This unique collection of Victorian pencils is probably the finest and most comprehensive assembly of English-made pencils in the world. Some of the items are American and some from the major Jewellery houses like Tiffany, Cartier and Asprey, but the majority of the pieces are English and most were made by Sampson Mordan & Co. It is striking for the wide range and diversity of types. The book follows the development of the mechanical pencil from the first early silver-cased pencils that were simple and practical in design to the whimsical novelty items produced later in the century. The Victorian obsession with novelty led to pencils that were made in the form of pistols, rifles, pipes, cigars, oars, boats, tennis rackets and golf clubs. Nails, screws, crosses, and knives were all pencils in disguise. Each pencil in the collection has been photographed, catalogued and grouped by design category for this publication, making it a significant work of reference.
JOHN BULL ANTIQUES LIMITED 139a NEW BOND STREET LONDON W1S 2TN +44 207 629 1251 firstname.lastname@example.org
THE KB COLLECTION OF PENCILS
THE KB COLLECTION
Kenneth Bull is an antique dealer specialising in Silver and Objets de Vertu. He has a showroom in New Bond Street, London and regularly exhibits at Antique Fairs on both sides of the Atlantic. John Bull Antiques has been the family business for four generations. He was born in London in 1950 and started working in Portobello Road with his parents in 1965. Married to Barbara, they have two married sons and four grandchildren.
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Published in 2012 ÂŠ Kenneth Bull 2012 ISBN 0-9546875-6-6 Photography by David Shepherd All rights reserved The rights of Kenneth Bull and David Shepherd to be identified as the authors of this work have been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the copyright owners. Although all reasonable care has been taken in the preparation of this book, neither the authors nor the publisher can accept any liability for any consequence arising from the use thereof, or the information contained therein. A CIP record of this book is available from the British Library Designed by Teresa Shepherd Printed and bound in Singapore by SC (Sang Choy) International Pte Ltd
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Never having written a book before I needed a guiding hand to get me started and was given helpful advice by Dr Jim Marshall of the Pen and Pencil Gallery, who has considerable publishing experience and is extremely knowledgeable about Victorian pencils. Due to personal commitments, he felt unable to assist me with this project but suggested that I contact Dr David Shepherd, the editor of the Writing Equipment Society Journal. As well as editing two magazines David has also written four books for the Parker Pen Company about its history. His wife, Teresa, is a graphic designer who specialises in book design. They readily agreed to help me. My thanks are due to Jim for his initial advice and for introducing me to David and Teresa, for, without their assistance, my dream and this book would never have come to fruition. David has photographed each pencil with skilful professionalism and his attention to detail in the cataloguing, makes this book a significant work of reference. Teresaâ€™s experience is manifestly self-evident and her presentational skills, layout and composition give the book its visual appeal. I should also like to thank Brian George for his contribution on the life of John Sheldon and to Steve Hull for the information about L G Sloan. Finally I must mention my wife, Barabara, who has cheerfully tolerated my obsession and for her constant encouragement. Kenneth Bull
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Mordan and Bramah
First pencil patent
Mordan and Riddle
End of the partnership
Coins and games
Musical instruments and globe
Death of Sampson Mordan
The Penny Post
18c Dutch needle-cases
The Illustrated London News
Jugs and barrels
1851 Great Exhibition
Shops in the Victorian Age
Umbrellas and sticks
Mappin & Webb
J C Vickery
Army & Navy Stores
Hamilton & Co Calcutta
Screws and nails
Walter Thornhill & Co
Mordan Centenary 1815–1915
Jewellery and pencils
S Mordan & Co
Mordan Centennial 1922
Bracelets and baubles
Long case clock and suitcase
Sir Charles Wakefield
Sentimentality in the Victorian Age
Mordan display cabinet
L G Sloan
Fruit and nuts
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Although I have been involved in silver all my working life it is only recently that I have become attracted to the charms and fascination of Victorian pencils. Most of my time has been spent handling larger items. Gradually, I began to appreciate the innovation and the artisan’s skill in making such fascinating and exquisite items like the combination pens and pencils, the figural pencils and the novelty items. Even the more mundane examples present a degree of application seldom seen today. This ‘sleeping giant’ of a hobby seems to have been overlooked, due apparently, to no other reason than a scarcity of the more unusual examples. It was not long before the lure of ‘Mordan’ had gripped me. I began to wonder why so many different styles were made and where they were sold. Although catalogues existed, a lot of items in my collection were not illustrated, so was this a custom activity? Many such questions led me into private discussions with some specialist collectors and that led me on to the idea of presenting this unique collection to the public and particularly to enthusiasts, in the form of a book. I have had an exciting adventure with words, images, history, advertisements and research in places like the National Archives, The British Library and The British Museum. I hope you enjoy the result of this collaborative effort and become as fascinated and enamoured as me by these small gems, which are actually pencils. Kenneth Bull
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS FOREWORD 1
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During a period of over one hundred years from 1822 to 1930, the mechanical pencil made the transition from a new invention to a commonplace item. The inventors and manufacturers, who were often the same people, produced some simple, as well as some very sophisticated writing instruments, that often doubled as jewellery. They created a market, which they kept dynamic through constant change, revision and improvement with new additions to their product lines. They used the benefits of the industrial revolution to increase their efficiency and they were pioneers in the use of advertising. Pre-eminent amongst English manufacturers was Sampson Mordan. Although he was not the first person to make a propelling pencil, his name is always associated with its invention. To many in the 19th century, Mordan became a word synonymous with a pencil and if the hyperbole associated with his advertising, is to be believed, then much of the great literature of the time was created using Mordan products. Sampson Mordan was the one manufacturer above all others who captured the zeitgeist of the age. How then did Sampson Mordan, an engineer and machinist of very modest means, become the pre-eminent manufacturer of his time and why do the company products still resonate with collectors of today? What has contributed to the lure and mystique of the Sampson Mordan brand? The intention of this book is to answer these questions and chronicle the history of the Sampson Mordan Company, whilst considering the differing influences, which have shaped the evolution of the mechanical pencil over more than 100 years. This is coupled with the showcasing of ‘The KB Collection of Pencils’, which comprises a bewildering ensemble of over 600 different mechanical pencils from this period. It is probably the finest and most comprehensive assembly of English-made pencils in the world. Some of the items are American and some from the major Jewellery houses like Tiffany, Cartier and Asprey, but the majority of the pieces are English, and most were made by Sampson Mordan & Co. The range and diversity are mind-boggling. There are examples of the first early silver cased pencils that were simple and practical in design, to catalogued variants, which sit side by side with one-off customised models. Using examples from the collection, the book follows the development of the mechanical pencil, from a functional, utilitarian device, to a whimsical fancy item later in the century. The Victorian interest in novelty led to pencils that were
“Make something of quality and people will buy it”
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS INTRODUCTION 2
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made in the form of pistols, rifles, pipes, cigars, oars, boats, cricket bats, tennis rackets, golf clubs, whips, cannons and axes. Nails and screws, keys, crosses and butter knives, tops, horns and whistles were all pencils in disguise. Dicken's characters, babies and animals were inspirational figures for the imaginative creators of the figural pencil. The result is a stunning extravaganza of exquisite, small, detailed ornaments, treasures that are actually pencils. The lead pencil as we know it today, evolved from the discovery in the 16th century of black-lead or plumbago, in a substantial deposit, near Keswick in Cumberland. At first, the black-lead, also known as graphite, was used in its raw form or in a metal case or porte-crayon. A graphite pencil encased in wood is recorded from 1686 but commercial production appears to date from c1775. With the increasing demand for mechanical pencils, John Isaac Hawkins and Sampson Mordan were awarded the first patent in 1822, although other silversmiths in Birmingham and London were known to have been making propelling pencils at the same time. Mordan advertised his new patented pencil with great passion, being particularly fond of using the Royal coat of arms to publicise his innovation. He was equally energetic in deterring competitors from copying his everpointed pencil and not afraid to resort to lawsuits to backup his claims. A sharp operator, he was quite happy to copy other people’s designs, feeling that was perfectly acceptable. “Make something of quality and people will buy it” – this was a philosophy that Sampson Mordan followed passionately throughout his working life. He had a desire and determination to make something, in his case a pencil, better than anyone else. To achieve this aim it was necessary to inculcate his workforce with the same aspirations. Although the pencil business was very competitive and cut-throat, Mordan developed a policy of producing quality products and being constantly innovative. He was a machinist and engineer who survived initially by experimenting with existing ideas, before presenting his own improved versions to the marketplace and then advertising them enthusiastically. Quality control was the key to Sampson Mordan’s success and while he may have hoped that standards would always be maintained within the company he could never have imagined that his sons, Augustus and Sampson II and two of his successors, Edmund George Johnson and Harry Lambert Symonds, would become names synonymous with the highest standards within the silversmith world. By holding prestigious executive positions in various trade organisations they reinforced the values that Sampson Mordan espoused.
“Quality lives when price is forgotten”
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS INTRODUCTION 3
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MORDAN AND BRAMAH Sampson Mordan was born in 1790 and began work as an apprentice for Joseph Bramah, who was one of the fathers of the machine tool industry. His inventions greatly contributed to the development of the Industrial Revolution. Joseph Bramah, born Joe Brammer, was the son of a Yorkshire farmer. When he was seriously injured in an accident at the age of 16 which left him lame, he became a cabinetmaker’s apprentice. After completing his training, Bramah set up his own carpentry and cabinetmaking shop in London. Alexander Cumming had recently patented a water-closet valve system, which Bramah found unsatisfactory while installing water closets for his customers, so in 1778, Bramah patented his own, improved flushing system. In 1784 he patented his burglar-proof Bramah lock, which he exhibited in his Piccadilly shop window with a notice offering a 200 guinea award to anyone who could pick it. All attempts failed until, 67 years later in 1851, an American mechanic named Alfred Hobbs succeeded in opening the lock – after 51 hours. Bramah’s lock was effective because it was intricate. In order to manufacture it economically, Bramah realized he needed finely designed machine tools capable of turning out precisely-made parts. To help with this, he hired a young blacksmith named Henry Maudslay, who became superintendent of Bramah’s shop the following year at the age of 19. Together, around 1794, the two men made a crucial improvement to the crude lathes of the day: the slide rest. Instead of holding the cutting tool by hand against the metal to be cut, the iron fist of the slide rest held the tool firmly and rigidly against the metal and moved the tool uniformly along a carriage. The slide rest permitted much greater accuracy and output in metalworking. Another very important Bramah invention was the hydraulic press in 1795. This was the first practical application of hydraulic principles and opened a tremendous new source of power to the manufacturers and builders of the Industrial Revolution. Bramah was a marvelously inventive man who secured a total of 18 patents during his working life. His other inventions included a machine for numbering bank notes, a wood-planing machine and on 21 November 1809, Patent No 3260, Pens for Writing, which included a mechanical device to make quill nibs for pens. Sampson Mordan established his own business in 1815 after the death of Joseph Bramah in 1814, although he was still working for the Bramah family company until 1819, when he was dismissed. The early years of his business were small scale and not very successful and there is much speculation as to what was actually produced. As a small worker, Mordan most likely made articles for other people who supplied the materials. It also seems logical to suppose that these early products would have been insubstantial as Mordan would not have been successful enough to afford to use expensive or heavy materials. Manufacturing pens (nibs) in the 1820s was very lucrative and the competition intense and jealously guarded by the main suppliers. At the time, the Bank of England employed a staff of about a thousand and was spending sums in excess of £2,000 a year providing pens for their use. In 1820, for example, more than a million and a quarter quill pens were purchased at an overall cost of £2,021. In 1822, Bramah’s patent pens sold for 3s 0d for a hundred and during trials at the bank, each pen was found to outlast five of a competitor’s pens. Confident of making substantial savings, the bank adopted Bramah’s Patent Pens for the majority of their needs. When the protection afforded by Bramah’s patent expired after its 15 year currency, rivals were able to undercut his prices, but Bramah continued to enjoy the patronage of the Bank, as he was able to satisfy the Bank committee on the relative merits of his pens in relation to the price. Struggling to make his mark in the business world, Mordan was not averse to ‘borrowing’ ideas about pen production from his former employer, Joseph Bramah. At the start of 1822, this pirating embroiled him in legal proceedings with the younger Bramah.
Box of original Bramah Patent Quill Pens (nibs) with printed label and sealing label printed superior.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS MORDAN AND BRAMAH 4
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A report in The Courier Court of Chancery 21 January 1822 Bramah v Mordan Mr Agar applied for an injunction to restrain the defendant from making, or causing to be made, any pens according to the patent of the plaintiff. The late Mr Bramah, whose son the plaintiff was, had obtained a patent for a peculiar manner of dividing quills, by which he was enabled to make ten or twelve pens out of a single quill, instead of one according to the usual method. The late Mr Bramah carried on his business, in partnership with his son until the time of his death; and when that occurred, his son took out the administration of his effects, and therefore became entitled to the benefit of the patent, of which he had been in possession up to that moment. The defendant had been an apprentice to Mr Bramah and was discharged from his service in 1819. The facts were verified on affidavit. Injunction granted. The Times 10 April 1822 PATENT PENS BRAMAH and MORDAN The public are respectfully informed that the proceedings which Messrs Bramah commenced against me, for an alleged infringement of their patent for Pens, have been dismissed by the Chancellor upon the petition of Messrs Bramah themselves, have taken this course to avoid the consequences of a public discussion of the merits of the transaction. The injunction they obtained has consequently been abandoned, and I am now at liberty to continue the supply of pens to the public as formerly. The public are also cautioned against receiving any statements which may be published in the papers, for the purpose of creating a prejudice against my pens which the first stationery houses in London have sanctioned with their approbation, and the merits of which I am anxious should be ascertained by a comparison with those sold by Messrs Bramah. The boxes containing the pens sold by me are encircled with a belt warranted and has my signature. NB The original patentee, Mr Bramah has been dead some years. S Mordan 43 Union Street City Road.
Box of Mordan Patent Portable Pens (nibs) and quill pens.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS MORDAN AND BRAMAH 5
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FIRST PENCIL PATENT In 1822, Sampson Mordan and his co-inventor John Isaac Hawkins filed the first patent in Great Britain for a metal pencil with an internal mechanism for propelling the graphite lead shaft forward during use, as an improvement on the less complex leadholders that merely clutched the pencil lead to hold it in a single position. In a Patents listing in the Chancery Lane Public Records Office is the following entry dated 20 December1822. Progressive number 4742 – ‘Hawkins and Mordan. A grant to John Isaac Hawkins of Pentonville, civil engineer and Sampson Mordan of Union Street, City Road, portable pen maker, for their invented improvements on pencil holders or port crayons for the purposes of facilitating writing and drawing by rendering the frequent cutting or mending of the points or nibs unnecessary.’ No one is certain who made the first propelling pencil, but this is the first Patent for a propelling mechanism for a pencil. John Isaac Hawkins was born on 14 March 1772 in Taunton, Somerset where his father was a watch and clock maker. His intimate acquaintance with physical science and ability to develop inventive ideas into practical forms, eminently qualified him for the profession of a Patent Agent and Consulting Engineer and he was elected as a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1824. He took an active part in its proceedings, both in the presentation of papers and also participating in discussions. In other words he was a perfect partner for Mordan. In England the Crown issued ‘letters patent’ providing any person with a monopoly to produce particular goods or provide particular services. The term ‘letters patent’ (Latin literae patentes, ‘letters that lie open’) was so called because the seal hung from the foot of the document. They were addressed ‘To all to whom these presents shall come’ and could be read without breaking the seal, as opposed to ‘letters close’, addressed to a particular person who had to break the seal to read them. Similarly to a modern patent, a Royal Patent granted the owner of the patent a monopoly on the manufacture, distribution, and sale of a product for a fixed period, usually 14 years. The term of 14 years was fixed in 1623 as it amounted to the term of two apprenticeships. This prevented an apprentice from completing his articles and setting up in his own right. The expense of patents in Great Britain in the early part of the 19th century, in excess of £300, acted harshly upon inventors, since unless they were prepared to incur the large cost for an uncertain return, they could not exhibit their un-patented inventions except at the risk of being deprived of them. At the time the situation was not the same in the USA, where for a moderate sum, poor inventors could protect their inventions and hence were more able to fund their developments. Such reasons, no doubt contributed towards John Hawkins’ decision to go to America in 1848. In a farewell letter he said, “The creator has constituted me as an inventor, and I consider every useful invention, as a commission from him, in trust, for the benefit of mankind; and I should deem myself guilty of a breach of that trust, were I not to use every reasonable exertion to carry the same into effect, as long as it can afford me due support. Society is now enjoying many comforts and conveniences from my inventions, while I have great difficulty in procuring common necessaries”.
Silver porte-crayon with slider and hobnail terminal. ROBERT MOSELY 1822. Length 105mm
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS FIRST PENCIL PATENT 6
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Hawkins and Mordan patent for a mechanical pencil 20 December 1822
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS FIRST PENCIL PATENT 7
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MORDAN AND RIDDLE For an ambitious entrepreneur Sampson Mordan desperately needed money to exploit the recently granted patent. The application had been expensive and he could not look to Hawkins to finance an expansion of his business. The solution was to look for an outside source of funding which required a remodeling of the company. In 1823 Sampson Mordan bought out Hawkins for £450, payable by installments, and became the exclusive patentee of the propelling pencil, and then he promptly sold a half share in the profit to a successful commercial stationer, Gabriel Riddle of Paternoster Row, London. Mordan now had a partner who could complement his skill as a machinist, with the necessary capital for a successful business. William Riddle, Gabriel’s son later confirmed that it was his father who provided the cash injection at this critical stage. In a letter to The Builder of 3 August 1861, he wrote “my father’s money founded the firm of S Mordan & Co”. On 9 June 1823 Sampson Mordan entered his mark SM in an oblong at Goldsmith’s Hall as a small-worker. This was done so that he could make the barrels of his pencils in gold and silver. The barrel imprint mark was MORDAN & CO PATENT. In the following year, 30 April 1824, still from Castle Street, he entered a joint mark with Gabriel Riddle, this time as a plateworker. Year marks were changed annually on 19 May, so no SM marks should appear for 1824, but this is not the case, as 1824 pencils are known to exist. The explanation is as follows. Manufacturers have the right to apply their mark to a piece before the official assay. A number of pencils may have been stockpiled before the Mordan-Riddle partnership and then assayed a little late, perhaps at the end of May 1824. These items would then have been stamped for 1824, instead of the more correct 1823. This tactic would have saved the financially shrewd Mordan from sharing the subsequent profits with his new partner, Riddle. The Mordan and Riddle partnership manufactured and sold pens and pencils, which were hallmarked S.M.G.R. During the period of the partnership a variety of imprints and hallmarks were used.
S. MORDAN & CO PENCIL AND PEN CASE MARKS
Table of S Mordan & Co Marks produced courtesy of Michael Cooper and Neil Davis
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS MORDAN AND RIDDLE 8
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1 A silver Everpointed pencil with reeded barrel and plain slide and terminal. Marked MORDAN & Co PATENT SM Hallmark 1823. Length closed 92mm, open 120mm. 2 A silver Everpointed pencil with reeded decoration, plain ring slide, inscribed agate green seal terminal over single lead reservoir. Marked S.MORDAN & Cos PATENT and SM.GR Hallmark. Length closed 94mm, open 122mm .
3 A silver Everpointed pencil with reeded barrel and plain slide and terminal. S.MORDAN & Cos PATENT. Length closed 80mm, open 109mm. 4 A silver Everpointed pencil with barleycorn decoration, decorated ring slide, hobnail seal terminal over single lead reservoir. Marked S. MORDAN & Co MAKERS & PATENTEES and SM.GR Hallmark. Length closed 92mm, open 115mm.
5 A silver Everpointed pencil with engineturned barrel and swivel seal over multiple lead reservoir. S.MORDAN & Co MAKERS & PATENTEES. Length closed 82mm, open 120mm. 6 A silver Everpointed pencil with reeded barrel and acanthus slide and terminal with white stone. S.MORDAN & Co MAKERS & PATENTEES. Length closed 92mm, open 116mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS MORDAN AND RIDDLE 9
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MORDAN ADVERTISING Demand was fostered by the new powers of persuasion, which were beginning to be used by organised industry and retail traders through the use of advertisement columns in newspapers and magazines. Until the middle of the century newspaper circulations and the sale of space for advertisements were curbed by taxation, so the proprietors could not take advantage of the mechanical improvements in printing which had cut production costs and made large circulations possible. After the taxes were abolished the volume of advertising increased and its effective use was recognized by enterprising manufacturers.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS MORDAN ADVERTISING 10
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Pigot and Co’s Metropolitan New Alphabetical Directory for 1827 included an advertisement featuring S. Mordan and Co’s Patent Ever-Pointed Pencil. The advertisement drew to the Public’s attention the fact the Mordan pencils are quote: “Upon a principle entirely new, and which combines utility with simplicity of construction. The black lead is not enclosed in wood, as usual, but in a small silver tube to which there is attached a mechanical contrivance for propelling the lead as it is worn. The diameter of the Black lead is so nicely proportioned as not to require ever be cutting, or pointing either for fine writing, outline or shading”. Many of his earlier advertisements are surmounted by the Royal coat of arms.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS MORDAN ADVERTISING 11
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LITIGATION The Mordan and Riddle partnership found a particularly ready market for their everpointed propelling pencils, which Mordan felt, he had the sole right to manufacture under the terms of his Royal Letters Patent. Not everyone shared this view.
Joshua Butler of 15 Plough Court, Fetter Lane, registered his mark as a smallworker in October 1822. Butler announced that he was the “inventor and manufacturer of the Everpointed Pencils upon an improved principle, in gold, silver and tortoiseshell cases . . .” His advertisement in the same publication as his rival’s, even illustrates a pencil that closely resembles that advertised by Mordan. Butler’s only problem was that he could not advertise his invention as being protected by ‘His Majesty’s Royal Letters Patent’.
The novel propelling pencil had rapidly become a favourite personal possession. Clearly, if one manufacturer were able to legally establish exclusive rights to the pencil’s production and distribution, then the rewards would have been considerable. Mordan had gone to great expense to obtain his patent and he did not look kindly on anyone he considered was breaching his legal rights. In 1828 Mordan decided to sue for infringement of his patent. But it was not Butler or any number of other makers who was the subject of his complaint, but a Birmingham manufacturer.
1 A silver Everpointed pencil with engineturned barrel and slide. Terminal with citrine stone. BUTLER & Co LONDON c1827. Length closed 80mm, open 95mm. 2 A silver Everpointed pencil with engineturned barrel and slide and swivel seal with magnifying glass over multiple lead reservoir. WILLMORE c1827. Length closed 112mm, open 142mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS LITIGATION 12
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Joseph Willmore, a silversmith of Bread Street, Birmingham, was one of a number of manufacturers who was enjoying a living from the construction and sale of pencils, ‘which gradually protrude or drive out from a tube and also draw in’. It was Mordan’s contention that the Willmore pencil was a copy of his own patented pencil and he made several representations to him to stop production and to send any monies and profits made from the sale. Willmore replied that he had not imitated or copied any invention of Mordan’s and that he was in possession of various ledgers and other documentary evidence which he could produce to answer the allegations should the need arise. Despite this threatened defence, which if successful was likely to cause much public humiliation to the London company, Mordan lodged a 7,000 word complaint against Willmore which was carefully drafted by Samuel Girdlestone Jnr. It was dated 13 March 1828 and presented to The Lord High Chancellor, The Right Honourable John Singleton, Baron Lyndhurst, in Chancery. A number of highly detailed drawings with precise specifications of Mordan’s everpointed pencil were also received. Having set the stage Mordan and Riddle then introduce the defendant to be: “Joseph Willmore of Bread Street, Birmingham in the County of Warwick, a Silversmith or dealer in gold and silver trinkets who has for some time passed been infringing upon the said patent, making and constructing pencil holders or port crayons upon the said improved methods according to the specifications protected by the said patent wholly without the consent of your orators. Willmore, well known to collectors of silver smallwares, had sold large quantities or numbers of pencil holders or port crayons constructed upon the principle of making the holder both gradually protrude or drive out from a tube and also draw in the pencil or crayon by such or the like means or processes as are stated or described in the aforesaid specification and he still continues to sell or offer for sale . . . and in consequence of such discovery your orators have by themselves and their agents applied to the said Joseph Willmore and requested him to desist from using or imitating the said invention and to account to your orators for the monies and profits he has obtained by the wrongful use and exercise thereof.” Willmore’s reply to the representations and allegations made by Mordan and Riddle was that he had “never used, imitated or counterfeited the said invention”. Also Willmore pointed out that the pencils being sold by Mordan and Riddle only protruded and didn’t draw in. Mordan and Riddle added that Willmore had stated that he had a mass of documentary evidence, which he could use in his defence if the London makers were to persist with their complaints. They had consistently asked Willmore to reveal or explain the nature of these documents but he had replied that he had no intention of doing so. The Lord High Chancellor ruled that Mordan’s invented improvements had long been known and practised by machinists and manufacturers in London, Birmingham and various other parts of England. He decided that there had been no infringement of patent rights and the application for an injunction against Willmore was returned to the complainants. Furthermore no relief or assistance was given to Mordan and Riddle, who were made to pay costs. It is puzzling why it took Mordan and Riddle five years to sue Willmore for patent infringement. Willmore had entered his mark at the Birmingham Assay office in 1803 and was producing small silver products long before Mordan had started in business. Willmore would have been more than familiar with the wide variety of pencil holders on offer from Birmingham smallware manufacturers. And why did Mordan single out Willmore for legal action? Why not sue Butler, Mosley or even Joseph Bramah. The latter was marketing propelling pencils before Willmore. Examples are known, made by Joseph Jago in London and hallmarked in 1824. The earliest Willmore example is hallmarked 1825. Sampson Mordan was a shrewd operator, with great business acumen. He was also a salesman and showman of undoubted ability. His Castle Street factory was open house to his more important clients. He referred constantly to his many various useful inventions manufactured and patented by his company. He may have felt, as a London based maker, of some reputation, that he could intimidate Joseph Willmore, who he regarded as a second rate provincial dealer in gold and silver baubles.
