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 The tall clip screw of the earlier pens has been replaced by a shallow one, concave in the top.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.