In a rather futile discussion elsewhere, it was suggested that Croxley, Stephens and Altura were obscure pens. I think most people reading this blog will be well aware of Croxley and Stephens but, on consideration, I suppose a case might be made for the obscurity of Altura. While collectors and fanciers of historic British pens will be aware of Altura and are likely to have one or two of that company’s pens in their collections it isn’t as well known as the other two.
Altura began after World War I but it wasn’t until the mid-twenties that they began producing pens in their own name. Before that, I suspect they survived by making parts and whole pens for other pen companies and as “own-brand” pens for stationers. They had a relationship with De La Rue and it is believed that they may have produced pencils for that company. Altura’s own No 752 pen had the mid-cap clip which was a feature of De La Rue’s Onoto of the same period.
Before World War II rather plain pens were issued in Britain under the Waterman name and it is believed that Altura made them. Waterman took over Altura in 1946 but the company continued to produce pens in their own name for a few years.
Altura remains an interesting project for the collector. They turned out many rather ordinary, workaday pens but there were other, less common, very colourful and well-designed pens – well worth the search! Also, for all you know, many of the other branded pens of the twenties and thirties you have may have been made by Altura or contain Altura parts.