Conway Stewart were masters of design and it shows in their pencils as much as in their pens. This early “Nippy” is a thoroughly practical pencil and it is also a small work of art, a usable sculpture. Conway Stewart used casein more than other manufacturers, and that’s what this pencil consists of, along with steel, brass and gold plating.
Jonathan Donahaye has dated this pencil to 1933 to 41 and he has said that it matches with the Nos 17 and 759 pens. Some of Jonathan’s splendid work has since been shown to be incomplete, outdated or wrong but his site is still useful because of its accessibility, one area where the online source is always more user-friendly than a book. It seems strange that No 17 should be paired with this much earlier pencil. If it is correct, perhaps Conway Stewart were using up earlier stock.
Mechanical pencils have never caught on in the way that fountain pens have. I confess that I don’t use them all that often but I do admire them, especially the prewar ones.