Mentmore Supreme

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The Mentmore Supreme was introduced in 1940 and was one of the pens that Mentmore continued to make throughout the Second World War. It must have remained on sale into the sixties because my husband had one when he was in high school. It was their first full-size cigar shaped pen, the fashionable shape of the time. This one is in a pleasing red (forgive the dark photos) and it’s a rather a smart pen with its concave clip and milled cap ring. It’s a lever filler and, unnecessarily for this filling mechanism, the section is threaded. Perhaps they saw it as an additional bit of quality thrown in. The nib is small but not tiny as some of the Wyverns were. It’s a medium point with some flex and it’s very pleasant to write with.
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I have a feeling that this might be the last gold-nibbed Mentmore. If not, it’s pretty close. After this, it was Platignums with steel nibs. The company made much of the fact that it took much research and trial and error before a steel nib with hard tipping material could be produced.
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Considering that their pens were aimed at the school market it makes sense to make the considerable price reduction that was gained by going from gold to steel. The company didn’t lose by it: hundreds of thousands of steel-nibbed Platignum school pens were sold in the sixties and seventies

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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

17 Responses to Mentmore Supreme

  1. Philip Akin says:

    Hello Deb

    Ok so you inspired me to get some photos done today so here are my Mentmore Supremes https://www.flickr.com/photos/32903382@N07/albums/72157658917837943

    Three button fillers and one lever. The plating is not that great and there has been enough slight shrinkage that the cap bands are being adventuresome but they are lovely plastics.

    Philip

  2. Peter says:

    They sure were! I still have the remains of two of them!
    Rather than dropping gold nibs I think they dropped the Mentmore name and continued with gold nibbed Platignums for a while as Platignum was the stronger brand

    • No, I don’t think so. Platignum appeared as early as 1929, as the economy brand. It continued as such except for a brief period when some Platignums were issued with gold nibs. They reverted quite quickly to the original specification.

      Mentmore, like Stephens, saw the writing on the wall. The market was being quickly given over to the ballpoint. Expensive pens with gold nibs were no longer selling well. The niche that remained was for inexpensive steel-nibbed pens, exactly the area that Platignum had always been aimed at.

      • Peter says:

        I generally agree that the market wanted cheap steel nibbed pens which Platignum excelled at. However, the Mentmore brand suffered from the staid image and design of its pens during the 1940’s & 50’s and was quietly dropped (especially when the 46 bombed).

        Mentmore changed its name to Platignum in 1958 and introduced some rather good hooded gold nibbed aerometric fillers with modern metal caps that aped the Parkers of the time, as well as producing its popular steel nibbed pens.

      • Peter says:

        Of which?

      • (a) that the Mentmore brand suffered from the staid image and design of its pens during the 1940s and 50s. Also evidence that the 46 “bombed” as you put it.

        (b) that Mentmore changed its name to Platignum and that the gold nibbed pens formed a significant part of its output. Personally, I think it’s more that Platignum carried on as it had been doing for decades and that the Mentmore name went into abeyance, which is rather a different thing.

  3. Paul S. says:

    would agree this darkish red/maroon ? is an attractive shade – neither cheap or garish looking.
    I have the same colour on a button filler Supreme and, like the example here, the section is threaded. The colour appears to have been used on other Mentmores – I’ve a Diploma and a Celeste, although the latter is a tad darker perhaps. Parker seem to have had a thing for this shade of red – especially in the Duofold range – it looks good when polished – perhaps it was a ’40’ and ’50’s fashionable colour.
    My only other example of the Supreme is a lever filler in a shade of what looks like royal blue, and which has a price band of ’13/6 inc. tax’ around the lever – so am assuming the pen was never inked – but could be wrong ……… perhaps there’s someone out there printing bands and flogging the pens as new:). This blue one has the clear perspex-looking button on the rear end of the barrel.

    Am very envious too of Philips examples – that snakeskin one is a beauty, if you’re selling them some time, let us know:)

    Unlike you guys I don’t know when models were dropped/introduced etc., but my example of a Platignum ‘Pressmatic M’ with gold nib and satinized steel cap, certainly looks to be a quality pen. In view of the aerometric style filler am assuming it must have been born after the demise of Mentmore models – possibly some time in the ’50’s perhaps.??

    • The threaded section on a button filler makes sense: it provides a firm foot for the pressure bar in compression. There is no sense in a threaded section for a lever filler. It’s just additional machining which provides no benefit.

      The Pressmatic, in its various guises, was a first-class pen. It was aimed at students and the price was kept down, but whether gold nibbed or steel nibbed as many examples were, it was a fine writing instrument. They have lasted well and many examples turn up in original condition. I don’t know its dates

  4. Paul S. says:

    not wishing to be an anorak, but……….. meant to add that….

    whilst the barrel imprints appear identical on my two Supremes, there are differences between them that possibly indicate period of manufacture.
    My red example carries the word Mentmore down the clip, although I notice that the one from Deb doesn’t – however, my cap band is the same with the short grooves.
    My blue pen however, has a plain clip without the company name, and the cap band has grooves that run around the band.
    So obviously some variation in appearance that might indicate a change depending on when they were made.

    Is there any mileage in thinking that Mentmore button fillers would pre-date their lever fillers??

  5. 3munro3 says:

    I’ve found that quite a few British lever-fillers (Parker, Wyvern, Burnham Chatsworth among others) have screw-on barrels. I think it’s a great thing, so much easier to service with no heat, etc. needed to get them open. Apply generous amounts of talc and nothing binds. And it’s a stronger connection, to boot.

    • As someone who has repaired thousands of pens, I can’t say that I find the application of heat to be a dreadful burden. Sometimes one even has to use it with screw-on barrels. Nor do I find the friction fit to be a poor one. The point, however, is one about good engineering practice. It adds unnecessary and expensive work to the production of the pen. In the late 40s and early 50s, Mabie Todd had screw-on barrels for a few years before recognising the error of their ways and returning to friction fit.

      Which British Parker was a lever filler?

  6. Paul S. says:

    trying to be clever, I looked back thru the books expecting to find a lever-fill Parker from the pre -war era, but not able to see one – nor on the States pens.
    Does this mean that Parker NEVER made a lever fill f.p.?

  7. Paul S. says:

    sorry, only just seen that reply – thanks…………. Deb has commented on this fact elsewhere in her blog, and obviously I’d forgotten having seen it.
    Doubly embarrassing though, since I do have a Parkette De Luxe – with lever!!

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