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Thread: A puzzling Hoover Super

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    Default A puzzling Hoover Super

    This is the story of a pen from one of my fellow Dallas pen club members, Marco (of avilapens).

    At the Dallas Pen Show last September, Marco showed me a pen that he found called Hoover. It's a vintage pen made out of celluloid that in passing, looks quite ordinary. Until he described it to me as a mystery, because when disassembled, none of the parts match any popular filling system. We looked at that pen closely, but at that time I just took a wild guess at how it could have worked.

    Nice guy that he is (and knowing me well enough to predict that I won't be able to resist any puzzles that looks like a fountain pen), at the last pen club meeting last week, he gave the pen to me, and he basically said "have fun figuring that one"

    So I tried many things (I'll tell this part of the story in another post, because it's long) but none sticks, until I read a decade-old thread on FPN that talks about guesses that a pen that is similar to this one may have been "inspired by" the Parker Vacumatic filling system.

    Still, none of the parts make any sense to operate like the plunger filler on a Vacumatic... until I made a discovery that is the key to the puzzle. Once I figure out that missing puzzle piece, I was able to approximate the filling system, and the pen would fill with water (and ink) using the exact principle as a Vacumatic plunger. I'm currently testing it.



    So there you are, in the photo, the "real thing", a Parker Vacumatic Standard Lockdown (first version of the vacumatic filler to be mass produced), with the Hoover pen that was "inspired by" it.

    In the next post, I'll post a restoration diagram of the pen and we'll look into the pen some more.
    Last edited by penwash; December 11th, 2019 at 12:01 PM.
    - Will
    Unique and restored vintage pens: Redeem Pens

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    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Re: A puzzling Hoover Super

    Quote Originally Posted by penwash View Post
    ...the "real thing", a Parker Vacumatic Standard Lockdown (first version of the vacumatic filler to be mass produced), with the Hoover pen that was "inspired by" it....
    Is it possible that it was the other way 'round?

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    Default Re: A puzzling Hoover Super

    Quote Originally Posted by FredRydr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by penwash View Post
    ...the "real thing", a Parker Vacumatic Standard Lockdown (first version of the vacumatic filler to be mass produced), with the Hoover pen that was "inspired by" it....
    Is it possible that it was the other way 'round?
    What makes you believe that? The mechanism in this pen is rather ... crude compared to the real vacumatic plunger.
    I wouldn't say it's impossible, but it's highly unlikely in my view.
    - Will
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    Senior Member FredRydr's Avatar
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    Default Re: A puzzling Hoover Super

    It's not so much a belief, but just posing the alternative for fun. It's a bit late now for such a scandal to take root. In any event, I'm sure Parker's patents paperwork would blow the whole idea out of the water.

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    Default Re: A puzzling Hoover Super

    Alright, let's get to the nuts and bolts.

    Here's the pen in disassembly:



    First, was this pen a button filler (or had an ink sac in it ever)? I don't think so. Just by looking at the end of the section where the breather tube attaches to, there is no connector part where ink sacs can be shellac-ed on. In fact this part looks very much like a Parker Vacumatic section (including the breather tube).

    Secondly, that piston-like part is ebonite, and it works in an interesting way, there are two diameters, the upper part (in the photo) is slightly larger diameter than the other end, and the purpose is for that double-threaded collar to hold the piston inside the barrel. In other words, the larger end of the piston can't get past the collar when it's screwed into the barrel. The threads on the other side of the collar is of course, for the blind cap.

    Thirdly, the key to this puzzle, a metal tapered "cone", which unfortunately you can't see in the photo because it's already inside the barrel. It took me a while to get it sitting right in there with a makeshift "diaphragm", I ain't taking it out again just to take a photo. So just examine the diagram below to get an idea of what it looks like and where it is in the barrel. This metal cone is the key proof that this was a vacumatic "inspired" filler, it still has part of the original rubber diaphragm, and the way the barrel was made, it has a ledge where this metal cone "sits" and keep the diaphragm in place.

    So in the end it works like this. The diaphragm is attached to the metal cone, the the larger end of the piston is held by tension between the diaphragm and the double-threaded collar which is screwed into the barrel. The smaller end of the piston sticks out of the barrel, and can be pushed repeatedly to pump the diaphragm. On the other end, air is exchanged between the barrel and the breather tube, sucking ink or water into the barrel little by little. It works exactly like the Parker Vacumatic plunger + breather tube.

    Now, the mechanism I just described looks downright crude compared to the sophisticated look of a Vacumatic plunger, especially the elegant lockdown version. But it works.

    Sloppy Diagram(TM)

    As what I typically do for interesting restorations, I drew a diagram highlighting where things are. As always, I caution you all that this diagram is meant for me, not for anyone else, so don't go technical on me if you can't read it

    Interestingly, the original Hoover 14K nib was quite a nice flexible nib. That inspired me to use cursive in the diagram, which is unusual for me



    So there you have it, a Hoover Super 348 (that's what's engraved on the faceted barrel). Hopefully this info is useful for the next generations of FP geeks and restorers.

    And a special thanks to Marco, without whom, we won't learn about this interesting and cool pen.
    Last edited by penwash; December 10th, 2019 at 12:23 PM.
    - Will
    Unique and restored vintage pens: Redeem Pens

  7. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to penwash For This Useful Post:

    azkid (December 10th, 2019), ChrisJ (December 10th, 2019), Robert (December 10th, 2019), Sailor Kenshin (December 10th, 2019)

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