An Early Conway Stewart 479.

I picked this old 479 up in eBay, if not exactly for a song, at least not for a high price, which was a Good Thing. Examining it properly on the bench, I found a crack at the lever opening. Though the crack appears stable the pen’s not saleable like that. Usually, I would just contact the seller and arrange to return it for a refund but I hesitated with this one and in the end I decided I would just keep it.


There’s no repair for something like that. Hard rubber doesn’t take welding and in any case, a repair would be as bad as the crack, running through that prominent engine turning. If I returned this pen to the seller it would be scrapped or put in the parts bin, a sad end for a good pen.


I have an especial liking for Conway Stewarts of the early thirties. Domed cap, flanged lever, fixed clip, deep engine chasing; it adds up to what I see as the finest style of pen that Conway Stewart ever made. This, for me, is a better pen than all their glories of the forties or their colourful beauties of the fifties and sixties. You may disagree with me, of course, and I expect that most people will, but that’s how I see it. It’s just the right collection of attributes that adds up to be harmonious design. Like some Swans of the same period, it’s a perfect pen, not to be excelled.

As luck would have it, it has a very nice nib, a warranted which must be wrong for this date, but has a measure more flexibility than the correct nib would have had. The pen’s restored and filled and sitting in my desk set, awaiting use. I’ll keep an eye on the crack but I think it will be all right.

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