I hereby give Wikipedia full consent
publish this information
on the history of
Conway Stewart for their website
The History of Conway Stewart
1905, Mr. Frank Jarvis and Mr. Tommy Garner formed Conway Stewart
& Co. Limited at 13 Paternoster Row London EC1, next to St Paul's
Cathedral in London. Today, this area is known as Paternoster Square
having been redeveloped after its complete destruction during the
Blitz of World War II. Although there is much debate regarding the
origins of the Company's name, it is believed that the name "Conway
Stewart" derives from a popular vaudeville act of the day. Conway
and Stewart were supposedly a comedy double act who appeared at Collins
Music Hall in Islington.
Drawing from the knowledge and experience gained while
working for De La Rue, Garner and Jarvis, two entrepreneurs, took
a great risk in leaving their secured jobs to start a new enterprise
reselling fountain pens made by other manufacturers. They concentrated
their energies and invested in importing pens from the United States.
an arduous month of persistent selling of their stock, they reaped
the rewards of a rather healthy turnover of more than £13 and
9 shillings. This was a great accomplishment considering that the
rent for their business premises was only five shillings a week. Even
though this turnover would be pleasing to many new ventures, the strength
of De La Rue in the fountain pen market made it impossible for the
company to continue selling no-named fountain pens.
In the same year, De La Rue reportedly invested £50,000
in a promotion campaign for their new launch, the Onoto. However,
Garner and Jarvis soon recognized there was an audience desiring good,
reliable writing instruments that were also affordable. This is when
Conway Stewart began to capture a market amongst the English. Jarvis
and Garner developed a single aim, to produce elegant and beautiful,
yet functional writing instruments - a principle that Conway Stewart
holds true to this day.
The Golden Years
The 1920s was an excellent decade for the courageous owners. Not only
did they trademark the name of the business 'Conway Stewart', but
also their list of filling mechanisms available expanded to include
eyedroppers, lever fillers, pump fillers and safeties. While the first
of these pens were almost indistinguishable from others of that period,
by 1925 Conway Stewart was coming into their own in terms of design.
A trademark for the name "Dinkie" was registered in 1924,
along with a patent for a new locking lever mechanism. Conway Stewart
was rapidly growing in popularity and demand. So much so that they
were taking away market shares from other dominant pen manufacturers.
Another introduction around this time was the use
of brightly colored celluloid. In the 1920s, Conway Stewart were offering
dozens of different colors in their various lines, and the customer
could choose from either the simple and conservative, the bright and
cheerful, or the downright flamboyant. The pens of this period were
very well made, and of high quality, yet remained affordable. The
wide range of models and materials allowed Conway Stewart to truly
offer "something for everyone" when it came to fountain
This reasonable pricing and successful marketing
contributed to the success of Conway Stewart for the next decade.
They invested in new premises in 1927, which became their headquarters
for the next two decades. As the depression of the 1930s hit, Conway
Stewart was in the enviable position of marketing pens that were considered
"good value". Although this decade proved to be a low point
for Conway Stewart in terms of profit, they were able to ride out
the depression successfully.
Colorful plastics were soon becoming a signature
for Conway Stewart. It is interesting to note that they did not designate
titles for their designs. The names we recognize today have been adopted
by collectors over the years. As an example, Cracked Ice and Reversed
Cracked Ice, used for many of their models for over 25 years, and
Tiger Eye, another favorite.
By the middle of the decade, Conway Stewart was ready
to expand, and in 1935 they went public, with shares being offered
to raise capital. Advertising campaigns managed to keep the name Conway
Stewart in the forefront of the public mind, much the same way of
advertising from Sheaffer, Parker and De La Rue.
war years were no easier for Conway Stewart than any other manufacturer
in England. However, they managed to emerge more than ready to participate
in a post war boom. As the 1940s drew to an end, they were still offering
the public good, reliable pens at reasonable prices. They continued
to prosper accordingly. Their models were now sporting the famous
diamond clip in place of the old 'ball' clip and names of their models
were been phased out in favor of model numbers, except for the Dinkie.
The 1950s proved to be a continuation of the "golden
age" for Conway Stewart, with many of their materials from this
era being eagerly sought after today by collectors around the world.
The Herringbone pattern and many versions of marbled colors are very
popular today. Even more notable is the Number 22 Floral, with its
flowered design set on a cream background. Today, fifty years after
it's launch, there are still many discussions concerning the Floral.
Was production limited due to the complexity of the material or was
the market not ready to accept such an exotic plastic? Either way,
whenever a mint No.22 Floral is found for sale today, there is always
a demanding audience of pen collectors.
Unfortunately, the 1950s also ushered in the era
of injection molding for the manufacture of pens. This led to the
utilization of solid colored plastics in place of the wonderful patterned
celluloids. By 1957, the Conway Stewart line was represented with
pens that, while still very well made, and reliable writers, were
not in the same league in terms of appearance. It was at this time
that the first ballpoint pens were offered by Conway Stewart.
