When my husband was growing up in Scotland there were a couple of newsagents in his town that took in fountain pens for repair. A few days later the pens would be returned to their owners for a small fee, in working condition once again. Within a few years, as ballpoints became more popular, that service dwindled away and died through lack of demand. Thereafter, if your fountain pen failed, it went in the trash or in a drawer.
That, really, was all I knew about the repairers of old. There must have been hundreds of them and they seemed to vanish without a trace, along with all of their equipment. It is a great loss to us that their experience has disappeared and very few of the tools that they used have survived.
So when a Summit Repair Kit and Manual appeared in eBay this week I was determined to have it. It ended up being quite expensive but I think it’s worth every penny. It was sold in 1950 to Miss Kennedy, Baskerville Press, Eastbourne. The manual describes it as a repair kit for the Summit pen including the S170. Of course most of the tools could be used to repair other pens.
The kit includes:
A nib and feed fitting press
nib and feed removing block (wooden) and parallel punch
nib-burring tools (male and female)
lever fitting tool
pressure bar fitting tool
barrel or cap brush
lever slot file
stud removing plate
long nib and feed removing block
long parallel punch
nib fitting pliers with rubber covered jaws
nib buffing stick
It’s all there except the emery paper which has been used up. There is an addition of a tube of Dunlop rubber solution.
Probably the costliest item in the kit is the nib and feed fitting press. That’s not something I’ve ever had any need for but I can see that it would be a boon for those with weaker hands.
Perhaps the most limiting items are the long and short nib blocks which probably cover all Summit pens and maybe not all that many others. I think the lever tools would be especially useful. Some other items are recommended:
Bunsen burner or spirit lamp
pliers (flat-nosed 4 inch)
wire cutters 4 inch
jeweller’s hammer (small)
weak alkali solution (or water) for training purposes
solution of shellac and methylated spirits
jeweller’s eyeglass two inch focus (average)
I don’t have the story of Miss Kennedy but the Baskerville Press was active between the 1930s and the 1950s, publishing books of local and more general interest. There is still a Baskerville Press today but it is based in Salisbury and I don’t know whether that is a continuation of the original company or a new one altogether.