Posted in Pens, Reviews

A Christmas Miracle, nah just Dumb Luck

So I was looking, for a pen and pencil set, barely looking but looking. As I had not found anything for my wife to gift to me, I was resigned to finding nothing under the tree. But then in late November, I stumbled upon a BEAUtiful Conway Stewart set – it must be a Christmas miracle! Ok, maybe it isn’t a Christmas Miracle, nah it is just dumb luck. I stumbled upon a Conway Stewart #15 pen and Nippy #3 Pencil set in superb condition. The box is immaculate, and the instructions are included.

As you may recall from my Not For The Lactose Intolerant – Conway Stewart No. 15 post, production of the Model 15 spanned a decade beginning 1952. As with many vintage Conway Stewarts, this model is a fairly small pen (which is preferable, as I have small hands). Plus my find is casein, both pen, and pencil. Making the find all the more impressive, the age of the set is 60-70 years old.

As mentioned, I’m confident the pen and pencil are casein. Neither smells of camphor, and each has wavy striations (veins) and an irregular colorful pattern. Plus the instructions clearly state under no circumstances immerse the pen in water. Casein will expand by about 10% and become very soft losing its shape in as little as 2 hours = damaged beyond repair.

Neither the pen or the pencil have been impaired by major scratches, nor is there any brassing of the gold plate. The pen does need a new ink sac. The lever is frozen in place by the old hard sac.

The only damage could be related to the manufacture of the pen. There appears to be an abnormality in the filler lever slot. The lever appears to show signs of ink stains from leakage of the original sac.

How about the veins in the pen.

The nib is a medium flex, 14k Conway Stewart 1A. Let’s dip the nib into some ink and see how well she writes.

On to the pencil, the mechanism controlling the ingress/egress of the lead is stiff but functional. When the conical tip was removed I was treated to much lint and fuzz. The pen came with one piece of lead, the extras are normally stored around the central “lead carrier” accessible once the tip section is removed.

Vital Statistics Pen

  • Capped Length: 126.5mm
  • Uncapped Length: 114mm
  • Barrel Diameter: 11.5mm
  • Cap Diameter: 13mm
  • Weighs in at, 14g

Vital Statistics Pencil

  • Length: 112mm
  • Barrel Diameter: 10mm
  • Weighs in at, 13g.


I'm a loser as my wife likes to tell me, I enjoy researching dead cousins and playing with fountain pens.

8 thoughts on “A Christmas Miracle, nah just Dumb Luck

  1. A great find. How I read your post, the sac replacement is a consideration for the future? If so, look forward to seeing the result. Alongside the aesthetics and the condition the pen is in, it’s good the nib is a success too. The pencil is an amazing added bonus. All the best.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You talking about the pencil reminds me that I have a handmade mechanical pencil that was given to me several years ago. I don’t use pencils very often, but I should find it and start using it again. I recall that it worked very nicely, and is a lovely pencil in and of itself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve always been a fan of mechanical pencils but I too don’t use them often. They ones we have are disposable. Cant say I’ve seen a handmade mechanical pencil. Enjoy it.


    1. I was really excited to find them. It was on eBay and the seller offered a “buy it now option” just above the asking price. The lead is super old school, it is a tad over 1mm. I’d guess 1.1-1.3mm


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