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Lewis's self filling pen. Who really made it and how old is it?

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Hi Everyone. I'm a new boy here, so be gentle with me ..



I'm trying to identify the maker, age and anything else about this pen. I acquired it from a boot sale this summer (along with a nice 1930's Parker Duofold, but that's a story for another day!)





The only idetifying marks are the imprint, shown above "LEWIS'S SELF FILLING PEN" and the nib "WARRANTED 14Ct 1st QUALITY".



It is a slim clip-less pen. As best I can tell it has never had a clip. There are no tell-tale holes where one would have fitted. The filler mechanism is a lever acting on a latex sac (which I have replaced)



The ends are nicely rounded as you see, with no seperate end pieces.


The section and feed are unusual, being made from the same coloured and patterened (hard rubber?) as the body and cap. The section is particularly narrow. It's just 6.5 mm at the narrowest point.


Vital Statistics as follows:

  • Length capped: 138mm
  • Length un-capped: 124mm
  • Cap length: 56.5mm
  • Barrel diameter:10.5mm
  • Cap diameter:12.5mm
  • Section diameter at narrow point: 6.5mm
  • Nib is 5mm diameter where it enters the section.


The pen was bought in Manchester, which makes sense for the "Lewis's" connection. I'm guessing that this is Lewis's department store. Lewis's were headquartered in Liverpool and hand stores in Manchester and Birmingham as well. Lewis's is not connected to the well known "John Lewis Partnership".


All I've done to it is clean it up and fit a new sac. Loaded with Diamine Cherry Sunburst, It's a gorgeous pen to write with.


I have a couple of suspicions of who may have actually made it, but I won't lead the witness.


So over to you Ladies and Gentlemen...


What is it?







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  • rodders


  • shalitha33


  • carola


  • GlenV


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I have absolutely no idea who made this pen, but it´s a gorgeous one! Especially the feed being made from the same material to match the colour, that´s pretty rare. Love it!

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Would it be possible to move this post to a different forum? Perhaps fountain pen first stop? That may be a better bet for identifying the mystery pen.

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honestly i don't think its possible to say who made it easily. that leaver looks a bit like Mabie Todd and the barrel could be either British or French or any other for that matter. I'm making this guess based on the end pattern.







To compare this is the end pattern of a US pen , eagle pen to compare.





It probably was sold by Lewis ltd. A quick google result show few pens that have this brand name. My guess is some one was making pens for them. But I could be wrong.
Im fairly sure i have seen that nib before many times. just cant recall what it was (is it Lang? ) :(.




I don't have any evidence and this is all guessing. so I can be 100% wrong . just letting you know:)



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Thanks for that. I had thought Mabie Todd had a hand in it. Another option is a clipless version of the Waterman 52 ?

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Another thing to support the Waterman connection is a Lewis E Waterman self filling pen in the science museum collection. It looks a lot like this. Maybe I was on a bum steer thinking Lewis's was the department store?


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Wow that’s a beauty.  Being from the wrong side of the pond would not likely be helpful but that long lever looks like Mabie Todd too, how nice to have :)

Regards, Glen

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3 hours ago, rodders said:

Another thing to support the Waterman connection is a Lewis E Waterman self filling pen in the science museum collection. It looks a lot like this. Maybe I was on a bum steer thinking Lewis's was the department store?



I'm not going to say it is not a waterman but it is unlikely to be a waterman. if one puts forward enough money and a custom design anything can happen :P.

In my *view* for this to be a waterman: (node that its just a view i can be very very wrong).

  • Material is a little different.
  • Taper is a bit different
  • Feed taper is a little different and so is the top shape of it.
  • Nib looks different . it can easily be a replacement nib (possibly from Lang). 

As for material , although they are all MHR there are slight differences as i can see. ofcource I am no expert on this matter and can be very wrong. here are some different ones from waterman , Aiken lambert, juco, Gold starry, Sheaffer etc. barrel ends of Waterman's looks more of a plain color than that you have  (the nice line design). this probably is due to different construction methods is my *guess* (note "guess" ) :P




Above  MHR barrel is not waterman btw.  its just to show the way its constructed a bit clearly . 



unfortunately these are either ripples or wood grains. I don't actually have a MHR other than the 14 in the above pic .




I have red ripple, woodgrain and MHR sections in the above pic. and note how the patten goes across the section taper. yes i do have the sections mixed up and doesn't match the barrels . middle one is a 52 other two are 52 /12v


these are some of the other brands,  they do have their own differences when it comes to the rubber pattern. last 2 French pens in the above pic (gold starry and the other one) have the matching end barrel pattern as follows.




