I’ve written about Stephens fountain pens before, though I’ve hardly provided a comprehensive history. The search box in the upper right will lead you to the earlier posts. Stephens pens are highly regarded for their colourful patterns and for what was probably the best button filling system of all, often referred to as the Stephens stud filler. Where it excelled was in the screw-down filler. Unlike other button fillers there was no blind cap to be mislaid.
Stephens didn’t make their own pens. At the peak of their popularity they were made by Langs and it was Langs who invented and patented the screw-down system. This post attempts to fill out the history of this brand by highlighting an unusual pen in the ownership of Peter Greenwood. My thanks to Peter for the photographs and information.
This rather unusual Stephens was made in France and bears the stud-filler which must have been licensed from Langs. The pen has been well-used and has lost its cap rings. It bears the patent number 857 and is dated 1935, making it an early example of the Stephens fountain pen. The steel nib, marked warranted and bearing what might be a seal’s head, is most likely a replacement.
Andy adds: The patent was actually applied for in July 1939 and published in October 1940. The confusion arises from the way the French numbered their patents – the impression on the barrel is actually the complete patent number 857.935. The applicant was Compagnie des Encres, the French manufacturing company set up by Stephens some 10 years earlier. This possibly makes the pen more interesting, as it is quite likely it was produced while France was under German occupation.