Kenrick & Jefferson pens exist, I believe, to remind me how much I don’t know. There are several K&J pens that I’ve seen photographs of but never handled. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a pen in your hand speaks volumes.
Kenrick & Jefferson, based in West Bromwich, were a large office supply company that provided everything from office furniture down to paper clips. A large part of their activity was the provision of pre-printed business forms for government, local government and business. Some of these forms had as many as twelve carbons, so it took firm pressure to leave a clear imprint on the bottom one. The pens they sold were designed with that in mind, with nibs as hard as nails. It is sometimes baldly asserted that Kenrick & Jefferson pens were made by Mabie Todd, but that’s only partly true. Some of their pens were certainly of Mabie Todd manufacture, others may have been, and some seem to have been made by other pen companies. I have a cap (but sadly that’s all) of a 1920s K&J pen that is essentially a top-of-the-range Swan, and it bears a Swan patent date on the clip. That’s one that certainly was made by Mabie Todd. Here’s another that may have been:
I would date this pen to the immediately post-World War I period, and it bears a strong resemblance to the early Swan Self-Fillers like the SF2. Mabie Todd never made a feed like this, however, and there is no reason to think the feed isn’t original to the pen.
That doesn’t exactly remove the possibility that Mabie Todd made the pen; K&J may have had their reasons for specifying such a feed, but it does raise some doubts.
This pen is very Swan-like in its general appearance. The dimensions are a little different from the nearest Swan equivalent, which would be the SM2/100. This pen is noticeably thicker. The chased pattern is different too, but it does have a Mabie Todd-type ladder feed. The odds are good that Mabie Todd made this one.
There’s a gap of many years to this next pen. Probably made in the early nineteen-fifties, this pen no longer resembles a Swan, not even the poor-quality Biro Swans that were being produced at this late date. Its general appearance and the almost complete loss of gold plating on the clip and lever looks like Wyvern’s work, but that’s only a guess. Plating loss aside, it’s still a very high quality pen.
That’s about the limit of my knowledge of these intriguing pens. I don’t know whether Kenrick & Jefferson sold a range of pens at any one time, or whether they only ever had one on offer. They were consistently well made, they were always called “The Supa Pen” and they always bore an apricot-coloured top to the cap, or a similarly-coloured ring near the top of the cap. The company, which began in 1830, was largely bought out by a competitor in 1993. They retained production of envelopes, but that too disappeared in 1999. Sadly, there’s no mention of their pens in the existing archives.