Ink & Pen Notes: Conway Stewart Marlborough Vintage with Sheaffer Peacock Blue

Conway Stewart Marlborough Vintage with a medium stub nib and Sheaffer Peacock Blue ink bottle

I just reviewed the Conway Stewart Marlborough Vintage but in my compulsion to be complete I’ll still do an ink & pen note for its time with Sheaffer Peacock Blue.

Sheaffer Peacock Blue is no longer made and my bottle dates back to the final days of Sheaffer Ink production in Wisconsin. I’m not a fan of blue inks and this is a very blue turquoise. Despite this I do like the ink and it’s helping me warm up to blues. Peacock Blue flows well and the ink pools to provide some nice shading and line variation. Because of this the ink is more suited for a wider nib and really excels with the medium stub of the Conway Stewart.

As mentioned in my review, this is a custom stub grind of the factory medium nib. The Conway Stewart Marlborough Vintage is a comfortable ebonite fountain pen that’s a good size for my hand. It has a very small capacity so it was refilled several times since it entered the rotation on December 18th. Unfortunately, the lever broke when I finally decided to flush it out, so it won’t be back for awhile. The Sheaffer Peacock Blue will be back sooner.

From The Pen Case: Conway Stewart Marlborough Vintage

Conway Stewart Marlborough Vintage with a medium stub nib and Sheaffer Peacock Blue ink bottle

The Conway Stewart Marlborough Vintage has the distinction of being the most expensive fountain pen in my accumulation. It also has the dubious distinction of being my only fountain pen that has broken during normal use. This pen has done it’s best to make me hate it. So time for a review, although you’re probably guessing that it won’t end well.

Conway Stewart no longer exists, having gone out of business (for a second time) with the pieces being sold off to others. The brand will probably be resurrected for a third time. Bespoke British Pens is selling some Conway Stewart Models although it’s confusing (at least to me) as to whether they are maintaining the brand or just selling off old stock or pens made from old stock. The Marlborough Vintage is still available from them although with different branded nibs and only a cartridge/converter version.

This is my second Conway Stewart fountain pen, the first being the FPH Anniversary Edition. I liked that pen enough to spring for the more expensive Marlborough Vintage In June of 2012.

I’ll get this out early – vintage is part of the model name, it is not even close to a vintage pen. I hate it when pen companies do this.

Why I Got It

I liked my first Conway Stewart and this one was a similar size. Plus, it was ebonite which I like the feel of. Lastly, I could get it as a lever filler and I really liked the look of the woodgrain ebonite. I ordered mine with an extra fine nib (more on this later).

What I Got

Conway Stewart Marlborough Vintage engraved barrel

This is a limited edition fountain pen and I received number 41 of 300. I received a medium nib, rather than the extra fine that I ordered, but in my impatience I didn’t notice until after I inked it up. After some internal debate I decided to keep the medium nib. I liked the way it wrote, it wasn’t too wide, plus I had the idea of getting it stubbed.

I love the feel of the ebonite and I like the woodgrain finish. I’ll stop short of saying it reminds me of real wood but I like the black “grain” on the brown “wood”. Combined with the lever fill it give the pen a nice vintage aesthetic. The furniture is gold which isn’t my favorite choice, but as with other brown pens, it works in this case.

The ink capacity is painfully small and is my main complaint with this pen. Either the cartridge/converter or eye dropper options would provide a larger capacity. I get a little over four pages of solid writing on a 8.5“ X 11” piece of paper. For awhile I thought there might be a problem but, after further research and checking I found that this was to be expected. I just didn’t uncover it in my initial research.

The pen feels well made and has a solid fit and finish. As I mentioned, the pen is broken but it does feel well made.

Getting the wrong nib and the small ink capacity really turned me off to this pen early on. When the Long Island Pen Show rolled around the following March I brought the pen with me and had Richard Binder stub the nib. This gives the pen a little more personality and made me warm up to the pen. At the time it was one of my few stub nibs and the first in a pen I could comfortably use for longer writing sessions (even if it did need a refill midway through). I ended up being happy with my choice to stub the nib rather than tryng to get the extra fine that I ordered. I might have gotten a little more writing from each fill with the thinner extra fine nib, but it wouldn’t have been enough to turn this pen into a daily carry.

The stub nib makes the pen enjoyable to use and the small capacity means I don’t feel guilty about needing to flush the pen. I can write it dry in an evening or two.

The Numbers

  • Length Capped: 133.52 mm
  • Length Uncapped: 25.11 mm
  • Length Posted: 180.34 mm
  • Section Length: 19.20 mm
  • Section Diameter (near nib): 11.11 mm
  • Section Diameter (below threads): 11.39 mm
  • Section Diameter (mid-section): 10.18 mm
  • Cap Diameter: 15.04 mm
  • Barrel Diameter: 13.15 mm
  • Weight: 22 g (w/ink)
  • Weight (body only): 12 g (w/ink)

Writing With The Pen

Conway Stewart Marlborough Vintage medium stub nib with Sheaffer Peacock Blue ink

Removing the cap takes one full rotation and then the pen is ready to write. The cap does post securely but not deeply. This makes the pen look freakishly long when it’s posted. It also feels unbalance, but that’s from someone who doesn’t post his pens when using them.

