Beautiful antique hallmarked c1896 to 1911 sterling silver propelling pencil holder with V S stamped into the extension shaft just before the nib, unfortunately unable to work out precise date as the date hallmark hard to read from wear. Featuring beautifully crafted lines and spots style, original hallmarks on side and is in excellent used and working condition (action loose), extension doesn't seem to lock into place. Engraved with name on nameplate "Harry Shepherd Yakroma".
Length: 11.5 cm fully extended, 7.5 closed
Hallmarked c1896 to 1911
By S Mordan & Co
History of Pencils & Holder
Graphite was discovered and quickly became widespread with the discovery of a large deposit in Borrowdale, England in 1564, attracting artist and alike. It was soft and brittle, and required a holder and the graphite sticks were firstly wrapped in string, late into hollowed wooden sticks, which were similar to those used today.
The metal pencil was first patented in 1822 by two business partners Sampson Mordan and John Hawkins. The metal pencil with an internal mechanism for propelling the graphite shaft forward during use, is now known as the propelling pencil.
Now that the casing could be metal, most commonly gold or silver and appeal to the increasingly affluent middle and upper classes people in the 19th century in Britain.
Soon after various whimsical patterns were introduced like dog, cat, pig, owl and fish-shaped pencils for their propelling pencils.
Between 1820 and 1873, there was more than 160 patents various mechanical pencil designs in Britain. The first spring-loaded mechanical pencil was patented 1877 and in 1895 the twist-feed mechanism was developed. By this time some mechanical pencils where able to feed the graphite through the pencil, as it wears down and some still only hold hold the graphite in position against gravity.
These mechanical pencils are still in demand today bay artists, architects, draughtsmen, collectors and alike.
History of Sampson Mordan & Co
Sampson Mordan (1770-1843), apprentice and assistant of the mechanic John Bramah, established his own business in 1815.
The first patent for a "metal pencil with an internal mechanism for propelling the graphite 'lead' shaft forward during use" was obtained in 1822 (his co-inventor was John Isaac Hawkins).
In 1823 Mordan bought out the rights of Hawkins, entering his first mark as "smallworker" in London Assay Office on 9 June 1823 (SM oblong). In 1824 he entered in partnership with Gabriel Riddle, registering a new mark (SM.GR) in London Assay Office.
The partnership with Riddle was dissolved in 1836 and he continued the business as S. Mordan & Co. Sampson Mordan died in 1843 and the business was taken over by his sons Sampson (Jr) and Augustus. They were later joined by Edmund George Johnson and Zachariah Watkins who retired in 1879.
After the death of Sampson Mordan (Jr) his share of the business passed to his brother Augustus, joined as partner in 1890 by Harry Lambert Symonds.
In 1898 the company was converted to a limited liability company under the name of S. Mordan & Co Ltd.
In 1933 the distribution rights on the propelling pencil business were given to L. G. Sloan Ltd, and in 1941, following the destruction of the factory by enemy bombing, the patents were sold to Edward Baker. The firm went into voluntary liquidation in 1952.
Between the 1820s and 1870s the firm obtained more of 160 patents for various mechanical pencils. The first spring-loaded mechanical pencil was patented in 1877 and a twist-feed mechanism was developed in 1895.
In addition to pencils the firm had a large production line of small silver and gold items, most of them belonging to the type of "novelties" so popular at the end of the 19th/beginning of the 20th century. They were supplied to many retailers, including Asprey & Sons and the Goldsmiths & Silversmiths Co. Ltd.
Sampson Mordan & Co was present at the 1851 London Great Exhibition and at the 1922 and 1929 British Industries Fair..
Please refer to our photos as they form part of the description.