| When only the best
is renowned for the quality of its pens and, as a luxury brand, we
have created many 'special' pens over the years. But when it comes
to the finest of the fine, the best of the best, only gold will do.
Combine it with the elegance of one of our most iconic pens, the
Onoto Centenary and there's no denying this is a very special pen
Shown here in a luxury presentation box and about to
go on display at Asprey in New Bond Street, London (see later
article), the Onoto Centenary in 18 carat solid gold has no equals.
It retails at £10,250 and is one of the remaining pens in a
worldwide limited edition of 10.
For more information on the
Onoto Centenary Pen go to www.onoto.com/centenary.asp
| In the
When Evelyn De La Rue persuaded his father to create a
new pen brand - Onoto - in 1905, he had already shown remarkable
enthusiasm for fountain pens and believed passionately that they
could add a significantly to the De La Rue group's fortunes. Indeed
he had already taken out 17 different patents for pens and their
mechanisms in an attempt to design a new filling system to replace
the old-fashioned and very messy eye-dropper fillers. He believed
that a new brand would give his new invention a greater chance of
|However, by a strange twist of fate, the launch
of his new pen was given added impetus from an unlikely source - a
female impersonator on roller skates called George Sweetser!
Despite his love of cross-dressing and rollerskating,
Sweetser was, by all accounts, an excellent inventor and mechanical
engineer too. In 1905 he made an appointment to visit the De La Rue
offices in Bunhill Row, London to demonstrate his latest invention -
a new filling system for the fountain pen. Evelyn could hardly
believe it - but it didn't take him very long to see that Sweetser's
mechanism was far better than his own invention and within a few
minutes a deal had been struck between the two.
recalled later, "When I pushed the plunger down he (Evelyn) saw the
ink go down in the bottle so knew
it must have gone up into the
pen." It was a moving moment and Sweetser came out ten minutes
after going in, with a big fat cheque.
That single moment
gave Onoto the commercial advantage Sir Evelyn craved over all his
competitors and he persuaded his father to invest heavily in an
advertising campaign (reported to be £50,000 - a vast amount in
Sweetser, not to be outdone by the attention given to
Onoto by the advertising campaign, made a number of claims for his
invention. "It can," he stressed, "not only be filled in a flash and
written with, but could be used to syringe your ears, spray the
geraniums with insecticide and it is ideal for ink-splashers as
it will carry across the road." Probably not what Sir Evelyn had in
Sweetser, happily rollerskating into his 80s, also
wrote a book entitled "How to live to be 100". Sadly, he died when
he was 98.
Altogether a curious life - and one which
continues to fascinate many Onoto enthusiasts. Indeed, we have
recently been contacted by two people who believe they are great,
great grandchildren of Sweetser.
For more information about
George Sweetser go to www.onoto.com/history.asp
acknowledgement to "The House That Thomas Built " The Story of De La
Rue" by Lorna Houseman, published by Chatto & Windus 1968).
| In the
|We have been busy! Following up last Autumn's sponsorship
of the WES London Pen Show, we have also put in appearances at the
Eastern Pen Show (Huntingdon), The Western Pen Show (Bristol) and
the Northern Pen Show (Lytham).
|The photo shows Onoto CEO Alastair Adams handing over the
prototype P5 Magna 261 to Dr Geoff Roe, President of the WES, who
was the lucky winner of the raffle at the Northern Pen Show.
The show is organised by Alan Lloyd of ABC Lloyd Vintage
Pens and Inkwells, who confirmed, "We have raised £500-00 for the
Children's resource fund at Cumbria Cerebral Palsy. A large
portion of this is due to Onoto's kind donation of the Onoto Magna
261 for the raffle".
It was a pleasure to help Alan in such a
worthy cause, and we have already confirmed our attendance at this
show for next year. Interest in Onoto old and new at all
these shows has been tremendous with particular interest shown in
both the Magna 261 and in our new custom nib facility.
Onoto nibs have always been praised for their
flexibility and smoothness (and we've received lots of comments
recently to that effect!) but we have only recently recognised that
pen collectors and writing aficionados like nothing more than having
nibs custom-made to their precise instruction.
|For example, we have had requests for one of our standard
18 carat gold broad nibs to be ground to 15 italic, and a stainless
steel fine nib to be ground to extra-fine.
It's a fascinating
topic and reflects the enthusiasm our collectors have for their
You'll find more information about nibs on our website
| The case
for the defence
your valuable pens against bumps and scrapes has been a problem for
many pen enthusiasts, especially if they are in everyday use (as
they should be!) - until now.
|We have developed a range of leather pen cases which fit
neatly into your pocket, briefcase or handbag and protect the finish
of your pen against scratches and dings.
The cases are
available in two colours (black and a stunning red) and in two sizes
(Standard and large). The large case is suitable for pens up to 16cm
in length (Standard up to 14cm).
Each case is embossed with
the Onoto logo and is hand-crafted specially for us. For more
details, go to www.onoto.com/accessories.asp
photo shown here is of the Onoto Strathendrie football team around
1940 which played informal 'friendlies' against Onoto teams from
London and Newcastle. It was sent in by Elaine Edwards whose father,
Campbell Morris, worked at Onoto's Strathendry factory at this
has been able to fill in most of the names of the
Back Row L to R - John Webster, George Surley,
Unknown, George Webster, A Robertson, D
Front Row L to R - Robert (Bobby) Page,
Unknown, Alex Mitchell, Dave Hutt, Unknown
if you know the 3 missing names, let me know and we will fill them
Sales of the Magna 261, our latest acrylic issue, have
exceeded all expectations and the reactions of those fortunate
enough to receive one of the low edition numbers have been simply
stunning. Here are a couple of comments which are representative of
all those we have received.
"I received my ONOTO 261
today. What a pen, brilliant; superb; lovely balance; exceptional
nib and truly great craftsmanship. I could go on and on about how
delighted I am. This will be treasured for the rest of my life.
Thank you." PK, UK.
||"The Magna 261arrived this morning and is in the
process of being road tested. First impressions are very favourable.
The weight is excellent, the cap is just the right weight to enable
it to balance properly in the hand and make writing an easy and
pleasurable experience. The fine italic nib for me is
perfect. It is slightly better than the Conway Stewart nib."
On the basis of sales to date, we believe
the "261" will sell out within the next 6 months. So if you are
tempted, you should reserve one now, rather than risk disappointment
later in the year.
Take advantage of a weak
With sterling at its lowest point for a long
time against the dollar, there's never been a better time to buy an
Onoto if you are based in the USA.
our successful venture with the University of Cambridge
last year, producing a range of pens to celebrate the 800th
anniversary of their foundation, we are delighted to announce that
we will be producing a range of 2010 Graduation pens
for each of the 31 colleges which make up the University of
Cambridge. It's quite a feather in the Onoto cap to be associated
with one of the world's greatest seats of learning - an association
we are proud to have achieved. Full details of the pens will appear
in our next issue of The Onotoist.