The factory medium nib was smooth and had a good flow. I never experienced any hard starts or skipping. Needless to say the nib also flowed fine after being stubbed by Mr. Binder.

The fountain pen is comfortable in my hand, being similar in size to the Pelikan M805 and a tad smaller than the Visconti Homo Sapien. The ebonite is light making this a light pen, especially when it’s not posted since nearly half the weight is in the cap. The pen is not quit perfect in my hand, but better than most. The Pelikan M805 is a little heavier (about 22g) so feels more solid which I like these days and the slightly bigger Bronze Age is a perfect size for my hand. My fingers do touch the threads just a bit when I grip the pen, but that aren’t sharp so I don’t even notice them.

I’ve never had problems with any inks although being a lever filler I pick inks I know are easy to clean out and that I will like. I tend to give the pen multiple fills of each ink, due to the small capacity, and I don’t want to be forced to flush an ink I don’t like or has problems.

This is a pen I almost always use at home and for casual writing. By that I mean when I’m concentrating on the writing, rather than taking notes, and I plan to do it for awhile. Plus, I’m willing to be interrupted should I need to refill the pen. I have taken it out and about at times and it’s one of the few pens that has drawn comments in public. The lever and wood grain finish catches people’s attention.

Cleaning The Pen

It’s a lever filler, so cleaning takes a little longer than pens more easily flushed. It’s not any harder to clean than other lever filler. The nib unit does unscrew should you want to flush the pen with a syringe but I avoided doing that and just worked the lever.

This is when the pen broke. I was cleaning the pen in order to use another ink before this review. The lever snapped during cleaning. I could feel it come loose in the pen. While I did work the lever a lot while cleaning the pen I never treated it roughly. The pen probably would have lasted longer if I removed the nib for cleaning.

Inks Used

Conway Stewart Marlborough Vintage with a medium stub nib and Sheaffer Peacock Blue ink bottle

For this review I used several fill of Sheaffer Peacock Blue. The nib gives the ink some nice line variation. It’s probably been my favorite ink in this pen. Although, I do have a tendency to consider anything I’m currently using a favorite.

I recently used Montblanc Leonardo Red Chalk. While I like the ink, this pen didn’t seem to do much for it and I flushed it out the first time I wrote it dry. This is the one ink which I liked less in this pen than in previous fountain pens.

I’ve also used various Waterman and Pilot Iroshizuku inks, all of which performed well. As I mentioned, for lever fillers I pick inks I already know I like and which perform well. None of them disappointed in this pen.

Wrapping Up

As I mentioned, the Conway Stewart Marlborough Vintage is the most expensive fountain pen in my accumulation. From that perspective the pen was a disappointment even before the lever broke, I don’t consider it worth the money I paid. After the very rough start the pen did grow on me and I do like it. It’s a pen I would ink up for occasional use but it never really grabbed my attention.

Is it a keeper? The lever fill option was a huge mistake. The capacity is too small for me and well, the lever broke. It’ll be around until it get fixed. But assuming it wasn’t broken, I would be seriously considering selling it off to fund a future pen purchase. While I wouldn’t typically try to repair such an expensive pen myself I’ll probably consider it in this case, after some research and practice with other pens. The Conway Stewart Marlborough Vintage isn’t worth pouring more money into it.

Additional Reading

Black Lever Filler reviewed on FPN

The pen broke before the draft of this review, which I typically use as a writing sample. So the writing sample is just an index card.

From the Pen Case: Conway Stewart FPH 60th Anniversary

Conway Stewart FPH 60th Anniversary

I decided to pull a long ignored fountain pen out of a storage case and ink it up. Rather than actually have to make a decision I just looked at my accumulation and picked the first unreviewed fountain pen. That made it my Conway Stewart Fountain Pen Hospital 60th Anniversary Limited Edition.

I can’t remember the last time I inked up this pen. Considering I’ve been consistently tracking the pens I use for the past couple of years I can confidently say it’s been a few years. I have no bad memories or experiences with the pen, it just didn’t keep my attention.

Why I Got It

I bought the pen back in late 2005. I remember considering it a good price for a Conway Stewart. Plus, I really like the brown marble acrylic. I’m less happy with all the gold trim these days, but back then I didn’t mind it much. Plus, it’s not so bad on a brown pen.

