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Thread: When does it become a Frankenpen?

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    Default When does it become a Frankenpen?

    This is clearly an opinion question, and "Frankenpen" is hardly an official term with a written definition, but I was wondering where people line up on this question.

    As far as I can figure, if you have a pen, and it needs parts, and you get those parts from another pen(s) of the same color, model and era, or you get NOS parts, or just plain new parts if still in production, that is not a Frankenpen.

    It is obvious even to me that my pen with a Lamy Safari body, section and feed with a Hero 359 nib and a Jinhao 599 cap is a Frankenpen.

    But where, exactly, do you draw the line? Are there people who feel that an Esterbrook with a new nib inserted is a Frankenpen? What about an Esterbrook with the wrong color cap?

    If you replace a Jinhao 450 nib with a Goulet nib, does that make it a Frankenpen? What about if you replace a Sheaffer lifetime nib with one of their other nibs - providing it fits the same feed, is it or is it not a Frankenpen?

    Does it make a difference if you buy a pen more or less meant to be fiddled with and change out the flex nib to a non flex nib by the same manufacturer? By a different one?

    If you replace a j-bar, is it a repair if the part is new and a Frankenpen if it it came from another pen?

    Is your answer different for a cheap pen than for an expensive one? Different for a vintage pen as opposed to a current production pen?


    Unless you are selling the penI am not sure this question matters at all, but as I go about fixing things here on the Island of Misfit pens, I have time to wonder these things...

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    Default Re: When does it become a Frankenpen?

    I prefer not to encourage or use the term Frankenpen because to me it has a negative connotation that the end result is inferior or less valuable than the originals.

    I have heard senior (in terms of experience) fountain pen collectors refer to "marriage" pens. I like it better because a pen that is the result of a "marriage," could be even better than the sum of the parts. As I have often notice as I restore vintage ones.

    As for where I draw the line, I think it's simple. A good "marriage" pen must be improved in some ways than the original.

    Example:



    Look at that handsome nib. It is "married" to a Parker Challenger body. So the marriage of a super-flexible nib (Biltwel) and a solid button-filler (Parker Challenger) -- and months of waiting for these parts to come together -- results in a pen that is better than the original one coming out of Biltwel or Parker factories. And more importantly the pen makes me and its new owner happy (it never get to be in the Classified here, it was sold less than 2 hours after I advertise it in my mailing list).

    Okay, I may be talking about something a bit more involved than "frankenpen" like stuffing a Zebra nib on a JinHao but some of the concepts apply I think.
    Last edited by penwash; May 23rd, 2016 at 12:31 PM.
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    Default Re: When does it become a Frankenpen?

    AH! Yes, I like this terminology.

    I think "Frankenpen" is not a bad term for humorous, perhaps quirky conglomerations of parts which end up a working pen. I don't mind it for that Franken-Lamy I described - yes, I could buy a Lamy nib, but I really wasn't sure I wanted to bother buying a 13 dollar nib for a pen which would still need a cap, and could be sourced for somewhere around 30 new.

    I totally agree that a very nice nib inserted in a very nice pen, especially if the end result is greater than the sum of the parts, deserves a nicer name.

    Now I have a different question - I have a Waterman's model 12 eyedropper. The cap is missing the original clip, the gold filled band is in good condition but it has a Sheaffer's lifetime nib. Not a bad nib by any means, and certainly it would be an upgrade for most of the rest of my stable, but is it a better pen than it would have been originally? I'm thinking maybe this is more of a lateral move - or a downgrade, if you prefer flex nibs, which might be what the Waterman's started with - but what about the missing clip? How would that count?

    I like it and because it's not perfect I feel ok about using it as an everyday pen, even if that's more likely to be on my desk than carried around. What do the rest of you think? Frankenpen? Marriage? Terminology to be decided later??

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    Default Re: When does it become a Frankenpen?

    I have no problem with both terminologies, and it makes sense that a marriage pen will be a bringing-together of disparate parts to create a (subjectively) better whole. I don't see this term becoming widespread, especially since I believe most vintage people would be, actually, against the mixing of parts, even if one finds it an... improvement.

    OTOH, I think Frankenpen is a perfectly acceptable term, even if it does imply, in the lightest sense, some pejorative notion. After all these are "abomination" pens, putting together parts that don't... belong. I think it is a perfectly easy line to draw: any pen that is repaired or restored using original parts, and parts that specifically belong to that brand and model, are simply restoring that pen to original condition. Deviations from that become a frankening, and while it is a matter of degrees, maybe, it is done fully aware that the parts would have never come from the factory like that. They ARE a mis-match, as fun or functional the change may be.

