Posted in Pens, Stories

For the many, not the few

In the spirit of the coronation, I decided to highlight the British pens in my collection. While musing a title I came across this political slogan, “for the many, not the few.” I felt it exemplified the intention of my post – to expound on the vastness of British fountain pens by presenting my few. To be clear, I am not supporting any political party. I personally believe politicians are the reason for the issues in the world.

Conway Stewart Commemorates

The following should by no means be considered encompassing, it merely scratches the surface. All my British pens are vintage. I do not own a contemporary British pen, but maybe I should remedy that.

My British Pens

Mabie Todd

Mabie Todd is one of the longest-lived manufacturers of writing instruments. Mabie Todd became a wholly-owned British company in 1915. Mabie Todd and the Swan brand were known internationally as “the pen of the British Empire.”

Although the company initially prospered in the postwar years, production ceased prior to the conclusion of the ’50s. Here we have two Swans, a lever-filled and self-filling flanking a Black Bird eyedropper.

Conway Stewart

Conway Stewart was a major manufacturer of fountain pens in England for a hundred years, from 1905-2005. During the pre-WWII years, they sold far more pens than any other brand in England; possibly more than all the other companies combined.

Entering receivership in 2014, fountain pens with the “Conway Stewart” brand are manufactured and marketed by Bespoke British Pens. Here we have two model 15s, a Nippy #3 pencil, and a Relief pen they made for Esterbrook.


Osmiroid roots run deep, having invented a metal pen with a slit to provide flexibility and controlled ink flow in 1819. Manufacturing pens in Manchester, Birmingham, and London. Their success rivaled Esterbrook, making them the second-largest manufacturer of pen nibs in the world. Post World War II, the company focused on fountain pens.

Acquired by Berol in 1989, independent manufacturing and general operations ceased. Newell acquired Berol in 1995, discontinuing the Osmiroid. Ending a 170-year-old company. Here I present a white model 65 and an Easy Change model.


The Mentmore was founded in 1919 in London. Platignum Pen Company was established in 1925 focusing on low-end models. For some time both brands were produced together. During the war, it was reported that the company produced pens for spies with maps, compasses, or with poisonous darts.

The company adopted the Platignum name in 1981, yet Mentmore and Platignum remain independent brands. I found an odd Platignum with a hooded nib and a piston-filler Mentmore.

For more information

If a contemporary British pen is more your speed, might I suggest reviewing the list of British Pen Manufactures by Dapprman. The list includes independent, corporate, and kit pens.

An amazing source of information on vintage British Pens (common and uncommon) I suggest a visit to Goodwriterspens blog. Though retired now, Deb still continues to publish the occasional article on unique British pens.



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

6 thoughts on “For the many, not the few

  1. Gosh Danny. Nearly missed this post. Great write up on the pens which are my favourite go to vintage. Facts included here that I never knew and really pleased you shared them. Love that Osmiroid White. It is a beauty. And you look like you polish them all amazingly well too. I know you use a specific cloth but have never written the make down. The gold nibs we both talked about in the past as being strange to control at times. I’ve grown to understand their quirky nature. If I slow down a bit and write with intentional purpose, it works out amazingly well. I keep checking their positioning in the section and feed too. All the best.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gray, the white Osmiroid was a find! It is in great shape and has a sketch nib. The seller wanted it sold. I paid $17 for it. I use a jeweler’s cloth on the pens and nibs call Sunshine Cloth. Not recommend on gold plated nibs. It does an amazing job. Good to learn of your success with the gold nibs. I will give that info a go next time I use one. All the best

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for the information. I find the nibs can loosen alongside the feed or both need a gentle minuscule twist or push to house perfectly. Cheers. I’ll hunt down a cloth.

        Liked by 1 person

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