The Dickinson Croxley

Several British pen brands were made by (or for) large stationery companies. Despite being a secondary enterprise for these manufacturers, quality was generally as high, or higher than that of the dedicated pen makers. John Dickinson was and remains one of the largest paper manufacturers, establishing paper mills at Croxley in 1830. They were long famed for their Croxley Script paper, which is no longer made, and the excellent Basildon Bond and economy Lion Brand which are still available. Gradually, over decades, they expanded into other related areas, going into fountain pen sales in the late nineteen thirties. Their pens are high quality writing instruments. They sold well and are common today, though they are somewhat underrated by buyers.

There is some doubt about how Croxley pens were produced. I have read that Dickinson established their own pen factory at Croxley, but this is disputed by others who say that the pens were made by De La Rue or Conway Stewart. The pens that De La Rue made for other companies tend to look like their own product range and usually the quality is not especially high. Looking at Croxley pens, one would have to say that there is no reason to doubt that they could have been made by Conway Stewart, but there’s no compelling evidence that they were, either. All I can say is that Croxleys are very well made, with parts that fit together securely and no distortion of the plastic. The plating of the metal parts is very good, better than that usually seen on either Conway Stewarts or non-Onoto De La Rues. The well-stamped nibs are excellent, often medium but not infrequently broad and usually with some flexibility.

Croxleys were only made for a short period and the product range is small. The earliest one I have seen is very much an example of the Standard British Pen (of which more on another occasion), straight-sided with a large BHR clip-screw, a ball-ended clip and a straight lever, looking very much like a Summit or a Mentmore Autoflow. The Croxley most usually seen is quite similar, but it has a handsome arrow clip which is echoed by an arrow-shaped lever. A balance-shaped pen with a smoothly curved clip and an arrow lever was also made. The pens come in black and the usual range of marbled patterns. There is also a plain-but-handsome desk-set which turns up once in a blue moon.

Lack of variety probably limits their appeal to collectors but they are durable and handsome and, above all, they are writers’ pens, up there with Swan, Waterman and Onoto in terms of writing pleasure.


6 thoughts on “The Dickinson Croxley

  1. G’day from Tasmania, Australia Deb [Ian Williamson referred me over]. Can you tell me what colours the Croxleys came in for the ‘marbled’ and ‘flat top’ style, Please?
    Thanks in advance, Garth

    1. Hi Garth,
      I think we’ve discussed this Croxley before, on the Fountain Pen Board.

      First, it has to be said, most Croxleys, by a huge margin, are black. Here’s a list of the marbled colours I’ve seen: Grey, Rose, pale, dark and intermediate Green, Brown/Gold and Blue. That may not be comprehensive; there may be others – pale or dark blue for instance, by comparison with the three tones of green I’ve handled.

      It’s quite remarkable that such a small proportion of all Croxleys are coloured. People just liked black in those days, I suppose!


      1. Hi Deb 🙂 and thanks for your reply. I didn’t realise you were on the FPB, but then I am not a major member. I purchased mine today and in the bright light of day, it is more green than bronze. Picked it up for $45 which is pretty good, and a little less than they wanted. I may even try and do the restore / fix, and get myself some supplies to do that. I will be taking some decent [I hope] photo’s tomorrow and posting on FPB in a topic I started the other day after I found the pen. Regards, Garth.

      2. Hi Garth,
        That’s quite a good price. Restoration of these pens is really straightforward but if you run into any problems don’t hesitate to ask.

  2. Hi
    My dad brought a Croxley pen today and wants to now how much it is worth it is in cood coniditon but dont know if it can actully write but looks ok any ideas?????

    1. Hi Chloe,
      It’s hard to put a price on a pen without seeing it. So much depends upon condition, colour, nib and so on. A restored Croxley in good condition usually sells in the £35 – £45 range.

      Your Dad’s pen may need servicing before it will write. These old pens usually need a new sac.

      Best Regards,

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