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Emboldened by winning his legal battle in 1822 with Bramah concerning 1 the Patent Pen, Mordan was sufficiently confident to copy a pen and pencil combination in 1824, where the pen holder was identical to a Brahmah design patented in 1809. At the time the protection given by a patent lasted for 14 years. Not only did he copy the design but he was brazen enough to stamp his version as S. MORDAN’S IMPROV’D. There was clearly no change or even improvement, but Mordan was an entrepreneur who understood the value of hyperbole. The art of a successful entrepreneur is knowing who and what to replicate. Mordan certainly possessed this trait and later went on to copy an even more famous patent of Joseph Bramah – the Bramah Patent Lock. Bramah’s patent for the lock was originally granted in 1784 and extended for a further 14 years in 1798, which effectively lasted until 1812. Mordan was producing locks using the Bramah design key and locking action well into the Victorian era. In their trade directory entry of 1856 Mordan was listed as a manufacturer of patent seven guard and improved detector locks. To who’s patent does this refer? Mordan was undeterred by his previous lack of success, in the law courts, against Joseph Willmore. In 1830 he began further legal proceedings, this time against a former employee, Michael Pullen, who had been a foreman at the Mordan factory in Castle Street for five years. His duties involved buying the raw materials for the pencil leads. Following a dreadful quarrel between Mordan and Pullen, the latter was discharged from his position. He moved to nearby Bunhill Row and set up in business on his own account. He fixed a sign above the door of his new premises, which read ‘M. Pullen. Late foreman to Messrs. Mordan & Co. Everpointed Pencil, Portable Quill and Steel Pen Manufacturer’. From here Pullen sold leads labelled Mordan but of Pullen’s own make. On this occasion when Mordan’s leads were eventually compared with Pullen’s, an injunction was granted favourably to the co- partnership, and against Pullen.
1 S. MORDAN’S IMPROV’D imprint. c1824 2 A silver combination pen and pencil with reeded barrel. Marked IMPROV’D. c1824. Length closed 100mm, open 145mm. 3 Detail of the IMPROV’D imprint.
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1831 S. Mordan & Co advertisement
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END OF THE PARTNERSHIP The partnership between Sampson Mordan and Gabriel Riddle was dissolved at the end of 1836. It is not known what caused the split. On 4 January 1837, Sampson Mordan re-entered his mark, alone, from the Castle Street address and on 2 February Gabriel Riddle followed suit, giving his address as 172 Blackfriars Road. After which both parties then started production on their own account and advertised energetically and competively their high quality pencils.
1 Announcement in The Courier 19 January 1837 of the end of the Mordan and Riddle partnership. 2 A later advertisement in The Courier 4 March 1837 detailing the products offered by Gabriel Riddle after his split with Sampson Mordan.
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1 A silver combination pen and pencil with ivory handle marked G. RIDDLE LONDON. c1837. Length 165mm 2 Detail of G. RIDDLE LONDON imprint on pencil and pen
3 A silver Everpointed pencil with reeded barrel and decorated cast foliate slide and terminal. PATENT. G RIDDLE. MAKER. LONDON. Length closed 87mm, open 110mm. 4 1837 G. Riddle advertisement
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LUND PENCIL William Riddle was the inventor and patentee of an ingenious form of propelling pencil, which held several leads throughout its length, so that when one was finished the next was already in position. The wooden outer case was cut with a helical groove, in which travelled a similarly grooved brass collar attached through a slit to the propelling mechanism behind the leads. The invention was patented in 1848. British Patent No 12383. Riddle did not apparently exploit his invention fully and disposed of his interest in the patent to William Lund, a wood and ivory turner, and the son of Thomas Lund of 57 Cornhill, London. An early version of this pencil, made of cedar with an ivory cap and nozzle is imprinted ‘W. RIDDLE’S PATENT MADE EXCLUSIVELY BY W. LUND LONDON. The later, shorter examples turned in ivory with mounts of nickel, silver or gold are marked ‘LUND PATENTEE LONDON. William Riddle’s propelling pencil was a subtle improvement on the simple ‘Stop Sliding Pencils’, first patented in 1783. Several makers made these in the late 18th century. The lead was pushed out as required by a sliding ‘stop’ which travelled in a dovetail slot cut in one side of the cedar pencil.
2 IMPROVED PENCIL-CASE AND PENCILS Mr Riddle has just invented a “Self-supplying Pencil-case”, the improvement in which consists in placing a reserve of lead round a newel, within a case, near the point, so that when one lead is used, on screwing back the propelling wire, a fresh lead drops into its place; then, by again screwing forward the propeller, the user may go on writing as before. Mr Riddle has also invented an ever-pointed pencil in cedar, which consists of a hollow stem of wood, into which pieces of prepared lead, slate, crayon, or other material for writing or drawing are placed. These pieces may be pushed forward, as the point is worn away, by means of an external ring. The stem may be re-filled when required. These are useful inventions, worthy of universal adoption.
1 Trade card of Jones, for stop sliding pencils, from the late 18th century. A Jonas Jonas (probably a misprint for Jones) patented such pencils in 1783. British Patent No 1409 Courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum 2 Advertisement in The Illustrated London News 30 March 1850.
3 Thomas Lund’s trade card showing his Cornhill shop, c1820. Lund took over John Wilke’s Quill and Pen Warehouse at this address in 1803. By the time this card was made Lund was clearly selling a wide range of goods. Courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum
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1 Advertisement c1800 for a variety of black lead pencils including stop-sliding pencils. Courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum
2 A Lund cedar wood and ivory pencil marked LUND PATENTEE LONDON on the cylindrical body with spiral groove and silver collar to extend the lead and screw-off terminal. 3 A Lund ivory pencil marked LUND PATENTEE LONDON on the cylindrical body with spiral groove and silver collar to extend the lead and screw-off terminal. Length 100mm.
4 A Lund ivory pencil marked LUND PATENTEE LONDON on the cylindrical body with spiral groove and silver collar to extend the lead and screw-off terminal. Length 99mm. 5 A box of prepared lead points for the Lund pencil.
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LEADS Up until the beginning of the 19th century practically all the graphite required for pencil making had been mined at the Borrowdale mines in Cumberland and initially found in such a pure state and in such large pieces, that it had merely to be cut into long narrow bars by means of fine saws. As demand increased the mines, which had previously been opened only at intervals of a few years, were worked for several weeks each year. Inevitably, the deposits ran out mid-century and the search was on for a new source. In 1790, Nicholas Conté in Paris and Josef Hardtmuth in Vienna, each independently discovered a method of producing pencil leads by mixing finely powdered graphite with china clay and firing it to red heat in a kiln, which depending on the proportions of the materials used, produced leads of varying degrees of hardness. This is the method still used by pencil manufacturers today. In 1843, Brockedon was granted a patent for improvements in preparing or treating lead black. He invented a process for consolidating powdered graphite into a homogenous block under great pressure and ‘in vacuo’, which could then be sawn into leads in the normal way. Brockedon was born on 13 October 1787 at Totnes in Devon, where his father was a watchmaker. Under instruction from his father he gained a taste for scientific and mechanical pursuits. Sampson Mordan adopted Brockedon’s process and mentioned this fact in their advertising.
An 1827 Mordan advertisement listed his ‘Black Lead Points ‘ in five different sizes and degrees of hardness, and contained in boxes marked as follows VH H M S VS
very hard hard medium soft very soft
is very small in size is small is medium size is larger is largest
Seldom required Hard and black, for fine drawing For general purposes Black for shading Very black, for deep shading
The nozzles of the patent pencils were marked according to which size and hardness of lead they were made for. The black lead was said to be of the finest quality and prepared by ‘an entirely new chemical process’, which must have been similar to that of Conté or Hardmuth. The sawn leads were reduced into a cylindrical form by initially being forced through an octagonal hole in a plate of ruby: then, through a similar, but slightly smaller sixteen-sided hole and finally through a circular hole of the correct dimension. The leads were individually housed in a fine glass tube and sold in morocco cases, gilt-stamped with the degree of hardness. Later they were packaged in similar card and wood cases.
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1 Card and wood box of Prepared Leads for the Patent Ever-Pointed Pencil. Size M. Showing individual leads in fine glass tubes. 2 Pencil nozzles marked M and VS.
3 Card and wood box of Pure Cumberland Leads for the Patent Ever-Pointed Pencil. Size VS. 4 Card and wood box of Prepared Leads for the Patent Ever-Pointed Pencil. Size VS
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5 Card and wood box of Leads for the Patent Ever-Pointed Pencil. 6 Card and wood box of Lead Refills for the Patent Ever-Pointed Pencil. Size VS.
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NEW PRODUCTS By 1842 the S Mordan & Co product range had expanded to include such diverse items as patent smelling bottles, pneumatic dampers and pencil cases styled as dueling pistols. A pair of pistols usually included a pencil and a toothpick. A small pin slider under the pistol barrel operated the mechanisms. These products were so popular with the Victorians that Mordan and several other manufacturers were encouraged to make novelty pencils, styled as revolvers and rifles.
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A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a percussion pistol. Ornamental hammer. Butt die stamped with feather scrolls. Engraved July 6 1840. Length closed 63mm, open 80mm
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS PISTOLS 23
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1 A Mordan silver novelty pencil styled as a pistol. Engraved July 6 1840. Length 40mm 2 A Mordan gold novelty pencil styled as a pistol with chased grip. Length 40mm 3 An unmarked silver novelty pencil with a toothpick, styled as a pistol with chased grip. Length 57mm 4 An unmarked silver plate novelty pencil styled as a pistol. Length 60mm
5 A silver novelty pencil styled as a pistol with engraved grip. Length 48mm 6 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a pistol with engraved grip. Length 46mm 7 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a pistol with chased grip. Length 40mm 8 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a pistol with agate grip. Length 47mm 9 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a pistol with chased grip. Length 42mm
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS PISTOLS 24
10 An unmarked gold novelty pencil styled as a pistol with chased grip. Length 43mm 11 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a pistolwith agate butt end. Length 42mm 12 An unmarked gold novelty pencil styled as a pistol with lionâ€™s head grip. Length 54mm 13 An unmarked gilt novelty pencil styled as a pistol. Length 34mm 14 An unmarked gilt novelty pencil styled as a pistol. Length open 47mm.
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Two rare examples of dueling pistols
1 A pair of silver Mordan novelty dueling pistols with decorated grips. Small slider on pistol barrel operates the mechanism. One pencil and one toothpick with a cartridge for leads. In a lined ivory box, marked S MORDAN PENCIL MAKER. Width of box 84mm.
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2 A pair of gold Mordan novelty pencils styled as dueling pistols with decorated enamel grips in a lined brown box. Small slider on pistol barrels operates the pencil mechanism. One pencil with blue, orange and torquoise designs on grip engraved July 6 1840. The other pencil with dark blue enamelled butt with encrusted jewels. Width of box 60mm. Pencil length closed 47mm, open 58mm.
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1 An unmarked silver gilt novelty pencil styled as a revolver. Probably American. Length 60mm. 2 An unmarked gold novelty pencil styled as a revolver with moving cartridge case. Probably American. Length 50mm.
3 A gold Mordan novelty pencil styled as a revolver with moving cartridge case. Diamond Registration Lozenge on the butt. 8 March 1855. Length closed 50mm, open 75mm.
4 An unmarked gilt novelty pencil styled as a revolver. Probably American. Length 48mm. 5 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a revolver. Probably American. Length closed 60mm, open 72mm.
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An unmarked gold and silver novelty pencil styled as a revolver. Spring pencil mechanism activated by pressure on the hammer on the top of the grip. Lapis stone set in the butt of the grip. Probably American. Length closed 80mm open 97mm.
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1 A wooden novelty pencil and quill cutter styled as a rifle. Joseph Rogers & Sons. c1890. Length 85mm. 2 An unmarked silver-plate novelty pencil and penknife styled as a rifle. Length 93mm. 3 A silver novelty pencil and penknife styled as a rifle. Marked Josh Baker No 1186 4 April 1842. Length 87mm.
4 A silver novelty pencil styled as a rifle. G Wheeler Nov 9th 1840. Length 74mm. 5 An unmarked silver-plate novelty pencil and toothpick styled as a rifle. Length 87mm. 6 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a rifle with an agate stock. Length 65mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS RIFLES 28
7 An unmarked silver novelty pencil and toothpick styled as a rifle. Length 74mm. 8 A gold Mordan novelty pencil styled as a rifle. Length 62mm. 9 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a rifle. Engraved 1844 on stock. Length closed 78mm, open 95mm.
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1 An ivory and silver novelty pencil and quill cutter styled as a rifle. Joseph Rodgers & Sons c1890. Length 87mm.
Joseph Rodgers & Sons was a Sheffield firm of cutlers and silversmiths and one of the most prolific makers of pocket quill-cutting machines. At the Great Exhibition of 1851, they showed a large selection of cutlery, including a ‘Sportsman’s knife containing 80 blades’. By 1901 they had three factories and 2,000 employees.
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2 An unmarked silver-plate novelty pencil and toothpick, styled as a double-barelled shotgun with a heavily chased stock. Length 68mm.
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HANDS 4 2 5
1 A 15ct gold Mordan novelty telescopic pencil styled as a hand with a red enamel ring and feathered sleeve cuff. Marked S. MORDAN AUG 3 1842. No.1390. Length 40mm.
2 A silver Mordan novelty telescopic pencil styled as a hand with a blue enamel ring and ornate sleeve cuff. Marked S. MORDAN AUG 3 1842. No.1390. Length 35mm. 3 A silver Mordan novelty telescopic pencil styled as a hand with a red enamel ring and feathered sleeve cuff. Marked S. MORDAN AUG 3 1842. No.1390. Length 38mm.
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4 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a pencil case with a hand. Length 54mm and 65mm. 5 An unmarked gold novelty pencil styled as a pencil case with a hand. Length 70mm and 80mm.
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DEATH OF SAMPSON MORDAN Sampson Mordan died on 3 April 1843 in Holloway and was buried at Highgate Cemetry on 9 April 1843 in grave No. 731 Catacomb 21C West Cemetry. The business of Sampson Mordan & Co. was inherited by his sons, Augustus and Sampson Mordan II. In his will, made in 1841 Sampson bequeathed ‘the several premises in Castle Street and in City Road, upon which my business is carried on and also the goodwill of the said business and also all other property and effects of what nature or kind whatsoever and for the absolute property of my said sons Sampson and Augustus but subject to the several charges hereinafter made in favour of my foreman William Anderson.’ Sampson’s son, Francis, played no part in the business affairs of Sampson Mordan & Co. Aided by a legacy of £2,000 from his father, he founded the firm of Francis Mordan & Co. of 13 Frederick Place, Goswell Road and later of 326 City Road, specialising in the manufacture of ‘everlasting’ gold pens. On the day of Sampson Mordan’s death, the following advertisement appeared on the front page of The Times, 3 April 1843.
‘Caution by S. Mordan & Co. London. To prevent much inconvenience to the trade, merchants and others in purchasing any of the useful inventions manufactured and patented by the Advertisers, they beg to observe that each article is stamped S. Mordan & Co. Makers, London. This will ensure the following patent and useful articles: Gold and silver everpointed pencils, leads of a proper size for the same, cedar pencils, pure Cumberland lead, patent oblique steel pens, which have been eulogised by the first writers, the universal and self adjusting penholders. Those new penholders are the most complete ever offered to the public as they accommodate themselves to every description of pen, portable quill pens, correct letter balances warranted to turn to one grain, patent and every description of inkstand, medicine chests upon the newest principal, smelling bottles with the patent spherical stopper, copying presses and seal presses, the surfaces which are so beautifully true that one fourth of the usual pressure only is required to produce a perfect copy, fire proof chests, cash and deed boxes, locks from the largest prison door to the cabinet warranted to defy the most ingenious attempt to pick.’
This advertisement gives a comprehensive overview of the type of business that Augustus and Sampson II inherited. The company had diversified since 1823 and the granting of the everpointed pencil patent. Now, a far greater range of products was manufactured. Sampson’s three sons, Francis, Sampson II and Augustus had been left in no doubt as to the great potential of the pen and pencil businesses. In her will made in 1850, seven years after the death of her husband, Elizabeth Mordan wrote, “I do not leave anything to my three sons, Sampson, Augustus and Francis, because the two former are amply provided for under the last will of my said late husband and the latter is now well established in business”. All three became gentlemen proprietors of some means.
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THE PENNY POST
1 This statue of Rowland Hill, who founded the penny post and changed English attitudes toward writing letters, stands outside the old Post Office headquarters on King Edward Street, London EC1
2 Newspaper advertisement for the Penny Post announcing service and postal rates and the advantages to trade and commerce which it offered. The Penny Post was established in 1680 by William Dockwra and his business partner, Robert Murray.
3 Green was adopted as the standard colour for the early Victorian post boxes. Between 1866 and 1879 the hexagonal Penfold post box became the standard design for pillar boxes and it was during this period that red was first adopted as the standard colour. The first boxes to be painted red were in London in July 1874, although it would be nearly 10 years before all the boxes had been repainted.
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1 A silver Mordan novelty telescoping pencil styled as a Royal Mail pillar box with white enamelled panel showing collection times. c1880. Length closed 52mm, open 90mm. 2 An unmarked silver novelty telescoping pencil styled as a Royal Mail pillar box with black panel showing collection times. c1880. Length 52mm.
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THE ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS From the 1840s onwards, greatly improved machinery enabled newspapers and other publications, to be produced more quickly, more cheaply and with greater sophistication than ever before. Illustrations could be reproduced with greater clarity and by the end of the century it was possible to feature photographs. The writing and presentation of news also underwent great changes. The format of newspapers had essentially remained the same since the 17th century. The front and back pages were used for columns of advertisements, because they were considered to be mere wrapping, while the news itself was on the inside pages. The type was so small as to be almost unreadable. Whilst daily papers remained conservative in their approach, other periodicals broke new ground. A young printer, Herbert Ingram, decided to launch a weekly newspaper that would be heavily illustrated with engravings and on 14 May 1842 the first issue of The Illustrated London News appeared. Its masthead featured a beautiful and detailed view of the London skyline. Costing sixpence, the first edition sold 26,000 copies. Despite this initial success, there was a decrease of sales of the second and subsequent editions. However, Ingram was determined to make his newspaper a success, and sent every clergyman in the country a copy of the edition, which contained illustrations of the installation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and by this means secured a great many new subscribers. On 4 March 1848 Sampson Mordan ran three separate adverts. One of them was a testimonial and product endorsement from a dozen noted artists, architects and engineers including Isambard Kingdom Brunel. By 1863 The Illustrated London News was selling more than 300,000 copies every week, enormous figures in comparison to other British newspapers of the time. These circulation figures were not lost on S Mordan & Co who were regular advertisers until the end of the century.
Isambard Kingdom Brunel 1806–1859 Innovator and Engineer
Quite possibly one of the greatest engineers of the Victorian period, Isambard Brunel was born on 9 April 1806, the son of Marc Brunel, a French émigré and distinguished engineer in his own right. Educated in France, he returned at the age of 16 to England and started in his father’s office, working on the prestigious Thames Tunnel project until it was suspended in 1828. A year later, he submitted plans to a competition for a new bridge over the River Avon at Bristol and was awarded the contract. For the next 20
years or so, Brunel was involved in a wide range of significant and innovative projects; The Great Western Railway, the completion of his father’s Thames Tunnel, the steamships Great Western and Great Britain, and the Royal Albert Bridge at Saltash. His progress was only finally halted by the project to build the largest passenger steamship in the world, the Great Eastern at Millwall in London. Problems with this vessel ruined him financially and the stress resulted in his early death on 15 September 1859.
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JOHN SHELDON By 1851, Britain was producing nearly 50% of the world's manufactured goods, and the greatest proportion of these was made in Birmingham. Due to the innovativeness of its entrepreneurs and the flexibility of its workforce, Birmingham became the ‘City of a Thousand Trades’, the ‘Workshop of the World’, and indisputably ‘Britain's Second City’ after London. The town was famous for gun making, jewellery, brass, glass and button trades and for 'toys' – small items with a high skill content. The word toy in the 19th century applied to tools, trinkets and items of diversion rather than play things for children. These were largely made, not in factories, but in many workshops by 'small masters.' John Sheldon, a Birmingham toymaker, pencil maker and silversmith, was an entrepreneur. He saw the great potential and opportunities in the manufacture of writing equipment presented by increasing world trade, travel and changes in the postal system. In 1835, from a factory at 38 Lancaster Street, Birmingham he quickly established his supremacy through his outstanding ingenuity and inventiveness. He concentrated on producing a complete range of items required by the traveler and businessman, as well as for the drawing room and parlour. He offered a wide choice of pens, pencils, pocket escritoirs and letter balances. Many of these incorporated unique features and were made in different materials with various finishes. A pioneer in the value of marketing, John Sheldon announced his introduction into writing equipment production with a full-page pictorial advertisement in the 1835 edition of Pigot’s Directory for pen and pencil cases and a variety of steel pen nibs. The cases were made of German silver with reeded design and double sliders for an ‘Ever-point’ pencil and steel pen nib. German Silver, an alloy of copper, zinc and nickel was favoured by Sheldon for its silvery colour, corrosion resistance, ductile and malleable properties. It was initially developed in the Far East in the 18th century and made into metal goods which European traders acquired and brought back home. The production process for this silvery metal coloured alloy was perfected and production started in Germany in 1823. In 1838, as shown in Osborne’s Guide, John Sheldon introduced his distinctive cast terminal and slider, claiming they were ‘Warranted to the best London made silver cases and at prices considerably under any hitherto introduced’. He considered advertising to be essential and regularly placed full and half page illustrated adverts in the leading directories, journals, guides and newspapers throughout the country, stating ‘every genuine article is stamped with the inventors name ‘JS’, ‘J SHELDON’ or ‘JOHN SHELDON’, the sole manufacturer.
John Sheldon, a Birmingham toymaker, pencil maker and silversmith
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Whilst all of John Sheldon’s registered designs displayed innovation, the Patent Unique Pocket Companion was a model of imagination and originality. It displayed an elegance and simplicity with an amazing number of functional items contained within the outer case. It was also advertised as the Multum-In-Parvo, meaning much within little. The Patent Unique Companion was first registered under Rd 967 on 9 December 1841. At one end it contained separate slide outs for a steel pen, ever point pencil and toothpick. At the opposite end a screw off terminal with plain or chequered seal end revealing a slide out beam. Using the ring on the outer case for suspension, the beam is drawn outwards for equilibrium and shows the rate for postage, check weights for Sovereign, crown and half crown coins and half Sovereign counterfeit coin gauge. An improvement on the original design Rd 1086 was registered on 8 February 1842. This design had the slide outs for pen, pencil and toothpick combined with coin gauge at one end. The opposite end had a cast terminal with plain, chequered or inset stone which unscrewed and revealed a reservoir for leads. Unscrewing the full case revealed a spring balance in place of the pivotal beam which allowed for a much quicker and more convenient method of weighing letters and check weighing Sovereign, crown and half crown coins. This design also reduced manufacturing costs. The English version was calibrated in pence and ounces: 1D–4D and ½oz–2oz. Sheldon was aware of increasing travel and worldwide trade and also produced models calibrated for the USA with graduations from 5–20 cents, France and Belgium with graduations from 10G–60G and the East Indies with a scale using Tolas and Rupees. In total, John Sheldon had ten designs of writing equipment registered between 1841 and 1853. However, although John Sheldon’s business was very successful it was not carried on by his family but sold to Messrs Derry and Jones in 1860.
