First, forgive my delay in responding. I have, as we say, been up to my butt in alligators! I don't know anything much about Keen/Keene. And a search of the usual sources turns up nothing of value. The only information I have been able to find comes from Phil Munson; I believe you know him and may have seen this. Paul Bloch.
From what little information I have been able to gather, I believe that Keene was a Jeweler in New York that contracted with Eclipse to brand pens for them. I have no hard evidence of this, but it makes some sense as the pen resembles the large Eclipse pens of the period. Charles A. Keene is listed as a NY Pen Company in 1920 and 1925 at 180 and 189 Broadway (source – Manhattan Pen Makers Project). Though he may not have been a manufacturer, he did have a line of pens. In summary, this Keene pen seems to have originated in New York in the 1920s from a jeweler that also marketed pen knives. Keep an eye open for these pens. If you can find one in good condition they almost rival the Duofolds of their time. As always, I welcome additional information that sheds more light on the history of these pens. ( PHIL MUNSON ).
BELOW , DETAILS OF TWO KEENE GOLD NIBS ( ONE CLEANED AND THE OTHER ONE NOT CLEANED )
A KEENE matchstick filler red and black mottled hard rubber side by side with a very similar CONKLIN 2NPL
Detail of barrel's imprint
Detail of the ROYAL #3 nib. Original or a replacement?
Deetail of the usual matchstick hole to fill the pen using the acomodation ball clip
Detail of the two sections and respective nibs
FIVE FLAT TOP KEENE PENS WITH LARGE GOLD FILLED CAP BANDS. THE PEN ON
MIDDLE IS A SLIM MODEL WITH THREADS ON THE BARREL'S END
DETAIL OF THE THREADS ON THE BARREL'S END OF THE SLIM PEN
Detail of the large cap band
Detail of the painted barrels. You can check that after rubbing the barrel you obtain an orange background!!!!
The earliest KEENE eyedropper pens were probably assembled and imprinted from purchased parts . Keene matchstick fillers ( except for the nib and possibly the feed ) were surely made by ECLIPSE. The first KEENE black chased hard rubber lever-fillers used the unique Finstone lever assembly , complete with its 1917 patent date . The nibs were always 14 karat gold and carried the Keene name , so "warranted" and Eclipse-branded nibs on KEENE pens are probably replacements. ( JOHN ROEDE , PEN WORLD MAGAZINE, Vol. 19, No 7, September 2006, page 62 ).
In the same article John Roed warns to the fact that many, but not all of the celluloid "woodgrain" coating applied in random woodgrain patterns. Great care must be exercised in polishing these caps and barrels to avoid thinning or removing the black entirely!!!! The secret is to inspect the inside of the cap and barrel to find black celluloid. ( Check barrel's ends on the last photo! ).
Acording yet to John Roed it seems that any contemporary story is incomplete without a touch of hanky-panky. Lilian Plancher, an Eclipse employee, was 18 years younger than Marx Finstone ( the founder and owner of ECLIPSE ). She married him in 1924 , shortly after he divorced his first wife Rebecca. In 1935 , the young 42 years old widow took a three week cruise on the SS Lafayette. Amazingly, Charles A. Keene , jeweler and retailer of the Keene branded Eclipse pens , was on the very same cruise. Coincidence ? I think not ( John Roed says ) ! ( Ship records list Keene as being 59, but he was 63 in the 1930 census.)
Cruising with a jeweler , no matter how old ,surely had its benefits!!!!
Today , 17th August 2011 I received on my e-mail box this informtion from PHIL MUNSON and of course the credit of this post belongs to him.
One of the advantages of having a blog such as this, where I can cover a wide variety of non commercial fountain pen topics, is that I get to talk with many people with similar interests. Some are experts, who communicate to share their knowledge and expertise, and some are fellow collectors who want to share similar experiences and add to the discussion. Once and a while, I hear from family members of persons discussed in various articles. I was fortunate to correspond with Frank Spors' son on a few occasions, who shared valuable historical information on a few post about Spors Pens that I wrote a few years ago. I also have communicated with fellow collectors in Alabama and Argentina, who have shared many Artcraft Pen historical references that I would never had found.
A few weeks ago I received an email from the great granddaughter of the recipient of the letter below. You can see that the letter was written to Mrs. Long by Charles Keene, her cousin. She had apparently attempted to assess the value of an antique, and possibly sell it. I have previously written about Charles Keene in my post of February 21, 2011 - Keene Fountain Pens. In that post I discussed Keene pens and their relationship with Eclipse. The letter confirms the referenced New York address in 1931. It also lists foreign locations and confirms that pens were certainly not his main product line. I wonder what type of pen he used to sign this letter in 1931???
Mrs. Long died a few months after receiving this letter at age 55. Her mother and Charles' father were brother and sister, from Augusta, Maine. Her great granddaughter also shared this obituary from the New York Times in 1947.
I am thankful to Mrs. Long's great grandaughter for sending this to me and granting me permission to share it here. It is another contribution to the history of fountain pens, shedding light on one of it's fringe participants.
E SLIM MODEL
|From:||Fountain Pen Restoration (firstname.lastname@example.org)|
|Sent:||Wed 8/17/11 12:15 PM|