Less Common British Pens: The Savoy

The Savoy pen remains a mystery to me – not that that’s a bad thing! It’s something to puzzle over in the hope that one day all will become clear.

They’re by no means common pens, but they happen along now and again. Most of those I’d seen, and all of those I’ve had until recently, were black celluloid pens with engine-chasing, very like Stephens, and often with a slightly crude-looking stepped clip. Due to the resemblance, I assumed that they came from the same manufacturer, namely, Langs.

Now, however, I hear that it is asserted (on what basis I know not) that Savoy was a sort of off-brand of De La Rue, created in the nineteen-thirties as a test-bed for new celluloid patterns. It’s true that some Savoys are in really nice colours, but not, so far as I have seen, ones that are so unusual that the manufacturer would want to keep at arm’s length from them by creating a new company to test the market. It would seem to be a way of ensuring that not many pens were sold. Also, the parent company wouldn’t gain the credit should one of these new patterns prove popular. And how does that explain the fact that most Savoys are black? I don’t say they couldn’t have been made by De La Rue but I remain unconvinced. They don’t look like De La Rue pens, but that’s not conclusive.

I also hear that Savoys might have been made by Valentine at Newhaven, in the pre-Parker days. That’s perfectly possible. Valentine made pens for many companies, and they had no real “house-style” of their own. The fact that Savoys don’t look like Valentines doesn’t matter. They would make any pen you wanted. The point is, though, that Valentine’s sub-contracting was for other pen companies, like Unique, for instance. If they made Savoys, who did they make them for? Was Savoy a stand-alone company? Was it a sub-brand of Valentine or De La Rue? What’s the story ? Enquiring minds wish to know.

Anyway, those Savoys that have passed through my hands have been well-made pens, usually with warranted 14ct nibs. As a brand, they have captured my interest. This is the only colourful one I’ve had:

Not one of the more exotic patterns, but an elegant large flat-top in a good conventional blue marble.

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About goodwriterspens
I restore fountain pens, and used to trade as redripple52 in eBay. I also have my own fountain pen sales website, www.goodwriterssales.com

4 Responses to Less Common British Pens: The Savoy

  1. John Allan says:

    I have a black savoy that came in an Onoto box. Coincidence or not ? It has 19-8-42 engraved on it.

    • Coincidence! It’s a long time since either box or pen left whichever factory they were made in. Who knows what brought them together? I’ve had all sorts of pens in all sorts of boxes. All those Savoys that I’ve handled bear the appearance of Langs pens. I see no hint of De La Rue. Also, Langs policy of naming pens after areas or streets of London continues with the Savoy: Savoy Street, Savoy Place and, of course, the Savoy Hotel.
      My mind is not closed on the subject but it will need pretty startling evidence to make me believe Savoy was a De La Rue offshoot.

  2. Geno Rodriguez says:

    I have the same exact pen and the imprint says “Onoto de la Rue” as does the nib. So…guess its an Onoto.

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