1 18 February 1842 RD1086 Improved patent Unique Pocket Companion 2 Advertisement from Wrightson’s Birmingham Directory 1843
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1 A John Sheldon Improved Patent Unique Pocket Companion Rd 1086 comprising a pen, pencil, toothpick and coin gauge in a hand engraved silver cylindrical barrel. The decorated terminal, with agate seal, covers a multiple lead reservoir. Unscrewing the half case reveals a letter scale calibrated for the East Indies market calibrated in T Tole and R Rupees. J S Hallmarked 1852 Birmingham JOHN SHELDON. Length closed 104mm.
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2 A John Sheldon Paragon Letter & Coin Balance & Pencil & Pen Case Rd 1184 in a reeded German Silver cylindrical barrel. The decorated terminal, with hobnail seal, covers a lead reservoir. Unscrewing the half case reveals a letter balance calibrated for the English market in SW, Sovereign Weight and ounces. JOHN SHELDON. Length closed 102mm.
Most pocket companions were made exactly four inches or 102mm long for measuring purposes. Pocket letter balances were available for five monetary and four weighing systems worldwide. German Silver, an alloy of copper, zinc and nickel was favoured by Sheldon for its silvery colour, corrosion resistance, ductile and malleable properties.
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1851 GREAT EXHIBITION In 1851, Great Britain was arguably the leader of the industrial revolution and feeling very secure in that role. The Great Exhibition of 1851 in London was conceived to symbolise the industrial, military and economic superiority of Great Britain. Just representing the feats of Britain alone would have excluded many of the technological achievements pioneered by the British in its many colonies and protectorates, so it was decided to make the exhibit truly international with invitations being extended to almost all of the colonised world. The British also felt that it was important to show their achievements right alongside those of less civilised countries. The prevailing attitude in England at the time was ripe for the somewhat arrogant parading of accomplishments. Many felt secure, economically and politically, and Queen Victoria was eager to reinforce the feeling of contentment with her reign. It was during the mid-1850s that the word ‘Victorian’ began to be employed to express a new self-consciousness, both in relation to the nation and to the period through which it was passing. The exhibition was also a triumph for Victoria's German husband, Albert, whom she had married in 1840. Despite outbursts of opposition to Albert by the press the family life of the Victorian court began to be considered increasingly as a model for the whole country. Albert had appreciated the achievements of Prime Minister Robert Peel's political and military advances and publicly advocated the advancement of industry and science. These facts began to sway opinion in his favour as respectable foundations of family life and industrial supremacy were becoming rapidly associated with the monarchy of Victoria and Albert. Conceived by Prince Albert, the Great Exhibition was held in Hyde Park in London in the specially constructed Crystal Palace. The Crystal Palace was designed by Sir Joseph Paxton in only 10 days and was an iron monolith with over a million feet of glass. It was important that the building used to showcase Great Britain’s achievements was grandiose and innovative. Lithograph of the Crystal Palace from the north-west by Rudolph Ackermann
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Over 13,000 exhibits were displayed and viewed by over 6,200,000 visitors. The millions who journeyed to the Great Exhibition of 1851 marvelled at the industrial revolution that was propelling Britain into the greatest power of the time. Among the exhibits from around the world were the Jacquard loom, an envelope machine, tools, kitchen appliances, steelmaking displays and a reaping machine from the United States. The objects on display came from all parts of the world, including India and the countries with recent white settlements, such as Australia and New Zealand, that constituted the new Empire. Many of the visitors who flocked to London came from European cities. The profits from the event allowed for the foundation of public works such as the Albert Hall, the Science Museum, the National History Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum. This bigger and better building was divided into a series of courts depicting the history of art and architecture from ancient Egypt through to the Renaissance, as well as exhibits from industry and the natural world. Major concerts were held in the Palace's huge arched Centre Transept, which also contained the world's largest organ. The Centre Transept also housed a circus and was the scene of daring feats by world famous acts such as the tightrope walker Blondin. National exhibitions were also staged within its glass and iron walls, including the world's first aeronautical exhibition (held in 1868) and the first national motor show, plus cat shows, dog shows, pigeon shows, honey, flower and other shows. The Crystal Palace itself was almost outshone by the park in which it stood, which contained a magnificent series of fountains, comprising almost 12,000 individual jets. The largest of these threw water to a height of 250ft. Some 120,000 gallons of water flowed through the system when it was in full play. The park also contained unrivaled collections of statues, many of which were copies of great works from around the world, and a geological display which included a replica lead mine and the first attempts anywhere in the world to portray life-size restorations of extinct animals, including dinosaurs. Crystal Palace park was also the scene of spectacular Brock's fireworks displays.
Official Descriptive and Illustrated Catalogue of the Great Exhibition 1851
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At the Great Exhibition of 1851 John Sheldon showed all his manufactured items to great effect. Listed in the official catalogue under General Hardware as J Sheldon ‘Inventor and Manufacturer he produced a half page feature displaying his pens, pencils and letter balance together with detailed descriptions of his complete range of manufactured goods. Such was his standing that he received extensive press coverage of his achievements. The Birmingham Journal of 5 July 1851 reported ‘By far the most important contributor in this class of objects is Mr John Sheldon of Great Hampton Street, whose case is replete with every variety of ever pointed pencils, from the most expensive to those formed of German silver and sold for a mere trifle’. The Daily News of 29 April 1851 reported ‘The pencil cases, letter weights and coin testers of Sheldon, besides other knicknackeries which will sustain the reputation of Birmingham as the toy shop of the world, will attract attention from their marvelous cheapness, to say nothing of their convenient and tasty forms’.
Great Exhibition 1851. Catalogue detail of Sheldon exhibits showing various gold ‘Ever-point’ pencil cases and letter balance demonstrated the diverse skills of Sheldon’s manufactory. Gold ‘Ever-point’ pencils, set with real stones, and ornamented with varieties of rose engine turning, engraving and chasing. The crowned combination pencil engraved with Her Majesty’s Arms quartered with H R H Prince Albert’s, the top of the pencil surmounted with the royal crown, contains ‘Ever-point’ pencil, pen holder toothpick, half sovereign gauge, a letter and coin balance.
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By the time of the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations 1851 the arguments and litigation over the Everpointed pencil had been long forgotten. Sampson Mordan had been dead for eight years and Augustus and Sampson II chose to display the following items.
205 Class 6 MANUFACTURING MACHINES AND TOOLS MORDAN, SAMPSON, & Co., City Road – Manufacturers Bright steel fire-proof jewel box, decorated with ormolu ornaments. Carved inkstand, inlaid with pearl and gilt ink-glass attached, with gold pen. Large frame containing an assortment of every description of gold pens and gold pen-holders. Complex self-acting rose-engine and tracing machine. Combination copying and seal-press, on a stand; which combines the double purpose of a seal or embossing press, and a copying press.
Another exhibitor in 1851 was William Brockedon, who showed slices of the blocks for pencil makers; points for Mordan’s everpointed pencils; cedar pencils, by various makers, of Brockedon’s patent Cumberland lead. In 1843, Brockendon was granted a patent for improvements in preparing or treating graphite or plumbago, a form of carbon commonly called blacklead. Up until the beginning of the 19th century, practically all the graphite required for pencil making had been mined at the Borrowdale mine in Cumberland and initially found in such a pure state and in such large pieces that it had only to be cut into long, narrow bars, using a fine saw, and then immediately mounted in a wooden case. However, there was considerable wastage and as the mine was becoming depleted there was renewed interest in using the waste material. Brockedon invented a process for reducing it to powder, and then compressing it in vacuo, so as to produce artificial graphite, which was free of grit. The invention was first worked for him by Sampson Mordan & Co. Eliezer Nash, described as late Joshua Butler, designer and manufacturer, showed at the Great Exhibition of 1851. In Class 23, Works in Precious metals and Jewellery, No86, he displayed the following items; “Pencil cases: Engraved, coloured gold and set with turquoise; elongated enameled; tortoiseshell, gold mounted; engine turned bright gold; engraved elongated; triangular; engine turned hexagon and engraved round silver. The elastic palladium point, or lead holder, an improvement applied to pencils, was invented by Mr Joshua Butler and has been in use 20 years.”
A silver Everpointed pencil with engine turned barrel and removable hobnail seal over multiple lead reservoir. J BUTLER LONDON. Length 115mm.
Joshua Butler established his business, Joshua Butler & Co. in 1822 and in 1835 went into partnership with Thomas Wise. Shortly afterwards on 12 June 1836, Butler retired. Wise subsequently went into partnership with Eliezer Nash, at 30 Coppice Row, Clerkenwell, where in 1841 they were listed as manufacturers of Butler & Co’s everpointed pencils and tortoiseshell workers. Wise and Nash dissolved their partnership on 31 December 1849 after which time Eliezer Nash continued on his own account, where he was still listed in 1852 as the manufacturer of Butler & Co’s everpointed pencils.
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STERLING SILVER The exact origin of the term sterling silver is somewhat hazy. Some believe that it came about because Henry II introduced German silversmiths to England to teach the indigenous smiths their technique for making silver durable. These men were known as Easterlings, having come from the East, and sterling is thought to be a corruption of the word Easterling. Others believe that the term derives from steorra, Old English for star; some Norman coins were marked with a star used as an early standard mark. Silver in its pure form is too soft for practical use. Through experimentation, the German goldsmiths evolved a process, which combined pure silver with a small amount of copper. The ideal proportions were discovered to be 925 parts of pure silver to 75 parts of copper. This mixture has been in common use in Britain from the early 1200s to the present day, almost without interruption and is referred to as sterling silver. Other metals can replace the copper, usually with the intention to improve various properties of the basic sterling alloy, such as reducing casting porosity, eliminating firescale, and increasing resistance to tarnish. These replacement metals include germanium, zinc and platinum, as well as a variety of other additives, including silicon and boron. In England the composition of sterling silver was subject to official assay at some date before 1158, during the reign of Henry II, but its purity was probably regulated from centuries earlier, in Saxon times. The first legal definition of sterling silver appeared in 1275, when a statute of Edward I specified that 12 ounces of silver for coinage should contain 11 ounces 2¼ pennyweights of silver and 17¾ pennyweights of alloy. Rigid legislation concerning the production of sterling silver has for hundreds of years, provided a means of control by the Crown, through a regulating body or guild known as The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths and Silversmiths. The reason for this strict policing was dictated by the need to protect the ‘coin of the realm’, as money was made from solid silver until 1921 and was liable to debasement by unscrupulous people. In 1757 the death penalty was introduced for those found guilty of imitating hallmarks. This was reduced to transportation to the colonies for a set period of 14 years in 1772. Few other industries ever had such extreme methods of quality control. Heavy fines and imprisonment were, and still are, imposed against those caught in fraudulent practices, with the powerful Guild enjoying a similar status to the Inland Revenue. The regulating standards upheld by the Guild provided the basis for what has become the finest silverware industry in the world. This reputation was founded not only on the quality of the metal used but also on design. The restoration of the Monarchy in 1660 began a period of stability and economic growth as Britain expanded her Empire. The change was particularly beneficial to the silver trade, following as it did, the privations of the Civil War and the puritanical rule of Oliver Cromwell. The new monarch, Charles II, was a great patron of the arts and his subjects were only too glad to follow his lead and introduce ornament and decoration into their lives once more. Another boost to the silver industry was the skill of the Huguenots, the French Protestants, who fled to England to escape religious persecution. Among the Huguenots were some of the best silversmiths of any era, renowned for their finesse and style. In Britain it was often the case that a silversmith had flair for design but lacked the necessary skill to execute the design and vice versa. Many of the Huguenot silversmiths possessed both these talents, achieving the highest recognition from the English Guild and training many apprentices, who in turn, became silversmiths of great repute. Silversmithing was a notable exception to the Guild’s tradition of banning aristocrats and women from their number. The Industrial Revolution produced a new breed of silversmiths – the first industrial smiths. These men and women, usually self-made, combined the old art of silversmithing with the new industrial machines and tools. The new methods brought together the greatest designers of the day with the most skilled craftworkers, each doing the job they knew best. The marriage of design and skill culminated in a continuity of manufacturing quality and artistry, previously a rarity. This was also the beginning of mass production, for better or worse. The combination of great silversmiths and designers, controlled quality, greater wealth and the emerging middle class, together with new styles and inspirations gleaned from the growing Empire, gave Britain its pre-eminence as the world’s leading producer of fine silverware.
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HALLMARKS The history of the hallmark dates back as far as 1300, when a statute of Edward I established the assaying (test and analysis) and marking of precious metals. The original aim of the introduction of hallmarking was enlightened – to protect the public against fraud and the trader against unfair competition. Initially, only silver that met the required standard was marked – with the symbol of the leopard's head, which is still the mark of the London Assay Office today. Over time, gold came to be marked in the same way as silver. In 1363, the maker’s mark was added to the hallmark. The maker’s or Sponsors mark tells the buyer or collector who made the piece – or more commonly who submitted it to be hallmarked, and ensures traceability of the piece. At first, most makers’ marks were pictorial but as literacy rates improved the method of using initials combined with a punched ‘surround’ shape was introduced. It wasn’t until 1478 that the Wardens of Goldsmiths set themselves up in Goldsmiths Hall in London, thus creating the first formal base for assay work. A salaried assayer was employed to test and mark items, leading to the introduction of the date letter as an additional mark, a means of identifying the assayer by date and make successive assayers accountable for their work. British Silver Hallmarks were brought into use in the year 1327. From this date it was an offence to sell any precious metal without a hallmark, although it was quite common for Victorian Jewellery not to be hallmarked. The hallmark consists of either four or five symbols. The Sterling Mark
The Maker’s Mark
The Date Letter
The Assay Mark
The Duty Mark
Hallmarks for a sterling silver pencil manufactured by Samson Mordan and assayed in London 1848
These are: The Maker’s Mark – this usually consists of the maker’s initials or maker’s special mark. The Sterling Mark – this is depicted as a lion passant and means that the item is .925 pure silver. Sometimes the mark is shown as the Britannia and in British Hallmarks this shows that the item is .950 which is of higher purity than the standard .925. The Assay Mark – this is the mark that shows where the item was tested/assayed. The Leopard’s head signified London. The Date Letter – this mark varies depending on the Assay Mark and shows the year the item was assayed. The Duty Mark – this is depicted as the monarch’s head and was used between 1 December 1784 and 30 April 1890 and shows that duty was paid on the item. Usually this mark should be present but sometimes silvermakers had ways of avoiding tax, so this mark may not always be present. Occasionally in later periods the monarch’s head has been used to commemorate special years such as coronations or jubilees. The Customs Act of 1842 made it illegal to import gold or silverware into Great Britain unless it had been assayed at a British office. In 1867 the foreign mark F was introduced to the British Hallmarks. Pieces imported after 1904 were stamped with a symbol which replaced the F, denoting the decimal value of the standard used.
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SILVER PENCILS 5 3
1 An unmarked silver Everpointed pencil with spiral barrel, hexagonal slider and topaz thistle shaped terminal. Length 70mm. 2 An unmarked silver Everpointed pencil with hexagonal floral decorated barrel and green onyx terminal seal over single lead reservoir and ring. Length 84mm. 3 An unmarked silver Everpointed pencil with hexagonal floral decorated barrel with white agate terminal seal. Length 112mm.
4 An unmarked silver Everpointed pencil with hexagonal floral decorated barrel and amber terminal stone over single lead reservoir. Length 95mm. 5 An unmarked silver Everpointed pencil with fluted hexagonal barrel with alternating panels of line and dot and barley decoration. Cast foliate band with triangular leaves and foliate terminal set with agate stone over multiple lead reservoir. Length 90mm.
6 A silver Everpointed pencil with engine turned cylindrical barrel, plain hexagonal slider and brown agate onyx terminal stone over multiple lead reservoir. LONDON. Length 102mm. 7 An unmarked silver Everpointed pencil with decorated round barrel. Rd Lozenge. Length 70mm
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10 8 12
8 An unmarked silver Everpointed pencil with hexagonal green enamel barrel with floral decoration and decorated slider with green onyx terminal stone over multiple lead reservoir. Length 85mm. 9 An unmarked silver Everpointed pencil with cylindrical decorated barrel plain slider cabochon garnet terminal stone. Length 116mm.
10 An unmarked silver Everpointed pencil with fluted hexagonal barrel with panels of line and dot and barley decoration, decorated slider, with amethyst terminal stone over multiple lead reservoir. Length 117mm. 11 An unmarked silver Everpointed pencil with hexagonal decorated barrel, green agate terminal stone over single lead reservoir. Length 110mm.
12 An unmarked silver Everpointed pencil with hexagonal decorated barrel and brown agate terminal seal over single lead reservoir. Length 118mm. 13 An unmarked silver Everpointed pencil with cylindrical engine turned barrel, decorated slider, with crest of lady on terminal seal over multiple lead reservoir. Length 110mm. 14 An unmarked silver Everpointed pencil with hexagonal engraved barrel with ring and thistle terminal. Length 75mm.
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GOLD PENCILS In 1854 the Government introduced an act, which lowered the gold standards. From this date, goldsmiths could work in 9, 12 or 15 carat gold, as well as the older standards of 18 and 22 carat. This brought gold jewellery within the reach of a greatly extended public. The 12 and 15 standards were replaced by 14 carat gold in 1932. In the late 19th century S Mordan & Co. introduced their own gold standard, thereby demonstrating their own importance and competiveness. The company produced pens and pencils marked with an arrow, which represented 10 carat gold and stamped a limited number of pencils 16ct. 10 carat gold is gold of 0.417 purity, that is 417 parts of pure gold per 1000 parts. Pure gold is very expensive and also quite soft so it is mixed with other materials, to give a harder and cheaper substance which is more suitable and longer lasting than pure gold for use in jewellery. The other materials include copper, silver, iron, platinum and aluminium. The colour of the gold can be altered using different metals in the blend, for example rose gold is produced by having a high level of copper in the mix; 10 carat gold can theoretically be any colour that gold can be made in, but normally you will find it as yellow or rose gold. An article titled ‘English Silversmiths and their marks’ by Reginald Foster and published in the Jeweller and Metalworker of 1 March 1900, page 308 mentions the registration mark of the arrow symbol by S Mordan & Co in connection with 10 carat gold pencil cases and the quote continues “They are probably the most widely known pencil case makers in the world and one of the few firms of silversmiths doing their own rolling”. John Culme’s Directory of Gold and Silversmiths, Jewellers and Allied Trades 1838–1914 suggests that the arrow was used for 18 carat pencils. A typographic error seems to have crept in!
1 A small telescopic 10ct gold pencil with a ring for a chain. Length 80mm. 2 Detail of imprint S MORDAN & Co followed by an arrow. 3 A 10ct gold pencil with a ring for a chain. Barrel of porcupine quill. Length 55mm.
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1 An unmarked gold Everpointed pencil with decorated hexagonal barrel, ring slider, amethyst terminal stone. Length 122mm. 2 An unmarked gold Everpointed pencil with plaited hair barrel, ring slider, white agate terminal seal over single lead reservoir. Length 100mm. 3 An unmarked gold pencil with decorated barrel, ring. Length 70mm. 4 An unmarked gold Everpointed pencil with decorated cylindrical barrel, ring slider and lapis terminal seal. Length 82mm.
5 An unmarked gold Everpointed pencil with decorated hexagonal barrel, ring slider, amethyst terminal stone. Length 100mm. 6 An unmarked gold pencil with decorated hexagonal barrel, ring and brown agate terminal seal. Length 54mm. 7 An unmarked gold Everpointed pencil with cylindrical barrel, ring and triple terminal seal. Length 75mm. 8 An unmarked gold pencil with engine turned cylindrical barrel, ring. Length 45mm.
9 A gilt metal pencil styled as a thin bar with ring. Pat 6 Feb 83. Length 50mm. 10 A 15k gold pencil with turquoise slider and white agate terminal stone. Length 73mm. 11 An unmarked gold Everpointed pencil decorated with multiple turquoise stones. Length 70mm. 12 A gold Mordan Everpointed pencil. Length 102mm.
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PENCIL PARTS Many 19th century silversmiths were known as â€˜pencil case makers, this description meant that they made the outer case of a pencil. In the 21st century a pencil case maker would probably be interpreted as someone who made a container to hold pencils. To prevent any misunderstandings, the following is a brief definition of the various parts of a mechanical pencil.
Barrel. The body of the pencil.
Pen. The part holding a nib in a combination pencil.
Everpointed. The lead did not require sharpening and was therefore everpointed.
Ferrule. The flange that holds the flat wooden pencil in the case of a sheath pencil. Finial Head or Terminal. The opposite end to the lead writing point. It is often removable, usually by unscrewing, and can cover a compartment for spare leads. The earliest terminal seals were plain and gradually became more elaborate with intricate and ornate designs. Sometimes the terminal had a precious, semi-precious or faux stone set into it. Some carried waffle seals.
Mechanism. The active parts of the pencil system. Also known as the pencil action. Nozzle. The part holding the lead in place.
Pencil case. The external parts of the pencil, including the barrel and terminal, which hold the pencil mechanism
Pin. The part in the barrel which pushes out the lead. Porte Crayon. A holder for a wooden pencil.
Shell. A covering on the barrel. It can be a variety of materials, such as metal, bone or ivory. Slider pin or button. The pin or button that is used to push a pencil mechanism or cedar pencil out of the pencil case.
Slider ring. The external ring on a pencil case that is used to push the pencil mechanism out of the barrel. May be of a simple plain style or cast foliate ornate design.
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PENCIL MECHANISMS A propelling pencil is the generic term for a pencil where the lead held in the nozzle could be propelled or repelled from the pencil barrel. Different systems of propelling mechanisms were developed for moving the writing lead into the working position and these are described.
Slider System This is the simplest method. An external ring or button is attached to an inner carrying tube by a pin or peg and moving the ring extends or pushes out the pencil mechanism. Telescopic In this system the pencil mechanism is pushed out in a series of stages so that the final length of the pencil is many times longer than the closed version. Each section of the telescope is smaller than the preceding one. Twist In this system the pencil lead is propelled from the case using a button or ring at the opposite end. Drop or Gravity The pencil mechanism dropped out of the case by gravity or from pressure on a button. Presto Made by Sampson Mordan. A variety of the drop or gravity method, where the mechanism is released by moving a button on the side of the case. Magic The mechanism was hidden inside the novelty pencil. The casing was small and it did not appear that there was room for any activation.
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PENCIL DECORATION Most of the early 19th century pencil cases were decorated in some way using a variety of techniques.
Reeded barrel The first mechanical pencils had reeded barrels and this style formed the core of Mordanâ€™s early production. The combination of parallel longitudinal lines gracefully emphasised the linear shape of the pencil.
Engine turning This simple minimalist style was soon replaced with more complicated designs created by engine turning and engraving. At the Great Exhibition of 1851 Sampson Mordan & Co had displayed a complex rose engine and tracing machine. Although it is not known what improvements had been made on a regular lathe, the company obviously regarded this machine as particularly important and innovative. One of the commonest forms of decoration on a pencil case is engine turning, also known by the French term, GuillochĂŠ. It is a decorative engraving technique in which a very precise intricate repetitive pattern or design is mechanically engraved into an underlying material with fine detail. It is named after the French engineer Guillot, who invented a machine that could scratch fine patterns and designs on metallic surfaces. Numerous designs were created, from wavy lines to floral or foliate patterns. The most popular and attractive patterns were line and dot, barleycorn and chased barleycorn. Sometimes hand engraving was performed on top of, or in addition to engine turning, to give an added dimension to a pattern.
Engraving This is a type of surface decoration where the metal is cut with a sharp tool called a graver or burin, to create facets and bright spots; so called because of the way the light reflects off the sharp edges. Flat chasing is similar to engraving and performed with a punch, but without cutting or removing material.
Enamelling This was a method used to introduce some colour into a pencil. When transparent enamel was applied to an engine turned surface the technique was called basse taile and the results could be stunning. By using opaque enamel an artisan maker could paint scenes or images on a pencil barrel.
Die Stamping A process, in which an engraved die, is used to cut and leave an impression on a malleable metal sheet.
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Repoussé The word repoussé is French and means ‘pushed up’, ultimately from Latin pulsare, which means ‘to push’. Repoussé is a metalworking technique in which a malleable metal is ornamented or shaped by hammering from the reverse side to create a design in low relief. Etching This is the process of using strong acid or mordant to cut into the unprotected parts of a metal surface to create a design in intaglio in the metal.
Piqué When silver or gold is inlaid into another material, traditionally tortoiseshell, the technique is called piqué.
