I like all the wonderful patterns that celluloid and casein can produce but sometimes a black pen is enough, especially when it is enhanced with an engine-turned pattern as this Mentmore Auto-Flow is.
Looking back through my blog I have written about Mentmore before but not often enough. Mentmore was one of the great success stories of British pen-making, turning out thousands of pens under their own name, thousands more under Platignum and an incalculable number more for other companies.
The best of their pens, like this Auto-Flow and the Supreme are well made and reliable. Like Langs Summits and the prewar Conway Stewarts, they are the epitome of the British pen.
The beauty of this pen is subtle, a quality which evidently suited the average British pen buyer very well. The washer clip echoes the single slender cap ring. The pattern cut into the celluloid catches the light and the smooth clip screw, barrel end and section have a mirror shine.
Mentmore nibs appear to have been made in-house. They usually have a considerable blob of tipping material, more than other pens of the time.
The Auto-Flow comes in either lever fill or button fill form. This pen is the latter, and the filling system is well implemented. The section is screw-in and the blind cap fits seamlessly. Of the two, I prefer the button fill. It gives a cleaner line with the unbroken barrel.
Though the earlier, mottled hard rubber version of this pen fetches a higher price, Auto-Flow and the other top-end Mentmores remain moderately priced. They are high quality pens but probably because they are comparatively plain, they do not have a strong following and bargains are to be had.
In that respect they resemble the fifties and sixties Duofolds. They also resemble the Duofolds of an earlier era in appearance. Mentmore began making these pens in the thirties and they continued in production unchanged until the forties.
As you may have gathered, I’m a fan of Mentmore Auto-Flows. The more colourful patterned celluloid ones may make a collection. I like them as writers and I’m happy to settle for a black one.