I frequently buy lots of pens in eBay. Quite often, it isn’t all that apparent what’s in the lot, but if it doesn’t go too high I’ll always take a chance. Apart from anything else, poor pictures and bad descriptions scare other bidders off, so if there’s anything decent in the lot, you score.
Among the other pens in this lot was this strange box.
And in it were two glorious pens, a mottled hard rubber lever filler from the twenties, which looks like it has never been used, and a later, maybe forties, button filler in striking green/black marbled celluloid. Score? Well, maybe…
Now I may be wrong, but I don’t think my customers will be beating a path to my door to lay claim to pens that bear the legend “Desbeau Corsets”. If I’m proved to be wrong I’ll happily sell them, but if not I’ll equally happily keep them as users. They’re gorgeous pens.
Of course my curiosity was piqued and I went a-googlin’ to see what I could find. CWS, as the Brits among us will recognise, is the Cooperative Workers Society. DesBeau Corsets were popular support garments made at the factory in Desborough from about 1920 to 1970. They were well marketed; as well as the pens, there were advertising pocket mirrors, fruit knives and thimbles.
And there were adverts, like this one:
Does this imply that sex existed back in the nineteen-thirties?
And finally, here’s the dread garment itself:
The famous Desbeau Corset!