Chasing This is the opposite technique to repoussé. While repoussé is used to work on the reverse of the metal to form a raised design on the front, chasing is used to refine the design on the front of the work by sinking the metal. The term chasing is derived from the noun chase, which refers to a groove, furrow, channel or indentation. The techniques of repoussé and chasing utilise the plasticity of metal, forming shapes by degrees. There is no loss of metal in the process, as it is stretched locally and the surface remains continuous. The process is relatively slow, but a maximum of form is achieved, with one continuous surface of sheet metal of essentially the same thickness.
Casting Lost-wax casting, sometimes called by the French name of cire perdue, is the process by which a metal such as silver, gold, brass or bronze is cast from an artist's design.
Niello A black mixture of copper, silver and lead sulphides, used as an inlay on engraved or etched metal. It can be used for filling in designs cut from metal.
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QUEEN VICTORIA Victoria was the longest reigning British monarch and the figurehead of a vast empire. She oversaw huge changes in British society and gave her name to an age. Victoria was born in London on 24 May 1819, the only child of Edward, Duke of Kent, and Victoria Maria Louisa of Saxe-Coburg. She succeeded her uncle, William IV, in 1837, at the age of 18, and her reign spanned the rest of the century. In 1840, she married her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. For the next 20 years they lived in close harmony and had a family of nine children, many of whom eventually married into the European monarchy. On her accession, Victoria adopted the Whig prime minister Lord Melbourne as her political mentor. In 1840, his influence was replaced by that of Prince Albert. The German prince never really won the favour of the British public, and only after 17 years was he given official recognition, with the title of 'prince consort'. Victoria nonetheless relied heavily on Albert and it was during his lifetime that she was most active as a ruler. Britain was evolving into a constitutional monarchy in which the monarch had few powers and was expected to remain above party politics, although Victoria did sometimes express her views very forcefully in private. Victoria never fully recovered from Albert's death in 1861 and she remained in mourning for the rest of her life. Her subsequent withdrawal from public life made her unpopular, but during the late 1870s and 1880s she gradually returned to public view and, with increasingly pro-imperial sentiment, she was restored to favour with the British public. After the Indian Mutiny in 1857, the government of India was transferred from the East India Company to the Crown. In 1877, Victoria became Empress of India. Her Empire also included Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and large parts of Africa. During this period, Britain was largely uninvolved in European affairs, apart from the Crimean War from 1853–1856. Victoria's Golden Jubilee in 1887 and her Diamond Jubilee in 1897 were celebrated with great enthusiasm. Having witnessed a revolution in British government, huge industrial expansion and the growth of a worldwide Empire, Victoria died on 22 January 1901 at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. By virtue of her long reign over what was then the world’s wealthiest, most powerful and influential nation, it was inevitable that Victoria would give her name to the era in which she lived. In fact she had two names. The first was Alexandrina (as a child she was known as Drina), in recognition of the fact that her godfather was the Russian Tsar, Alexander I. Had she abandoned this name when she became Queen, the nomenclature of many familiar landmarks – a London railway terminus, a series of waterfalls in Africa, a state in Australia, an award for gallantry, as well as the term for the mid and late 19th century would have been significantly different.
Victoria’s reign corresponded with the dawn of photography, and images of the queen could be seen widely by her subjects, for the first time in history. That may have contributed to her popularity.
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ROYALTY Once Queen Victoria was on the throne and the monarchy was favourably established, pencil makers began to celebrate Royal occasions and produced commemorative items. From 1840 onwards, Royal weddings, births and jubilees became events for celebratory objects. In fallow years the manufacturers produced pencils with crown terminals.
1 A silver pen and pencil combination with an 18ct gold crown finial. Heavily decorated cylindrical body. S MORDAN & CO MAKERS 1853. Engraved PETER RICHARD WILKINSON TO HENRY POTTER EASTER 1854. Length 130mm.
2 An unmarked silver everpointed pencil with a crown finial. Hexagonal barrel with plain ring slider. Length closed 80mm, open 105mm. 3 An unmarked silver everpointed pencil with a crown finial. Hexagonal barrel, plain ring slider. Length closed 105mm, open 125mm.
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4 An unmarked gold everpointed pencil with a finial of the Prince of Wales feathers. Decorated hexagonal barrel with turquoise stones and a ring. Length closed 88mm, open 110mm. 5 An unmarked polished steel pencil with a crown finial. Length closed 60mm, open 80mm.
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JEWELLERY AND PENCILS When she came to the throne, there was a fervent hope that the young Queen would revitalise the fashion world. Although she had been sheltered during her childhood, Victoria loved jewellery, and she frequently made gifts of it. Her influence on design contributed to the many styles that developed during her long reign. The Victorian era is usually broken into three major periods, early, middle and late. They are also described as the romantic, the grand and the aesthetic. Many styles in clothing and personal adornment came and went out of fashion, but all can still be said to be Victorian. Transitions were not usually clear or abrupt; several styles coexisted at the same time, as tastes slowly changed. The spread of the Empire and the calmer more peaceful times encouraged trade under Victoria and this brought access to products and artwork, crafts and gemstones of such distant places as the Orient and India. Mechanical and technical advances allowed mass production in both fabrics and metal work including jewellery. The increased availability of gold and silver from America and gemstone mines in India and Australia put more jewellry into shops. Gutta Percha extracted from a Malayan tree resin appeared in 1842 and along with vulcanite, were the first early forms of mouldable and durable materials. These were followed later by celluloid and bakelite. Tortoiseshell and horn also provided mouldable lightweight jewellery which was enhanced with gold and silver and called Piqué. Fine jewellery in the Victorian era denoted more than just wealth. While it still tended to reflect social standing and status, it was also used to convey a message about the refinement or the sentiments of the giver or wearer. There were still rigid rules which determined what was deemed ‘appropriate’. In Europe, young, unmarried women wore only the simplest of jewellery – crosses, pearls, chains, and mourning jewellery. Whilst married women ‘of a certain age’ wore diamonds and gems. However gemstones that sparkled were considered in poor taste for any women past a certain age or in mourning. It does not appear that similar rules applied to men, however, their personal adornment in the Victorian era was much less prominent than during the Georgian with the loss of those jewelled buttons, shoes and brooches. The usual jewellery worn by men in the Victorian era consisted in stickpins, lapel pins, and watches with their attendant keys, chains, fobs and rings. Due to the similarities between the materials and techniques employed by jewellers, silversmiths and pencil case makers, trends and developments in one discipline affected another. The methods used in making jewellery were often the same as those used in making objets de vertu, pencils and small silverware items. The art and fashion of the early years of this part of the era was described as romantic or sentimental and reflected the youth, courtship and marriage of the young Queen. The Romantic period was a time of marital bliss and joyous family life for her. Jewellery was decorated with intricate engraving, delicate enamel work and serpentine designs. Diamonds and pearls were rare and expensive. But there were many alternatives accessible to the middle class; seed pearls or small turquoise beads. Early Victorian jewellery incorporated light, delicate designs on shiny surfaces with elaborate engraving. These eventually evolved into the heavier designs that have come to mean Victorian. The Mid-Victorian period displayed bolder, and brighter jewellery, for both day and evening wear. Just as Victoria’s taste influenced the court dress of the day, so did she dictate the fashions of the masses – with disastrous results for the jewellery trade in the latter years of her reign. Following the death of her mother and then of Prince Albert in 1861 she went into full mourning until she died in 1901. America and the British Empire took its cue from the British court. The wearing of glittery jewellery during the day fell rapidly out of fashion. The effect of Victoria’s growing moral severity, withdrawal from court life and pompous conservatism nearly bankrupted some of the finest jewellers of the time. A group of them eventually appealed to Princess Alexandra, the young wife of soon-to-be King Edward, to help reverse the trend by consenting to be seen in public wearing more lavish pieces.
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The Late Victorian period witnessed the rise of the aesthetic Arts and Crafts Movement and the beginning of Art Nouveau. Jewellery from this period, once again became exquisite and dazzling with gentle curvilinear shapes being used by designers. The focus on detail and ornamentation was significant. Darwinâ€™s controversial theories on evolution and new botanical discoveries created a demand for jewellery made to look like animals or insects. Representational naturalistic and floral motifs were common in all three periods. Leaves, insects, flowers, vines, and birds and their feathers were moulded, stamped and carved into jewels and mountings. The motifs also included a great amount of symbolic imagery. Both sentimentality and symbolism were important elements of early Victorian design. There was a resurgence of Gothic and medieval designs as early Victorians looked back to an earlier period for inspiration. Like the language of flowers, popular during this time gemstones were assigned meaning and even endowed with alleged magical properties. Silver and gold remained the most widely utilized precious metals, but the use of diamonds experienced a real boom after the discovery of the Kimberley diamond fields in colonial South Africa. Another tremendous influence on Victorian design was the opening of trade relations with Japan in 1853. By the 1860s numerous examples of Japanese craftsmanship inundated the English community and soon the Japonaisse style was incorporated into every form of design from jewellery, clothing and fabric to paintings, furniture, decorative arts and even architecture. Well into the next century, Japanese motifs â€“ stylised fans, naturalistic themes, dragons and insects â€“ were expressed in jewellry using ancient Japanese enamelling and metal inlay techniques. Religious symbols were mainstays of jewellery design in both the Georgian and Victorian eras. They were not just from Christian symbolism such as crosses, doves and angels but also from more ancient sources that were being rediscovered, as ancient jewellery was unearthed in archeological sites. Ivy, dragons, Greek letters and figures from mythology were widely used. The snake surprisingly, was a popular motif. Coiled snakes were symbols of eternity and commitment. This was taken, from Germanic and Scandinavian traditions rather than any Christian associations, which equate the snake or serpent with evil. Snake jewellery was wrapped around parts of the body as rings, bracelets, and necklaces. Brooches, watch fobs and stickpins showed the sinuous draping of serpents often holding or guarding a pearl or other precious gems. Queen Victoria's engagement ring from Prince Albert was in the form of a serpent. Symbolism and sentimentality were taken to such an extreme that very intimate messages were spelled out in jewellery that could be read, like books if one knew the vocabulary, with the design and choice of elements expressing the giver's feelings or hopes. Roses had many meanings, depending on the type of bloom and colour. One book of the era lists 35 different meanings for various roses. The shamrock and horseshoe, as symbols of luck and adventurism were also popular. By the 1870s, new discoveries of silver, like the Comstock mine in Nevada in 1859, had reduced the cost of this precious metal and silver jewellry became more affordable. An infinite variety of beautifully engraved bangle bracelets, intricate monogram and name brooches, sentimental lockets, and other fanciful jewels were created to serve a growing marketplace. Many of these silver baubles expressed sentimental themes and reflected a sense of whimsy that was common to the late Victorian era.
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BRACELETS AND BAUBLES
1 A gold unmarked bracelet with a small sheath pencil. Width 63mm. 2 A gold unmarked bracelet with a small sheath pencil. Width 60mm.
3 A gold Mordan bracelet with a small sheath pencil. Width 63mm. 4 A metal unmarked pencil styled as a dumbell. Length 42mm.
5 A silver Mordan pencil styled as a dumbell broach with a decorated barrel. Length 54mm. 6 A silver pencil styled as a dumbell. ARTHUR DOWNING BIRMINGHAM 1918. Length closed 45mm, open 62mm.
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WEAPONS 7 1
1 A silver novelty pencil styled as a bomb. PORTNER & HOULE. Length 35mm. 2 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a grenade. Length 55mm. 3 An unmarked metal novelty telescopic pencil styled as a dagger with a wooden handle. Length 45mm.
4 An unmarked silver novelty telescopic pencil styled as a silver arrow. Reg Mark. Length 82mm. 5 An unmarked silver novelty telescopic pencil styled as a spear. Length 113mm. 6 A sterling silver novelty pencil styled as a spear. COLUMBUS HAVANA. Length 103mm.
7 An unmarked gold novelty telescopic pencil styled as a dagger, inset with turquoise stones. Length 80mm.
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SENTIMENTALITY IN THE VICTORIAN AGE During the Victorian age there was an increased awareness of sentimentality and romantic feelings. Tokens of love and friendship become popular. Pencils made excellent presents as they could be discreetly engraved with a message: ‘Friendship’, ‘From a friend’ or ‘Forget me not’ were common themes. Others were engraved with names and dates, which were personal and memorable to the giver or recipient. There are a few ancient symbols that recur through the ages. One of these symbols, the heart, means many things to many people. To the Victorians the stylised heart form became the icon for love and the human soul. They adored the romantic shape and embellished it in many ways. Over the ages humans have devised symbolic languages for flowers, which became popularised in the Victorian era. The four-leaf clover is revered in Celtic mythology for its emerald green hue and its vigorous growth. Each leaf symbolises a different lucky characteristic: fame, wealth, love and health. If you wear a lucky clover, your sweetheart will come to you, if you possess one, no evil can harm you. Pansies have long been flowers of remembrance. They are also a symbol of togetherness and union, and perhaps this is why they are so appropriate for remembering those who have passed from our lives. Their beauty is the perfect testimony to the love we have shared with others in the past.
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1 An unmarked silver pencil engraved FORGET ME NOT Length 108mm. 2 An unmarked silver bookmark with an enamelled green four-leafed shamrock. Length 105mm. 3 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a red enamelled heart. Length 35mm. 4 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a heart. Engraved ELSIE 28 FEB 1887. Length 35mm closed, 67mm open.
5 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as an enamelled blue and red heart. Length 33mm. 6 An unmarked silver bookmark with enamelled red heart and pencil. Length 115mm. 7 An unmarked plain silver novelty pencil styled as a heart. Length 35mm. 8 An unmarked silver bookmark with an enamelled red heart and pencil. Length 90mm. 9 An silver bookmark with an enamelled pansy. WILLIAM HORNBY LONDON 1899 Length 105mm.
10 A gold Mordan novelty pencil styled as a heart. Length 40mm closed, 70mm open. 11 A silver novelty pencil styled as an enamelled green four-leafed shamrock. THORNHILL Rd. 40926 Length 35mm. 12 A silver-gilt Mordan novelty pencil styled as a locket. Length 35mm closed, 67mm open. 13 A silver unmarked novelty pencil styled as an enamelled green shamrock. Length 33mm.
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EGYPTIAN INFLUENCE The Suez Canal was seldom out of the news in the Victorian age. Construction began in 1859 and for the next ten years the newspapers were almost exclusively devoted to stories on the canalâ€™s progress along with pictures of Egyptian scenery and architecture. The canal opened to shipping on 17 November 1869. You could say that the Suez Canal was one of the major media events of the Victorian era. The continual coverage of the canal and Egyptian themes became prevalent features in the decorative arts. Owen Jonesâ€™s book, Grammar of Ornament motivated many designers to use historic designs and forms in their work. Stylised palmettes, lotus flowers and scarabs were a central design element in Egyptian revival pieces, which incorporated enamels, gemstone inlays and twisted-wire rope-like borders. The Victorians were fascinated by mummies and pyramids and North Africa became an extension of The Grand Tour. Table-sized obelisks were produced in stone and crystal. Obelisk-shaped monuments were built in town squares as well as cemeteries. It is hardly surprising then, that the Egyptian influence spread to pencil design. Obelisks and sarcophagi were ideal shapes as the basis for novelty pencils. Mummy or pharaoh pencils were among the most common figural pencils and were made in large quantities. Germany is thought to have been the main supplier. Most of the popular designs were made from a copper alloy, which was cast in two parts, joined and then the mechanism fitted.
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The Battle of Tel-el-Kebir was between the Egyptian army, led by Ahmed Urabi and the British military, fought near Tel-el-Kebir. After discontented Egyptian officers under Urabi rebelled in 1882, the United Kingdom reacted to protect its financial and expansionist interests in the country, and in particular the Suez Canal.
1 A silver novelty telescoping pencil styled as a sphynx. Marked EDWARD & SON on pencil barrel. Engraved TEL-EL-KEBIR. 13th SEPt 1882. And D MARTIN on base. Length closed 38mm, open 57mm.
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2 An unmarked silver novelty telescoping pencil styled as an Egyptian mummy. Length 66mm. 3 An unmarked silver novelty telescoping pencil styled as an Egyptian mummy. Length 64mm. 4 An unmarked silver-gilt and enamel novelty telescoping pencil styled as an Egyptian mummy. Length 55mm.
5 An unmarked silver-gilt novelty telescoping pencil styled as an Egyptian mummy. Length 31mm. 6 An unmarked silver novelty telescoping pencil styled as an Egyptian mummy. Length 31mm. 7 An unmarked silver novelty telescoping pencil styled as an Egyptian mummy with coin on ring. Length 63mm.
8 An unmarked silver novelty telescoping pencil styled as an Egyptian mummy. Length 41mm. 9 An unmarked silver and enamel novelty telescoping pencil styled as an Indian goddess. Length 70mm.
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10 An unmarked silver and enamel novelty telescoping pencil styled as an obelisk. Length 38mm. 11 An unmarked silver and enamel novelty telescoping pencil styled as an obelisk. Length 38mm.
12 An unmarked silver and enamel novelty telescoping pencil styled as an obelisk. Length 38mm. 13 An unmarked silver novelty telescoping pencil styled as an obelisk. Length 73mm.
14 An unmarked gold and enamel novelty telescoping pencil with sapphire stones around the top styled as an obelisk. Length 60mm. 15 An unmarked gold and enamel novelty telescoping pencil styled as an obelisk. Length 60mm.
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REGISTERED DESIGNS Diamond marks During the period 1842–1883 the Patent Office issued a diamond mark along with the registration number when a design was registered. Besides indicating that the design had been registered, a diamond mark offered the buyer the reassurance of knowing an item was of British design. It assured the person registering the design a degree of protection from copying. The protection was dependent on the type of material and the class in which the product was placed. The mark was created to identify the type of material used (known as the class), how many items were included, (sometimes known as bundles or packages), and the date of registration. Below is a description of the marks and the means to decode them. Note that the registration number does not form part of the mark. The centre is occupied by the abbreviation Rd signifying that this is a Patent Office mark standing for Registered Design. Dating a diamond mark On the Diamond Mark you will see that the year of registration is shown along with the month code. The correct year can be found from the year codes tables, and the month from its table in Section 3. However, you will also see that there are two ranges of year codes; 1842–1867 and 1868–1883. By dint of detective work you should be able to determine the correct year from the design of the Diamond Mark and the placing of the day number.
Month codes Month code A B C D E G
Month December October January September May February
Month code H I K M R W
Month April July November June August March
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Two sets of year codes are shown. The first, in alphabetical order within the two time bands, is to assist the enquirer when deciphering Diamond Marks.
Year codes 1842–1867 A B C D E F G H I
Year codes 1845 1858 1844 1852 1855 1847 1863 1843 1846
J K L M N O P Q R
Year codes 1854 1857 1856 1859 1864 1862 1851 1866 1861
S T U V W X Y Z
Year codes 1849 1867 1848 1850 1865 1842 1853 1860
Year codes 1868–1883 A C D E F H I J
Year codes 1871 1870 1878 1881 1873 1869 1872 1880
K L P S U V X Y
Year codes 1883 1882 1877 1875 1874 1876 1868 1879
Patent system Britain's patent system served the country well during the dramatic technological changes of the industrial revolution. However, by the mid-19th century it had become extremely inefficient. The Great Exhibition of 1851 accelerated demands for patent reform. Up to that time, any prospective patentee had to present a petition to no less than seven offices and at each stage to pay certain fees. Charles Dickens described the procedure in exaggerated form, somewhat derisively, in his spoof, A Poor Man’s Tale of a Patent, published in the 19th century popular journal Household Words; Dicken’s inventor visits 34 offices (including some abolished years before). The Patent Office came about to meet public concerns over this state of affairs, and was established by the Patent Law Amendment Act of 1852. This completely overhauled the British patent system and laid down a simplified procedure for obtaining patents of invention. Legal fees were reduced and the publication of a single United Kingdom patent replaced the issuing of separate patents for each nation of the Union. A subsequent Act in 1883 brought into being the office of Comptroller General of Patents and a staff of patent examiners to carry out a limited form of examination; mainly to ensure that the specification described the invention properly, but without any investigation into novelty.
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PLUMB BOBS The design application for the Plumb Bob telescopic multi-draw pencil case was made by Walter Thornhill of 144 New Bond Street in 1873. Walter Thornhill & Co was a long-standing company and originally established in 1734 as cutlers, by Joseph Gibbs. The design lozenge with the initials WT, one on each side of the diamond, appears on pencils carrying either the Thornhill or Mordan name on the top of the cap. The Plumb Bob is sometimes referred to as a spinning top and in the Thornhill catalogue as a peg top. Thornhill were retailers as well as manufacturers and this was one of several projects in which the two companies co-operated. This popular design was made in three sizes, in gold and silver and in chased and smooth sided versions. The largest size has a seven-stage pull while the small and middle sizes have six stages. Their illustrated catalogue of 1876 included details of the silver racket pencil, the silver champagne pencil, the silver post-horn pencil, the silver soda water pencil, the silver screw pencil case, the silver nail pencil with gilt head and the silver peg top pencil. The firm was also represented at the Sportsman’s Exhibition at the Agricultural Hall in Islington in 1882, when it was observed: “As only to be expected their stand was one of the most interesting at the Exhibition. Novelties of every description were there and in one way or another sport was introduced into nearly every article. There was a punch bowl made out of a Tiger’s head and lamp stands designed from an elephants foot and horses’ foot.”
Detail images of three different styles of Diamond Registration Marks for 12 September 1873. Class of material 1
1 Diamond Registration Mark with W and T (for Walter Thornhill) on either side of the diamond. 2 Diamond Registration Mark with Walter Thornhill surrounding the diamond. 3 Diamond Registration Mark with no mention of Walter Thornhill.
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1 2 7
1 A silver Mordan novelty telescopic pencil styled as a plumb bob or spinning top. Diamond registration mark for 12 September 1873. Length closed 57mm, open 180mm. 2 A silver Thornhill novelty telescopic pencil styled as a plumb bob or spinning top. Diamond registration mark for 12 September 1873. Length closed 57mm, open 105mm. 3 A silver Mordan novelty telescopic pencil styled as a plumb bob or spinning top. Diamond registration mark for 12 September 1873. Length closed 57mm, open 75mm.
4 A silver Mordan novelty telescopic pencil styled as a plumb bob or spinning top. Diamond registration mark for 12 September 1873. Length closed 57mm, open 70mm. 5 A silver Thornhill novelty telescopic pencil styled as a plumb bob or spinning top. Chased floral design on top. Diamond registration mark for 12 September 1873. Length closed 57mm, open 78mm.
6 A gold Thornhill novelty telescopic pencil styled as a plumb bob or spinning top. Diamond registration mark for 12 September 1873. Length closed 57mm, open 68mm. 7 A gold Thornhill novelty telescopic pencil styled as a plumb bob or spinning top. Diamond registration mark for 12 September 1873. Length closed 57mm, open 180mm. 8 An unmarked gilt novelty telescopic pencil styled as a plumb bob or spinning top. Length closed 30mm, open 60mm.
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AUGUSTUS MORDAN After Sampson Mordan died in 1843, he was succeeded by his sons, Sampson Mordan II and Augustus. In the same year that his father died, 1843, Augustus Mordan married Elizabeth Jane Hathaway at St. George’s, Hanover Square, London. Six years later, in 1849, Elizabeth died, aged only 27, of ’exhaustion from chronic disease of the liver’, leaving Augustus with two small girls, Clara Evelyn and Ada Florence. In 1852 Augustus Mordan married again, this time to Annie Elizabeth Boyce, and in 1857 her sister, Joanna Boyce, married Henry Wells RA, who was a well-known portrait painter. Harry Lambert Symonds, who was eventually to become head of Sampson Mordan & Co., was Wells’ nephew. On the 1861 census return, under the heading of ‘Rank, Profession or Occupation’ Augustus described himself as a ‘Manufacturer of Metals. Employing 200 clerks, workmen and boys, at 41 City Road, London.’ In other words, Augustus was making an excellent job of running the company and fulfilling his father’s wishes. The same return also showed him living at 17 Finchley New Road, Hampstead, with his daughters Clara, aged 16 and Ada, aged 13 and his second wife, Annie Elizabeth, and her children Edgar Augustus and Kathleen. Augustus had another son but neither Edgar or his younger brother Percy went into the family business. Percy became a Lloyd’s underwriter. Sampson Mordan II married a French girl, Victoire Aglae Bouchard and lived for many years in France at his mansion at 12 Rue de Calais, Paris, where he eventually died in 1881. The marriage is not thought to have produced any children, although the family tree does record an illegitimate son, Valentine. Apart from his interest in the City Road plant it is not known to what extent Sampson was involved in the Mordan factory at 19 Rue des Pyramides, Paris, which is listed in the Post Office Directories. After Sampson Mordan II eventually settled in France, he became little more than a sleeping partner, leaving Augustus to manage the family firm. As business expanded, Augustus was able to take early retirement. He left London and moved to Reigate in Surrey, where he and Anne lived in some style with horses, carriages and a coachman together with a gardener, cook, a maid for the mistress and several more servants. He died in Worthing in 1901, described as a ‘Retired Pencil Manufacturer’ leaving £131,000 including several freehold properties. In today’s terms he would have been a multi-millionaire.