The End of an Era
1950s provided the last of the great Conway Stewart models. The company
began to stagnate through the 1960s as the market turned relentlessly
towards the disposable ballpoint. Conway Stewart persevered in trying
to keep up with the market trends with their ball pen and also by
launching the 106, a cartridge pen mounted with a semi-hooded nib.
In the 1960's the company was sold and relocated to Wales, where the
last pen rolled of their production floor in 1975.
Following a significant investment in research and
development, a new era began with a focus on making pens for those
who appreciate traditional craftsmanship, objects of timeless beauty
and utility, and the pleasure of using a fine pen. Not to mention
the ever growing number of pen collectors around the world who treasure
the Conway Stewart name and all that it stood for as Britain's greatest
pen maker. Thus a new era of Conway Stewart was born.
The Second Golden
In the 1990's, the company launched a range of pens
made from solid gold; "the Gold Collection" to showcase
the work of English master craftsmen in various fields, including
hand painting, enamelling and engraving. These fantastic pieces which
can sell for £10,000 ($18,000) and more continued Conway Stewart's
tradition of excellence and are fitting companions to the pens of
After significant research Conway Stewart was also
the first modern day pen maker to reintroduce the use of casein as
a material for making pens. Casein made from milk protein particles
(confusingly known as nibs) are dyed and then laid down under high
pressure to form slabs from which the components are eventually formed.
Each slab has to be cured in preservative for five to six months before
"weathering" for a further two months before any parts can
be made. This lengthy period rewards the eventual owner with a material
that has warmth and lustre that cannot be achieved in any other material.
In 1996 the Churchill model was introduced to celebrate the life of
Sir Winston Churchill and his prolific interest in writing and literature
throughout his lifetime.
celebrate the company's Centenary in 2005 the new One Hundred Series
was launched, produced in various handmade resins. Accompanying the
100, the stunning Silver Duro pens arrived on the market. Made from
pure English sterling silver over-laid with resin veneer, the sterling
silver Duro echoes the great designs of the Edwardian era. Also launched
to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of Conway Stewart were several
limited editions, detailed on our limited editions page.
Owners of modern Conway Stewarts are in excellent
company, as Conway Stewart pens have always been the preferred choice
of the most discerning and famous people from around the world and
this tradition continues to this day.
Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh were presented
with two Conway Stewart pens from "the Gold Collection"
to commemorate their Golden Wedding Anniversary. Recently Prime Minister
Blair presented Russian President Putin a Conway Stewart Churchill
Burgundy Fountain pen on a state visit to Russia and French President
Jacques Chirac was given a Brown Marble Churchill to celebrate his
Conway Stewart was the official pen chosen by the
British Government for the G8 Summit at which Prime Minister Blair
presented a Conway Stewart No 58 set to each of the G8 world leaders.
We are suppliers to No 10 Downing Street, the official residence of
the British Prime Minister as well as the British Royal Palaces.
President Bush and President Clinton
both own a Conway Stewart. Conway
Stewart creates exclusive pens for many prestigious corporate and
government accounts, including the Royal Air Force, the Red Arrows,
Rolls Royce, Mensa, as well as numerous other high profile corporate
Conway Stewart Pens
Collecting Conway Stewart pens can be
a very demanding, but ultimately rewarding challenge. The numbering
system used for their models is unlike that of any other major pen manufacturer.
Normally model numbers relate to the various aspects of that individual
model: size, filling system, or nib size.
advertising of Conway Stewart shows that model numbers were issued without
any real order. Many times, the same model was designated with two different
numbers, depending upon whether it was sold for the domestic market,
or for export.
For the enthusiasts, this can make identifying
any given Conway Stewart model very demanding. The pens can be defined
mainly into two groups: "early pens" and the later celluloid
pens. Both groups have their adherents among collectors, and many simply
choose to collect both!
The early pens, made of hard rubber,
can be more of an adventure. It is important to remember that the Conway
Stewart pens were marketed as being "everyday" writers. Thus,
the original owners used them everyday. After ten, twenty, or thirty
years of constant, everyday use, can leave an impression on even the
best made of pens!
Searching for an original Duro lever
filler in mottled hard rubber in mint condition can be quite a quest
and will not be as easy as locating some of the later pens. As with
all vintage pens, the larger models will be more expensive and difficult
to find than the smaller models. A large Duro such as that pictured
here can require quite an investment in both time and money to add to
course, it's not necessarily a simple task to compile a complete collection
of the later production pens. Some of the celluloids are very rare today,
and command a premium price.
patterns, in Green, Red, and Blue, for example, are considered to be
quite desirable. Others however, can be easier to locate, and allow
the collector the opportunity to enjoy vintage Conway Stewarts at an
Given that the nibs available
on these pens from the late 1940s and 1950s are every bit as good as
those found on the earlier Conway Stewarts, if you're looking for a
collection that also serves for daily use, these later pens can be the
My personal favorites of
their signature celluloids are the Herringbone in every color; Mottled
hard rubber in Red and Black; Black lined Olive Green; Floral and of
course, the famous Cracked Ice. Once you begin collecting Conway Stewarts,
I am sure you will find your own favorites!
home | new
products | limited
editions | image
bank| photo gallery
| media coverage|
about us | contact