What I Got

Conway Stewart FPH 60th Anniversary medium nib with Montblanc Toffee Brown

The Conway Stewart 60th is a mid-sized cartridge/converter fountain pen that takes standard international cartridges and converters. There’s plenty of room in the barrel for a full size cartridge and even the longest converter. I received number 47 of 60, according to the small engraving near the top of the cap. The pen is made from a nice brown marble acrylic with some nice depth to it. As I mentioned, there’s a lot of gold trim. Even the nib is a solid gold color. Speaking of the nib, it’s a medium 18 kt. gold nib. Conway Stewart Made in England is engraved on the barrel.

The pen is a good size for my hand and it’s comfortable to hold. It’s a bit heavier than my typical writer but I don’t consider it too heavy. Nearly half of its weight is in the cap and I don’t post this pen when writing.

The Numbers

  • Length Capped: 5.535″ (140.58 mm)
  • Length Uncapped: 5.051″ (128.29 mm)
  • Length Posted: 7″ (177 mm)
  • Section Length: 0.7545″ (19.16 mm)
  • Section Diameter (near nib): 0.448″ (11.37 mm)
  • Section Diameter (below threads): 0.457″ (11.61 mm)
  • Section Diameter (mid-section): 0.418″ (10.61 mm)
  • Cap Diameter: 0.609″ (15.46 mm)
  • Barrel Diameter: 0.4955″ (12.60 mm)
  • Weight: 42 g
  • Weight (body only): 24 g

Writing With The Pen

Conway Stewart FPH 60th Anniversary with Montblanc Toffee Brown ink bottle

The cap takes just over one full rotation to remove and get the pen ready to write. The griping section is fairly long and my thumb barely touches the threads when I’m writing with the pen. The threads aren’t sharp so even if I held the pen higher they wouldn’t be a problem.

The medium nib puts down a nice line, not too thin and not too wide. It’s clearly a western fine although not as wide as some are these days. It’s a hefty fountain pen that feels solidly built. After writing for about 20 minutes my hand was a little fatigued.

I did have problems with the ink not wanting to leave the converter and I had to prime the feed a couple of times. It’s been so long since I’ve used the pen that I can’t remember if this was a common problem. But I picked Montblanc Toffee Brown because I knew it was a well behaved ink so I do blame the converter. That said, it’s a standard international converter so it’s a problem that can be resolved.

Overall, a pleasant albeit uninspiring writing experience.

Cleaning The Pen

It’s a cartridge/converter pen so it’s easy to clean. Yet, it took forever (well, it seemed like forever) to remove all traces of the normally easy to flush Montblanc Toffee Brown ink.

Inks Used

I used Montblanc Toffee Brown because it’s a ink I know and like. It worked well in this pen, except for the previously mentioned problems with the converter.

I have no memory of what other inks I used in the decade since I got the Conway Stewart. No ink struck me as particularly memorable for either a good or bad writing experience.

Wrapping Up

There’s lot that I like about the Fountain Pen Hospital 60th Anniversary Fountain Pen from Conway Stewart. It’s a good size, it’s comfortable and I like the looks of the acrylic. There’s a lot of gold trim which I can do without, although it does work with the brown material. That said, the fountain pen just doesn’t keep my attention. I had no qualms about using it until I wrote it dry, but I also had no qualms about returning it to the pen case when it was empty. It’s a pen that will get little future use from me and it does deserve better. So it will probably be in the next batch of pens that I sell. For me, it’s not a keeper.

Ink & Pen Notes: Conway Stewart FPH 60th Anniversary with Montblanc Toffee Brown

Conway Stewart FPH 60th Anniversary with Montblanc Toffee Brown ink bottle

I inked up my Conway Stewart Fountain Pen Hospital 60th Anniversary fountain pen so that I could finally review it. The review should be out soon (I’ve had the pen 10 years, hopefully soon isn’t relative to that time frame.) With the review pending these notes will be short.

I inked the pen up on October 24th and wrote it dry back on November 3rd. I didn’t give the pen a full converter because I didn’t expect to use the pen very much and didn’t want to wast any ink. Much to my surprise I used the pen a lot and wrote it dry in less than two weeks.

The pen has been unused for years. I wanted to give the pen a fair shake before the review so I wanted an ink I knew well and liked very much. Brown seemed appropriate for this pen – I picked Montblanc Toffee Brown.

The medium nib wrote well, putting down a line true to its width. I didn’t have any skipping or hard starts. I did have problems with the ink clinging to the converter and I did prime the feed once or twice. The pen stopped pretty much all at once rather than having the line slowly get thinner and drier so it was less annoying than it could have been.

Cleaning the pen took much longer than I expected. No staining or anything like that. It just seemed like I’d never get rid of all the traces of brown. And actually I didn’t remove all traces. I decided it was good enough and left it sitting in tissue to draw any residual ink out.

Overall, a nice writing experience although I wasn’t left with an urge to immediately re-ink the FPH 60th Anniversary Conway Stewart.