    Me? I love it, at the right time. My favorite are to take some of the nicer Wearever pens, a Pacemaker, or a Deluxe 100, and install an Esterbrook section. Then you can jettison the Achille's Heel of the Wearever (the terrible nibs) and have a nib of choice in a body that often rivals the colorful plastics of the higher-end lines of the times. I'm proud to call these Frankenpens, though I prefer the brand Esterever!
    Last edited by Jon Szanto; May 23rd, 2016 at 01:48 PM.
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    Default Re: When does it become a Frankenpen?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post

    ...

    Me? I love it, at the right time. My favorite are to take some of the nicer Wearever pens, a Pacemaker, or a Deluxe 100, and install an Esterbrook section. Then you can jettison the Achille's Heel of the Wearever (the terrible nibs) and have a nib of choice in a body that often rivals the colorful plastics of the higher-end lines of the times. I'm proud to call these Frankenpens, though I prefer the brand Esterever!
    I ran directly to my parts box, only to discover that my spare Esterbrook section is just a little fatter than every single pen I have except the capless body it is meant for.

    I am now evilly contemplating the use of sandpaper...

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    Default Re: When does it become a Frankenpen?

    Quote Originally Posted by scrivelry View Post
    I ran directly to my parts box, only to discover that my spare Esterbrook section is just a little fatter than every single pen I have except the capless body it is meant for.

    I am now evilly contemplating the use of sandpaper...
    On the pens I've installed them on, it is only the part that slips into the barrel that has been minutely too big, and I've carefully sanded it down. The area where the section meets that body, in the ones I have done, have not ended up with either a step up or a drop off, which is nice. Here's one (not a great photo):

    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Default Re: When does it become a Frankenpen?

    I really like the term, and have to admit that when I found that certain individuals object to Frankenpens, that encouraged me even more! I now have quite a few of these "Cocktails" here for fun are a couple:

    First a pre-war Osmia 226 - very large button filler. This one came with a Parker England 35 nib - a total nail. In went a really nice Jewel No 5 nib; makes a lovely pen.

    226.jpg

    Next a Mabie Todd Blackbird cocktail I have christened Morning Dress: 5245 body, I fitted a Swan lever to match the gold-plated clip on the Blackbird button filler cap and finished off with a Swan feed and a French 18ct nib marked "L'Aigle Blanc"

    Morning Dress.jpg

    Cob

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    Default Re: When does it become a Frankenpen?

    I've done a number of nib replacements, Sheaffer nib in an Arnold pen/pencil combo, Goulet nib in a Schrade tactical pen, Esterbrook nib and feed removed from the screw in module and put in a Wearever, and a couple of others. In my mental categorization system, none of these really count as Frankenpens. The closest I have is a Parker IM section screwed into a Pilot Metropolitan body. And the point of that was really troubleshooting. It established that the reason the IM kept drying up was that the cap doesn't seal properly. Works fine with the Metropolitan barrel and cap, but then, I'm not really interested in using it anyway.

    Seeing the term "Frankenpen" used here and on other forums, it calls up images of non-matching elements from different pens being brought together, and my "IMopolitan" is the only one I'd have that's at all like that. It would not count for changing internal parts that can't normally be seen, such as the inner cap replacements that I did on a couple of third tier pens. But of course, that's just an opinion, and I generally don't use the term myself. I just do my best to understand what other people mean when they use it.
    Last edited by Kaputnik; May 24th, 2016 at 01:28 PM.
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    Default Re: When does it become a Frankenpen?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cob View Post
    I really like the term, and have to admit that when I found that certain individuals object to Frankenpens, that encouraged me even more! I now have quite a few of these "Cocktails" here for fun are a couple:

    First a pre-war Osmia 226 - very large button filler. This one came with a Parker England 35 nib - a total nail. In went a really nice Jewel No 5 nib; makes a lovely pen.

    Next a Mabie Todd Blackbird cocktail I have christened Morning Dress: 5245 body, I fitted a Swan lever to match the gold-plated clip on the Blackbird button filler cap and finished off with a Swan feed and a French 18ct nib marked "L'Aigle Blanc"

    Cob
    Cob,
    Two excellent examples of good marriage pens. And cool nibs that I've never heard of before.
    - Will
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    Default Re: When does it become a Frankenpen?

    This is possibly something where those who collect pens and do not use them differ from those who buy pens mostly to use them, or who are collectors who use some or all of their collection.

    Obviously if I had a mint Waterman with gold overlay and an original nib, that would not be a pen I'd be likely to throw an Esterbrook section into. But when you are the sort of person who feels compelled to rescue bits and pieces, you can end up with some pretty interesting stuff. Currently one of my working Wearevers needs a button stuck on the bottom to cover up the hole where some kind of something used to be... And I need to order about a billion sacs in various sizes... that might be an underestimate, when I think about it...

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    Default Re: When does it become a Frankenpen?