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NELSON’S COLUMN 1
Nelson’s Column is a monument in Trafalgar Square in central London built to commemorate Admiral Nelson, who died at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The monument was constructed between 1840 and 1843, to a design by William Railton at a cost of £47,000. It is a column of the Corinthian order built out of Dartmoor granite. The Craigleith sandstone statue of Nelson is by E H Baily and the four bronze lions added in 1867, were designed by Sir Edwin Landseer. The 5.5m (18ft) statue at the top was sculpted by Edward Hodges Baily RA from three pieces of Craigleith sandstone donated by the Duke of Buccleuch, former chairman of the Nelson Memorial Committee, from his own quarries. The statue stands on a fluted column built from solid blocks of granite from the Foggintor quarries on Dartmoor. The Corinthian capital is of bronze, cast from old British cannon at the Woolwich Arsenal foundry. It is based on the Temple of Mars Ultor in Rome with the addition of a figure of the winged Victory on each face, and was modelled by C H Smith. The pedestal is decorated with four bronze relief panels, each 18ft square, cast from captured French guns. They depict the Battle of Cape St Vincent, the Battle of the Nile, the Battle of Copenhagen and the Death of Nelson at Trafalgar. The sculptors were Musgrave Watson, William F Woodington, John Ternouth and John Edward Carew respectively.
1 Nelson’s column pencil in box. Length 100mm. 2 A 15ct gold Everpointed pencil styled as Nelson’s column. Nelson stands on top of the column when the slider activates the pencil mechanism. The base of the column is engraved NELSON – TRAFALGAR – NILE – COPENHAGEN – ST. VINCENT. Length closed 90mm, open 120mm.
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COMPANION PENCILS 1
1 A 9ct gold Mordan pen and pencil combination with engine turned barrel with ring. Length closed 95mm, open 110mm. 2 An unmarked gold pen and pencil combination. Cylindrical decorated barrel. Two decorated sliders. White agate terminal seal. Length closed 103mm, open 133mm.
3 A silver Mordan pen and pencil combination with a knife and ruler. S MORDAN & CO MAKERS 1848. Details showing terminal with seal removed to reveal opening for knife and lead reservoir. Length 123mm. 4 A French silver novelty pen and pencil with a perpetual calendar. Ring slider. Terminal stone. c1860. Length 102mm
5 A French six-sided novelty metal pen and pencil with perpetual calendar. Crown finial with white chalcedony terminal stone. Length 120mm 6 A silver Mordan novelty sheath pencil. Perpetual calendar with ring. Length 55mm.
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1 An ivory and gold mounted Mordan pen and pencil combination with thermometer and compass. Details of compass and thermometer mercury bowl. S MORDAN & Co. Length closed 105mm, open 123mm.
2 An ivory and silver Mordan pen and pencil combination with a double penknife. S MORDAN & Co. Length 104mm.
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COMPANION PENCILS 2 1
1 An unmarked silver container with pencil, button hook and weighing scale calibrated in ounces. Rd 105707. Length closed 74mm, open 90mm.
2 A unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a Vesta case. Length 90mm. 3 An unmarked silver combination pen and pencil with a citrine seal with initials MS. c1860. Length 160mm.
4 A novelty four-sided square floral engraved metal pen and pencil. Square ruler 31â „2 inches. Two sliders unmarked c1860. Length 104mm. 5 A silver Mordan pencil styled as a column with seal. London 1908. Length closed 98mm, open 142mm.
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1 A silver companion triple pencil set with blue, red and black enamel slides. Includes a compass, sundial and whistle. WILLIAM HORNBY LONDON 1901. Length closed 77mm open 100mm.
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MASONIC SYMBOL 1
1 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a Masonic symbol with penknife, compass and set square. Length of pencil closed 30mm, open 39mm.
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CIGAR CUTTERS 1
1 A Mordan silver companion pencil set with a cigar cutter. Chester Hallmark 1903 Length closed 115mm, open 140mm. 2 A silver companion pencil set with a cigar cutter and penknife. Length closed 80mm, open100mm.
3 An unmarked American silver novelty pencil styled as a cigar. Length 82mm. 4 A silver companion triple pencil set with a cigar cutter. VICTOR CLICOUT THE ALEXANDER CLARK MANUFACTURING CO BIRMINGHAM 1907. Length 84mm.
5 A decorated silver companion pen and pencil set with a cigar piercer. PATENT APPLIED FOR. Length 92mm. 6 An unmarked silver novelty telescopic pencil styled as a coach horn and cigar cutter c1895. Length 118mm.
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PAPER KNIVES 1 2
1 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a letter opener. Length closed 96mm, open 115mm. 2 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a bookmark and letter opener. Engraved LITA 1898. Length120 mm.
3 A silver Mordan letter opener and page turner with a pencil in the handle. 1901. Length 215mm. Length of pencil 55mm. 4 An unmarked novelty pencil in gun metal styled as a letter opener. Length 76mm.
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3 4 6
1 An ebony and brass combination quill cutter, pen, pencil and toothpick. JOHN SELLERS IMPROVED PEN MAKER AND PENCIL 1903. Length 100mm. 2 A silver combination penknife, pencil and button hook. JONES ST JAMES ST. BROOKES & CROOK SHEFFIELD. 1890. Length 82mm closed, 140mm open. 3 A silver-plated pencil with a mother-ofpearl penknife. 1910. Length 110mm.
4 A silver combination penknife and pencil. 1894. Length 80mm. 5 A silver combination penknife, pencil, matchbox holder and striker. ALFRED FRIDLANDER 1884. Length 70mm. 6 A silver combination penknife, pencil, whistle and button hook styled as an owl with garnet eyes. FREDERICK EDMONDS LONDON 1893. Length 80mm.
7 A silver Mordan combination, pen, pencil and letter opener. Length closed 75, open 140mm 8 An ivory combination penknife and pencil in a fitted red leather case. Length 85mm closed, 95mm open
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MAGNIFYING GLASSES 1
1 A silver novelty pencil styled as a column with a seal and magnifying glass. JC VICKERY 181â€“183 REGENT STREET W 1904. Length 110mm.
2 A silver Mordan pencil styled as a letter opener and page turner with a magnifying glass. 1907. Made for Asprey. Length 200mm. Length of pencil and magnifying glass 156mm.
3 A silver Everpointed pencil with engineturned barrel and slide and swivel seal with magnifying glass. WILLMORE Length closed 112mm, open 142mm.
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1 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a flute. Length closed 60mm, open 65mm. 2 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a whistle and penknife. Length 70mm.
3 An unmarked silver novelty engine-turned pencil styled as a whistle. Length 75mm. 4 An unmarked silver engraved novelty pencil styled as a whistle. Length 70mm. 5 A silver Mordan novelty diamond patterned pencil styled as a whistle. Length 80mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS WHISTLES 81
6 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a whistle. Length 65mm. 7 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as an owl and whistle. Length 55mm.
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1 A silver novelty pencil styled as a ruler with callipers. Calibrated in inches. Unmarked. 15 inches. Length 165mm 2 A silver Mordan novelty triangular shaped pencil with ruler with slide. 5 inches. Length 132mm 3 A silver four-sided novelty pencil with clip styled as a ruler. Hallmarked Birmingham 1923. PROV. PAT 25802/23. Length 112mm
4 A silver novelty four-sided pencil with pocket clip and callipers Two sets of calibrations. Length 112mm 5 A silver four-sided novelty pencil with ruler. PROV. PAT 25802/23 TO MY HUSBAND WITH LOVE ON THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF OUR WEDDING Birmingham 1924. Length 136mm
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS RULERS 82
6 A silver four-sided novelty pencil with ruler and clip. Callibrated in inches and centimetres Sept 1927. Length 120mm 7 A 14ct gold novelty pen and pencil styled as a hinged ruler. c1850. Length closed 78mm, open 153mm
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8 A gold novelty double pencil with twin sliders and double penknife and ruler. J C Vickery 181â€“183 Regent Street. Length 80mm. 9 A four-sided novelty metal pencil styled as a hinged ruler. Calibrated. Ring on hinge marked PATENT 2279. Length closed 40mm, open 77mm.
10 An ivory novelty pencil with calibrated ruler styled as a cricket bat. Length 90mm. 11 An ivory Mordan novelty pencil styled as a six inch hinged ruler. Length 78mm and 151mm
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS RULERS 83
12 An ivory Mordan novelty pencil, pen and double penknife styled as a four inch ruler. Length 104mm. 13 A silver unmarked carpenterâ€™s pencil styled as a ruler. Length 86mm.
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1 A silver Thornhill novelty telescopic pencil styled as a Palliser bullet with ring. c1890. Length closed 33mm, open 110mm. By the 1890s lead was no longer a suitable material for bullets as it deformed with the pressure and rifling desired for accuracy. Captain Edward Palliser therefore developed this distinctive style of bullet to achieve the required accuracy over a long range with a small calibre weapon.
Several designs were developed by the leading arms-manufacturing nations, and Palliser’s was probably the most successful as it produced a reliable muzzle velocity – a prerequisite for consistent accuracy. It avoided the problems of other inventions, like plated bullets, which left a residue to clog the barrel and lubricated cartridges, which attracted dirt and sand and also caused clogging. Palliser’s bullet consisted of a jacket made of soft Swedish wrought iron, coated with zinc,
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS BULLETS 84
filled with lead and corrugated at the base. The zinc coating was too soft to stick to the barrel and acted as a lubricant. Its unusual shape made it an ideal vehicle for Mordan to use as a ‘fancy design’ of pencil case. 2 A silver Mordan pencil styled as an artillery shell with ring. Rd 284623. Length closed 38mm, open 80mm.
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1 A silver pencil styled as a magazine rifle cartridge with ring. Length closed 80mm, open 145mm. 2 A gun metal pencil styled as a magazine rifle cartridge with a ring. Length 75mm.
3 A .303 magazine rifle cartridge converted to a pencil with a twist mechanism. Length 102mm. 4 A gold .303 magazine rifle cartridge converted to a pencil. Engraved KITTY XMAS 1915. Length 78mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS BULLETS 85
5 A gold and silver magazine rifle cartridge converted to a pencil with ring. Birmingham 1893. Length 35mm.
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1 A silver Mordan torpedo-shaped multicoloured pencil with red and blue enamel slider. Length 95mm. 2 A silver multicoloured pencil with red and blue enamel twist mechanism. THORNHILL PATENT. Length closed 70mm, open 87mm.
3 A silver multi-coloured combination pencil and sharp pointed tool. Slider for green lead has a turquoise stone and the black lead has a black stone. ARTHUR DOWNING LTD 1892. Length closed 116mm, open 146mm.
4 A silver multicoloured pencil with red, blue and black enamel twist mechanism. THORNHILL PATENT. Length 135mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS MULTICOLOURED 86
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1 A silver Mordan pencil styled as a Patent Pan Tan with a telescopic pencil and counter scorer combined. Blue numbered holes, from one to eight, on the outer sleeve. The outer sleeve twists to change colours and numbers. Length 90mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS PAN TAN 87
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NOVELTIES There are three things which the public will always clamour for, sooner or later, namely, novelty, novelty, novelty. Thomas Hood
The variety of original items that were produced between 1870 and 1910 was remarkable. Retail catalogues of the period nearly always had a section devoted to novelties. Some were functional, some whimsical, while others had a purely decorative appeal and most were made of silver. They were generally small objects, which could be held in one hand, hence the term smalls. The catalogue pages were filled with items like souvenir spoons, napkin rings, aide memoires, vesta cases, cigar cutters, scent bottles, card cases, fobs, pens, pen wipes and pencils. Silver and silver plated novelties were extremely popular during this time with the precious metal and the extravagance of the item elevating the stature of the owner and the giver. Many of the so-called novelties or objets de vertu were considered all the more fascinating when they were made in the shape of another object. A pencil could be made to look like an owl, a dog or a person or any myriad of shapes that may have had a symbolic meaning or no significance at all.
A silver Mordan pencil styled as a tennis racquet
Figural ornamentation had been an element of silverware for a long time. The progression from the use of these details as decorative elements of a larger piece of silver, to the use of the design as a separate entity, was a major characteristic of silver smalls produced during the Victorian age. But still, the puritan streak in the Victorian couldnâ€™t escape the need for ornamental objects to provide some purpose. They had to be classed as useful, even if their ornamental value overwhelmed their functional form. So, rather than a small animal being merely a tiny sculpture it became a pencil or vesta case. Ornamentation was often fussy and complex, because what the Victorians valued, above all, was ingenuity, skill and dexterity of workmanship.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS NOVELTIES 88
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In 1856 Owen Jones, an architect and designer, published his document, The Grammar of Ornament. His thesis was to become the most influential and authoritative work on the subject of design in the 19th century. Jones was the chief architect of the Great Exhibition of 1851 and strongly disapproved of the Victorian habit of mixing elements from a wide variety of sources and applying this mix indiscriminately to buildings, graphics and products. His resulting study was an exhaustive collection of decorative details taken from the great, and lesser known, civilizations of the past: Classical and Egyptian, as well as medieval and Renaissance. Its lavish illustrations were produced in colour, thanks to recent advances in printing technology. Artists and architects had never previously had the opportunity to evaluate such a vast assembly of different styles. Jones’ work became the authoritative guide for painters, designers and even silversmiths. A period of great emphasis on ornamentation, on beauty being defined as complex, symbolic and intricate would be followed logically by a reaction to a period of simplicity and minimalism. Thus, silver produced from about 1920, reflected the ‘modern’ preference for a lack of embellishment. This represented the complete opposite of the Victorian ideal of an object’s embellishment being a large part of its raison d’être. By 1920 the era of the silver figural smallware was over. The universal interest in figural novelties reached its height between 1870 and 1910 and was a fascinating development. The shock of the new became the signature of the age. The variety of silver novelties and the purpose of each piece reflected the mores of society. The many etiquette books of the day included information on everything, from how to write correctly, how to pour wine, the language of flowers, to how to dress for a ball. Those who sought respectability always went in fear of not knowing the right thing to do. Understanding the correct use of calling cards would indicate proper breeding. Not knowing which knife or fork to use indicated that one was out of one’s depth in a social setting. Victorian society was obsessed with status and social advancement. Refined individuals wanted to show that they had travelled, were well read and wished to make the most of status symbols. Silver was the perfect medium for the accoutrements of a luxurious and leisured lifestyle. The question often asked, is why were so many of these objects produced as figurals? In order for an ornament to be novel, it didn’t need to be figural as the decoration often got in the way of the function. It is hard to imagine some of these objects being used at all. There is some explainable logic to engraving a poem on a napkin ring but writing with a small pencil, shaped as a fish, would be very difficult, if not impossible. Even if the owner of a fob pencil was a tennis player, the reason why the racquet was a pencil and not just an ornament is still hard to comprehend. The emphasis on social status, the speed of change and the availability of so much to so many hastened this type of development from the mid-Victorian to the Edwardian period.
The Grammar of Ornament by Owen Jones 1856
Novelty has charms that our minds can hardly withstand. William Makepeace Thackeray
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS NOVELTIES 89
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The design of novelties during the late Victorian age was influenced by a variety of factors and events, but one important effect on Victorian design and perhaps the most significant, was the opening of trade relations with Japan in 1853. Because Japan had been closed to overseas trade for over 200 years the impact of Japanese goods on the market was noticeable. Some Japanese artifacts had been displayed in England prior to the trade treaties, but once trade had been established the Japanese were quick to send works of art over to various international exhibitions. Among the pieces on show were small, decorative objects that were treated with the same respect to design and craftsmanship as the larger items. No distinction was made between the workmanship on the smallest of items and the largest works of art. In Japan, small, sculptural toggles called netsuke were used to hold the strings that held an inro, a purse-like container to the obi or sash. The emerging Japanese middle class may not have been allowed to wear ostentatious clothing or jewellery, because of the sumptuary laws, but they could adorn their costumes with beautifully carved netsuke. The carvings were ornamental yet they served a specific function, like silver novelties. The number of similarities between netsuke and watch fobs, particularly fobs, which were pencils, is interesting. The term, fob, was originally used to describe a small pocket in a manâ€™s trousers where he kept his watch. As styles changed, men started to wear vests with pockets and the watches were hung from chains and tucked into the vest pocket rather than the trouser pocket. The word fob changed in meaning, and became the chain that held the watch or any other object that hung from it. In photographs of the time men are often shown wearing their jackets buttoned at the top with the bottom open, revealing the watch chain and fobs. Initially many fobs were actually watch keys, which were used to wind the watch. Eventually in the late Victorian age men decorated their watch chains with more elaborate items, like seals and small pencils.
Fashionable Victorian gentleman featured in Vanity Fair displaying various chains attached to his waistcoat.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS NOVELTIES 90
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It was hardly surprising that many figurals were based on animal forms. In addition to the inspiration derived from the Japanese arts, the Victorian public was becoming increasingly aware of the relationship between man and nature. The irresistible force of nature was a fashionable belief. The period was also marked by an immense optimism about science. With the increase in the benefits of technology came increased leisure time and sports related activities were an additional source of inspiration for the designers of small silveware. Pencils and objets de vertu were fashioned into golf clubs, tennis racquets and croquet mallets.
An unmarked novelty figural pencil styled as a Buddha.
The only way of satisfying the demand for the new was by frequent change. Victorian manufacturers and especially Sampson Mordan sought to please their customers by being all things to all people and offering something for everyone. The designers were blessed with an incredible range of images and styles to choose from and the eclectic mix of all these sources and influences was the inspiration that led to the creation of enormous numbers of small figural objects â€“ a legacy of a dazzling age when small silverware was produced in a big way.
Novelty is the great parent of pleasure. Robert South
A silver pencil styled as a duck
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS NOVELTIES 91
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LADIESâ€™ PENCILS 1
1 A silver Mordan pencil with a lapel button. Length 107mm. 2 An ornate French silver gilt mirror containing a pencil, with a chain and ring on the handle. Length 130mm.
3 A gold Mordan novelty pencil styled as a shoe. Rd 199100. Length 41mm. 4 A silver-gilt and ivory Mordan novelty item styled as a fan with a small, attached pencil. Registration mark. Length 85mm.
5 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a fan. Length 56mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS LADIESâ€™ PENCILS 92
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5 A silver novelty pencil styled as a ball of wool. THORNHILL 1461. Length closed 40mm, open 88mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS LADIESâ€™ PENCILS 93
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1 A silver novelty figural pencil styled as a child. L FUCHARS. Length 47mm. 2 An umarked silver novelty figural pencil styled as a childâ€™s head. Length 42mm. 3 An unmarked novelty pencil styled as a decorated case with three intertwined figures. Twist mechanism. Length 74mm.
4 An unmarked silver novelty figural pencil styled as a Dickenâ€™s character. Length closed 50mm, open 83mm. 5 A silver Mordan novelty figural pencil styled as a child holding a bunch of flowers. Length 32mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS FIGURES 94
6 A silver Mordan novelty figural pencil and whistle styled as a child holding a bunch of flowers. Length closed 57mm, open 88mm.
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7 A silver Mordan novelty figural pencil styled as a soldier. Length closed 55mm, open 85mm. 8 An unmarked silver novelty figural pencil styled as a manâ€™s head. Length 37mm.
9 A silver Mordan novelty figural pencil styled as an old man. Length 40mm. 10 An unmarked silver novelty figural pencil styled as a policeman with truncheon. Length 45mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS FIGURES 95
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1 A silver Mordan novelty figural pencil styled as a mummy. Length 44mm. 2 A silver novelty figural pencil styled as a lady with scales and sword. J ROSENTHAL & S JACOB. Length 70mm.
3 A silver Mordan novelty figural pencil styled as an old man. Diamond lozenge mark October 1880. Length closed 40mm, open 75mm. 4 An unmarked gold novelty figural pencil styled as a monk. Length 30mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS FIGURES 96
5 A silver Mordan novelty figural pencil styled as a monk. Diamond lozenge mark November 1881. Length 32mm.
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FIGURES 7 8
6 An unmarked gilt metal novelty figural pencil styled as a Chinese man. Length 35mm 7 An unmarked bronze novelty figural pencil styled as an oriental man. Length 35mm. 8 An unmarked bronze novelty figural pencil styled as a Buddha. Length 32mm.
9 An unmarked bronze novelty figural pencil styled as a Buddha in lotus position. Length 25mm. 10 A silver Mordan novelty figural pencil styled as a Chinese warrior. Length closed 35mm, open 70mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS FIGURES 97
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1 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a cracker. Diamond lozenge mark May 1879. Length closed 55mm, open 88mm. 2 A silver novelty pencil styled as a cracker, with silver and gilt ends. HAMILTON & Co. CALCUTTA. Length 40mm. 3 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a cracker. Diamond lozenge mark May 1879. Length closed 40mm, open 75mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS CRACKERS 98
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JUGS AND BARRELS
7 12 8
1 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a claret jug with an enamel â€˜claretâ€™ stopper. Length 43mm. 2 A silver-gilt Mordan novelty pencil styled as a jug. Length 42mm. 3 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a claret jug. Length 40mm. 4 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a jug. Length 41mm. 5 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a two-handed cup. Length 76mm.
6 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a barrel. Length 35mm. 7 An unmarked ivory novelty pencil styled as a barrel. Length 31mm. 8 A gilt and silver novelty pencil styled as a barrel. Length 35mm. 9 An unmarked gold mounted novelty pencil styled as a green and crystal barrel. Length 35mm.
10 An unmarked gilt and silver novelty pencil styled as a barrel. Length 38mm. 11 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a corkscrew with an ivory handle. Length 80mm. 12 An unmarked gilt and silver novelty pencil styled as a cone. Length 38mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS JUGS AND BARRELS 99
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1 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a fish knife. Length 102mm. 2 A silver novelty pencil styled as a butter knife. Marked H. G. & S. Ltd. WITH THE COMPLIMENTS OF THE PHOENIX INSURANCE CO. OF HARTFORD XMAS 1905. Length 112mm.
3 A silver-gilt Mordan novelty pencil styled as a butter knife. Length closed 112mm, open 132mm. 4 An unmarked novelty pencil styled as a table knife. Length 177mm.
5 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a trowel cake slice. Diamond lozenge mark 1872. Length 117mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS TABLEWARE 100
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1 An unmarked novelty pencil styled as a table fork. Length 92mm. 2 An unmarked novelty pencil styled as a table knife. M.A.C. April 23rd 1884. Length 94mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS TABLEWARE 101
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1 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a broom. Length closed 175mm, open 190mm. 2 An unmarked novelty pencil styled as a broom with a silver chain clip. Length 82mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS BROOMS 102
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UMBRELLAS AND STICKS
3 An unmarked gold novelty pencil styled as an umbrella with turquoise stones and chain. Length 62mm. 4 An unmarked plastic novelty pencil styled as an umbrella with a tassel. Length 116mm.
5 An unmarked gold novelty pencil styled as an umbrella. Length 62mm. 6 A wood and ivory Mordan novelty pencil styled as a walking stick. Diamond registration mark. Length 112mm. 7 An unmarked ebony novelty pencil styled as a walking stick. Length 100mm.
8 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a walking stick. Diamond registration mark. Length 73mm. 9 An unmarked metal novelty pencil styled as a walking stick. Length 60mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS UMBRELLAS AND STICKS 103
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MONKEY BUSINESS On 24 November 1859 a great event occurred in England that sent shock waves throughout the world. It was not an outbreak of war, although many said it would destroy everything that was held dear. It was not some epidemic, terrible earthquake or violent revolution, although many people discussed it as if it were all of these things. The event was the publication of a book with an extremely long title; The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured races in the Struggle for Life. The author, Charles Darwin, believed that he had discovered a great truth about living things. It was so new, so incredible and it so completely upset established thought that for 20 years he had kept it to himself, confiding in only a few scientific friends and colleagues in England and the United States. Few books have played such a large role in history. Darwin’s book discussed new ideas, such as natural selection, the survival of the fittest and, of course, the natural evolutionary progression of homo sapiens. This non-religious version of reality sparked a controversy that the world had never known. Charles Darwin’s theories on evolution upended the scientific community in the middle of the 19th century. He proposed that small changes over billions of years created the species we have today. Darwin called it ‘the survival of the fittest’. Species that could adapt to their changing environment most effectively, would survive, while the weaker genetic lines of species would die off and become extinct. Darwin’s research for the book had taken place on the HMS Beagle years before. As he traveled to the Galapagos Islands and other exotic places, he made observations on the nature of environment and the effect of climate on the development of species. He had a theory that animals were not merely created by an invisible being but they progressed along a very long line of evolution. Their origins were in the prehistoric world. That may be why it took Darwin several years before he spoke and wrote publicly on his theory of evolution. The initial print run of 1,250 sold out immediately. Selling at 14 shillings, more than a week's wage for the common labourer, this was a book for Darwin's own, the Victorian elite and intelligentsia. For forward thinking Victorians, Darwin’s book was the must have item of the year. Those who embraced the humanist enlightenment sentiments of the previous century felt compelled to explore these new scientific ideas. Science was on the rise in the mid to late 19th century and the scientific method found favour among academics. A lot of people didn’t quite understand the concept as it was still so new, but it didn’t stop them from trying. The book was read and debated, sparked both cries of heresy and cries of progress. Darwin had changed human perception forever, casting doubt on firmly fixed views. Charles Darwin’s theories have enjoyed over a century of debate and study. Despite the fossil record, the work of anthropologists and the logical nature of the concept, many still refuse to accept his ideas.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS MONKEY BUSINESS 104
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A silver Mordan novelty pencil with a monkey and coconut. When the monkey moves on the slider to reach the coconut it activates the pencil mechanism. Length closed 80mm, open 90mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS MONKEY BUSINESS 105
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1 An unmarked metal novelty pencil styled as the head of a fox. Length 55mm. 2 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as the head of a dog, with a chain. Length 30mm
3 An unmarked metal novelty pencil styled as the head of a horse. Length 55mm.. 4 A silver novelty pencil styled as a cat. Length 35mm.
