Conway Stewart Pens – RIP

It is always very sad to hear of an old friend who has disappeared. On Friday I learned that one of my real old friends has been closed.

That lovely company, Conway Stewart, the specialist, luxury brand that made pens from precious metals, who supplied Rolls Royce and the Orient Express with exclusive pens, has folded. The machines are gone, and the company exists only as a trading mark.

I bought my first pen from them years ago. A gorgeous, black Churchill that evoked a bygone era with its solid lines and Edwardian styling.

My gorgeous blank Churchill and my lovely silver Drake

My gorgeous blank Churchill and my lovely silver Drake

That pen was my personal celebration for selling a good number of books in one royalty period. A while later, after the ban on pistol shooting, I was given a small amount of money in compensation for all the guns that were confiscated. It was only a tiny fraction of the value of the guns and equipment, but I was very reluctant to throw it into the weekly shop. Instead I decided to buy another pen that would always remind me of my sport. I bought a Conway Stewart Drake, a solid silver, massive but utterly gorgeous fountain pen.

I loved these two pens so much, that I began to track down the company. No, I wasn’t a stalker, but one of the reasons why I chose to buy them in the first place was the fact that they were both not only English made, but actually manufactured in Devon. Their offices were in Plymouth. I visited, I spoke to the Managing Director, and persuaded him that instead of naming the pens after long-dead warriors (the Wellington, the Churchill, the Drake etc), he ought to work with living writers. We spoke for some time, and in the end I was able to persuade him to commission me to write a story. I would help design a pen, and then package it with a short story and ink of my choosing. It would become the Michael Jecks pen, and was to be the first of the Detection Collection.

The Michael Jecks Pen.

The Michael Jecks Pen.

 

 

And so it came to pass. My lovely pen is still here on my desk. Most of the time I don’t use it or the other Conway Stewarts. Not because I dislike them, but purely because I now have a Visconti Homo Sapiens which has one magnificent attribute above all others: because it is fashioned from volcanic lava, it does not ever scratch! Whereas my lovely Conway Stewarts in their beautiful resins and the fabulous silver Drake can get marked rather easily. Thus I tend to use the Visconti when I’m out and about. But the Conway Stewarts are always here by my desk.

I adore them. But now my affection is tinged with a lot of sadness. They write so well, they feel so good in the hand, and above all, they look so good. It’s really terrible to think that they have gone for good.

 

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Comments
2 Responses to “Conway Stewart Pens – RIP”
  1. James Schooler says:

    RIP Conway Stewart. I treasure them as well. I have a small collection of favorite CS. They write well and look other worldly in a strong light. Hopefully, they will be resurrected and the manufacturing expertise will survive. Artisan and craft are disappearing and therefore they are of high value in our mass produced world. Cheers.

    Like

    • Such a shame, isn’t it? I adore my Visconti Homo Sapiens for the fact of its size and absolute apparent invincibility (even metal will not scratch it) but I do love my Conway Stewarts. My Drake is a pen that is just a joy to hold and use. What do you have?

      Like

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