Army & Navy Stores, 1907

No shop or store today can equal the stationery stock of the Army & Navy stores in 1907.

They had pens, of course, and things like polished brass inkwells in the form of crabs and lobsters that still appear in auctions today.

One expects folding writing slopes, but perhaps not in leather rather than in wood; silver card cases and pen wipers are less frequently seen nowadays.

There were splendid desk pens and quite a range of fountain pens. “The Army & Navy CSL Fountain and Stylographic Pens” take pride of place. These were eyedropper fillers with cut-off valves. Though the Onoto had been around for a couple of years by 1907 it was perhaps too new-fangled for the Army & Navy. They did have De La Rue’s Pelican, though, in a variety of finishes.

Which things would I love to have from the store? First, silver cases for fountain pens in delightful engine-turned patterns. These turn up now and then today – but not at fifteen shillings and threepence! Or a silver taper pen holder by Sampson Mordan for four shillings and sixpence. A heart shaped silver bonbonierre for a mere eleven shillings.

And finally (lest you think I’m too greedy) a silver stamp box lined with cedar with three divisions, for thirty shillings.


7 thoughts on “Army & Navy Stores, 1907

  1. Splendid. What lovely items there were in the A&N range. Of course I wonder who made those pens. I have never seen one like those with the cut-off valve – that is other than Onotos of course.

  2. Dear Deb, what an interesting post.
    From what I’ve seen, the Army & Navy Stores Cooperative was more fabulous than Alladin’s cave, capable of supplying the big-game hunter in Africa and the children’s party in Kensington Gardens: It’s where Winnie the Pooh bought his elephant gun. I can only dream of the range of stationery they had.
    Cheers from the colonies.

  3. Thanks for sharing these gems. This must be the 1907 equivalent of an “Apple store”. No more silver inkwells and stylish fountain pen cases in living rooms today. Their place is now occupied by laptops, tablets, and mobile phones. It’s really too bad that today’s “luxury pens” (like Montblanc ‘limited editions’, etc.) cater to collectors and even investors instead of to writers.


    1. That is rather sad. For writers, though, there is no need to buy those overpriced status symbols. Many of today’s “cheap” pens are really excellent and of course there is a world of under-priced vintage pens. You can pick up a Newhaven Duofold for forty quid and it’s as good as any modern pen you can buy – or better!

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