Here’s a fine pair of Mentmore 46 pens, probably made a few years apart as there are notable differences between them. 46s came in three versions, gold-filled, sterling silver and what Mentmore calls Permobrite, which seems to be rhodium plating over I know not what – probably a nickel layer and brass, I should think. These two are Permobrite ones and they look pretty good.
I think the plating may be suffering a little loss on the grey one but the black one still looks perfect. The differences I spoke of are evident here. The barrel end is more blunt on the grey pen and the clip is a different shape. The black one is slightly longer, too, but that may not be a design change. Many older pens weren’t made quite identical, particularly where length is concerned.
Permobrite probably doesn’t really mean anything, in the sense of being a patented alloy or plating method. Other companies don’t use the term so it was probably a Mentmore trade name. The only other mention of it I can find is in the description of the cap of a Platignum ballpoint pen. It certainly looks good, with that bluish-white shine that you see on rhodium-plated white-gold jewellery. Even the lowest-priced 46, then, was quite a luxurious writing instrument by today’s standards. Goodness knows what a pen of this quality made from these materials would cost nowadays.
As a great admirer of the 46, I keep threatening to add one to my small collection of keeper pens. That black one is looking especially attractive…