The Bachelor’s Club of London had been Winston Churchill’s first club membership at the age of twenty in 1895. It also was the source of his preferred writing instruments during his earliest years as a professional writer. Loathing the pens in India, he had beseeched his mother in a February 1898 letter to send him a box from the Bachelor’s Club “of the sort I like. The Hall porter knows. They cost 4/– but are very good.”
Churchill’s first documented pen purchases were Swan fountain pens from Mabie, Todd & Baird, Pen Makers, in 1905 (at 10s. 6d. each). During the First World War he would use an Onoto pen. He later favored “Red Dwarf” Stylographs—pens with flexible nibs that produced fine lines ideal for sketching and drawing—made by J. Kearney & Co. Liverpool.
As Prime Minister, Churchill’s preference would be for archaic Conway Stewart “self filling Stylos” that the Conway Stewart company pieced together for him using what old parts it could find, as well as ballpoint pens, in his later years, made by Myles-Martin.
Barry Singer is the author of Churchill Style (Abrams Image, 2012) and the proprietor of Chartwell Booksellers in New York City.
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