The Universal 479 was among the longest produced of Conway Stewart pens, appearing first in 1931 and remaining in the catalogue until 1950. As you might expect, it changed quite a bit in that time. Indeed all that remained consistent was that it was bandless and had chrome plated trim. I have a fine old early thirties black chased hard rubber 479 with a fixed, stepped clip, original warranted nib and a flange lever and it bears little resemblance to the later output like this plum and black marbled example.
The last version of the Universal 479, of which this is one, has a lot of variety between models. The handsome, deeply chased black celluloid version looks like a different pen from the coloured examples. I’ve said before – and I doubtless will again – that bandless pens show off a pattern better than those whose lines are broken by a band across the lower part of the cap.
Up to the 1940s, Conway Stewart pens were issued without a clip, if that was the customer’s preference. I’d like to pretend that that was the case here, but the worn line just where the end of the clip would have been gives the lie to that suggestion. Conway Stewart clips are often interchangeable but not the 479 which is quite a thick pen. This one will just have to hang around until a donor 479 happens along.