The Conway Stewart 15

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The No 15, along with the short-lived No 16, appear to have been the economy lines in the range of pens that Conway Stewart issued in the early nineteen-fifties. The patterned ones were made from casein, and beautiful though they are, they are less interesting to me than the single-colour pens, which Jonathan Donahaye believed are made of celluloid acetate. I’m not sure how he came to that conclusion. Perhaps he had a better sense of smell than me, or maybe he accidentally set one on fire. Casein doesn’t burn well but a celluloid pen in flames is memorable.

I had a No 15 in the colour that Jonathan described as “deep brown” arrive the other day. As luck would have it, among my stock was a No 475 which he had described as “uniform chocolate brown”. Comparing the two, they seemed identical to me. I should have photographed the two together, but the 475 found a buyer and is at present winging its way to him, courtesy of Royal Mail. So it goes.

In any case, I would swear that colours, and hence in all probability the materials, were the same. The 15 and 475 also share “uniform forest green”. Is this enough to say that there is a relationship between these pre- and post-war pens? Both are at the economy end, neither have cap rings and both come in innovative colours and patterns that don’t occur elsewhere in the production of their respective periods. Is the CS 15 in some sense the successor to the CS 475?

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The brown almost comes across as black in photos, so here it is with a black Swan.

The Conway Stewart 15 comes in two sizes, the larger at 12.9 cm being the same size as the commoner CS 75, and the smaller one half a centimeter less. The uniform coloured ones especially are an exercise in minimalism, being about as plain as a pen gets. The nib is smaller than that of the CS 75 and it has a different profile, being more wraparound in the style of the CS388 nib. Minimalist or not, it’s a handsome little pen, except for the clunky plastic stud that retains the clip. That does detract from the pen’s appearance, and it suggests that the pen was made to fit a price.

I like the CS 15s, though, and I’m glad to have finally found a deep brown one. I need a forest green and a deep blue to make the set. To be exact, there’s also a grey, but like all nineteen-fifties greys, whether by Conway Stewart, Parker, Swan or Wyvern, they tend to take on a yellow discoloration and are hence less attractive, so I might forget about that one.

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About goodwriterspens
I restore fountain pens, and used to trade as redripple52 in eBay. I also have my own fountain pen sales website, www.goodwriterssales.com

4 Responses to The Conway Stewart 15

  1. Malc Haslam says:

    I can see I am going to spend even more time at the computer…keeping an eye on your blog!

    I didn’t know that the 15 came in the uniform brown, green, and blue. How interesting.

    Of course I have the 475 in brown and in green, courtesy of your good self…but I also have the 286 in the same colours. It has always been a theory of mine that there might be a matching blue, but I have never come across one.

    • I’m unaware of a uniform blue in either the 286 or the 475, but there is a 475 in what Jonathan Donahaye called uniform aubergine! Still, you never know aht’s yet to turn up. The various lists are far from complete.

      Regards,
      Deb

  2. David Hunter says:

    I just found one of these with a gold band, never used and in the original box in a monogrammed plastic bag with the howto papers. that be worth anything?

    • Yes, it’s worth something but it’s difficult to tell you how much. In unrestored state it’s probably worth around £35 – add on £15 once it’s in working condition. That’s purely a guesstimate. These pens are worth what someone is prepared to pay. Colour makes a difference – you don’t say what colour yours is. If it’s black it’s worth less.

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