5 An unmarked bronze novelty pencil styled as a cat in a basket with a chain. Length 35mm. 6 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as the head of a horse. Length closed 35mm, open 70mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS ANIMALS 106
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ANIMALS 9 7
7 An unmarked wood novelty pencil styled as the head of a dog. Length 30mm. 8 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a begging dog. Length 65mm. 9 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as an elephant. Length 35mm.
10 An unmarked gold novelty pencil styled as an elephant. Length 47mm. 11 An unmarked gold novelty pencil styled as a frog. Length 30mm. 12 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a duck. Length 32mm. 13 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as an owl. Length 50mm.
14 An unmarked novelty pencil styled as an owl. Length 32mm. 15 An unmarked novelty pencil styled as an owl. Length 32mm. 16 An unmarked novelty pencil styled as an owl. Length 32mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS ANIMALS 107
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1 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a boar. Diamond lozenge mark c1880. Length closed 35mm, open 62mm. 2 An unmarked pewter novelty pencil styled as a pig. Length 60mm. 3 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a cat. Diamond lozenge mark November 1881. Length closed 43mm, open 70mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS ANIMALS 108
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4 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a begging dog. Length closed 35mm, open 60mm. 5 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a bear. Length closed 37mm, open 70mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS ANIMALS 109
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1 An unmarked ornately decorated silver pencil case with a camel on the terminal. Length 118mm. 2 A gold engine turned pencil case with a dog on the terminal. Length 102mm. 3 An unmarked telescopic silver pencil case, spiral design, with a mouse on the terminal. Length 90mm.
4 A black Mordan novelty pencil case styled with a dogâ€™s head terminal. Diamond Lozenge Mark 1873. Length 110mm. 5 An unmarked gold pencil case with a bird on the terminal. Length 118mm.
6 A silver pencil case with a snake with green jewelled eyes entwined around the barrel. Length closed 60mm, open 100mm. 7 A silver pencil case with a lizard and frog around the barrel. AIKEN LAMBERT & Co. Length closed 47mm, open 92mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS FIGUREHEADS 110
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1 A silver unmarked novelty pencil styled as a decorated case with a figure of a jester on the terminal. Length closed 128mm, open 153mm. 2 A silver Mordan pencil with a plain case and a Jester and bells on the terminal. Diamond Lozenge Mark 1879. Length 128mm. 3 A silver unmarked novelty pencil styled as a decorated case with a figure of a jester on the terminal. Length closed 105mm, open 135mm.
4 An unmarked novelty pencil in brown wood with a head on the terminal. Slider. Length 85mm 5 A novelty pencil in black stone with a head on the terminal. Marked VESUVIO. Length 100mm. 6 A heavily decorated silver Commemorative pencil with the head of the Duke of Wellington on the terminal. The slider is marked Duke of Wellington. BORN 1764 Died 1852 ASSAYE WATERLOO. Diamond Lozenge Mark 1852. Length closed 110mm, open 150mm.
7 A silver Commemorative pencil with the head of the Duke of Wellington on the terminal. Barrel has barleycorn design. The slider is marked Duke of Wellington. BORN 1764 Died 1852 ASSAYE WATERLOO Diamond Lozenge Mark 1852. Length closed 110mm, open 150mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS FIGUREHEADS 111
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AQUATIC LIFE 1
1 A silver novelty pencil styled as a shrimp. LEUCHARS AND SON. Diamond Lozenge Mark 1879. Length closed 68mm, open 95mm. 2 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a Muscovy Duck Drake’s head. Rd 16538. Length closed 51mm, open 88mm. 3 A silver novelty pencil styled as a crab’s claw. Length closed 50mm, open 54mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS AQUATIC LIFE 112
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AQUATIC LIFE 4 5
4 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a fish. Length 57mm. 5 A gold Mordan novelty pencil styled as a fish. Length 45mm. 6 An unmarked silver and gold novelty pencil styled as a fish. Length 40mm.
7 A silver novelty pencil styled as a seal. Length 50mm. 8 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as an alligator. Length 60mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS AQUATIC LIFE 113
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ANIMAL HOOVES 1
1 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a horse’s foot with a vinaigrette in the hoof with ring. Length 55mm. 2 An unmarked gold novelty pencil styled as a deer’s foot. White stone hoof with ring. Length 56mm.
3 An unmarked gold novelty pencil styled as a deer’s foot with ring. Length 58mm. 4 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as deer’s foot. Agate stone hoof with ring. Length 60mm.
5 An unmarked gold novelty pencil styled as a deer’s foot with ring. Length 78mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS ANIMAL HOOVES 114
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ANIMAL HOOVES 6
6 A silver novelty pencil styled as a horse’s leg. Ashford Birmingham 1897. Length 80mm. 7 An unmarked gold novelty pencil styled as a horses foot with ring. Dark green stone hoof. Length 40mm.
8 An unmarked gold novelty pencil styled as a horse’s foot with ring. White agate stone hoof. Length 45mm. 9 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a horse’s foot with ring. Topaz stone hoof. Length 90mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS ANIMAL HOOVES 115
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1 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a carpenterâ€™s plane. Length closed 58mm, open 70mm. 2 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as an axe. Engraved FOR AXING QUESTIONS. c1860. Length 90mm. 3 An unmarked gold and silver novelty pencil styled as an axe. Length 90mm. 4 A silver gilt Mordan novelty pencil styled as an axe. Length 70mm.
5 An unmarked metal novelty pencil styled as a hammer. Length 93mm. 6 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a garden sprayer pump. The silver body has a ring attached. The handle is ivory. Length closed 72mm, open 102mm. 7 A gilt metal and ivory novelty pencil styled as a garden sprayer pump. Length closed 85mm, open 115mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS TOOLS 116
8 A small metal and ivory novelty pencil styled as a garden sprayer pump. Perry & Co. Length 64mm. 9 A metal novelty pencil styled as a tool. THE INTERNATIONAL PNEUMATIC TOOL. THE LITTLE GIANT LONG STROKE HAMMER. Length 74mm.
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SCREWS AND NAILS 1
1 An unmarked metal novelty pencil styled as a screw. Length 164mm. 2 A metal novelty pencil styled as a screw. USE NETTLEFOLDS SCREWS. Length 105mm. 3 A silver Thornhill novelty pencil styled as a screw. DMP XMAS 1874. Length 85mm. 4 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a screw. Length 85mm.
5 An unmarked metal novelty pencil styled as a screw. Length 70mm. 6 An unmarked gold novelty pencil styled as a screw. Length 52mm. 7 A silver novelty pencil styled as a screw. Birmingham 1897. Length 44mm. 8 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a nail with gilt head. Diamond Lozenge Mark. Length 80mm.
9 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a nail. Length 77mm. 10 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a nail. Length 73mm. 11 A silver novelty pencil styled as a nail. NO-NAIL VILLIERS & JACKSON Birmingham 1956. Length 114mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS SCREWS AND NAILS 117
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EDMUND JOHNSON Edmund George Johnson, was the eldest son of Alfred Johnson, the Queen’s Regent Street hatter, and was educated at a Public school, Rugby. He joined Sampson Mordan & Co. in 1868 after previously working in Mincing Lane and elsewhere in the City. In 1870, funded by his father, he entered into partnership with Sampson II and Augustus. In the same year he married Ada Mordan, Augustus’s daughter from his first marriage. Ada died in 1876, as a consequence of giving birth to her son, Wilfred. Edward Johnson was left a widower, with two small children. Two years later, in 1878, he set up house in Fopstone Road, South Kensington with Clara Mordan, the sister of his recently deceased wife. A 19 year old French governess and a number of domestic servants completed the household. Sampson Mordan II died in 1881 and 13 years after joining the firm, Johnson became head of S. Mordan & Co. His position in the company had been strengthened considerably under the terms of Sampson’s will, made in 1875. Translated from the French, he outlined his wishes concerning his various interests in the company as follows “I give and bequeath to the Misses Clara and Ada, my nieces and daughters of the first marriage of Augustus, my partner and brother residing in England, or in default to their children and descendents, my share or interest with all my rights and privileges, which I possess in London, and to a house or factory situated at 41 City Road, known under the name of Sampson Mordan & Co.” In 1880, Johnson’s name was entered in the registers at the London Assay Office, when he entered six marks: SM for Sampson Mordan (Silversmith). The entry reads ‘By virtue of a power of attorney dated 7th day of October 1880 I enter the marks of Sampson Mordan’. On the 1881 London census return from Fopstone Road, Johnson referred to himself as a ‘Manufacturer of gold and silver etc.’. Such was his standing in the business world, he was later elected Chairman of The Gold and Silver Trades Section of the London Chamber of Commerce. Edmund George Johnson of 29 Fopstone Road, South Kensington and of 41 City Road died on 19 January 1898 at St Kilda, near Melbourne, Victoria in Australia. His obituary laid greater emphasis on his travelling and his political aspirations than his interest and achievements in the Sampson Mordan Company. Apparently, he had visited every European capital, most of the United States of America and many colonial possessions. In addition he had devoted a lot of time to politics. After failing to be nominated in East Finsbury and Preston he was eventually selected as a candidate for the 1885 General Election by the Liberal Association of the Borough of Strand. His opponent was the established Conservative politician, W H Smith, the son in WH Smith and Son. The contest was billed as a battle between paper and pencils, but the pencils never had a chance and Johnson was badly beaten at the polls by 5,645 votes to 2,486. In 1886, W H Smith, the newspaper magnate became leader of the House of Commons. The products of the Johnson period, characterised by their machine finishing and quality controlled decorative work, met with the approval of the Victorian middle classes who patronised the jewellers, novelty giftware shops and the emerging departmental stores in the West End of London, where the company was eventually to have showrooms.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS EDMUND JOHNSON 118
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S MORDAN & CO The date of manufacture of a pencil can be estimated from the makerâ€™s marks, providing their different stamps can themselves be dated. Over a period of 120 years the Sampson Mordan Company changed its marks frequently. Unfortunately not all pencils are well stamped and in good condition. Worn marks can be hard to read. Collectors of early pencils are interested in dates between 1822 and 1837 when most pencils were hallmarked. There are not many hallmarked pencils dated between 1845 and 1880, as it seems that pencil makers had deliberately stopped hallmarking to avoid paying duty.
An unusual example of an S. Mordan & Co hallmarked pencil from 1861
The majority of the novelty pencils in the KB Collection were made between 1870 and 1890, but it is not always possible to accurately date them. During this period most were marked S. Mordan & Co but few were hallmarked. Frequently the design was registered and the presence of a registration design lozenge allows these pencils to be dated.
A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a roller-skate without hallmarks but with a registration design lozenge.
S. Mordan & Co makers incuse mark. This is a design impressed into the surface of a silver pencil to create an intaglio effect rather than a relief design.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS S MORDAN & CO 119
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LONG CASE CLOCK & SUITCASE
1 A silver Mordan novelty telescoping pencil styled as a miniature long case clock with enamelled dial and ring. c1880. Length closed 48mm, open 90mm.
2 A silver Mordan novelty telescoping pencil styled as a suitcase. c1880. Length closed 35mm, open 120mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS LONG CASE CLOCK AND SUITCASE 120
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1 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a quill with a turquoise stone on slider. Length closed 128mm, open 138mm. 2 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a quill with a slider. Length closed 100mm, open 120mm.
3 A silver Mordan novelty pencil with red lacquer styled as a piece of sealing wax. Length closed 60mm, open 117mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS QUILLS 121
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EGG COLLECTING During the Victorian period, the study of natural science was enormously appealing to the middle classes. Museums, botanical gardens, and other scientific exhibitions educated and entertained the general public and introduced them to the discoveries of science. At the beginning of the 19th century, the majority of scientists were amateur scholars, who observed and recorded everyday phenomena. These hobbyists often compiled vast private collections of specimens, which they or other colleagues would then catalogue. The popularity of this activity was due to the rapid development of science and technology and the move from rural communities to cities. These changes led the general public to romanticise nature and see plants and animals as exotic. Newspapers ran natural history sections, and every correspondence column became a debate over issues such as whether swallows could hibernate or whether toads could live for centuries immured in blocks of stone. It was not until the Victorian era that ornithology emerged as a specific science. This specialisation led to the formation in Britain of the British Ornithologistsâ€™ Union in 1858. The bird collectors of the time observed the variations in bird forms and habits across geographic regions, noting local specialisation and variation in widespread species. The collections of museums and private collectors grew with contributions from various parts of the world. The naming of species and the organisation of birds into groups based on their similarities became the main work of museum specialists. The earliest approaches to modern bird study involved the collection of eggs, a practice known as oology. Serious collectors kept meticulous records for each set of eggs: the bird's name, the species reference number, the quantity of eggs in the clutch, the date and location where the eggs were collected, and the collector's name. When collecting eggs, normally the whole clutch was taken. Rarer species of birds were targeted leading to extinction. Because eggs will rot if the contents are left inside, they must be 'blown' to remove the contents. Although collectors took eggs at all stages of incubation, freshly laid eggs were much easier to 'blow', usually through a small, inconspicuous hole drilled through the side of the eggshell. To Victorian gentlemen, oology was a genteel and harmless pastime, although it could generate controversy. Known for his fiery temper, the eminent Victorian collector the Rev FCR Jourdain would be publicly challenged to identify eggs by his rival, PF Bunyard. Oologists earnestly debated bird species at annual dinners held by their charity, which they named the Jourdain Society. While the collection of eggs of wild birds by amateurs was considered to be a respectable part of ornithology in the 19th Century, from the mid 20th Century onwards it was increasingly regarded as being a hobby rather than a scientific discipline. Ornithologists were becoming increasingly concerned with the quantity of eggs that were being taken and eventually the practice was outlawed. Most surviving collections are now held in museums.
Birdsâ€™ eggs are conveniently classified as marked or unmarked, according to the ground colour. Birds, which lay their eggs in holes in trees or in the ground, almost always have white, unspotted eggs. Birds which build in trees generally have blue or greenish eggs, either spotted or unspotted, while birds that build in bushes, near the ground, are likely to lay speckled eggs.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS EGG COLLECTING 122
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THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS EGG COLLECTING 123
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1 A Mordan novelty pencil styled as a speckled light blue bird’s egg. Length 70mm. 2 A Mordan novelty pencil styled as a speckled brown bird’s egg. Length 35mm. 3 A Mordan novelty pencil styled as a mottled green bird’s egg. Length 28mm. 4 A Mordan novelty pencil styled as a brown bird’s egg. Length 24mm.
5 A Mordan novelty pencil styled as a speckled brown bird’s egg. Length 25mm. 6 A Mordan novelty pencil styled as a speckled brown bird’s egg. Length 25mm. 7 A Mordan novelty pencil styled as a blue enamelled bird’s egg. Length 28mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS EGGS 124
8 A Mordan novelty pencil styled as a turquoise bird’s egg. Length 25mm. 9 An unmarked novelty pencil styled as a purple bird’s egg. Length 22mm. 10 A Mordan novelty pencil styled as a deep blue bird’s egg. Length 35mm.
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FRUIT AND NUTS
1 A silver Mordan acorn novelty pencil c1890. Length 32mm. 2 A gilt metal acorn fancy pencil. Reg. Mark. Marked WS HICKS PAT. SEPT.25 Length 34mm. 3 A Mordan novelty pencil styled as a brown acorn. Length 25mm.
4 A novelty pencil styled as a hazel nut. Wood and silver. THORNHILL & CO 1641. Length closed 32mm, open 60mm. 5 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a bunch of grapes. Length 35mm. 6 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a pine cone. Length 32mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS FRUIT AND NUTS 125
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1 A gold novelty pencil styled as a key with â€˜Prince of Walesâ€™ feathers. Decorated with turquoise stones. Marked JN. Length 85mm. 2 An unmarked gilt novelty pencil styled as a key. Length 70mm. 3 An unmarked silver-gilt novelty pencil styled as a key. Length 55mm. 4 An unmarked silver-plated novelty pencil styled as a key. Length 60mm.
5 An unmarked silver and gold novelty pencil styled as a key. Niello enamel body. Length 62mm. 6 An unmarked gold novelty pencil styled as a key. Length 50mm. 7 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a key. Length 54mm. 8 An unmarked gold novelty pencil styled as a Bramah key. Length 55mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS KEYS 126
9 An unmarked gold novelty double pencil styled as a fancy triple seal Bramah key with agate stones. Length 50mm. 10 An unmarked gold novelty double pencil styled as a key. Length 53mm. 11 An unmarked gold novelty double pencil styled as a plain triple seal Bramah key with agate stones. Length 52mm. 12 A gold novelty pencil styled as a key. Decorated with black and white enamel. Possibly made by Juliana. Length 75mm.
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1 A silver unmarked novelty pencil styled as a cross. Hexagonal body. Length 54mm. 2 A silver unmarked novelty pencil styled as a cross with bark finish. Length 45mm. 3 A gold unmarked novelty pencil styled as a cross with turquoise stones. Length 58mm. 4 A silver unmarked novelty pencil styled as a cross. Hand engraved. Length 44mm. 5 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a cross. Hexagonal body engine turned. Length 41mm.
6 A gold unmarked novelty pencil styled as a cross with circular decorated body. Length 42mm. 7 A gold novelty pencil styled as a cross. Square body decorated with blue and white enamel pattern. JENNER AND KNEWSTUB. Length 41mm. 8 A gold unmarked novelty pencil styled as a cross with decorated hexagonal body. Length 46mm.
9 A gold unmarked novelty pencil styled as a cross with plain hexagonal body. Length 26mm. 10 A metal unmarked novelty pencil styled as a cross with plain body. Length 46mm. 11 A silver-gilt unmarked novelty pencil styled as a cross with a heart symbol. Length 47mm. 12 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a cross. Plain body with a heart symbol. Length 47mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS CROSSES 127
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NAUTICAL THEME 1
1 A silver combination novelty pencil styled as a lighthouse. Features a pencil, penknife and button hook. Engraved brickwork, applied windows and fretwork balcony. Made in Birmingham c1896. Length 50mm. 2 A silver unmarked novelty pencil styled as a lighthouse with engraved brickwork. c1890. Length 45mm.
3 A silver unmarked novelty pencil styled as a rowing boat with moulded hull, cross thwarts for seats and rowlocks for one pair of light blue enamelled oars. Length 48mm. 4 A silver unmarked novelty pencil styled as a rowing boat with moulded hull, cross thwarts for seats and rowlocks for one blue enamelled pair of oars. Length 47mm.
5 A silver unmarked novelty pencil styled as a rowing boat with moulded hull, cross thwarts for seats and rowlocks for one pair of oars. Length 65mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS NAUTICAL THEME 128
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NAUTICAL THEME 7 6
6 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a shipâ€™s log. Two enamel dials showing speed and direction. Length closed 75mm, open 110mm .
7 A silver unmarked novelty telescopic pencil styled as an oar. Length 87mm. 8 A large silver novelty telescopic pencil styled as a rowing oar. Engraved 6th Destroyer Flotilla Officers Race 1938 Birmingham 1934. Length 218mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS NAUTICAL THEME 129
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1 A pipe novelty pencil, unmarked, with silver stem and bowl, which unscrews to reveal 12 holes to hold replacement leads. c1890. Length 85mm. 2 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a pipe. c1894. Length 78mm. 3 An unmarked pipe novelty pencil with silver stem and bowl c1890. Length 65mm.
4 An unmarked pipe novelty pencil with silver stem and bowl. Attached ring c1890. Length 50mm. 5 An unmarked novelty pencil with wooden stem and bowl. Attached ring c1890. Length 62mm. 6 A Mordan pipe novelty pencil with engine turned barley pattern silver stem and ivory bowl. Attached ring. c1890. Length 72mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS PIPES 130
7 A Mordan pipe novelty pencil with engine turned barley pattern silver stem and ivory bowl. Attached ring c1890. Length 60mm. 8 A Mordan pipe novelty pencil with plain pattern silver stem and ivory bowl. Attached ring c1890. Length 57mm. 9 A Mordan pipe novelty pencil with porcupine stem and ivory bowl. Attached ring c1890. Length 68mm.
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1 A silver and copper novelty telescopic pencil styled as a coach horn with attached ring. Rd 225485. c1895. Length 125mm. 2 A silver and copper novelty telescopic pencil styled as a coach horn c1895. Rd 225485. Length 103mm 3 A small unmarked copper novelty telescopic pencil styled as a coach horn c1895. Length 58mm 4 An unmarked silver novelty telescopic pencil styled as a coach horn. c1895. Length 94mm
5 A gold and silver novelty telescopic pencil styled as a coach horn. Ortner and Houle. c1875. Length 83mm. Ortner & Houle of 3 St Jamesâ€™s Street, London SW was a firm of engravers of some renown. From 1873 to 1889 they advertised as heraldic seal, die and medal engravers to the Queen. 6 A gold and silver novelty telescopic pencil styled as a coach horn. Swaine and Adeney. Engraved Doreen from David. c1890. Length 95mm
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS HORNS 131
7 A silver novelty telescopic pencil styled as a coach horn. Swaine and Brigg. c1963. Length 90mm. Swaine and Brigg was founded in 1750. They hold a Royal Warrant from 1893 for umbrellas, leather travel goods and business cases. 8 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a riding crop. Length 75mm.
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1 An unmarked metal and mother-of-pearl companion pencil with penknife. Barrel has decorated pique design. Length 112mm. 2 A silver pocket pencil with enamel picture on barrel of a girl in a garden. AW FABER. Length 84mm.
3 A gold chain pencil with enamel picture on barrel of man and woman in garden. Opens up into a perfume bottle. Length 72mm. 4 A gold chain pencil with enamel picture on barrel of girl in garden. Length 46mm. 5 A silver Mordan pencil with yellow enamel barrel. Length 73mm.
6 A silver unmarked pencil with blue enamel barrel. Length 52mm. 7 A small siver-gilt pencil with enamel picture of an officer on barrel. Length 30mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS ENAMELS 132
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An unmarked gold chain pencil with enamel picture of man on barrel. IN MEMORIAM Length of pencil 48mm and box 70mm. Inside box imprint on satin lining reads: COLLINGWOOD & CO GOLDSMITHS & JEWELLERS TO THE ROYAL FAMILY 46 CONDUIT STREET
THE J B COLLECTION OF PENCILS ENAMELS 133
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The course of the Victorian period saw a drive towards a more civilised and controlled society. In sport this manifested itself by a desire for rules and regulations. The formation of the Football Association was a symptom of this need for order. Other sports soon followed suit – the Amateur Athletic Club was formed in 1866, the Rugby Football Union in 1871, and the Lawn Tennis Association in 1888. There was evidently a social aspect to these organisations (most were formed in pubs), but they enabled the establishment of rules and the arrangement of competitions. The first ever FA Cup was played in 1872. In tennis, the cart came before the horse, with the first Wimbledon championships being held in 1877, 11 years before the launch of the LTA. The game’s birth can be traced back to 1858 when Major Henry Gem marked out the first court on a lawn in Edgbaston. But it was Major Walter Wingfield who developed the modern game of tennis. Helped by the invention of a rubber ball which would bounce on grass, he patented a game he called ‘Sphairistike’ which used a ‘New and improved court for playing the ancient game of tennis’. Wingfield sold sets of his game for five guineas – they included balls, four racquets and netting to mark out the hourglass shaped court. Not surprisingly ‘Sphairistike’ did not appeal, and the name lawn tennis was soon adopted. At the time croquet was all the rage, but that was soon to change. In 1875 The All England Croquet Club at Wimbledon chose to adopt tennis, and a tournament for all-comers was organised two years later to raise funds. 22 players each paid one guinea for the privilege of entering, and Spencer Gore went down in the history books as the first Wimbledon champion, although he later confessed that he thought tennis would never catch on. He was very quickly proved wrong. Like cricket, golf’s rules were first laid down in the 18th century, but it is the Victorians we have to thank for the Open Championship, which was first played in 1861. Prior to that, there had been separate competitions for amateurs and pros as professionalism did not fit with sport’s new image. The Marylebone Cricket Club hired professionals for the menial tasks of bowling and fielding so the ‘gentlemen’ could practise their batting. This distinction between amateur batsmen and professional bowlers led to the annual matches between Gentlemen and Players. These ran from 1806 right up to 1962 and the two sets of players used different facilities and were not expected to meet other than on the field of play. And so sport entered the 20th century with a new image. The Victorians had cleaned it up and repackaged it as a moral, exciting spiritual activity, rather than a rough pursuit dependent on physical prowess. Tennis and golf would go from strength to strength, while athletics would flourish, particularly with the establishment of the Olympic movement.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS LEISURE 134
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CROQUET MALLETS 4 1
1 A gold Mordan novelty pencil styled as a croquet mallet with a green enamel band. Length 52mm. 2 An unmarked gold novelty pencil styled as a croquet mallet with a red and blue enamel bands. Length 52mm.