This is the only proper MHR waterman i have but its a bit older so may not be a good comparison. :(.



As for section taper , its not exactly matching with waterman ones. in the following pic i have red wood grain waterman olive ripple , and BHR Aiken lambert  (made by waterman around this point i guess) and an unknown pen with a replacement steel nib. both leavers are Aiken Lambert (waterman).



Note how waterman pens have it in a not so hourglass shape. its rather long at the bottom and short closer to the nib side. (if that makes any sense. i suck at explaining). Also the shape and taper of the feed.


top and bottom pens have correct matching sections but rotated so pattens are not matching. they are both ripples. second from top (wood grain) have a MHR section. 3rd from top ripple have a wood grain section. although they are rotated to match the pattern you can easily see that something is off. 

On a side note can some one recommend a good reference book for me to find out more about waterman pens ? currently the only thing i have is going through old catalogues from PCA library. And this is a bit of a limitation :(. Would any one be able to recommend a good book to read and learn more on these pens ?




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I'm also not sure about the line between mottled (MHR) and wood grain.  Ripple and mottled are listed as two things in catalogues i have seen so far but not woodgrain :(.









Links from PCA

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ZQkBei_F_ysS3GkymVHI-RymC12XGSW-/view (taken off 1925 catalogue from https://pencollectorsofamerica.org/reference-library/waterman/)

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I am certainly not an expert, but I have seen very often a mixture of Red Ripple ebonite or Wood Grain made in France, in England or in Germany. It was quite common the German pens used French ebonite.

Looking at the third and fifth image of the presentation it is clear to me that the section and the barrel are not from the same manufacturer and I strongly believe the barrel material is French ebonite.

In the case of the nib is different, those warranted ones were used often by different manufacturers either at the production time or later.

I also believe, like some of you, Mabie Todd was involved, and I would not be surprised if they used French ebonite for the barrel… it would also be useful to consider the competition between English and French with the Unique pen (English with a French name) and the Unic pen (French with a not French name since the English named theirs Unique earlier).

In any case it is beautiful pen, certainly lovely to write with, and thanks for the presentation.. I will follow the thread to find out more about the name Lewis through you...


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It even could be CS. 



Or made by Summit (Lang co ltd)


Taken from http://summit.wesonline.org.uk/section12.html


There are also some Mabie Todd hints in the pen as well.


It wouldn't be uncommon to get pens made from various manufactures to sell under a single brand name by a store.

Kind of like the very early Esterbrook pens made by Aiken Lambert, De La Rue, Paul e Wirt etc, using their own base pens and re-branding them as R.Esterbrook., 

So it could come from any source. It is likely to have been sold by Lewis's Ltd in liverpool.


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I have followed up on the Lang Co connection hinted at above. It looks like a very likely fit. Lang Co. made a lot of "branded pens" as well as the entire "Sumit" range for their sister company. I'm thnking that maybe the Rodia is also a Lang product?

Looking at the Summit pens it looks like this pen could be based on the H range from the 1920's. It seems to have features and dimentions from both the H60 or H70. The lack of vanes on the nib also suggests an early pen.


Another strong pointer to Lang is that their factory was only a mile or so away from the Lewis's headquarters department store in Liverpool. The factory is now a Bistro restaurant next to the everyman theatre. I may be forced to do some extra research there next time I'm in Liverpool ;) .


Sadly the original nib had an accident in my heavy hands. I have kept it for orignality. The pen is now fitted with a parker duofold replacement which I had to hand and which fitted perfectly. It's a shae to lose the heart shaped breather, but the pen is still exceptionally stylish. The slender build and colour co-ordinated feed and very narrow section make it a delight on the eye.


Incidentyl, since I still don't really know what it is and "Lewis's self filling pen" is a bit of a mouthfull, ths pen is nicknamed "Dickie". Anybody familiar with the Liverpool Lewis's department store building will know why :)


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On 10/25/2021 at 11:16 PM, rodders said:

This is the original and replacement nibsIMG_20211024_120709.thumb.jpg.6bcfae715cd409a825ef6bba84d23bf0.jpg

That is a Lang's warranted nib. The only fly in the ointment is that they supplied them to other manufacturers (Wyvern and Unique come to mind) and they were also sold as replacement nibs but I would tend towards the pen having been made by Lang's as Conway's usually included their trade mark levers on third party pens and I haven't seen a Conway with that style of lever either.

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