W. H. Smith’s “The Strand” Fountain Pen.

W. H. Smith and Sons, Stationers, sold their own-brand pens over a very long period. Still do, I believe. With no pen production facility of their own they contracted out manufacture such companies as Conway Stewart and Langs.


This “The Strand” pen was a Langs product. Despite the name, intended to evoke the large mansions and town-houses of the City of Westminster*, The Strand was a lower-cost pen than Smith’s Seal Pen. That said, it’s as handsome and well made as any of Lang’s output with its chased finish and tear-drop clip, the only evidence of its lesser value being the comparatively small warranted nib. I say comparatively because this isn’t a tiny nib like those found in some Wyverns of this period. It’s just a bit smaller than the nib you’d find in, say, a Summit 125.


This was a wartime pen, one of three, along with the Savoy and the Regent, that Lang Pen Co. Ltd. were licensed by the government to make. At the same time Curzons Ltd. (virtually Langs by another name) was licensed to make two Summit models. Though there doubtless was some shortage of materials, manufacturing capacity was in even shorter supply, and most pen companies were being restricted to economical models that were efficient to turn out, so that the rest of their factory space and equipment could be devoted to the manufacture and assembly of such things as aircraft instruments, engine parts and munitions.


My Strand pen is well-worn, to the point where the chasing has disappeared in parts. That’s a sign of a good pen that found constant employment for many years. Though it may have no great following among collectors, the Strand is a worthy pen with an honourable history.


*Both the Savoy Hotel and the Savoy Theatre are in The Strand, and the district of Savoy abuts it. Regent’s Park is at no great distance. Langs knew which side their bread was buttered on, and London references would sell pens for this Liverpudlian firm.

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