The Post-War Conway Stewart Dinkie 550

The post-war Dinkie 550 sets are something of a mystery to me – they are not the most practical of pens but they sold in enormous numbers. It wouldn’t be too wide of the mark to say that sales of Dinkies went a great way towards keeping the company profitable during the difficult years of the 50s and 60s. There are always sets and individual pens available in eBay and elsewhere, sometimes in quantity.

Their quality and beauty are not at issue and it isn’t quite true to say that Dinkies are wholly impractical as writing instruments. Just to assure myself that it could be done, I wrote two sides of A4 with one. Because the pen is so small it became uncomfortable quite quickly. I’m not one of those who insists that their pens must have the dimensions of a hammer handle – I like my slender 80s Japanese pens and my Swan 3160, but it became difficult with the Dinkie even for me. I can’t imagine that it can have been any less difficult when the pens were in the hands of their first owners.

That being the case, why did the Dinkie sets still sell so well? I suspect that the target was different from the end user. Husbands, brothers and fathers bought them as presents. Most of the recipients didn’t use them, hence the great numbers of sets in pristine condition today. I’m not saying they were never used but mostly they were tucked away in a drawer and the lady went back to her more practical pen.

Conway Stewarts are not an area that I concentrate on now but I’m happy to see the arrival of a good Dinkie set. They sell well as collectors’ items. The post-war ones which are under discussion here, appear in different models and patterns and a considerable collection can be built up of post-war Dinkies alone.

Wandering off the subject a little, the pre-war sets or individual pens are even more collectible and therefore more expensive. Many of the very colourful casein pens of the 30s are very attractive and quite rare now. A bit out of my league.


2 thoughts on “The Post-War Conway Stewart Dinkie 550

  1. How are they as writers?

    And a thought regarding the sets and the times. Perhaps they were seen as a postwar product, something that said, “It’s over. We won. And the tomorrow will be better.” The appeal of buying an item like that is that you would be buying a token of a more peaceful future.

    1. They have excellent nibs and lay the ink beautifully. It’s their tiny size that makes them uncomfortable – even painful – in use. They were part of the product range from very early, the nineteen-twenties I should think. I just chose the post-war range for the article

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