This is, at first glance, a rather ordinary old pen, black hard rubber quite faded on the barrel and formerly chrome-plated trim now down to the bare metal. It’s more interesting than it seems, though. This is my oldest Conway Stewart, a 306. It’s old enough for there to be debate over whether this pen was bought in from America or made in-house. Except for the level of quality, which is precisely where you’d expect a Conway Stewart to be, i.e. very good but not quite the best, not much about this pen resembles the company’s later output. The inserted ball-ended clip does appear on a few other models like the 382 and 353 Pixie but they, too, are suspected of being made abroad. We’re not used to seeing Conway Stewarts with straight levers but that’s how they began. The nib is warranted and that’s correct for the model. This pen has a j-bar, something Conway Stewart never quite dropped though the much more efficient slide-bar was what they usually employed. The concave section is something you do see on other Conway Stewarts of the period.
Near as I can work out this pen was introduced around 1920 and was still in the range in 1926, when it cost 11/6d. Not the most expensive of the company’s pens, then, but well-made with deeply-cut chasing which has lasted well. You will note that the imprint states “Made In England” and who are we to question those nice people at the Conway Stewart of eighty-five or ninety years ago?
So that’s it – the oldest Conway Stewart that has so far landed on my bench. I’m very glad to have had the opportunity to examine it.
This is its box. Not original for sure, and quite a strange thing, made out of very thick cardboard and held together with mighty staples. Perhaps it’s a repair box. I’ve certainly never seen one of these before.