Conway Stewart Universal 479 “Bottle Green”

This is the second exceptionally colourful Universal 479 I’ve picked up in a few days. I believe this is the pattern Jonathan Donahaye called “bottle green”. It isn’t really the green of a bottle, but it is a very strong, vivid colour.

Before anyone suggest that because this is a bright colour it must be casein, let’s lay that one to rest. Yes, casein takes some wonderfully rich colours and displays them in often rather different patterns from celluloid, but celluloid comes in some pretty wild colours too. In fact, the surprising thing is that the colour capability of celluloid was so seldom exploited to the full. Generally, before World War II the bright, strong colours were mostly confined to the Dinkie range and were often in casein. Perhaps it was thought that the users of full-size pens were more conservative in their tastes, and would prefer the more sober patterns that predominate among surviving celluloid pens.


The 479s were something of an exception in this respect, having the brightest celluloid patterns in the pre-war Conway Stewart range. Perhaps this is, as Donahaye suggests, because these pens were often used for promotional purposes and it might have been thought they should be eye-catching.

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