Among the pioneers of fountain pen making in Britain is the firm of Ormiston & Glass. The company was established in 1868, probably as a manufacturer of steel nibs, among other stationery products. In 1902 the company was incorporated as a limited company and began the production of fountain and stylographic pens in that period. They were an innovative company and provided a wide range of fountain pens and stylos. In later years, probably after 1915, the company stopped making fountain pens and continued with a varied range of other products.
One of their most famous pens was the Camel, and I’ve tried to get my hands on one of these pens for several years without success until now. This is a late version – possibly a No 7, though it’s hard to tell as the barrel stamp is indistinct.
As a lever-filler it cannot, I would think, be earlier than 1912 when Sheaffer brought out the first of this type of filling system, and indeed even 1915 would show the company as being quick off the mark, though it is possible. Waterman brought out their box lever in that year and this pen copies it very closely.
In style – straight-sided with a very slight taper at the end of the barrel, chased black hard rubber, flat-topped with a gently concave section – it would not be out of place in 1915, but I think we might consider a slightly later date as at least a possibility. The riveted clip might be original or an after-market addition as it bears no imprint.
The name “Camel”, one would imagine, implies a pen that contained an exceptional amount of ink but this one doesn’t. Indeed, it’s a quite ordinary pen, though well-executed. I’ve seen a hint somewhere that the Camel range of pens had something special about the feed but I’m denied the opportunity to see that here as someone has been at the repairing before me, and employed a wholly inappropriate Swan feed and an even more inappropriate (if that were possible) Waterman Skywriter nib! I have no idea what a Camel feed looked like or whether Ormiston & Glass produced their own branded nibs or used warranted ones. Perhaps someone can tell me.
The black of this pen is unfaded and the chasing and imprint remain razor-sharp. Though not in any way outstanding, this is a high-quality pen and one that was well worth the wait.