Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Conway Stewart and Co

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1939. Fountain Pen Works.
September 1946.
November 1946.
September 1950.
1950
November 1951.
February 1952.
February 1952.
June 1953.
1956.

of 31/32 Shoe Lane, London, EC (1922).

of Cambridge Road, Enfield.

1905 Frank Jarvis and Thomas Garner formed Conway Stewart and Co Limited at 13 Paternoster Row London EC1, next to St Paul's Cathedral in London. Jarvis and Garner had a single aim, to produce elegant, timelessly beautiful, yet functional writing instruments - a principle that Conway Stewart holds true to this day. Although there is much debate regarding the origins of the Company's name, it is believed that the name "Conway Stewart" derives from a popular vaudeville act of the day: Conway and Stewart were supposedly a comedy double act who appeared at Collins Music Hall in Islington.

1905 The Company became one of the leading fountain pens sellers in England and improved and expanded its facilities numerous times as demand increased.

1909 Became a limited liability Company.

WWI. During the huge growth in letter writing during the First World War (1914 - 1918) pens played a significant part in those cherished letters that passed between soldiers at the front and loved ones at home.

1919 Moved to 31/32 Shoe Lane.

1922 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Fountain and Stylographic Pens. Speciality: Self-filling and Safety Pens, all sizes. Duro-Point Automatic Magazine Pencil. (Stand No. K.81) [1]

1923 Moved to 75/82 Shoe Lane, where it occupied six floors and employed over 500 people.

1935 Conway Stewart listed its shares on the London Stock Exchange, and raised further capital for expansion and development.

Conway Stewart made many British pens of iconic status and introduced many memorable classics such as: the Duro (1920s); the Dinkie, Universal and Pixie (1922); the Dandy (1924); Scribe and International (1933); the No. 58 (1949).

WWII. The pens were also used throughout World War II (1939 -1945) by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The factory was bombed and slightly damaged during the Blitz and a significant portion of the factory converted to munitions manufacture, pens were still produced throughout this period in a limited range.

Post-WWII. Many other models appeared after the end of the war.

1950 Advert on this page. [2]

1951 The factory moved to 36/44 Copperfield Road, Mile End, London, and the modern post war era of Conway Stewart started.

1960s The Company continued to produce, but the advent of cheap "biro" and ballpoint pens and mass production in lower cost countries, began to alter the market for quality fountain pens dramatically. The use of fountain pens, like mechanical watches, began to diminish, and this had a big impact on traditional producers.

1974 December: business moved from Enfield to Bedwas, South Wales

1975 The Company stopped production, however, the trademarks, designs and archives were kept intact and interest in the Company, its pens and its history remained very high.

1975 Receiver appointed[3]. Rosedale Group, including Conway Stewart and Co, was acquired by Linpak, a private packaging company[4]

1976 Conway Stewart re-entered the quality pen market, supplying "gold nib" pens to Japan[5]. Following a significant investment in research and development, the company began to make a range of pens for those who appreciate traditional craftsmanship.

1977 The company had been turned round and planned to double production in the next year[6]


See Also

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Sources of Information

  • [2] Conway Stewart Website
  1. 1922 British Industries Fair p18
  2. [1] History World
  3. The Times, Sep 05, 1975
  4. The Times, Nov 26, 1976
  5. The Times, Nov 26, 1976
  6. The Times, Dec 02, 1977