samedi 9 mai 2009

Conway Stewart 22 "Floral pen", c.1955


Realized by one of the most popular manufacturers of England in the last century, the Conway Stewart fountain pen 22 belongs to a group of pens that had no commercial success and that ceased to be produced soon after their launch.
Today it's a pen that is hard to find, few copies were produced* and few have survived: the material used, plastic and casein, turned out to be very fragile. Because of time and the effect of the ink and the interior rubber sac, the original white color often became yellow.

When Conway Stewart started making this model in the 50's, between 1955 and 1957, the business of the fountain pens was going through one of the most difficult moments in its history. The ball-point, introduced massively at the end of the 40's by Reynolds and Eversharp, was the protagonist and the fountain pen was pushed into the background.

The response of Conway Stewart to these difficulties was an original initiative, but turned out to have no success at all. Imitating the traditional English porcelain, Conway Stewart introduced the model 22, today called "Floral Pen " by the collectors.

Perhaps for design or perhaps to save costs of production, the pen was made from a white tube covered by a thin layer of transparent plastic.

The model is not excessively big, possibly meant for women, measuring 12,2 cm closed, and using the typical clip in the shape of a diamond, introduced by the mark at the end of the 30's, and using the reliable Conway Stewart lever system.

One of the characteristics to distinguish the "Floral Pen ", except for its color, is its nib number 5 and its Greek cap ring, a design only used by Conway Stewart for this model and for the " Speedy Phil " model, made between 1957 and 1959, called this way because of its particular filling system, very similar to Sheaffer's Touchdown pens.

My pen is in an exceptional condition, perhaps never used, in its box, with its guarantee and the original Conway Stewart rubber sac. A beautiful quality fountain pen.

Today this model has been re-edited in 2005 in a limited edition by the new Conway Stewart Company, according to the characteristics of the original pen, but this time made of lacquer.

* There's the question wether if there were 200 or 2000 copies made. In my humble opinion and based on the times I've seen this kind of pen in either sale or exhibition, and also in the opinion of other collectors, I think they were making a precise number of copies, rather around 2,000.