeping track of TWO Preppies set up as rollerballs, both with black trim and both with black ink in them (for a test project from a few years ago).

That's when I started naming pens -- the Preppies became "Thing 1" and "Thing 2" (later joined by "Thing 3" -- any yes, that one ALSO have black trim; but that's what Nathan Tardif was including with 4 oz. bottles of Noodler's ink a few years ago; I also have 3 of the cheapie Kuratake brush pens but at least those are translucent so I can see what ink is in them...).

I'll admit that I do have 2 Azure Blue Pearl Vacs, but one is a 3rd gen. Sub-Debutante and the other is a 2nd Gen (possibly a Slender).

I do have duplicates of a few other pens (two black Snorkels, for instance -- plus a black Touchdown which looks similar in the case) but I'm thinking about paring the stash down some at some point (I also have 2 Cedar Blue 51 Vacs, but one's got a rolled gold nib so they're easy to tell apart).

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."

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Ideally celluloid pens should stay in the open (not in the sunlight as mentioned above or exposed to heat), especially if they have started to decompose.

I have a couple of celluloid pens that are in that stage (although one worse than the other) and their status has sort of stabilized (less visible changes with time and formation of corrosion on the metal parts) since I keep them in a carboard box, padded in flimsy paper, without a lid, on my library.

In view of their probable earlier death vs other fountain pens I own, the other thing I do is use them more often...

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You really don't want to know the answer to that question...I've seen his parts bin.

Farmboy is correct about the parts bins, and the number of “pens in the works” box. I was able to rebuild an Emerald Max Gen 2 barrel and blind cap with a correct cap and clip the other day, so there is one more compelte vacumatic in the world this week. Maybe in small way there is slightly less chaos also. Lets all hope.
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I think 12 black Maximas beats most collections. I have a lot of different models, but not 12 of the same Maxima. I imagine you probably have multiples of the other colors as well?

These older parker trays have been a life safer. They hold 17/18 pens each and you can still find the trays occasionally.

When I first started I didnt know how many vacumatic styles, colors, or obscure variations where manufactured. It has been fun reading about peoples research and opinions on the various models, particularly on the Vacumatic Senior Model and the Slender Maxima debate.

I have luckily been able to collect trays of the various colors and variations. Farmboy has been kind enough to restore many of the pens, and work on a mint Parker Holy Water Sprinkler Black Oversize Pen, so I can be ready for the zombie apocalypse or my next exorcism.

 

I am still a small guppy in a sea of serious Vacumatics sharks, one shark in particular...

A201683E-4750-4B97-AC26-A2E39A9E616B.jpeg

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I think 12 black Maximas beats most collections. I have a lot of different models, but not 12 of the same Maxima. I imagine you probably have multiples of the other colors as well?

Brian,

You are being modest with your collection. In looking through the forum, you have very choice Parker pens that would be the envy of any collector. I tell myself I dont need any more vacumatics since I dont have any more trays. Then I find more trays and the cycle just continues.....D9CC9589-D72B-4285-96ED-79F71E7688D9.jpeg

 

A tray of more uncommon Vacs. The Imperials are a stylish blend of a 51 and a Vac. Almost impossible to remove a ding from the cap. I have been told the 3 pens on the right are Vacumatic 1.5s. ( I dont really know what they are). They are the length and the diameter of a Slender Max or Senior, without the larger nib. Made in the U.S.A, so not a Canadian Variant. The emerald pen was made for export to South America.

I can send pics for comparison, if you can provide more information.

87CC3A38-9824-43CB-BE64-C18CB40B4EEB.jpeg

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