A Green Marbled Summit S100

Remember the Velvatip? I fixed it up to working condition and it lies on my desk. I use it all the time for note-taking. It’s a scruffy pen with chips out of the cap lip and alongside the lever. I polished it a little but it’s still quite dull. The nib, a firm medium, has lost some of its gold plating and the exposed steel is slightly pitted. I like it but it’s a dog.

By contrast, further up the Langs range to maybe the middle is this Summit S100. To be fair to the Velvatip it undoubtedly saw hard use whereas this beauty looks like it was never used it all. It has a shop display-cabinet shine. The chrome plating is perfect throughout. It is not all down to little use, though. This is a better pen, probably fetching a considerably higher price.

There are clues that this is a pen made late in the Summit production. It is made from wrapped celluloid sheet rather than machined from a solid piece. The tall clip screw of the earlier pens has been replaced by a shallow one, concave in the top. Otherwise, it retains the Summit style with the ball ended clip engraved “Summit”, the slender cap band and the tapered black section. It looks best when it’s posted, the black section complementing the black clip screw. It’s quite a small pen at 12.7 cm capped, but posted it’s a respectable and comfortable 15 cm.

Summits sold well. There are loads of them still around which means that there were many, many more 70 years ago. What was their selling point? Why would you choose a Summit rather than a Conway Stewart, Burnham or Swan? Doubtless the Summit cost less than the Swan, though it was probably comparable with many Conway Stewarts and maybe a little more expensive than a similar Burnham. It wasn’t a flash pen and the many Summits I’ve handled didn’t have very flexible nibs. They are very robust, though, higher quality than a Burnham and certainly at least the equal of the Conway Stewart in quality. If you wanted a pen that would last the long haul and never let you down, was attractive without being showy and was competitively priced, you’d go for the Summit.

Nowadays we know a lot about their long history, the proud names of the pens that Langs produced and the pens that they made for other companies. Back in the 30s or 40s, I doubt if the pen buyer took that into account if he or she was even aware of it. They just wanted a good pen and Summit could certainly provide that.


11 thoughts on “A Green Marbled Summit S100

  1. nice pen, Deb – better looking than my black hard rubber S100, although my chromed clip is identical to yours and sits beneath a longer and slightly domed screw cap – at a guess I’d assume my pen is 10 – 20 years older.
    But mine is different insofar as the barrel imprint also includes the words CADET MODEL – does anyone have any ideas if that signifies anything in particular?

    1. I think the S100 – smallest of that range – was generally known as the Cadet but like Mabie Todd and Onoto, the guy they employed to stamp the barrels took a lot of days off.

  2. Yours might be the last S100 model Deborah. Have you checked for stampings below the cap thread? and Paul’s may be the previous model produced just after WW2.

  3. not that I’d know with any accuracy Peter, but when did the use of BHR cease – I’d imagined that after WW II it was all celluloid.

    1. Largely Paul, but it continued to be used for the cheaper pens post war until the materials shortages eased, probably by 1948 but I have no documentary evidence to back this up.

      1. I’m about to dispose of a Commonwealth Pen which is bhr. Commonwealth only operated for a short while after WW2 Paul, so 1947/8?

  4. I’d love to own a Summit, partly because I used to walk daily around the area of Liverpool where they were made. There is currently a restaurant and bistro in Hope Street called ‘The Pen Factory’ whose website states that it operates in the premises where Lang’s made pens.

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