National Security and Rosemary

British Carbon Papers began selling pens in – so far as I can determine – the nineteen-twenties. Their brands were the oddly-named National Security and Rosemary (That’s For Remembrance). They had no manufacturing facility of their own, and contacted out production of the pens.

Button fillers, lever fillers and bulb fillers (some with ink-view) were all made under the National Security name. Quality varies, but there are many excellent National Security Pens. Rosemary, with its Shakespearian tag, was often presented in pen and pencil sets in colourful, attractive boxes. The pens are often ring-tops. Some of these are popularly known as “Rosemary Dinkies” due to their resemblance to Conway Stewart’s Dinkie range of small pens, and I think we’re on fairly firm ground in saying that many of these pens were actually made by Conway Stewart.

The attribution of National Security pens is a more difficult matter. If you read the comments about British Carbon Papers on the web, you’ll find production of these pens assigned to almost every British pen company. Two or three of these attributions are probably sound, some others are possible, and the rest are fantasy, based on some real or perceived resemblance. The 1920s and 30s pens were probably made by Henry Stark, Son & Hamilton, and their output will include the excellent bulb-fillers, some in mottled hard rubber, others in variously marbled celluloid. Then there is a range of very Duofold-like pens, which seem likely to have been been produced at Newhaven by Valentine. Also, there is a Summit-like pen which some attribute to Langs. That may be the case, or this, too, may be a Newhaven-made pen. The latter is more likely, I think.

National Security pens appear in some striking celluloid patterns: turquoise and gold, lapis lazuli, snakeskin and lizard-skin. This lever filler is an example of the latter pattern.

A well-made pen, quite substantial at 12.7cm capped, it is a handsome and striking pen. The arrow clip is held by a stepped collar and the nib is quite large and warranted 14ct. National Security imprints are usually shallow and therefore don’t wear well. They sometimes include their Lion & Pen trademark.


3 thoughts on “National Security and Rosemary

  1. I have a 1920’s National Security fountain pen in the original box with 2 unused and 1 used spare nib. Also has the original Instruction sheet and repair price list from British Carbon Papers Ltd. Has anyone any idea what the value of this might be please.
    Many thanks – Jo

      1. Thanks. Have just sent you a couple of pics from my phone. One of the pen and nibs and the other of the Directions for Use and the Repair Price List from British Carbon Papers. Hope they are clear enough otherwise I will have to wait until daytime and take them outside. The pen has “National Security Lever Pen” printed on the side.
        Appreciate your help.

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