Good pens can come by way of good pen friends, and this set would not be here without the kindness of Andy Russell. In my little pen world, he’s the Conway Stewart-and-other-English-pens encyclopedia.
Students who struggled through Shakespeare might catch the allusion. Ophelia said, “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance” in Hamlet. My Rosemary set came in a presentation box, whose colors make me think of Van Gogh’s sunflowers caught in the rain. Then, as now, pens were popular gifts. According to writetime.co.uk, Rosemary pens were established in the early to mid 1920s.
The golden-colored foil lining is mostly intact. Inside the box is a product leaflet and a black reticule. (I love that word. Reticule. Mmm. So much better than purse.)
Rosemary seems to have been a sub-brand of National Security, which in turn was a mark owned by British Carbon Papers, Ltd. British Carbon outsourced the manufacture of these pens to other English pen makers, including Conway Stewart.
Inside the reticule (made flirty with a swinging tassel!), everything a bright young lady zipping around the city needs. A pencil to dash off a grocery list, a powder puff in crushed silk to freshen up between appointments, a ringtop fountain pen for thank-you notes, and a pocket comb to smooth adventurous ringlets before rushing home.
Here’s another shot of the set.
Whoever owned this set took it out once in a while to admire it, and used the pen and pencil sparingly.
I have many RMHR (red mottled hard rubber) pens in my collection. These are very fine examples. I’m lucky they were kept in their reticule, away from sunlight. And the imprints are stunning. I love how the y descender in Rosemary loops up and becomes a sprig of what else, rosemary.
The nib is smooth and firm. I wasn’t able to take pictures of writing samples; I’ll do that next week.
Thanks, Andy, for paving the way for me to have this sweet piece of history.