Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Mentmore Manufacturing Co

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November 1938. Platignum Stylo.
December 1938.
November 1942.
March 1949.
May 1949.
1951. LHS.
1951. RHS.

Mentmore Manufacturing, inventor of the cartridge pen, the retractable ballpoint pen, and the felt tip,

of Eureka Works, 16 Mentmore Terrace, Hackney, London, E8. (1922)

of Tudor Grove, Hackney, London, E9. Telephone: Clissold 5400. Cables: "Fountapen, London". (1929)

of Station Road, Wood Green, London, N22. Telephone: Bowes Park 2997. Plastics Division. (1947)

1919 Platignum Pen Co started life as the Mentmore Manufacturing Company, named after its first premises in Mentmore Terrace, London. The company's first product was a self-filling fountain pen with a gold plated nib which sold for 6d (2½p).

1922 British Industries Fair Advert as Makers of kinds of Fountain Pens and Stationers' Sundries in Ebonite, Erinoid, Galalith, etc. Pens Stamped and Boxed with Customers' Own Marks. Specialities: Penholders, Paper Knives, Self-Pointing Pencils. (Stand No. K.166) [1]

1925 The first replacement nib unit was developed - a revolution in pen design. The Platignum name was also introduced, and the slogan 'As good as gold' to reflect the use of stainless steel for the first time. Mentmore were anxious to register the name Platinum, but were unable to do so because it could have contravened the laws of product description - as they existed at that time. To overcome the problem, a company was registered in the name of the "Platignum Pen Company", and products carrying the brand name Platignum were introduced. Platignum were the first company to use injection moulding in the production of their pens.

1929 British Industries Fair Adverts for 'Spot' Pens and Propelling Pencils; 'Platignum' Lever Self Filler fountain Pens; 'Platignum' Writing Sets. Manufacturers of Fountain Pens of all kinds, Gold Nibs with iridium points, Permopoint Pencils, Advertising Novelties, Penholders, etc. Goods imprinted and boxed to Customers' requirements. (Stationery Section - Stand Nos. R.32 and R.126) [2]

1935 Public company incorporated[3]

1939-45 The outbreak of the Second World War meant that Platignum was only allowed to produce 25% of its pre-war pen output, with the major production concentrated on munitions, aircraft parts and cap badges. The War Office entrusted the company with the making of special 'spy' pens which could contain maps and compasses. A deadlier model was also produced for use by secret agents - it contained a poisoned dart which could kill at 20 ft!

1947 British Industries Fair Advert as Manufacturers of Mass produced Articles in Plastics for all Trades. Specialists for Twenty Years in Injection Moulding; the Most Economical Method of Mass Producing Articles in Plastic for all Trades. (Plastics Section - Olympia, 1st Floor, Stand No. H.2161) [4]

1950 The company marketed their own version of the ballpoint pen for 5/- (25p), and soon after invented the retractable ballpen. Platignum, also around this time, invented ink cartridges.

1951 Advert on this page. [5]

1957 A move to Stevenage meant more space and allowed the company to diversify into plastic stationery accessories and fibre tipped pens.

1981 Name changed to Platignum[6]. Entered the roller ball market[7]

1984 Platignum relocated to its present site in Royston[8].

1984-93 Expanded its interests again by acquiring an array of companies including Ivy Stationery and Gluetek (now Platignum's Paints and Adhesives division).

1987 Acquired Ouvah Highfields[9]

1989 Acquired furniture companies Homestead, Stroud House and Younger from Queensway, giving the owner of Queensway a substantial interest in the company[10]

1992 Disposed of Ouvah Highfields, a serviced-office-centre subsidiary[11]

1996 Acquired Abbey self storage; name changed to Mentmore Abbey

1997 Acquired by Adare Printing Group[12].

  • Note:
    • Galalith (Erinoid) is derived from the Greek words gala (milk) and lithos (stone), is a trade name for one of the earliest plastics. Ebonite is a black plastic that resembles ebony.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1922 British Industries Fair Advert clviii; and p54
  2. 1929 British Industries Fair Adverts 160 and 161; and p116
  3. The Times, Dec 05, 1935
  4. 1947 British Industries Fair Advert 391; and p185
  5. [1] History World
  6. The Times May 01, 1981
  7. The Times, Jun 15, 1981
  8. The Times, Apr 28, 1984
  9. The Times, June 19, 1987
  10. The Times , March 08, 1989
  11. The Times , January 07, 1992
  12. The Times, April 25, 1997
  • [2] Platignum Pen Co - A Brief Company History
  • [3] Wikipedia