Fountain Pen Design

Function, Development, Construction and Fabrication

8.3 Manufacture of Fountain Pens in 1920

A few days ago, I browsed through “The Fountain Pen Network” when I found the forum  Silent Movie showing the making of Conklin Crescent Fillers posted by AAAndrew on February 18, 2022.  He found this movie in the National Archives.  I assume English, even though, several people commented proudly “… on things still being manufactured in the USA, those days”.  Just checked it: It’s from the US National Archives.

May it be as it is, the movie starts with the making and drawing of the raw rubber, ebonite, I assume, through the making of all the components and their assembly.  Only 6 minutes long, but totally fascinating.

Maybe, you want to visit AAAndrew and say, thanks.  You can do that only if you are a member of the Fountain Pen Network.

An outline of the movie

  • 0 – 60 secs: The history of writing from the stone ages
  • 1:02  the multiple signature writing machine
  • 1:12  cutting and breaking up the rubber
  • 1:27  forming the raw material
  • 1:37  trimming the sicks to length – mass production
  • 1:50  shaping outside and end of the barrel – on a lathe
  • 2:03  buffing of barrels – five at the time – see the wide transmission belt
  • 2:15  engraving of the barrel, the machine not only reciprocates but also rotates be barrels – six at the time
  • 2:30  slitting of the barrel for the filler bar, which includes the cleaning of the blade prior to slitting
  • 2:45  tapping the thread in the cap – took about 5 seconds = 12 a minute = 720 an hour = in a 7-hour day ≈ 5,000!
  • 2:58  vent hole
  • 3:06  cap and clip assembly – the inner cap not only holds the clip in place but also provides elasticity
  • 3:25  turning the section – much freehand work, see exposed transmission belt
  • 3:42  fitting barrel with section – mostly freehand even the pitch of the thread
  • 4:04  slitting the feed – I assume, the buffing wheel with the grooves is for shaping the nib end of the feed
  • 4:23  machining the notches on the feed near the nib
  • 4:35  making a bevelled ring for locating the lever for squeezing the sack
  • 4:55  glueing sack onto the section
  • 5:15  fitting section and barrel
  • 5:18  fitting nib and feed into the section – not sure what the assembly tool does, squeezing, forming something?
  • 5:48  inspection and writing test – figure eight, just as we did it 60 years later

Please give me feedback if I got something wrong.

Above all: Enjoy!


Amadeus W.

18 April 2022

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