    My thoughts are to call the two senerios by different names:
    First, combining parts from different model pens and keeping the same brand.
    Second, combining parts from different brand name pens.
    What would you call them?
    If recaiming a pen from the parts pile and making the pieces whole and you like it, that's fantastic no matter what it is called.
    I have one pen that is composed of same brand parts. It could be a frankinpen, or it could be a factory off catalogue pen. Anyways, I like the looks and the way it writes.
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    Default Re: When does it become a Frankenpen?

    Quote Originally Posted by penwash View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Cob View Post
    I really like the term, and have to admit that when I found that certain individuals object to Frankenpens, that encouraged me even more! I now have quite a few of these "Cocktails" here for fun are a couple:

    First a pre-war Osmia 226 - very large button filler. This one came with a Parker England 35 nib - a total nail. In went a really nice Jewel No 5 nib; makes a lovely pen.

    Next a Mabie Todd Blackbird cocktail I have christened Morning Dress: 5245 body, I fitted a Swan lever to match the gold-plated clip on the Blackbird button filler cap and finished off with a Swan feed and a French 18ct nib marked "L'Aigle Blanc"

    Cob
    Cob,
    Two excellent examples of good marriage pens. And cool nibs that I've never heard of before.
    Jewel was a fairly high-class English manufacturer; in fact I have a Jewel pen (with the wrong clip! just like the Osmia 884 (wrong cap) and the Osmia 223 (wrong clip again).

    I have two nice Blackbird barrels with twin golden bands and decent nibs, lacking caps, there's a nice early Swan Leverless for which I am sort of organising a decent cap as finally I have the correct clip. And there's a Waterman's 52 I have to get round to one day plus four safety pens including a MHR Gold Starry.

    I seem to have an awful lot of barrels as well - mostly Swans and old Onotos; no wonder this place is turning into Castle Frankenpen!

    C.

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    Default Re: When does it become a Frankenpen?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cob View Post
    Jewel was a fairly high-class English manufacturer; in fact I have a Jewel pen (with the wrong clip! just like the Osmia 884 (wrong cap) and the Osmia 223 (wrong clip again).

    I have two nice Blackbird barrels with twin golden bands and decent nibs, lacking caps, there's a nice early Swan Leverless for which I am sort of organising a decent cap as finally I have the correct clip. And there's a Waterman's 52 I have to get round to one day plus four safety pens including a MHR Gold Starry.

    I seem to have an awful lot of barrels as well - mostly Swans and old Onotos; no wonder this place is turning into Castle Frankenpen!

    C.
    Thank you for the education, Cob.
    I'm a big fan of British made pens.

    I wonder if it's worth the trouble to setup an online place where pen tinkerers like us can swap pen parts.
    I mean there is ebay, but a place where we can "talk shop" about our frankenpen projects and dreams.

    By the way, if you have a Burnham parts in burgundy that you just want to swap with something, let's talk.
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    Default Re: When does it become a Frankenpen?

    Quote Originally Posted by scrivelry View Post
    This is possibly something where those who collect pens and do not use them differ from those who buy pens mostly to use them, or who are collectors who use some or all of their collection.

    Obviously if I had a mint Waterman with gold overlay and an original nib, that would not be a pen I'd be likely to throw an Esterbrook section into. But when you are the sort of person who feels compelled to rescue bits and pieces, you can end up with some pretty interesting stuff. Currently one of my working Wearevers needs a button stuck on the bottom to cover up the hole where some kind of something used to be... And I need to order about a billion sacs in various sizes... that might be an underestimate, when I think about it...
    I am compelled to rescue as many of these wonderful vintage pen (or parts) and make them usable again.
    I eventually may become one of those collectors who strive for uniformity, but I don't see that coming soon, I'm having so much fun restoring pens.

    Just yesterday I got a pen-parts bundle from ebay, unbeknownst to me, cause the pictures are ... fuzzy, there is a big Conklin Endura, with the correct "crescent" nib which is just as big. But the cap is black and the body is mottled yellow marble (quite pretty), now who would swap around a pen like this?
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    Default Re: When does it become a Frankenpen?

    I have a Noodler's Konrad which I took the flex nib out of (but I still have) and replaced with B nib from Goulet. Frankenpen? Not in my eyes. To someone else, perhaps.

    I do sort of have a franken Parker 45 Flighter. I took the section and nib (burgundy) from a different 45 which has a broken barrel and replaced the one that the Flighter had in it when I got it. I wanted the nicer nib on the Flighter, although I could have just moved the nib. I just never got around to it. I have another 45 Flighter (older model) that is missing the inner barrel and tail cone. Either I need to find a barrel or the plastic inner and tail piece.
    Brad "Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind" - Rudyard Kipling

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