Franky and Fans

Frankys in order: Bride of, Thinenstein, Son of.

Frankies in order: Bride of, Thinenstein, Son of.

If you’ve been collecting, fixing, and futzing with pens for as long as I have you wind up with a lot of pen parts. Often these bits are leftovers from a broken pen you may have bought to salvage parts from to fix another. You hope that someday you’ll need some of the leftover pieces but unless you do pen repair as a business (which I do not) they’ll just gather dust.

A while ago I was rummaging through my cabinet of pen curiosities and realized I had a lot of Sheaffer Snorkel parts. There were more than enough to make quite a few pens out of. The down side was that there were not enough parts of the same color to make a monotone pen except for black. Black, although suitable for all formal occasions, is quite a boring pen color so I didn’t bother.

Sometime after noticing my parts surplus I was talking to a friend and realized she never had owned a Snorkel. Since I think everyone should have one (or two) of this remarkable pen I had an idea: Take the colorful mish-mash of parts and form a single pen from them. This would match my friend’s eclectic nature (and my own whimsy) as well! So with that a pen made of parts from many other pens (generically known as a “frankenpen”) was born. After the woman in question, Leigh Reyes, received the monstrosity she christened it “Frankensnork.”

I thought Franky (for short) was going to be a one off since I couldn’t imagine many people would find such a conglomeration of parts attractive. Surprisingly, I was proven wrong when the pen was shown around to other pen fanciers and they expressed a desire for one of similarly bizarre construction. A few months later I had fulfilled such slightly askew wishes with three more pens. Two were Snorkels, Bride of Frankensnork & Son of Frankensnork, and one was a Sheaffer Thin Model I named Thinenstein. Those pens have since found their way into the hands of some good friends, both here and abroad, who I hope are happy with them.

Never knowing when to stop I’ve taken up the mad scientist mantle again to build another horror pen. Sadly, there were not enough parts to make a multi-hued Snorkel again but I did discover enough to create a Sheaffer Tuckaway. This pen model was quite short with an abbreviated clip and intended for vest pockets or ladies’ purses. It’s filled via the Touchdown method so in my bizarre naming scheme it has become Spawn of Thinenstein! Well, it was Baby of Thinenstein prior to that but I didn’t think it theatrical enough a name.

I’ve just assembled all the parts I will need and below is an image of them arranged somewhat in the order they are put together. When I’m done and before I ship it off to its waiting owner I’ll take a picture of the finished product.


Spawn of Thinenstein bits. (click image for parts w/labels)

  1. April 19, 2009, 9:32 pm

    I think it is great that you are motivated by love of your hobby, not love of $$$. Your Frankenpen creations are a great idea — pure collectors may not be so into the mis-matched colors, but to real pen USERS it is a delight.

    Now that your pens have appropriate nick-names, as chief pen-giver you need one as well… Snork-a Claus? The Sheaffer Bunny? (just kidding).

  2. April 19, 2009, 10:13 pm

    tom, i wonder if you’d care to sell your pens. i’d like to own one from you. if you decide to sell them, i’d be first in line. 🙂 btw, thanks for adding me up in your friends’ list at Facebook. i appreciate it a lot! cheers!

  3. April 20, 2009, 10:33 am

    What an excellent idea! I’d be interested in one of these conglomerations, too. Thanks for the photos and stories.

  4. TAO
    April 20, 2009, 10:48 am

    Brian: I think I’ll stick to just being “Tom.” The hobby and the people you meet are a reward in themselves. Thanks for the kind words.
    Clem: I appreciate your compliment in wanting one of the Frankies. I don’t know when the next ones will be created since it’s all about leftover parts. It’s funny to think that someone would want to purchase a pen made out of old parts!
    Missive: You too? Goodness, maybe there is a business in these oddballs. LOL. I need to find a trove of old parts now.

  5. April 20, 2009, 2:00 pm


    I’ve been interested in these for awhile. I’ve been meaning to put together a multi-colored snorkel myself. I just couldn’t do it. I have a snorkel set that needs to be kept as is once restored. I couldn’t bring myself to alter it. Would you like it. I’ll trade you for a frankensnork; it is a pen and a pencil. If you are interested email me.

    I’m glad you like frankenpens I really love the scene for frankensnorks and franken-51s. Franken-51s sounds like an android.

    Take Care,

    Orange Gent.

  6. Caloy
    April 21, 2009, 4:15 am

    Thank you very much for The Bride of Frankensnork. It was indeed a surprised when Leigh handed me the pen (and the Whitelines pad) during our last pen meet. It is a cool pen and has become a daily writer. Aside from the funky colors, I just love the nib – broad and wet. It is my first Snork and certainly not my last.

  7. TAO
    April 21, 2009, 10:41 am

    Orange Gent: I appreciate the offer! I think I’m going to have to curtail the Franken (fill in the blank) production for a while. My variety of parts has dwindled and I can’t put one together that would be interesting. All this interest (well, to me a handful of people is a goodly number) still strikes me as quite odd. But a good odd.
    Caloy: I’m glad it was a nice surprise. Leigh, My co-conspirator, deserves half the credit. I was floored that she videoed it so I could see the surprise as well!

  8. JennyO
    April 25, 2009, 8:25 pm

    Thinenstein is spectacular! I never leave home without it. Thanks again! 🙂

  9. TAO
    April 26, 2009, 11:50 pm

    Jenny: So very happy it has a good home.

  10. Ron
    June 10, 2011, 5:20 am

    … and now I have the Stonenstein! It kept me in a happy mood throughout the tedium of paperwork today.

    Thank you, Tom!

    1. TAO
      June 12, 2011, 2:18 pm

      I’m happy you like it. I hope it serves you well.