My apologies for the continuing neglect of this blog. It’s unavoidable. As I work towards going retail, the day just doesn’t have enough hours. All I can say is that once that’s over, the blog will return to normal.
I’ve been looking through the queries that brought people to my blog. One querier wanted to know what the name of the person was who started Mentmore Pens. That one’s easy to answer: nobody knows! The longer answer is that the company seems to have begun in a couple of back garden sheds in 1919. By 1928 we know that the managing director was A. Gilbert and other directors were M. Pollack, P. Leaver, A. Leaver and Arthur Harris. Later, the company was managed by Arthur Andrews.*
Another person wanted to know how to polish a nib with jeweller’s rouge. Jeweller’s rouge comes in solid, paste or powdered form or in impregnated cloths. I use the solid form. A 500g bar costs about £6.00 nowadays and it will last you all your life and your children can pass it down to your grandchildren. Chemically, it’s ferric oxide. It’s gentler than most metal polishes but it’s still a pretty effective abrasive, so don’t get too enthusiastic on two-tone nibs or it may eventually remove the plating. Liquids and pastes can dry between the tines of nibs and even get into the channels of the feeds, causing flow problems, hence the use of dry rouge or an impregnated cloth. There really is no technique. Apply rouge to cloth. Rub nib. Admire your reflection in the nib. Jeweller’s rouge gives gold a slightly reddish tint. If you don’t like that, a quick swirl in the ultrasonic cleaner will remove it.
*With thanks to Stephen Hull for this information, from his excellent The English Fountain Pen Industry 1875 – 1975.