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Conway Stewart 58 review (vintage)


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#1 london

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Posted 28 February 2009 - 21:55

One of the pens that has been on my wish list for a couple of years at least is an early-1950s Conway Stewart 58 with Duro nib. Well, I was lucky enough to be blessed with one just before Christmas as a present from my wife (thank you!). A very pretty lined grey and black.

Design
As I opened it, my wife said “I question your normal choices, but actually I really like this one!” She has a good eye for design, and I think her comment is a high accolade for the 58.

The material is pearlescent and catches the light wonderfully. Conway Stewart can be a little light on the gold-plating and this one shows typical wear on the clip. The delicate lever filler has a dainty Conway Stewart logo. But most of all, I think it has a nice balanced look to it, whether capped or posted.
Design 8/10

Feel
The weight of this pen is just perfect for me. It’s a plastic-based pen, but not too light. (I really must get some digital scales to tell you the exact weight of these things). What is most noticeable though, is its solid feel.

The balance is good when writing, and it is comfortable to hold. It is a reasonably fat pen.

The cap is screw-fit, though unfortunately on this one, the threads have worn somewhat meaning they don’t engage and hold the cap in place that well. It will have to have the inner cap shortened at some point to make it more useable. Or have the threads rebuilt.

Dimensions: 129mm (5 1/16”) capped, 153mm (6”) posted
Feel 8/10

Nib
14ct Gold Duro fine nib. These have a fantastic reputation, there’s therefore little I can add really. It is on the hard side of springy and a good workman. Really smooth, but gives feedback – lovely. I’d like to try a flexible one.
Nib 9/10

Filling
Lever filler, with a very pretty lever as mentioned already.
Filling 7/10

Cost
I know my wife paid £70 for this pen. Reasonable, though I would have been happier if the cap threads weren’t an issue. Conway Stewarts are highly collectable and pretty solid, and I think the price reflects this. In comparison to other pens, I think this is pretty reasonable. As a point of interest Lambrou notes the original price of a 58 in the early 1950s to be 30 shillings. The price range from Conway Stewart at the time was 12 shillings to 35 shillings.
Cost 8/10

Overall
These are great pens, very presentable and good solid writers.
Overall 40/50

(Note this review was originally posted on my blog, been meaning to copy it across for a while)

Attached Images

  • cs58capped.JPG
  • cs58nib.JPG
  • cs59posted.JPG
  • cs58write.JPG


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#2 andyk

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Posted 28 February 2009 - 23:03

Hi,

Nice review of a classic pen (yet to find a 58 at the right price ie very cheap, but still looking), I have a 28 in the same design/colour that I just got back from Laurence Oldfield, looks great and writes really well. Quite fond of my various vintage CSs (probably have about 10 or so including several 570 Dinkies.

Unfortunately prices seem to be rising for reasonable vintage CSs now, so don't suppose I will be buying one any time soon.

Andy

#3 soapytwist

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Posted 28 February 2009 - 23:27

There is something about the 58's size, heft, build & writing quality and looks that's inherently 'right' IMHO. I sometimes look at the CS Forum and think I'd like to get hold of a modern CS - then I get my 58 out and wonder what I was thinking. The 58 has all the spirit and nostalgic feel that the new ones can only try to capture.

Andyk - keep looking. I find plastic (as opposed to silver or gold plated) pens still appear in junk shops at knock-down prices. My mint 58 was £10 less than a year ago from an antique shop where the owner was more interested in other more 'obvious' antiques and still thought of pens as bric-a-brac items. It helps to have a father who's an antique dealer and can look out for them for me though...
"Truth can never be told, so as to be understood, and not be believ'd." (Wiiliam Blake)

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#4 Peter from Sherwood Park

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Posted 01 March 2009 - 00:38

Very good review. As with andyk, I am still on the lookout for a nice 58; I have three other vintage CSs that I quite enjoy, but would still like a 58.

#5 Robert Hughes

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Posted 01 March 2009 - 00:51

I've been thinking about writing a CS 58 review, but don't have much to add to what London and others have already said. I'm very happy with the CS58 and also its smaller sibling the CS36:


The moment we want to believe something, we suddenly see all the arguments for it, and become blind to the arguments against it.

~ Bernard Shaw.

#6 Hugh200au

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Posted 01 March 2009 - 01:34

Good on your wife!! Giving a bloke something he really wants. I enjoyed the review and I'm a bit of a fan of the grey hatch, unfortunatly it doesn't photograph all that well yet in real life great depth to the pattern.
Regards
Hugh

#7 soapytwist

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Posted 01 March 2009 - 14:57

By the way, while looking for some completely unrelated info I stumbled across a 1938 CS advert with the following prices (mirroring the info of the review), which gives you good idea of the model hierarchy:

No. 60: 35/-
No. 58: 30/-
No. 27: 25/9
No. 28: 24/6
No. 388: 21/-

(All prices in old-fashioned shillings/pence)
"Truth can never be told, so as to be understood, and not be believ'd." (Wiiliam Blake)

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#8 Rufus

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Posted 01 March 2009 - 16:00

I'm glad you like your vintage CS 58. Unfortunately, I purchased one, the same 1950's model as yours, and I've been disappointed with it due to the brassing on the clip, cap bands and lever. Also, the much vaunted Duro nib has underwhelmed me even though I've had it worked on by a nibmeister. Having said that, the cap and barrel are in excellent condition and the colour is as bright and true as I imagine it would have been when the pen first came off the production line. If it weren't for the brassing of the furniture and the performance of the nib, it would be an excellent pen. I also paid a fair amount for it, which makes my disappointment more acute. On the other hand, I have a CS Universal 479, which is about as plain and humble a pen as you can get, but it's a real looker and performer. The clip and lever are clean, the chased balck plastic is in excellent condition and the broad stub nib is a dream to write with. The best part of it is that it cost me less than half of the CS 58. I have a modern CS 58 and, although today's CS has little to do with the original company, it is a good replication of its ancestor and is a sensational writer.
Bryan

"The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes." Winston S. Churchill






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