Though their quality is consistently high Summits can usually be had for bargain prices. Partly, perhaps, that’s because they’re seen as quite dull. Their design, though practically and ergonomically excellent, was conservative. They’re most often seen in black chased celluloid and the nibs, though very good writers, are generally firm.

There’s more to the company than that, though. Just on the basis of the pens I’ve seen, Summit began life in the last years of the 19th century as, I believe, Curzon, Lang and MacGregor. Examples of their early output are rare now, but they marketed the Angloamer pen. In, perhaps, the early nineteen-twenties, the company became Curzon’s. Lang continued to manufacture the pens. They produced a range of handsome BHR flat-top lever fillers with riveted clips during the twenties and by the end of that decade had moved on to celluloid. Just before the Second World War the company became Summit. They produced many beautiful pens in lizard-skin patterns, in moire and in the full range of marbled celluloids. At the peak (I almost said summit!) of their popularity, from the thirties to the early fifties, they were a very big player indeed, as can be seen by the number of Summits that still appear on eBay.

Something that appears admirable in retrospect – though it was doubtless not done by intention – is the way the company ended. Faced with the post-war decline in sales due to the advent of the ballpoint, other companies reacted with unfortunate new designs and saved costs by reducing quality. Summit continued with its well-made, traditional design until 1954, then closed its doors.

From a collector’s perspective, the various versions of the company produced a range of pens over the years, many now rare and costly, some exceptionally beautiful. For the writer who likes a firm or only slightly flexible nib, the later Summits provide excellent, well-made, comfortable writing instruments.

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