A Late Roll-tip


Roll-tip was a successful manufacturer of ballpoints, fountain pens and other writing instruments before it was caught up in the takeover fever of the 1970s and became part of the same stable as Conway Stewart.   Though this pen is marked “Roll-tip” it uses the same plastic as some of the Conway Stewarts, the 64 for instance.  The clip is quite similar to that of the Conway Stewarts of the same date, less the logo of course.  Essentially, it’s a re-badged 1970s Conway Stewart.
It is quite likely that these pens were made in Germany to keep costs down.  Like the contemporary Conway Stewarts, this is a pretty bad pen.  Even Roll-tip, which was never renowned for quality wouldn’t want to boast about this offering.  The steel cap has the finish that Conway Stewart called Silvasheen.  It hasn’t worn particularly well.  The half-hooded nib is vaguely reminiscent of the Parker 45.
To be fair, though, everything works and fits as it was intended to.  The clutch still keeps the cap firmly in place and the nib lays down a decent line.  I’m assuming that the pen takes Conway Stewart cartridges.  I think I have a few of those lying around somewhere so I must give it a try.

This pen, for me, evokes sadness for the depths to which the once-proud Conway Stewart company had fallen.  Despite desperate efforts, the firm failed to recover, as we know, and this otherwise insignificant Roll-tip pen becomes a final footnote in Conway Stewart history.


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