3 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a croquet mallet. Length 55mm. 4 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a croquet mallet with blue and white enamel bands. Length 60mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS CROQUET MALLETS 135
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1 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a tennis racquet. Length 53mm. 2 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a tennis racquet. Length 65mm.
3 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a tennis racquet. Length 68mm. 4 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a tennis racquet with ball. Length 65mm.
5 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a tennis racquet. Length 80mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS TENNIS RACQUETS 136
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CRICKET BATS 1
1 A silver novelty pencil styled as a cricket bat. ARTHUR DOWNING BIRMINGHAM 1902. Length 85mm. 2 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a cricket bat with a slider. Length 45mm.
3 An unmarked silver novelty twist pencil styled as a cricket bat. Length 56mm. 4 An unmarked ivory novelty pencil styled as a cricket bat. Length 94mm.
5 An unmarked ivory novelty pencil styled as a cricket bat. Length 145mm. Pencil unscrews from the handle. Length 70mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS CRICKET BATS 137
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GOLF ACCESSORIES 1 3 5 2
1 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a golf club driver. Length 108mm. 2 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a golf club driver. Length 96mm.
3 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a golf club driver with ball. Length 75mm. 4 A gold Mordan novelty pencil styled as a golf club driver with ball. Length 74mm.
5 An unmarked metal novelty pencil styled as a golf club. Length 76mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS GOLF ACCESSORIES 138
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6 A silver novelty pencil styled as a golf bag. Length 68mm. 7 A silver novelty pencil styled as a golf bag. Length 125mm. 8 A silver novelty pencil styled as a golf tee. Length 68mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS GOLF ACCESSORIES 139
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Roller-skates The first patented roller-skate was introduced in 1760. The inventor was a Belgian named John Joseph Merlin. His invention did not become very popular. The initial ‘test pilot’ of the first prototype of the skate was his grandson Bernard Tyers, aged 12 from Waterford, Ireland. In 1863, James Plimpton from Massachusetts invented the ‘rocking’ skate. This was an improvement on the roller-skate as it allowed skaters to turn easily around corners. This invention opened the door for the masses to enjoy roller skating.
1 A silver Mordan novelty telescoping pencil styled as a roller-skate. Diamond lozenge mark c1879. Length closed 65mm, open 105mm. 2 A silver Mordan novelty telescoping pencil styled as a roller-skate. Diamond lozenge mark c1879. Length closed 65mm, open 105mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS ROLLER-SKATES 140
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COINS AND GAMES 3 1
1 A novelty pencil styled as an 1886 penny. FOR YOUR THOUGHTS in blue enamel. Maker PERCY EDWARDS. Length 30mm. 2 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a shilling coin. 1897. Length 23mm.
3 A silver and red and yellow enamel novelty pencil styled as a skittle with a chain. THORNHILL BOND ST W. Rd 78446. Length closed 48mm, open 80mm. 4 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a cup and coral ball with chain. Length 83mm.
5 A wooden novelty pencil styled as a domino tile. Length 27mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS COINS AND GAMES 141
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1 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as an enamelled playing card. Queen of Hearts and Ace of Hearts on the reverse side. Length closed 28mm, open 59mm.
2 A gold novelty pencil styled as an enamelled playing card. King of Hearts. Thornhill. Length open 108mm. 3 A gold novelty pencil styled as an enamelled playing card. Jack of Hearts. Thornhill. Length closed 56mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS ENAMELLED CARDS 142
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MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS AND GLOBE
1 An unmarked wooden novelty pencil styled as a violin. Length 70mm. 2 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as an Irish harp. Length 50mm. 3 A silver novelty pencil styled as a trumpet. Diamond registration mark. Length 57mm.
4 An unmarked papier machĂŠ novelty pencil styled as a globe. Length closed 30mm, open 40mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS AND GLOBE 143
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1 An unmarked metal novelty pencil styled as a champagne bottle with enamelled label. Heidsieck Monopole Reims. Length 70mm. 2 A silver-gilt novelty pencil styled as a Wachter champagne bottle with enamelled label. Length 60mm. 3 A silver novelty pencil styled as a champagne bottle with enamelled label. Perrier Jouet France. Length 45mm.
4 An unmarked metal novelty pencil styled as a champagne bottle with enamelled label. Irroy Reims. Length 70mm. 5 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a Schweppes Soda Water bottle with enamelled label. Length 45mm. 6 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a soda water bottle with enamelled label. Length 43mm.
7 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a champagne bottle with enamelled label. Wachter & Co Epernay. Length 47mm. 8 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a champagne bottle. Length 50mm. 9 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a champagne bottle with enamelled label. Wachter & Co Epernay. Length closed 40mm, open 95mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS BOTTLES 144
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10 An unmarked gold novelty pencil styled as a champagne bottle. Length closed 60mm, open 115mm. 11 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a Schweppes bottle with enamelled label. Malvern Seltzer Water. Length 40mm. 12 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a Cherry Blossom bottle with enamelled label. Length 40mm.
13 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a Bass & Co bottle with enamelled label. Length 45mm. 14 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as an Allsoppâ€™s bottle with enamelled label. Length 47mm. 15 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a Ryland & Coddâ€™s Makers Barnsley bottle with enamelled label. Length 45mm.
16 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a bottle. Length 45mm. 17 A metal Mordan novelty pencil styled as a bottle. Length 46mm. 18 An unmarked wood novelty pencil styled as a bottle. Length 40mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS BOTTLES 145
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HARRY SYMONDS Large-scale product diversification with a particular emphasis on smaller items of silverware began in 1870 at Sampson Mordan, under the management of Edmund George Johnson and a team of enterprising young directors, Harry Symonds, James Pulley and Horace Stewart. Symonds, who was distantly related to Augustus through marriage, was the nephew of Henry Wells, portrait painter and one time acting President of the Royal Academy. Little is known of James Pulley but Horace Stewart was an established manufacturing jeweller before joining the company. He died in 1894 and Symonds and Pulley dissolved their partnership on the death of Johnson in 1898. Symonds became Managing Director and later Company Chairman. In the same year, S Mordan & Co was converted into a limited liability company and they took over the business of Johnson, Sons & Edmonds of 32 John Street, Bedford Row, London WC. One of Symonds’ first tasks was to oversee the re-building of the factory at 41 City Road. A short time later some new showrooms were opened at 9 and 11 Warwick Street, Regent Street. The age of novelty may have come to an end but the demand for pencils and silverware, such as cigar and cigarette cases, was still as strong as ever. Symonds was considered a connoisseur of quality and taste. He believed excellent design and craftsmanship were essential to meet competition from abroad and ‘to carry the lamp of progress undimmed to our successors’. As an acknowledged advocate of good design, he hoped his employees would see themselves as artist-craftsmen and not simply as artisans. Over the years the directors of Sampson Mordan & Co encouraged their apprentices and younger workers to take an active interest in art and design within the jewellery and silversmithing trades. Attendance at extra-curricular classes met with approval from the management. The company gave financial support to various schools prepared to encourage these ideals. Under the sponsorship of the Goldsmiths, Silversmiths and Jewellers Art Council, regular competitions were held and Henry Symonds was one of the driving forces behind these contests. Frequently, the Mordan trainees carried away the Art Council’s coveted awards. It should be added that they were won entirely on merit. R H Hill was Symonds greatest prodigy and was presented to Queen Mary in 1938, at Goldsmith’s Hall, after making a fine silver casket for Princess Elizabeth. From 1908, when the Art Council was established, until the 1930s, Symonds was often asked to judge the annual competition for the best silver small work. His many speeches made at the prize ceremonies reveal much about the standards he would have required from his employees. In 1928 he declared that it was for distributors to strive to educate themselves and their employees in the discrimination between “the best, the medium and the bad”. In 1929 he proposed that all manufacturers in the trade should “yoke their wagons to a star”. On another occasion he deplored the practice of manufacturers selling silver articles by the ounce. With characteristic aplomb he enquired as to whether the Derby winner’s value should be determined on fat stock prices. Symonds survived a serious operation in the 1930s but his health began to fail and he died in 1942 in Llandudno.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS HARRY SYMONDS 146
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18c DUTCH NEEDLE-CASES 3 1
1 A silver unmarked decorated Dutch needlecase converted to a pencil with a pair of lovebirds at the head in a fitted box. Length 80mm. 2 A silver unmarked decorated Dutch needlecase converted to a pencil. Length closed 90mm, open 130mm.
3 A silver Dutch needle-case converted with a S MORDAN & CO pencil. Length closed 84mm, open 135mm. 4 A silver Dutch needle-case converted with a S MORDAN & CO pencil. Length closed 84mm, open 135mm. 5 A silver Dutch needle-case converted with a S MORDAN & CO pencil. Length 106mm.
6 A silver Dutch needle-case converted with a S MORDAN & CO pencil. Length 190mm. 7 A silver gilt Dutch needle-case converted with a S MORDAN & CO pencil. Length 110mm. 8 A silver unmarked Dutch needle-case. Length 65mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS 18c DUTCH NEEDLE-CASES 147
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A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a sentry box with an enamelled soldier of the 17th Lancers painted on to the front of the case. WITH A.P.K.’s COMPLIMENTS “ROYALTY” 28 AUG. 1895. Length closed 50mm, open 85mm. The 17th Lancers (Duke of Cambridge's Own) was a cavalry regiment of the British Army, most famous for its participation in the Charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimean War.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS SENTRY BOX 148
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1 The sentry box showing the pencil mechanism. 2 38283 17 November 1885 Design for a matchbox or other similar article applicable for the shape of the article. Note! The Soldier is not part of the Design. 3 In 1886, a further design was registered by Albert Barker, a silversmith and dressing case maker, of 5 New Bond Street, for the sentry box design to be used as a pencil, but it does not bear any relationship to the sentry box. 63069. 8 December 1886
Albert Barker 5 New Bond Street London Silversmith and dressing case maker For the shape or configuration. Alfred Barker established his own retail business at 5 New Bond Street, after he retired on 31 December 1885, as one of the partners in Walter Thornhill & Co. at 144 New Bond Street. In 1887 Barker was listed as a manufacturer, inventor and patentee of travelling dressing bags, gold and
silver work, gem jewellery, writing cases, electroplated goods, dressing cases, art stationery, fine cutlery and fancy goods of the finest English and foreign manufacture. By 1892, he had acquired special warrants of appointment to Her Majesty the Queen and Their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales, as the inventor, patentee and manufacturer of the â€˜Royal Burlingtonâ€™ and other travelling dress bags. His early success did not last and in March 1915, after several years of indifferent trading his company was wound up.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS SENTRY BOX 149
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MORDAN CATALOGUE This illustrated catalogue was produced in 1898, the year that the business became a limited liability company. It may have been printed to celebrate the new organisation, S. MORDAN & Co. LIMITED. It is an interesting historical document as the factory and all the archive material was destroyed in 1941, during the blitz of London. The German air force managed to achieve what none of Mordan’s business competitors ever managed. Everything was lost and consequently we will never know the full extent of all the products manufactured. Several other catalogues exist, but this is the most comprehensive one devoted to pencils. Section A, which is 28 pages in length, contains a bewildering number of pencil cases, penholders, toothpicks, cedar pencils and much more. In excess of several hundred items are listed. On pages 18–19, over 20 novelty pencil cases are shown. Mordan referred to these items as fancy designs. But, from the hundreds of examples shown in this book, we know that these catalogued articles represent a small percentage of Mordan’s total output. One clue to these ‘missing’ designs is given at the front of the catalogue where the company is actively promoting the acceptance of proposals for the introduction of new inventions in any pencil category would be considered. This would go a long way to explaining the number of unlisted and unrecorded articles which were made. A wealthy patron could visit the showrooms and suggest ideas for a personalised novelty pencil, which would be the envy of his or her friends or colleagues. A customised pencil, styled in the form of a Masonic symbol, would certainly impress fellow freemasons. The gift market, Christmas, birthdays and anniversaries presented untold opportunities.
“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” Robert Collier
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS MORDAN CATALOGUE 150
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1 Reeded sheath pencil. Length 72mm. 2 Column pencil case with owl seal. 8936a. Length 95mm. 3 Column pencil case with golf ball seal. 8935t. Length closed 75mm, open 125mm.
4 Registered Design 260192 for column pencil case with thermometer and compass seal. 5 Column pencil case with thermometer and compass seal. Registered Design 260192. 8937a. Length 73mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS MORDAN CATALOGUE 153
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THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS MORDAN CATALOGUE 154
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1 Pencil case with three coloured leads. Patent ‘Presto’ Action. 90. Length closed 80mm, open 100mm.
2 Pencil case with three coloured leads. 50. Length closed 100mm, open 120mm. 3 Pencil case with three coloured leads. 335a. Length open 105mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS MORDAN CATALOGUE 155
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THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS MORDAN CATALOGUE 156
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1 Silver-mounted pencil case and ivory head styled as a gavel. London 1839. Length 116mm. 2 Ivory pencil case styled as a gavel. Length 97mm.
3 Ivory pencil case styled as a gavel. Length 70mm. 4 Gold pencil case with two-coloured leads and two blades. Length 78mm.
5 Ivory pencil case styled as a gavel. Length 43mm. 6 Pencil case in ivory. Length 78mm. 7 Pencil case with ivory barrel. Length 100mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS MORDAN CATALOGUE 157
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THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS MORDAN CATALOGUE 158
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2 8 3
1 2 3 4
Pencil case for the chain. Length 95mm. Pencil case for the chain. Length 70mm Pencil case for the chain. Length 60mm. Pencil case for the chain. Length 60mm.
5 Pencil case for the chain. Callard & Bowser barley sugar. Length 60mm. 6 Pencil case for the chain. Length 60mm. 7 Pencil case for the chain. Length 70mm. 8 Pencil case for the chain. Length 80mm.
9 Drop action pencil. Length 120mm. 10 Pencil case for the chain. Length 79mm. 11 Box of two inch leads for Popular pencil. Length 56mm. 12 Popular Pencil 20. Length 95mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS MORDAN CATALOGUE 159
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THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS MORDAN CATALOGUE 160
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1 Pencil, penholder and paper knife. Length 140mm. 2 A reeded pencil case with penholder. Length 73mm 3 Pencil case with penholder for the chain. Length 72mm.
4 Pencil case, paper knife and bookmark. Engraved Ethel. Length closed 96mm, open 115mm. 5 Pencil, penholder and paper knife. Length 75mm.
6 Pencil holder. Length 85mm. 7 Four drawer telescopic pencil case for the chain. Length 112mm. 8 Extended four drawer telescopic pencil case for the chain. Length open 290mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS MORDAN CATALOGUE 161
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1 Case for cedar pencil. Length 80mm. 2 Case for cedar pencil. Length 105mm. 3 Point protector and cedar sharpener. Length 45mm.
4 Box of six Royal Sovereign pencils adjusted to Mordan cedar pencil case. Length 50mm. 5 A silver pen, pencil and paper knife. Length 106mm.
6 Box of Mordan cedar pencils for cedar pencil case and sharpener. Length 100mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS MORDAN CATALOGUE 163
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2 1 4
1 Golf pencil 921. Length 108mm. 2 A pencil in a thimble 789. Length 115mm. 3 Magazine Rifle cartridge pencil, large size. 987. Length 80mm. 4 Golf pencil 9212. Length 114mm.
5 Gun metal and gold magazine rifle cartridge pencil, small size. 9875. Length 75mm. 6 Shell pencil 690. Length 38mm. 7 Palliser bullet pencil 696. Length 38mm.
8 Coach horn pencil with cigar cutter 774. Length 118mm. 9 Coach horn pencil 775. Length 125mm. 10 Gold fish pencil 535. Length 45mm. 11 Silver fish pencil 536. Length 57mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS MORDAN CATALOGUE 165
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1 2 3 4
Boar pencil. 944. Length 37mm. Owl pencil 916. Length 64mm. Pencil and desk seal 4641. Length 65mm. Cricket bat pencil and paper knife 577. Length 65mm.
5 6 7 8
Match pencil 926. Length 75mm. Bramah key pencil 1551. Length 55mm. Bamboo pencil 929. Length 60mm. Champagne bottle pencil 887. Length 60mm.
9 Tennis racket pencil 917. Length 65mm. 10 Bottle copied to order 8875. Length 95mm. 11 Beer bottle pencil 897. Length 45mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS MORDAN CATALOGUE 167
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THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS MORDAN CATALOGUE 168
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1 Box of 12 AW Faber pencils. Length 62mm. 2 Box of six L & C Hardtmuth Koh-I-Noor pencils. Length 53mm.
3 L & C Hardtmuth red chalk pencil refill leads. Length 54mm. 4 Box of five Mordan compressed lead refills. Length 58mm.
5 L & C Hardtmuth Koh-I-Noor compressed lead refills. Length 34mm. 6 Box of 12 Johann Faber flat cedar refills. Length 68mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS MORDAN CATALOGUE 169
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SHOPS IN THE VICTORIAN AGE
Regent Street and Bond Street were the prime shopping locations, in the Victorian era, for the affluent ‘carriage trade’ – the wealthy would park their carriages outside a favourite store, and shop assistants would bring out samples of goods to them. Regent Street was built before the Victorian age and constructed, between 1813 and 1820 by the architect John Nash, as a major unifying development, with the intention of connecting Regent’s Park to the Prince Regent’s home at Carlton House and explicitly separating the ‘Nobility and Gentry’ of Mayfair from the workers and tradesmen of Soho. It continued to be much admired by the Victorians who often referred to it as the ‘finest thoroughfare in all of London’. In the 19th century Regent Street had a large number of small specialist shops catering to needs that we no longer have, or that are met within a large department store. An impression of the full range of such shops can be found from the directories and guides of the period, such as Tallis’s London Street Views 1847, which lists all the shopkeepers and offices on Regent Street. Besides several linen drapers, the list includes a carpet manufacturer, tailors, stationers and printsellers, jewellers and various warehouses. Warehouse was a term used by any Victorian retailer who wished to sound impressive and substantial. Sampson Mordan was not immune to the exaggeration, and opened their own warehouse at the beginning of the 20th century.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS SHOPS IN THE VICTORIAN AGE 170
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The aristocracy preferred the traditional thoroughfares of Bond Street and St James’s, where their families had held accounts for decades. Bond Street was, and still is, the most fashionable address in London, the ‘High Street of Mayfair’. Old Bond Street was built in 1686, New Bond Street in 1700 and the extension to Oxford Street was begun in about 1721. The Street takes its name from Sir Thomas Bond, the head of a syndicate of developers who purchased a Piccadilly mansion called Clarendon House from Christopher Monck, 2nd Duke of Albemarle in 1683 and proceeded to demolish the house and develop the area. They also built nearby Dover Street and Albemarle Street. At that time the house backed onto open fields and the development of the various estates in Mayfair was just getting underway. It moved predominantly from south to north, which accounts for the southern part of the street being Old Bond Street, and the Northern half being New Bond Street, the latter being added in a second phase as London continued to grow.
“Of these agreeable semi-promenades, semi-depots, the most aristocratic is the Burlington Arcade, Piccadilly. Its shops are chiefly patronized by the wealthier classes and deal in knick-knackery . . .” Cruchley’s London 1865. A handbook for strangers 1865 The arcade was a Regency idea and in essence it was an elegant pedestrianised covered avenue of individual shops. Burlington Arcade, opened in 1819, was the most prosperous of London’s arcades because of its superior design and proximity to Piccadilly.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS SHOPS IN THE VICTORIAN AGE 171
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MAPPIN & WEBB
The firm was started by Joseph Mappin in 1810. His eldest son Frederick Thorpe Mappin, joined him at the age of 13, as an apprentice. He then ran the business following his father's death in 1841. His brothers Edward, Joseph Charles and John Newton joined the firm later. The business grew, and was renamed Mappin Brothers in 1851. By 1852 a new factory was opened, but after a dispute in 1859 with his younger brother Frederick left the firm. John Newton Mappin started an electroplating and cutlery firm, with his brother-in-law George Webb, which by 1868 was called Mappin & Webb. The firm prospered but the old family firm of Mappin Bros. had started to decline, and by 1863 the business was reported, in a local trade review, to be only employing 200 people. By the 1880s the Mappin Bros. firm had been sold to a Belfast jeweller, and then to Goldsmiths & Silversmiths Co. of London. But in contrast Mappin & Webb run by John Newton Mappin was thriving with a large showroom on Norfolk Street, displaying Silverware and electroplated items. In 1897 the company was granted a Royal Warrant.
A silver pen and pencil desk set in a green leather box. 1905 Length of pencil 195mm. Length of pen 200mm. MAPPIN BROTHERS, 220 REGENT STREET, LONDON W
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS MAPPIN & WEBB 172
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Cartier’s history really began when Louis Francois Cartier (1819–1904) followed the steps of his grandfather, also called Louis Francois Cartier (1755–1793), by becoming a goldsmith. He started his career as an apprentice to Adolphe Picard, producing handmade jewellery in a small workshop at 29 Rue Montorgeuil, and quickly developed into one of the finest jewellers in Paris. When his master Picard died in 1847 Cartier succeeded him and the company that bore his name was born.
A gold and enamel Cartier pencil with mauve and white decoration, with a moonstone slide, in a green leather box. Length 94mm. Box 124mm. CARTIER PARIS RUE DE LA PALM LONDON 4 NEW BURLINGTON ST
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS CARTIER 173
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J C VICKERY
This was the firm of John Collard Vickery, an important and sucessful player in the retail side of the gold and silversmithing business in the early 20th century. Collard and his then partner, Arthur Thomas Hobbs, bought up the long established business of William Griggs, a stationer and bookseller at 183 Regent Street in 1890 and expanded the stock to include jewellery, dressing cases, gold and silver lines. The partnership with Hobbs was a short lived one and was dissolved in 1891. Now on his own, Vickery went from strength to strength expanding the Regent Street premises to include, at first, No181 and then No179 by the year 1900. He went on to obtain the royal warrants of HM the King, HM the Queen, HM Queen Alexandra, TRH the Prince and Princess of Wales, HM the King of Portugal, HM the King of Spain, TM the King and Queen of Denmark, HM the Queen of Norway, HM the King of Sweden and the Prince and Princess Christian of Schleswig Holstein. A move further up Regent Street to Nos 145–147, in 1925, was forced by the expiration of the leases on the original premises. The move along with the depression in the 1920s and Vickery’s advancing years all contributed to the firm being declared bankrupt in 1930. John Collard Vickery died aged 75 on 19 August 1930, and what was left of the business fell into the hands of James Walker Ltd. John Culme in his Directory of Gold & Silversmiths relates a nice story regarding Vickery: “Shortly before his death, the late G. S. Saunders of James Walker Ltd., told me that J C Vickery’s business reached the height of its success before the First World War. Vickery, who would travel each day from Streatham to Regent Street in his own carriage, stopped his coachman one day in order to examine a leaf on the drive outside his house. Stepping down from the vehicle he picked up the leaf to pin to it a note. As he continued his journey his gardeners were astonished to read “Why has this leaf been here for two days?”
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS J C VICKERY 174
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John Collard Vickery entered his first mark at the London Assay Office on April 25 1899. This was followed by further entries on 2 May 1899, 22 May 1901 (Three sizes), 14 April 1902 (Two sizes) and on 26 June 1903 (Two sizes). All are ‘J.C.V.’ in an oblong punch, some with clipped corners.
