Pen Repair: The Moore Safety Pen

Last November I got my first taste of one of the coolest filling systems ever, the safety pen.  Many are familiar with this filling system in its most common form, the Waterman safety, whereby you turn a knob at the end of the pen and the nib spirals up and out of the barrel.  There are different versions of this helical design, but this is the most common style of safety.  Moore also is famous for having made a safety, which they called the “Non-Leakable”.   They were so sure their pen wouldn’t leak, they sold them with ink already in them.  The Moore design was different in that you simply push a sleeve at the end of the barrel upward to extend the nib.  There were nine parts total in this design.

Moore Safety - Early model

A Very Early Moore Safety Pen Open, Note Short Cap and Breather Holes in Seeve

For those not familiar with the idea of the safety, it is essentially an eyedropper pen with some form of retracting mechanism for the nib, and a screw cap.  Gone were the days of a cap coming off in your pocket and your pen inking up your clothes.  Now the cap securely kept the ink inside the pen.  Of course, the trick with safeties is that you have to open them upright.  A common mistake is to open them like any other pen and ooops, you have a barrel of ink all over the place.  You fill the pen with the nib retracted down inside the barrel and fill like any other regular eyedropper pen.  One nice advantage is the nib and feed is always wet inside the pen, so it will write instantly.  No worries that the ink in the feed may have dried up because the nib is already sitting in ink!

I find the Moore design interesting, perhaps because it is different.  Maybe not the most aesthetically pleasing design, but when it comes to old hard rubber pens, I like different.

Moore Safety

Moore Safety Pen with Early American Fountain Pen Nib – Our test pen for this article, before restoration

This design gives the Moore a sort of “stepped” look to it, with a narrow middle or barrel.  When posted there isn’t a step in the middle as the cap fits flush with the sleeve.

Let’s take a look at the internal design shall we?  Taking apart a Moore isn’t too hard, the sleeve screws apart from the end plug and comes off the nib end of the barrel.  The end plug is screwed on to the feed/shaft and often requires some heat to remove.  Then the hardest part, by far, is unscrewing the threaded washer which sandwiches the cork inside the barrel.  I have not found an easy way to get this piece off, you just have to do your best to get it to move.  Heat is often your friend here.  If you’re lucky and the pen is fairly clean it will start to move easily.  If there is dried ink that has leaked down into this part of the pen then it gets tougher.

Once the threaded washer is out, you can push the shaft (which also acts as the feed) out the nib end of the pen, take out the old cork and you’re all set to make and insert a new cork.  Here are the nine parts of the Moore safety pen:

Moore Safety Open

Moore Safety Pen Open

From top, first row: cap, sleeve, and end plug, Second row: nib, nib retaining collar, and barrel, Third row: feed and shaft, cork or seal, and lastly the threaded seal retaining washer.

Moore Safety After

Moore Safety Pen After Restoration

Moore Writing Sample

Moore Writing Sample

After a little bit of tweaking in my nib and the location of the threaded seal retaining washer, it is back in working order.  I took it to work and used it throughout the day, including during a meeting in the afternoon with no adverse effects.  I think the end result turned out pretty ok, don’t you think?

Cheers!
Brian