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Pen making


Super Moderator
Staff member
Gutenburg have just uploaded a copy to the net of "The story of the invention of steel pens, with a description of the manufacturing process for making them", by Henry Bore, pub 1890 at https://www.gutenberg.org/files/9954/9954-h/9954-h.htm
Haven't had a chance to read it properly, but contains innumerable Birmingham mentions (understandably), and looks quite useful
Or , if you want it as an Epub or Kindle etc offering then go to https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/9954


master brummie
Thanks for the info, I have some steel penmakers in my family. The section on the manufacturing has a few good illustrations showing the stages in making and the girls and women working at the benches. Worth a look!


master brummie
Thanks for posting the link Mike :peaceful: it looks really interesting. I have added it to my favourites.


Super Moderator
Staff member
Some early illustrations (1851) showing aspects of the pen making process at Hinks, Wells & Co.

The first shows a man and boy rolling steel for pens to make it very flexible
The 2nd shows the large grinding room with mainly young female employees
The 3rd shows the slitting room, again mainly young women workers
The 4th shows how pens were bronzed

Two and a half tons of steel were used per week and 35,000 gross of pen were produced weekly. A quarter of the Hinks, Wells & Co workforce were female in the 1850s







master brummie
Those images look very like the ones created by Walter Langley for the Perry's Pens catalogue. Walter was an artist who was apprenticed to a Lithographer in the Jewellery Quarter, his mother took in washing so that he could go to art classes in Birmingham, he went on to start the art colony at Newlynn in Cornwall.
The Pen Room has lots of history of pen makers and will happily chat to you about them.