Dip Pen/Pencil Combo

Paul S kindly provided me with photographs of this exquisite writing instrument. Though it has a Conway Stewart No 6 stub nib, I can find no indication that it was made by Conway Stewart. There is nothing on the combo to identify the manufacturer.

Moving the central gold-filled band exposes the nib, and the rear half of the body is turned to bring out the pencil. The gold-filled cap at the rear unscrews and holds spare leads.

The barrel is chased black hard rubber. Altogether it is a splendid exercise in design and engineering. Given its high quality and excellent finish, this combo may well have been made by one of the major manufacturers of mechanical pencils.

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6 thoughts on “Dip Pen/Pencil Combo

  1. Hey 🙋🏻‍♂️
    Lovely little combo. Sure is fun imagining the folk that might have used these when they were the top of the heap in writing accessories.
    The Conway nib is a bit out of place and time , but pretty cool too , if ya like monster stubs.

    1. You don’t see many Conway Stewart nibs like that! The No 6 nib isn’t especially common. Off the top of my head, it comes from one of the 30s Duro pens though it probably fits other large CS pens too. That’s an exceptional stub.

  2. I understand that combos of this type follow Goodyear’s US patent of May 6 1851 (No 8075), and the examples from the better known makers (such as Edward Todd & Co or Mabie Todd & Co) generally seem to be marked with those patent details as well as the maker’s name. If the patent details aren’t present, this could indicate that it was made by a lesser manufacturer who wasn’t an official licencee, or maybe it was made after the original patent protection expired. There are a few similar combos pictured on page 3 of Steve Hull’s forthcoming Mabie Todd book and other examples in Deborah Crosby’s book on Victorian pencils ‘Tools to Jewels’, but they are all marked with the patent details. Several of the examples I have seen do feature gold nibs, with a slit but no breather hole.

    Such a design would no doubt have seemed very dated to the young founders of Conway Stewart!

  3. very interesting Andy – thanks for taking the time to look. Whilst it’s true that there aren’t any such patent, or makers marks on this example, I’ve just realized that on the top gilt band (the business end of the pen), it does show 18 KT – the T being miniaturized. Knowing that 18 ct. is the standard for French pen gilding/nibs, then it may just be possible that France may have been the origin of this pen ?

    Andy’s mention of C.S. has awoken a little annoyance from a recent ebay excursion where I lost a wanted pen ………. a C.S. herringbone colour I don’t have!

    1. From the photo, it looks like the mark is actually 18KT R G, i.e. rolled gold. Admittedly I don’t know what the French equivalent of ‘rolled gold’ is, but I would suggest the most likely manufacturers were in the USA or England (even if made for marketing in a different country).

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