More On THe Kingswood

If you look back through my various blog entries about the Kingswood, you’ll see that I started with some wrong ideas and gradually worked towards more apparently correct ones with the help of various readers.

There are still some questions, though.  It seems clear that at different times the Kingswood was manufactured by Valentine, Langs and Unique.  Regardless of who made them, they seem to share material with Valentine/Parker.  Not exclusively, I believe, as I’ve seen one or two patterns in Kingswoods that I haven’t seen anywhere else but in general there’s a lot of sharing of celluloid going on.  How did that work?  Were rods of celluloid handed over with the contract?

Why was the manufacture of the Kingswood contracted out at all?  It’s perhaps understandable that in the days when the brand was owned by Eversharp which appeared not to have manufacturing facilities of its own that the work should be farmed out to other manufacturers.  After Parker acquired the business, though, one would have thought it would be more efficient and economical to do the work in-house at Newhaven.

Any thoughts?

10 thoughts on “More On THe Kingswood

  1. Parker’s took control in 1957/8. I would guess that the Unique Kingswood’s were phased out in the early to mid fifties.Can you date the Kingswood pen to a later date Deborah?

  2. It’s always easier to find out when a pen was introduced than when it was dropped. Stephen Hull has Kingswood coming to an end in 1948. Unless something comes along to prove different, I’m going with that.

    Of course Parker had a close relationship with Valentine long before the acquisition in 1950. Valentine made some of the Kingswoods using the same materials as Valentine and Parker.

  3. From Steve Hull’s article on Unique:

    ‘Eversharp announced their Kingswood brand of English-made,
    lever-filling fountain pens in early 1940, obviously a bad time to
    launch a new range! The close relationship between Epstein (Unique)
    and Hamilton-Jones (Eversharp) strongly suggests that Kingswood pens,
    which were available until the early 1950s, were made for
    Eversharp by Unique, ….’

    Eversharp is not a brand I have much knowledge of. I only know of the Kingswood version of the Unique Pen.

    During the war they would have taken pens from anyone who could supply them due to the shortages. However, if Eversharp pens had been made by Valentine’s, it is quite likely that they would have looked around for a different supplier once Parker, a major competitor, took financial control over Valentine’s during the war.

    1. Quite so. And from the same source: “The Kingswood range was eventually withdrawn in around 1948.” This just goes to show how hard it is to nail pen history in the absence of conclusive evidence. I’m not sure that it takes us anywhere.

  4. Reading between the lines I think the Kingswood would have been produced up to 1952, after which Unique did not have the capacity to produce them for Eversharp, and they would have ceased producing the equivalent Unique Pen in 1953/4 when the Union Pen Company (their manufacturing arm) went into liquidation.

    Using your time line there was a nine to ten year hiatus between the cessation of Kingswood manufacture/ sale and Parker taking control of Eversharp. I doubt whether Parker thought it worthwhile reintroducing a brand which wasn’t very strong in the UK that would have been in direct competition with its own products in a shrinking market.

    But there is plenty of room for conjecture….

      1. True, I was concentrating on your third paragraph as it is of more interest to me.

        I can only think that the sharing of stock was down to cost sharing, minimum quantity orders by the suppliers and the long time scale in its manufacture. As you will know from Steve’s writings much of the industry was a cosy cartel for most of the thirties and forties.

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