Antique sterling silver propelling pencil holder hallmarked c1904 London by S. Mordan & Co

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Condition:
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Beautiful antique hallmarked c1904 (Edwardian) London sterling silver propelling pencil holder. Featuring beautifully crafted Edwardian style, original hallmarks on side and is in excellent used and working condition.

 

Length: 9 cm

Sterling silver

Hallmarked c1904 London

 

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 Mordan, Sampson & Co

Sampson Mordan (1770-1843) was apprenticed to John Bramah who which invented an "unpickable" lock and established his own business at the age of 45 wth a partner, John Hawkins in London in 1815.

They patented a "metal pencil with an internal mechanism for propelling the graphite shaft forward during use" in 1822, now known as the propelling pencil and in the following year, went into partnership with Gabriel Riddle, a wealthy stationer and bought out Hawkins.

In 1836 the partnership between Mordan and Riddle dissolved and the company continued to run alone by Sampson Mordan.

Sampson died in 1843 and the business passed over to his sons, after there were further changes in ownership till the business was converted to a limited liability company in 1898 and now operating under the name S. Mordan & Co Ltd. They manufactured not only propelling pencils but patent locks copying and seal presses, fire proof cash and deed boxes, inkstands, cedar pencils, pencil holders, pens, pin cushions, perfume bottles, vestas, letter balances and novelty silver articles to many retailers including The Goldsmiths & Silversmiths Co. Ltd and Asprey & Sons.

Various whimsical patterns were introduced like dog, cat, pig, owl and fish-shaped pencils for their propelling pencils, and between 1820 and 1873 more then 160 patents of various mechanical pencil designs and in 1941 the company ceased trading, followed by the destruction of the factory by enemy bombing.  

 

Please refer to our photos as they form part of the description.