Conway Stewart vintage fountain pen and the Elite Collection
This is not your ordinary pen. The Conway Stewart fountain pen, and not just any but the Elite Collection is not the pen you carry on you or take with you in a car. This is an ornate object and a true luxury writing instrument. One to cherish.
It is crafted from a solid piece of 18 carat gold and is hand sculpted by English artisans. Such a vintage fountain pen is more comparable to a handmade hat or designer gown. The word ‘heritage’ comes to mind. No, I have to admit, not an average vintage fountain pen. And yes, to acquire an Elite pen, or any Conway Stewart fountain pen for that matter is to become the custodian of an artistic tradition.
The origins of the Conway Stewart vintage fountain pen
Two popular music hall entertainers of the 1900s are thought to have given the Conway Stewart company its name. It was supposedly a popular vaudeville act of the day. Conway and Stewart were -or so it seems – a comedy double act for a Music Hall in Islington, London.
The company was well known for making good quality, low cost pens throughout the 1920s and 1930S. Lasting well into the 1950s the Conway Stewart name brings back many memories of inky fingers. In the sixties the traditional company did not modernize and actually closed down for several years. However money was later put on the table and the company resurrected with the designs of the initial pens.
Coming back to the Elite Collection
It is said that the company wanted to show piece the work of English master craftsmen in various fields, including hand painting, enameling and engraving. Which is why these ornate pieces are selling for approximately £10,000 and more. This can be compared to the early traditions of pen making when only the rich could afford them. Apart from the gold and the hand sculpted artisan work, the use of casein can further explain the price. Conway Stewart was the company that reintroduced the use of casein in pen making. Casein, a form of milk protein particles are laid down under high pressure to form slab. The slab is kept in a preservative for five to six months and then it takes another two months before production continues. This has to be an expensive vintage fountain pen.
You have to know that a Conway Stewart fountain pen have written some great moments of 20th Century British history. These pens were used throughout World War II (1939-1945) by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. In fact, it is no surprise that the vintage fountain pen of Conway Stewart is sometimes several times the price of their contemporary ones.
Conway Stewart fountain pen as the preferred choice of the most discerning and famous people
Conway Stewart website states that there pens “have always been the preferred choice of the most discerning and famous people from around the world”. But it seems that they are most proud of their relations with the British politicians and the royal family. And the elite pens seem to be a traditional state gift. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh have two Conway Stewart pens from “the Elite Collection” to celebrate their Golden Wedding Anniversary. Prime Minister Blair has given a Conway Stewart fountain pen of the Elite collection, the Churchill Burgundy, to the Russian President Putin on a state trip to Russia and French President Jacques Chirac was given a Brown Marble Churchill to celebrate his 70th birthday.
Conway Stewart fountain pen was also the official pen chosen by the British Government for the G8 Summit at which Prime Minister Blair presented a Conway Stewart No 58 set to each of the G8 world leaders. They supply both No 10 Downing Street, residence of the British Prime Minister, as the British Royal Palaces. President Bush and President Clinton both own a Conway Stewart pen.
So if you have lately inherited some money or strongly believe in heirlooms that can be handed down from generation to generation, wait no longer. You will in your turn take care of this unique heritage, and continue the bridge between the past and the future. Know that growing number of pen collectors around the world still treasure the Conway Stewart name that stands for Britain’s greatest pen maker. A vintage fountain pen you simply have to have. There is however a Conway Stewart lookalike, namely Parker 51.