1 A gold and silver novelty pencil styled as a rolling pin. J C Vickery. Length 44mm. Engraved: When you are married And your husband gets cross Just lift up this rolling pin And say “I am boss”
2 A silver novelty pencil styled as a column with a seal and magnifying glass. JC VICKERY 181–183 REGENT STREET W 1904. Length closed 95mm, open 140mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS J C VICKERY 175
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TIFFANY The 1830s in New York City were a time of dynamic growth, extravagant tastes and golden opportunity for anyone with a little capital and an abundance of imagination. In 1837, New York became the proving ground for 25 year old Charles Lewis Tiffany and John B Young, who opened a stationery and fancy goods store with a $1,000 advance from Tiffanyâ€™s father.
The Metropolitan Life Tower, also known as Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Building or Met Life Tower, is a landmark skyscraper located at One Madison Avenue in the borough of Manhattan in New York City. Designed by the architectural firm of Napoleon LeBrun & Sons, the tower is modeled after the Campanile in Venice, Italy. It was constructed in 1909 and served as the global headquarters of the company until 2005. It was the worldâ€™s tallest building for three years, until 1913, when it was surpassed by the Woolworth Building. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, designated a National Historic Landmark in 1978, and a New York City landmark in 1989.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS TIFFANY 176
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A Tiffany novelty sterling silver pencil styled as The Metropolitan Life Tower Building in New York. Length closed 62mm, open 105mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS TIFFANY 177
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ASPREY Asprey of Bond Street, which has been described as ‘the classiest and most luxurious shop in the world, was founded over 200 years ago, from modest beginnings. It started life as a humble ironmonger’s amid the lavender fields of Mitcham, Surrey in 1781. Started originally as a silk printing business by William Asprey, it soon became a luxury emporium. In 1841, William Asprey’s elder son Charles went into partnership with a stationer located on London’s Bond Street. In 1847 the family broke with this partner and moved into 167 New Bond Street, the premises Asprey occupies today. From its central London location Asprey advertised ‘articles of exclusive design and high quality, whether for personal adornment or personal accompaniment and to endow with richness and beauty the table and homes of people of refinement and discernment’.
1 A silver pen, pencil and letter opener. HOUGHTON & GUNN. Length 106mm. In 1906 Asprey took over the rival firm of high class leather goods manufacturers, Houghton & Gunn.
2 A silver Asprey carpenter’s pencil case. Length 78mm. 3 A small silver Asprey desk pencil in a lined box. Length of pencil 125mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS ASPREY 178
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1 A silver and ivory Mordan novelty pencil styled as an 18 hole golf scorer. 1935 LONDON. Length 82mm.
2 The design registration for ornamental design 807655 4 November 1935 Philip Rolls Asprey 166 New Bond Street London Philip Rolls Asprey was Chairman of Asprey 1941â€“72
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS ASPREY 179
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ARMY & NAVY STORES In 1871 a group of army and naval officers decided that wine was too expensive. A bottle of good port cost two shillings and they reasoned that by ordering it by the case, at wholesale prices, they could reduce their cost of living. This belief was the start of the Army & Navy Co-operative Society. Membership was restricted to officers and non-commissioned officers, their families and friends introduced by them. The subscription was five shillings for the first year and then half-a crown annually. At the beginning of the 20th century the Army & Navy Stores catalogue of 1907 comprised 1,400 pages in total. The price list had grown fatter and heavier and was bound in calf for Royalty and Embassies. By then the list of eligible members was extended to take in Peers, Privy Councillors, Lord Lieutenants and Foreign Ambassadors. It provides a fascinating insight into life at the turn of the century. There can be no better guide to see what people wore, what they bought for their houses, their hobbies and their travels. It also had four pages devoted to over a hundred Sampson Mordan gold and silver pencil cases. It was possible for members to buy the following items. A gold double pen and pencil case for £4. 3s. 6d., a plain pen and pencil case for 6s. 6d. or a silver pocket Popular pencil for 1s.10d. The 1907 catalogue – a date halfway between the Boer War, which changed nothing and the First World War, that changed everything – reflected the Empire builders at their apogee, and the great department stores of London at their complacent zenith, not yet shaken by the showman of shopmen, Gordon Selfridge, who invaded Oxford Street with American ideas in 1909. Within ten years of opening there were four branches of the store in London. This rapid expansion was part of the general retail pattern that was emerging as a result of the creation, by the industrial revolution, of a new upwardly mobile middle class. These people had more money and were better educated than their parents and wanted more possessions. The objective of the Army & Navy Stores was to supply members with only ‘the best articles of domestic consumption and general use at the lowest remunerative rates’. While Mordan & Co endeavoured to meet these requirements, their reputation as innovators was becoming academic. The taste for novelties was over.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS ARMY & NAVY STORES 180
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The 1907 catalogue of the Army & Navy Co-operative Society Store, showing four pages of S Mordan & Coâ€™s pencils.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS ARMY & NAVY STORES 181
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HAMILTON & CO CALCUTTA
Hamilton and Co was one of the best known British silversmithing companies in India during the 19th century. It acted as agents for some of the largest firms in London including Rundell, Bridge and Rundell and Barnards. Robert Hamilton (1772–1848) arrived in India in 1808 and started work in Calcutta. He opened his jewellery and silversmithing shop at 5 Tank Square in 1808 under licence from the East Indian Company. In 1811 the business moved to 7 Court House Street, where it remained until 1973 when it finally closed. Needing capital to expand the business Robert Hamilton took two partners, Henry and James Glazbrook in 1811. Robert Hamilton’s interest ceased in 1817, and he dedicated the latter part of his life to collecting paintings, including works by Rubens, Velazquez and Holbein. Queen Victoria was crowned Empress of India in 1876. This encouraged further trade between the two continents. The profusion of Indian imports included exotic woods, brightly coloured silks, enamelled pieces and gem-encrusted Moghul jewellery, all of which quickly influenced the jewellery and decorative arts produced in England. Rosecut garnet encrusted jewels and cloisonné enamels patterned after Indian fashions quickly worked their way into the English design lexicon.
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1 A silver novelty six-stage telescopic pencil styled as a peg top (spinning top or plumb bob). Marked HAMILTON & Co CALCUTTA. Length 85mm. 2 A silver novelty pencil styled as a hookah, with ring. Marked HAMILTON & Co CALCUTTA. Length 97mm.
3 A silver novelty pencil styled as a hookah. Marked HAMILTON & Co CALCUTTA. Length 77mm. 4 Detail of HAMILTON & Co CALCUTTA
5 A gold and silver novelty pencil styled as a barrel. Marked HAMILTON & Co CALCUTTA. Length 35mm. 6 A silver novelty pencil styled as a frog. Marked HAMILTON & Co CALCUTTA. Length closed 32mm, open 64mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS HAMILTON & CO CALCUTTA 183
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WALTER THORNHILL & CO Originally described as cutlers, Walter Thornhill & Co., was established in 1734 by Joseph Gibbs. Late in 1850 or early 1851 the business passed into the control of Walter Thornhill, who, in the 1851 census was described as a master cutler employing ten men and working at 144 New Bond Street. The company’s success, especially during the 1870s and 1880s, is reflected in the abundant press coverage which the firm received, doubtless encouraged by their own advertising policy. Writers for The Queen, the fashionable periodical for ladies were quick to review Thornhill’s latest ‘Novelties in Knick-nacks’, as in December 1876: “to the well-known fitting and appendages of the Norwegian and Albanian chatelaine belt, for which this firm is famous, many novelties have been added for Christmas. Amongst them we should add select the 81-ton gun, arranged as a telescopic pencil or as an etui”.
In 1877, the company noted that: “Silver ornaments and mounts of the same metal still remain in favour and are made a specialty of by Mr Walter Thornhill, the well-known cutler of Bond Street. Most of the designs are copied from antique and semi-antique models, to suit the nowprevailing taste for ancient metalwork. These included a registered Fish Knife, pencil and whistle, comprising a Cat Call, Pencil, and two blades in a flat and convenient form.” Thornhill were retailers as well as manufacturers and applied for a large number of design registrations between 1872 and 1903. These included applications for a bugle shaped vinagarette/scent flask/pencil case, a peg top telescopic pencil, a cannon design for a pencil case or etui, a lantern for a pencil case, a sword in sheath for a paper knife and a two handled vase for a scent bottle, vinagarette or pencil case. Vinaigrette was consistently misspelt as vinagarette. Thornhill’s ideas were the inspiration for many of Sampson Mordan’s more unusual novelty pencil cases, which are now extremely popular and desirable. Surprisingly, for such a successful company Thornhill did not survive long in the 20th century and closed its doors in 1912 when 144 New Bond Street was demolished.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS WALTER THORNHILL & CO 184
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W Thornhill & Co advertisement in The Queen, the Ladyâ€™s Newspaper 1887.
The magazine was established in 1861 by Samuel Beeton, an English publisher. It was a weekly magazine for ladies and focused on high society, the lives of the British aristocracy and detailed London social events. The articles covered occupations, literature, and other amusements suitable for proper ladies. The early sale of The
Queen in 1862 to William Cox meant a change in the fortunes of the magazine, which soon included fashion plates he obtained from Paris. Samuel Beeton was best known as the husband of Mrs Beeton (Isabella Mary Mayson) and publisher of Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.
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1 A silver novelty companion pencil set styled as a plain fish, with a whistle, penknife and file. THORNHILL LONDON 1879. Length closed 90mm, open 100mm. 2 A silver novelty companion pencil set styled as a decorated fish with scales, with a whistle, penknife and button hook. THORNHILL LONDON 1881. Length closed 84mm.
3 A silver novelty pencil styled as a THORNHILLâ€™S SODA WATER bottle. Marked HAMILTON & Co CALCUTTA. Length 58mm. 4 A silver Mordan novelty telescopic pencil styled as a plumb bob or spinning top. Diamond registration mark for 12 September 1873. Length closed 57mm, open 180mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS WALTER THORNHILL & CO 186
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1 A silver Thornhill novelty pencil styled as a turtle. Length closed 45mm, open 73mm. 2 A silver Thornhill novelty pencil styled as a fish. Length closed 45mm, open 77mm.
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2 1 A silver Mordan novelty pencil styled as a scent bottle. London 1874. Length closed 80mm, open 90mm. 2 The Thornhill design registration for ornamental design 279257, for a scent bottle, a vinagrette, pencil case or etui.
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2 1 A silver Mordan novelty telescoping pencil styled as a railway lamp. Glass light and two carrying handles. Length closed 53mm, open 118mm. 2 The Thornhill design registration for ornamental design 277465, for a pencil case.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS WALTER THORNHILL & CO 189
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6 1 A silver novelty pencil styled as a cannon. Marked S Mordan & Co. c1880. Length 57mm. 2 A silver novelty pencil styled as a cannon. Marked VALEâ€™S c1880. Length 60mm. 3 A silver novelty pencil styled as a cannon. Marked S Mordan & Co. c1880. Length 78mm. 4 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a cannon. c1880. Length 55mm. 5 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a cannon. c1880. Length 72mm. 6 The Thornhill design registration for ornamental design 276387, for a spirit flask, a scent bottle, pencil case or etui.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS WALTER THORNHILL & CO 190
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11 7 An unmarked silver novelty pencil styled as a cannon. c1880. Length 42mm. 8 An unmarked gilt metal novelty pencil styled as a cannon. c1880. Length 56mm. 9 A silver novelty pencil styled as a cannon. Marked S Mordan & Co. c1880. Length 49mm. 10 An unmarked gilt metal novelty pencil styled as a cannon. c1880. Length 60mm. 11 The Thornhill design registration for ornamental design 286460, for a light box, pencil or etui, a vinagrette, a scent bottle, fan or cigar holder.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS WALTER THORNHILL & CO 191
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1 An unmarked gold novelty telescopic pencil styled as a sword. Reg Mark Length130mm. 2 An unmarked metal novelty telescopic pencil styled as a sword. Length 112mm.
3 A Mordan silver novelty telescopic pencil styled as a sword. Reg Mark Length 113mm. 4 The Thornhill design registration for ornamental design 276422, for a paper knife.
5 The Thornhill design registration for ornamental design 278690, for a paper knife. 6 A silver novelty pencil styled as a sword in a sheath. Thornhill. Length closed 135mm, open 138mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS WALTER THORNHILL & CO 192
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1 The design registration for ornamental design 280602, for a scent bottle. 2 A metal novelty pencil styled as a pair of binoculars with a toothpick. Length 35mm. 3 A brown lacquered metal novelty pencil styled as a uniocular. Length closed 28mm, open 35mm.
4 A metal and plastic novelty pencil styled as a telescope. Length closed 40mm, open 90mm. 5 A silver and black leather Thornhill novelty pencil styled as a telescope. Diamond registration mark. 1868. Length closed 60mm, open 124mm.
6 A metal and gilt novelty pencil styled as a telescope. Length closed 37mm, open 87mm. 7 A silver and brown leather Thornhill novelty pencil styled as a telescope. Diamond registration mark. 1868. Length closed 57mm, open 75mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS WALTER THORNHILL & CO 193
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MORDAN CENTENARY 1815-1915 1915 marked the Centenary of the foundation of the Sampson Mordan Company in 1815. At the time the country was at war and it was deemed insensitive and inappropriate to celebrate the anniversary in a flamboyant manner. However, the company did accept an invitation to participate at the British Industries Fair of 1915, held at the Royal Agricultural Hall in Islington, and displayed the ‘Centenary’ pencil. The Fair was an attempt to encourage British firms to produce goods, which had traditionally been imported from Germany and other countries. Only the exhibition of British goods was permitted and a total of nearly 34,000 attended. The success of the first Fair led to further Fairs being held in 1916 and 1917 at the Victoria & Albert Museum, and in 1918 and 1919 at the London Docks.
King George V and Queen Mary being welcomed at the British Industries Fair of 1915
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS MORDAN CENTENARY 1815–1915 194
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A silver Mordan patent centenary pencil. Hallmarked for 1915. Length 110mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS MORDAN CENTENARY 1815â€“1915 195
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MORDAN CENTENNIAL 1922 In 1922 Sampson Mordan celebrated another 100 year anniversary; this time it was the centenary of the granting of the first patent for a propelling pencil to John Isaac Hawkins and Sampson Mordan in December 1822. By now World War One was a distant memory and this notable anniversary was commemorated with the introduction of the Centennial Everpointed pencil. In May 1922 the company was granted Letters Patent No. 179005 for ‘improvements in pencil holders and cases’. One of the main features of the design was to make the outer sheath or barrel and the pointed nozzle of the pencil into a single piece, within which the pencil lead propelling tube was inserted with a grip tube to provide a frictional fit. When the lead push rod was fully retracted within the propelling tube, a new lead could be fully inserted within the tube. This method made it easier to replace the fragile lead without breaking it and reduced the tendency of the lead to wobble when in use. The top of the barrel incorporated a reserve case for spare leads, accessible by a removable screw cap. Barrels were made in a variety of finishes, gold, silver, gold filled and silver-plated. Some models carried a pocket clip bearing a Registered Design No 683188. The wide range of new models attracted customers to an improved version of the long established Mordan Everpointed pencil. Production of the pencils, imprinted ‘Centennial’ was not limited to 1922 and manufacture carried on for a couple of years.
1 A silver Mordan Centennial pencil. PAT. APP. FOR 1921 Clip Rd 683188 Length 115mm. 2 Mordan Centennial card box
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS MORDAN CENTENNIAL 1922 196
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1 A silver Mordan everpoint pencil. Patent 179005. 1927. Length 100mm. 2 A Mordan everpoint erinoid pencil with clip. Length 114mm.
3 A silver Mordan everpoint pencil. Patent 307227. 1927. Length 114mm. 4 A blue Mordan everpoint pencil with a Mordan Everpoint card box. Patent No 179005. 1929. Length of pencil 100mm.
5 A 9ct gold Mordan everpoint pencil in a lined brown Mordan Everpoint leather box Patent No 179005. London 1926. Length of pencil 95mm and box 125mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS MORDAN CENTENNIAL 1922 197
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PENCILS 1900â€“1940 6 2
1 5 4 3
1 An unmarked silver twist pencil with L & L on slider. Length closed 86mm, open 113mm. 2 A silver Baker Perm Point drop pencil with a blue enamel perpetual calendar. Birmingham 1927. Length 113mm.
3 A silver pencil styled as a calculator with black enamel multiplication tables. Import mark 1927. Length 80mm. 4 A silver and red enamel pencil with a perpetual calendar. 1925. Length closed 68mm, 135mm open.
5 A silver pencil styled as a Fleur-de-lys. TONNEL PARIS. Length 90mm. 6 A gold pen and pencil combination with a ring. Registered THE MASCOT c1920. Length 125mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS LATER PENCILS 198
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PENCILS 1900–1940 3
1 A silver pencil with a clip and cigar holder. Birmingham 1931. Length 127mm. 2 An unmarked silver pencil with a clip and pull-out sheet with a calendar and bridge rules. 1938-9 Length 147mm. 3 An unmarked silver square-barrelled stockbroker pencil. Length 176mm.
4 A silver Mordan stockbroker’s pencil styled as a nail. Length 203mm. 5 A Mordan stockbroker’s pencil with red celluloid barrel and silver ends with barley decoration. London 1934. Length 138mm. 6 A Russian silver pencil styled as a nail with blue enamel ring. Length 175mm.
7 A Continental silver pencil marked 900 PGM. Length 143mm. 8 A silver Mordan pencil. Rd 646135. c1900. Length 124mm. 9 A silver pencil styled as a watch with a clip. Birmingham 1937 Length 110mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS LATER PENCILS 199
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SIR CHARLES WAKEFIELD
Recruiting in the Guildhall, London, by Sir Charles Wakefield Painting by Fred Roe 1919
Charles Wakefield was born in Liverpool, in 1859, the son of John and Margaret Wakefield, and was educated at the Liverpool Institute. Wakefield patented the Wakefield lubricator for steam engines in the 1890s. In 1899 he founded the Wakefield Oil Company, but subsequently changed its name to Castrol. The name Castrol was chosen because of the castor oil that was added to the company’s lubricating oils. This title has since become a household name in the UK. The Castrol brand lubricants produced by Wakefield’s company were used in the engines of motor cars, aeroplanes, and motorcycles. A Castrol endorsement contract and the generous patronage of Wakefield provided the funds for Jean Batten to purchase the Percival Gull Six G-ADPR monoplane in which she set two world records for solo flight. Wakefield was an Alderman, a member of the Court of Common Council, Sheriff (1907), and Lord Mayor of London in 1915–1916. He received a knighthood for services to the City of London. He was involved with a huge number of City institutions and charities, and was co-founder of the Wakefield Trust, along with his friend the Reverend ‘Tubby’ Clayton, better known as the founder of the Toc H charity. He was raised to the peerage in 1930 as Baron Wakefield of Hythe, in the County of Kent, and was further honoured in 1934 when he was made Viscount Wakefield of Hythe. In his day, Wakefield was one of the most prominent and well-known characters in the town of Hythe, Kent, and the official Year Book of Hythe Town Council, in its list of Freemen of the Borough describes him as ‘Hythe’s greatest benefactor’. He was created a Freeman of the Borough on 30 May 1930, under the provisions of the 1885 Honorary Freedom of the Boroughs Act. His name appears on many memorial inscriptions in Hythe today, and also lives on as the name of one of the town’s masonic lodges.
Silver novelty pencil styled as a police truncheon. FROM SIR CHARLES WAKEFIELD 16.6.26. Length 58mm.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS SIR CHARLES WAKEFIELD 200
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MORDAN DISPLAY CABINET
S Mordan & Co pencil display cabinet
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS MORDAN DISPLAY CABINET 201
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L G SLOAN In 1932 Mordan announced that in concentrating on the manufacturing side of their business, the distribution rights of their patented ‘Everpointed’ pencils and other products had been given to L G Sloan Ltd of the Pen Corner at 41 Kingsway WC2. Born in Edinburgh in 1859, Lawrence Gunn Sloan was largely responsible for the successful introduction of Waterman’s Ideal fountain pens in Great Britain and Europe in 1900 and was a highly respected figure in the stationery trade until his death in 1939. He was educated at George Watson’s College, Edinburgh, after which he spent two years in the City Chamberlain’s office. At the age of 17, and having gained useful financial experience, better opportunities attracted him to London, where he entered the stationery trade working for the Glasgow-based firm of William Collins, Sons & Co. His keen business aptitude and enthusiasm soon marked him out for advancement and when John Walker, manager of Collins’ London office, established his own firm, John Walker & Co of Warwick Lane, London EC, he persuaded Lawrence Sloan (and Sloan’s brother, Thomas) to join him. In 1882 Sloan accepted an offer from Maurice Hardtmuth to join L & C Hardtmuth (then in Long Acre, London EC), for whom, during the next seven years, he acted as packer, book-keeper and traveller, becoming one of the most successful stationery salesman in the country. Hardtmuth returned to Austria in 1899 leaving Sloan in charge to continue to develop the trade in Koh-i-Noor pencils and other Hardtmuth specialities. In 1900 he secured the European sole agency for Waterman’s pens. A firm believer in the benefits of advertising, Sloan was also a pioneer of retail price maintenance in the fountain pen field some years before the Stationers’ Association was established. In July 1910, L & C Hardtmuth Ltd was registered as a private company, the directors being Franz von Hardtmuth and his two brothers-in-law, Baron Ernest fehr Herring von Frankensdorf and Count Olivier G Lamezan-Salins, all of Budweis, Bohemia. Sloan was the ‘manager’ and held 100 ordinary shares, whilst the other 99% (held by Hardtmuth and his two sisters) were, as pointed out in a De La Rue advertising campaign of late 1914, "held by alien enemies". The campaign may have back-fired on De La Rue: though Waterman’s and L & C Hardtmuth parted company, Sloan was able to take over the Waterman’s agency and, operating as L G Sloan from 1915 (and L G Sloan Ltd from late 1917), further developed the business for Waterman’s products and acquired agencies for a variety of other items, including Dixon’s Eldorado pencils (1919) and S Mordan & Co’s pencils (1932). S Mordan & Co ceased trading in 1941 following the destruction of their factory by enemy action during WWII. The patents were sold to another pencil manufacturer, Edward Baker. The company was finally put into voluntary liquidation in 1952.
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS L G SLOAN 202
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MORDAN HALLMARKS STYLE
MORDAN & C O PATENT
S.MORDAN’S MORDAN’S IMPROV’D
1824 SM . GR SM . GR
S.MORDAN & C O MAKERS & PATENTEES
SM . GR S. M
S.MORDAN & C O MAKERS & PATENTEES
S.MORDAN & C O MAKERS
S.MORDAN & C O
S.MORDAN & C O
S.MORDAN & C O
S.MORDAN & C O
S.MORDAN & C O PAT.APP. FOR “CENTENNIAL”
S.MORDAN & C O PATENT “CENTENNIAL”
S.MORDAN & C O PATENT “CENTENNIAL” 179005
MORDAN EVERPOINT PATENT 179005
MORDAN EVERPOINT PATENT 307227
S.MORDAN & C O:S. PATENT S.MORDAN & C O MAKERS & PATENTEES S.MORDAN & C O MAKERS & PATENTEES
MORDAN EVERPOINT PAT. APP D FOR
Table of S Mordan & Co Marks produced courtesy of Michael Cooper and Neil Davis
THE K B COLLECTION OF PENCILS MORDAN HALLMARKS 203
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This unique collection of Victorian pencils is probably the finest and most comprehensive assembly of English-made pencils in the world. Some of the items are American and some from the major Jewellery houses like Tiffany, Cartier and Asprey, but the majority of the pieces are English and most were made by Sampson Mordan & Co. It is striking for the wide range and diversity of types. The book follows the development of the mechanical pencil from the first early silver-cased pencils that were simple and practical in design to the whimsical novelty items produced later in the century. The Victorian obsession with novelty led to pencils that were made in the form of pistols, rifles, pipes, cigars, oars, boats, tennis rackets and golf clubs. Nails, screws, crosses, and knives were all pencils in disguise. Each pencil in the collection has been photographed, catalogued and grouped by design category for this publication, making it a significant work of reference.
JOHN BULL ANTIQUES LIMITED 139a NEW BOND STREET LONDON W1S 2TN +44 207 629 1251 email@example.com
THE KB COLLECTION OF PENCILS
THE KB COLLECTION
Kenneth Bull is an antique dealer specialising in Silver and Objets de Vertu. He has a showroom in New Bond Street, London and regularly exhibits at Antique Fairs on both sides of the Atlantic. John Bull Antiques has been the family business for four generations. He was born in London in 1950 and started working in Portobello Road with his parents in 1965. Married to Barbara, they have two married sons and four grandchildren.
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Published on May 4, 2012
This book is not only about my collection of pencils, but explains in depth the history of the mechanical pencil during a period of over one...