A Morrell’s Ink Advertising Pen


I’m sure that many of you will have seen pens like this one before.  I’ve certainly written about them.  It’s a very basic advertising pen from around 1920.  We don’t know who made them but they’re always very similar – good engine chasing, a large lollipop lever and threading on the butt of the barrel to post the cap firmly.  If, like this one, they haven’t been overused, they make very good writers.  The small warranted nib generally shows some flex.  In terms of restoring them I find that the major failing is a very poor J-Bar which has to be replaced.
So what’s special about this one?  Nothing, really, except the imprint, “Morrell’s Inks”.  There were so many inks in the 19th and early 20th centuries that it’s almost impossible to keep track of them all.  There is an opening there for some original research.  I would like to do it, but the God of Time is rarely kind to me.  Anyway, a little hunting revealed a little about Morrell’s. The India List and India Office List refer to it as a permanent, indelible black ink, specially adapted for hot climates and is noted for its intensity, fluidity and durability!  And this, unfortunately undated,”-Established nearly 150 Years. MORRELL’S INKS. REGISTRATION, — never fades. BLUE BLACKS, NON-CORROSIVE. CORAL, ROUGE  SECOND TO NONE. ALWAYS FLUID. MORRELL’S VIOLET COPYING INK IS EXCELLENT.”

Finally, I found from 1915, “MORRELL’S INKS. SPECIAL OFFER 10/6 Worth for 3/ As an advertisement we give with each quart or 3/- bottle of Morrell’s Blue Black Writing or Copying Ink a 7/6 14ct Gold Nib Fountain Pen FREE.”

Is this the free pen?  No, because in 1915 it would have been an eyedropper filler, rather than this lever filler of a few years later but I expect that it was given away in the same way.
That wasn’t a lot, really, and I was a little disappointed but I continued to search and found this bottle in eBay.  It’s what’s called (apparently) a Master Bottle, for storing and pouring ink.  The seller believed the bottle to be late 19th century.  It bears the “M” for Morrell in a shield.
So there we have it.  I didn’t find any old Morrell ink, or even any bottles with labels, which would have been nice, but the pen and Master Bottle go together well and enhance the interest of both.


5 thoughts on “A Morrell’s Ink Advertising Pen

  1. An excellent piece Deb, thanks. And a great idea to match the pen to the bottle.

    That pen is very similar (except for the barrel-end thread) to my Byers & Hayes “Gargoyle” pen. Was the Morrell pen English I wonder?

    1. Yes, it is English. It must be said, though, that apart from the threaded barrel end, this is about as basic a pen design as you can get; essentially just two tubes of a slightly different diameter. Many pens have been made along these lines.

  2. I actually did find a few advertising FPs and wished they gave away better pens (rollerballs are OK!) nowadays. Nice writers too and sometimes their companies still exist in modern times.

    1. If it’s any consolation, this is about as cheap a gold-nibbed pen as you could get, back then. These things were turned out by the thousands and some advertisement added and were given away by the purchasing company. They haven’t survived in the thousands and that’s partly a quality issue, and partly that people placed little value in them.

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