Conway Stewart Associated Pens

Part of the genius of Conway Stewart was hitting the right niche in the market. Soundly made and instantly recognisable but comparatively inexpensive, the pens had an air of worth and respectability that recommended them to other companies and associations wishing to advertise themselves. Conway Stewart sold thousands of pens in this way. Many associated pens are listed in the late Jonathan Donahaye’s excellent web site:

and other previously unlisted ones are frequently discovered. Mostly (though not always) the pens chosen for this purpose were from the lower end of the range, often 475s or 479s. Such a pen is this one, apparently a give-away for Bennett College in Sheffield:

Though the name “Conway Stewart” is not imprinted on the barrel, the intertwined “CS” initials are stamped on the shoulder of the clip and the nib is a Conway Stewart one.

For several decades, Conway Stewart pens were produced for the Boy Scout Association. Given Baden-Powell’s Imperialist vision, it’s perhaps fitting that this is The Empire Pen! The first Empire pen I got, many years ago, before such good reference materials were available, was a black pen with chasing. The barrel imprint was “The Empire Pen 411” and where the Conway Stewart logo would normally be on the clip, there was a fleur-de-lys, the emblem of the Scouting Movement. The nib was warranted. Nonetheless, every inch of that pen insisted “Conway Stewart” and so it turned out to be.

I bought another one recently, an older Empire Pen, probably from the early thirties, bearing the number 46. Sadly, the inserted clip was missing and, even worse, there’s a hairline crack in the cap lip. The pen is unsaleable but I’m not too disappointed. I’m happy to keep this one as a daily user. I’m fond of mottled hard rubber Conway Stewarts, especially the ones with the flange lever. As a bonus, this one has a broad flexible oblique nib. That’ll do for me!


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